O-Zone: Viewing pleasure

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Richard from Jacksonville:
I simply don't understand why the Jaguars would not take a look at Tony Romo. Explain.
John: I don't know that it's accurate to say the Jaguars didn't "take a look" at Romo, who on Tuesday announced his retirement from the NFL. I do think it's accurate to say the Jaguars took the same look at Romo and realized the risk of acquiring Romo was greater than the realistic reward. I wrote often during the 2017 offseason that I would be in favor of the Jaguars acquiring Romo if it made sense from a financial viewpoint, but the reality is it didn't make sense from that viewpoint or a risk standpoint for not only the Jaguars but the rest of the NFL. The reality is Romo is a 36-year-old quarterback who has played five games in the last two seasons. That biographical line – with the emergence of Dak Prescott – helped the Cowboys to move on from Romo last season. It also apparently trumped all else in his chances of finding a new team.
Travis from St. Louis, MO:
With Romo retiring and not going to the Texans, does this make the AFC South more a two-team race between the Titans and Colts, or does this just make more parity in the division? I still feel like we may be a least one year away from claiming an AFC South title.
John: Romo didn't play for the Texans last season and they won the AFC South. In what way are they not still a major player – and perhaps the favorite – to win the division?
Steve from Nashville, TN:
Would it be safe to say the schedule-maker has little difficulty finding seven Sundays for the Jaguars to play home games compared to other teams with multi-use stadiums?
John: Perhaps – in some cases. But Jacksonville does present its share of difficulties for the NFL's schedule-makers. The Jaguars don't play home games on Florida-Georgia weekend, and it is difficult to play home games on Sundays following college football games such as the one that featured Navy and Notre Dame last season.
Dave from Los Angeles, CA:
Why'd Josh Scobee's career end so abruptly?
John: Scobee was traded from Jacksonville to Pittsburgh during the 2015 preseason. He struggled early that season, missing field goals of 49 and 41 yards in a Week 4 loss to Baltimore. He was released shortly thereafter. While he signed with New Orleans last offseason, he was released less than two weeks later. Sometimes in the NFL, when it goes, it goes fast.
Gabe from Washington, DC:
Do you think getting drafted to a team other than the Jaguars (or maybe some other combination of different circumstances) could have led to Justin Blackmon still being in the NFL? He absolutely had the talent to be a great receiver in the league, but would you say he would have ended up in the same situation regardless of who his first NFL coach was or what the culture was like?
John: I'll preface this answer by saying I don't pretend to know what caused Blackmon to take his path. I don't pretend to know that because I'm not arrogant enough to believe I know many people that well, particularly those I know on a professional basis. That being said, evidence would suggest that Blackmon's issues were more about him than his surroundings.
Scott from Jacksonville, FL:
This question may have been asked before, but what happens when you ceremonially sign a player for one day (like Josh Scobee) so that player can retire with the team? Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, do the Jaguars have to pay Josh Scobee one day's pay?
John: No. Players are paid salaries during the regular season. Anything they receive in the offseason comes in the form of bonuses or workout pay, the latter of which essentially can be thought of as expenses and per diem.
Robert from Kentucky:
Luke Joeckel is to Lane Johnson as Blake Bortles is to Derek Carr as Dante Fowler is to Vic Beasley as Leonard Fournette will be to Christian McCaffrey or Joe Mixon. Not that the formers are busts, but it will be clearly pretty quickly the best player wasn't the one picked first.
John: Your boldness is impressive. Time will tell if it translates into being correct, particularly on your last two examples.
Geoff from Jacksonville:
Seriously now, what happened with Sam?
John: I'm worried, too.
Kenny from Rochester, NY:
The big NFL sites keep saying that no quarterback has come from a system like Mahomes from Texas Tech and been successful. They talk about players from Tim Couch to Goff but didn't Aaron Rodgers come from that same system?
John: Rodgers is most often associated with his head coach at California. That's Jeff Tedford, another coach who often has been criticized for the failure of his quarterbacks to develop in the NFL – a group that includes Kyle Boller, Trent Dilfer, Akili Smith, Joey Harrington and David Carr. A question about Rodgers before he entered the NFL was whether a quarterback coached by Tedford could make it in the NFL. The lesson: it's not as much about your college system or your collegiate coach as it is about whether you can make NFL throws, read NFL defenses and adapt to the incredibly quick pace of the NFL game. Over time that has proven to be a phenomenally difficult thing to predict – thus, the remarkably large number of early-drafted quarterbacks who don't play like early-drafted quarterbacks. The position of NFL quarterback is hard. Only a few people on the planet can do it well at a given time, and you usually don't know if a guy can do it until he succeeds or fails.
Tom from Jacksonville:
Let's assume we take Jonathan Allen or O.J. Howard at No. 4. Tim Williams from Alabama (admitted to failing multiple drug tests) and Joe Mixon (hit a lady) are BY FAR the two best players on your draft board and both are a position of need. Who do you draft?
John: Williams because pass rush.
Howard from Loveland, CO:
Do you think that you might feel differently about Joe Mixon if it was your wife or daughter that he hit hard enough to cause death or possible permanent brain damage?
John: Of course. I also imagine I would feel differently about many people in the world I meet and many people I have covered if I knew every detail of their background and if everything questionable they ever had done they had done to a member of my immediate family. I'm not minimizing, advocating, defending, championing or ignoring what did. I have seen the video. It's repulsive. But he's going to play in the NFL somewhere because he's legally allowed to play somewhere and because he happens to be good enough to help an NFL team. That's the way the NFL works, and it's pretty much how it always has worked and always will work. Whether I like what he did or not is fine fodder for discussion, but it's not particularly pertinent to the discussion.
Limo Bob from Neptune Beach, FL:
Does the retirement of Tony Romo change the Texans' first pick to quarterback?
John: Ya gotta think …
Sedrick from Orange Park, FL:
John, does Carolina using a visit with David Njoku signify teams now valuing tight ends higher in the draft more than years past? It's unlikely they find a trade partner to move down from eight, and there is no way he gets to them in the second round. …
John: I do believe tight ends and other positions will start being selected slightly earlier than years past. That has started happening since the implementation of the rookie pool in the 2011 CBA, and I expect that trend to continue. But don't overemphasize the importance of players visiting teams before the draft. Pre-draft visits have become a subject on which breathless reporting runs rampant, but they often mean little more than due diligence and are sometimes even smoke screens. Teams sometimes draft players they bring for visits and other times they draft players they interviewed at the Senior Bowl or the Scouting Combine. It's fine to follow the pre-draft visits. Just don't be confused if they don't mean much come draft day.
Jeremy from Dodge City, KS:
O, If you had to choose only one who would you rather have on your team (if you were a coach or general manager): Barry Sanders or Walter Payton?
John: I'd take Sanders by a shred, because he's the best pure runner I've ever seen when it comes to making people miss and producing even when defenses were completely stacked to take him out of the game. What makes it a tough decision is Payton was perhaps the best all-around back of all-time when considering pass receiving, running and blocking combined. I'll go with Sanders – probably in part because I saw him play in person. He was otherworldly.
Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Why can't the viewers call into the NFL officials when we see a game infraction on TV?
John: Because.

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