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O-Zone: We have a winner

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Nick from Toronto, Canada:
In your recent article, Dave Caldwell is quoted as saying: " Year Three, you fill with some bigger-market free agents and next year still have the ability to add another big, big free-agent class in the offseason. Then, hopefully, you have a window there for three, four or five years there where you can be successful." Now to sound picky, but that last part of the quote doesn't sit so well with me. Three-, four- or five-year window? Why isn't this team trying for consistent success? You do that by drafting well, retaining your own core players once they come up for new deals while having the discipline to let some players walk, and decreasing free-agent spending. Eventually, compensatory picks start coming in. You see the Packers do this every year. The Ravens have also had success with this model. Is this not Caldwell's plan? I don't want to go "all in" for a three-to-five year window and another lengthy rebuilding.
John: Of course that's the plan, Nick. And of course the goal is consistent success. Everything Caldwell has done and said since taking over as general manager in 2013 centers on that, and he actually has reiterated exactly the approach you discussed many, many, many times. He has been strikingly pointed about not going all in because it's hard to maintain a sustainable roster if you do. In a lengthy radio interview such as Caldwell did Wednesday, you say many things. You're not always going to nail every word and every phrase to the exact detail. What Caldwell has nailed since he has been here is setting the foundation for exactly the plan you described.
Keith from Summerville, SC:
Are you making these Tebow questions up?
John: I'm good. I'm not that good.
Rob from Fleming Island, FL:
Do practice-squad players that get picked up by other teams provide compensatory picks for next year? We have a roster strong enough to see good players go to other teams.
John: No, compensatory selections are based on the previous offseason's unrestricted free-agency losses and gains. Practice-squad players do not figure into the formula.
Robert from Moorpark, CA:
What do you say to critics who say T.J. Yeldon has ball-security issues? I think he'll be the back of the future for a long time, but I might be getting a little ahead of myself.
John: T.J. Yeldon indeed had fumbling issues at Alabama. He addressed these areas and improved later in his career there. Caldwell said fumbling doesn't necessarily translate from college to the NFL or necessarily even from season to season on any level, so there seems little concern around the Jaguars about Yeldon's previous fumbles.
Lance from Jacksonville:
The Patriots should either forfeit their Super Bowl trophy or Tom Brady and Bill Belichick should be suspended for the year. One of those two should happen.
John: It doesn't sound as if Belichick will be punished and there's no way the Patriots will have to forfeit the Lombardi Trophy. There was a report Wednesday that Brady could be suspended for a year. I doubt it will be for that long, but I'd be shocked at this point if he isn't suspended.
Alan from Jacksonville:
Thanks goodness the 2015 draft is over. Now we can start talking about the 2016 draft. SB Nation has us picking second and choosing Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida. What do you think?
John: I don't.
Jack from Chicago, IL:
I think it is fair to say that to win in today's NFL you must have an "elite" quarterback. Thirteen of the last 14 Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks have been: Brady, Big Ben, Eli, Peyton, Wilson, Flacco, Brees and Rodgers. That is a total of eight quarterbacks. There may be a few more guys that are close to winning a Super Bowl or would be considered elite; thinking guys like Luck, Rivers or Dalton. That means there may be 10-15 elite quarterbacks, which means that 15-to-22 teams have no chance of winning a Super Bowl with their current quarterback. That to me in unsustainable in the long run. Do you foresee changes in the next five years to balance out the rules and place equal importance on all aspects of the game?
John: No. First, you're not going to see the league go away from an emphasis on quarterbacks because quarterbacks are stars; in a league of helmets and hidden faces, stars are identifiable and sell tickets and draw viewers. As far as sustainability, it always has been a quarterback-driven league. You tallied 14 Super Bowls. Starr, Namath, Unitas, Griese, Bradshaw, Stabler, Staubach, Montana, Elway, Young, Aikman won 23 of 35 before that, and some of the other Super Bowl winners such as Dawson, Plunkett, Simms and Warner weren't bad, either. So, it wasn't exactly easy to win Super Bowls without elite quarterbacks "back in the day," either.
Brian from Staten Island, NY:
Johnny O ... How about some love for, "I'm young, I'm wild, and I'm free …"
John: Wow. It sounds like you've got the magic power of the music in you.
Mike from Jagsonville:
Air-Zone, what effect does inflation outside the league standards have on the ball?
John: In the case of an under-deflated ball, it could make it easier to grip. In theory, that could help a quarterback in cold, inclement weather. In theory, it could have helped the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. In theory.
Paul from Gainesville, FL:
Wouldn't a three-game suspension for Tom Brady be just about right (for the Jags that is …)?
John: Why three?
Tyler from Jacksonville:
The Wells Report has returned and the league is acting so nonchalant about it, comparing the transgressions to PED use and acting as though it had no effect on last season's results. The entire season has an asterisk next to it along with all the other Patriots championships. If they do not come down super hard on the discipline side, the NFL stands the opportunity to lose fans in droves. Every fan from every team starts dreaming in the offseason of their team winning a title. Pollute too many titles with cheating and fans no longer care who wins it. Do not tell me it didn't change who won the title either; sure the Patriots blew out the Colts, but would they have beat the Ravens the week before without deflated balls? Very doubtful ...
John: I don't know that we know the level of nonchalance on the part of the league yet. To my knowledge, they haven't announced punishment. As far as the league losing fans over this … I just sort of doubt it. That's not to say the incident – along with SpyGate – isn't disturbing. That's not say the incidents don't drill away at the integrity of the game. They do, and that's bad. It's why you almost have to punish the Patriots significantly; I don't see how you don't. But the league right now is a giant steamroller of popularity. I doubt it loses fans over this.
Andrew from Crawfordville, FL:
Good plan on invite to 28 players for rookie minicamp. I know David Caldwell has done that previously but do many other teams do that?
John: Yes. Teams typically have to invite more players for rookie minicamp than they have on their roster because if they don't, they're often unable to practice. The Jaguars this season drafted eight players and signed nine undrafted free agents. It's difficult to have a practice in that scenario, so teams invite players who went undrafted and unsigned after collegiate free agency on a tryout basis. It's a long shot at but it's still a shot.
Pat from Whitefish, MT:
I was at the Sunshine Jam in the Gator Bowl 1976. Lot of southern boys playing some rockin' guitar.
John: I saw Boston with Sammy Hagar opening at the Coliseum in January 1979.
Corey from Madison, WI:
I saw that James Jones was released by Oakland recently. He's on the wrong side of 30, but that guy is a beast receiver! Don't get me wrong, I love where the young receiving core is at/going, but any chance the Jags take a look at bringing him in?
John: Doubtful.
Dave from Section 410 and Jacksonville:
I saw the Bangles in San Antonio in '87. Do I have to give up my man card?
John: Probably, but I'm not giving up mine for seeing the Bee Gees on the Spirits Having Flown Tour at the Coliseum in 1979. (Andy Gibb sang when they did You Should Be Dancin' on the encore. I kid you not.)
Joe from Pontypridd, Wales. United Kingdom:
John, the ideal scenario at left guard has to be Beadles showing improvement due to the competition caused by having Cann snapping at his heels, with the rookie having a year to learn the system and acclimate to life in the NFL with a view to starting next year, right?
John: The ideal situation will be to have the better of the two players start and play really well, but yours will work, sure.
Cliff from Jacksonville:
Beatles. Shea Stadium. 1966. I was nine.
John: You win.

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