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O-Zone: Whatever

PHOENIX – Let's get to it... Marcus from Jacksonville:
I have a couple of questions regarding Geno Smith. When team officials go to a Pro Day for a quarterback, what exactly are they looking for? Any starter at a major university should be able to complete a high percentage of passes to open, unguarded receivers, so I'm not too impressed with the 60-64 passing. Second, is it normal for a team to send five people to a Pro Day? I know they're going to do their due diligence on all potential picks, but is there some matter of smoke screen in this to try to help them trade the No. 2 pick?
John: The Jaguars' attendance at the West Virginia Pro Day has drawn a lot of sustained interest, and with reason: Geno Smith is probably the best quarterback in the draft, and with the Jaguars holding the No. 2 pick, their presence there made headlines. This is exactly why players have Pro Days, so that teams can attend and gather information on those players. From the Jaguars, Head Coach Gus Bradley, General Manager David Caldwell, Senior Vice President of Football Technology and Analytics Tony Khan, Director of Player Personnel Terry McDonough and Offensive Coordinator Jedd Fisch attended. That doesn't mean they're going to take Smith and it doesn't mean they're not going to take him. It means they're considering it and gathering information, which is exactly what a team holding the No. 2 selection should do in regards to the top quarterback in the draft, particularly if its quarterback situation us unsettled.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
I notice there is a second game in London this year between the Steelers and Vikings. What is the consensus on when to work the bye week into that trip, before the game or after the game?
John: The Jaguars' bye week will be the week after they play the 49ers in London.
Andrew from St. Augustine, FL:
Why are people shocked that we are not spending big in free agency?
John: That's a question that's probably more about human nature than about football. People have a tendency to hear what they want to hear. Specific to the NFL and your question, perhaps part of it has to do with there being so many analysts and talking heads saying what the Jaguars "should do" that those voices get confused with the ones outlining what the Jaguars "will do." Many, many people outlined plans and offered thoughts about what the Jaguars "should have done" this offseason. Those often included scenarios involving Alex Smith, or about signing "premium" free agents. The Jaguars never, ever said they planned to do this, and from the time of new General Manager David Caldwell's first press conference, the message was pretty much building through the draft and eschewing high-priced free agency. Some people opted to not hear that – for whatever reason.
Dakota from Dupree, SD:
I get not resigning players whose contracts were up because they wanted too much money. I don't understanding cutting starters that were still under contract? Why not let them compete for their starting jobs with new acquisitions?
John: The decision-makers did not want those players on the roster.
Fred from Waycross, GA:
I hear arguments on both sides and both sound convincing, so I'll just ask: What do the new coaches in Jacksonville think of Gabbert? (or your opinion of what they think) They must see an upside or they wouldn't have made the comments about his age, if he was in this draft class, etc... Correct? Is he a good fit in the team's new plans?
John: They're thinking they want to give him a chance. That essentially will begin next month, when the team holds its veteran orientation.
Etheric from Orlando, FL:
No matter how boring a show is, there's always someone who likes it. No matter how much a team stinks....
John: No matter how boring and offpoint an email is...
John from Section 213:
Bear with us, John. It's just that it has been a long time since we were in the playoffs and we just scrapped one rebuild plan for another. When we win, everything will be peaches and cream. Then we will just complain that the new stadium video board should have been bigger.
John: I get the frustration. Believe me, you think this is fun from this seat? Watching losing and explaining it to fans? The quicker this thing turns the better. But wishing for something doesn't make it so, and wishing that free agency could lead to a huge turnaround sure doesn't make it so. The draft may take time, but it's the only prudent path.
Brent from Jacksonville:
It's all your fault...all of it.
John: I know.
Keith from Palatka, FL:
You and Joe from Jacksonville seem to not understand that there are "elite" tackles – also called tier-one tackles that are either the best or near the best at their position, which is right tackle. Winston, Long, Smith, and Vollmer all fit that bill. The same applies to cornerback. Yes, there were elite cornerbacks in free agency also that are near the top in terms of talent. Are you two really that stupid or are you being deliberately obtuse?
John: I can't speak for Joe, but I'm being deliberately stupid. It gets bigger laughs. As for elite players in free agency, well, at the risk if being obtuse, we'll just agree to disagree.
Joe from Jacksonville:
I am really glad you guys did the Top 10 plays of 2012. Blaine had a lot more good moments than people seem to remember. I am not saying he is the answer, but I am hoping with some new leadership he can take the next step and be the guy this year! Go Jags!
John: Thanks. I was proud of the work I did with that series.
Jared from Banning, CA:
The Dolphins are cleaning up in free agency. Is the NFL becoming like the NBA where all the big-name players want to go to big markets?
John: No. NFL players in free agency flock to teams willing to overspend.
David from Jacksonville:
It seems like Caldwell thinks the drafted and undrafted rookies will have the same production as the veterans for less money. If this is correct, then do you see another long season from secondary?
John: I think he expects better production. If he didn't, he wouldn't be making the moves.
John from Kingsland, GA and Section 217:
Very interesting discussion recently on the radio about the Lwein Career Forecast, specifically as it applies to this year's crop of QB's, and then Blaine Gabbert. Any thoughts on this particular sabremetric?
John: I like it like any sabremetric – as a tool. That's how Tony Khan – who's spearheading the Jaguars' efforts in this area – sees it, and that's how David Caldwell sees it, too. Data can be very, very helpful to make you look at quarterbacks or any position in a certain – and perhaps – different light than might previously have been the case. Then, you put that information in with all the other research and make a decision.
Fred from Naples, FL:
If Xavier Rhodes is available with the 33rd pick we have to go get him, right?
John: You would have to seriously consider it, but I don't think that will be an issue. Rhodes' stock improved enough at the combine that it would be surprising if he was available outside the Top 25.
Al from Orange Park, FL:
"Are you saying there are that many stupid people in the NFL." When the lockout was looming, I had a conversation with a gentleman who has actually interacted with many of the NFL Owners. I don't remember the exact topic, but I made the statement that "they can't be that stupid." His response was, "none of them are stupid, but some of their egos are that big."
John: And in many, many cases big egos can lead to some very foolish decisions.
Steve from Jacksonville:
I agree with your point about big-money free agent not making a difference, but I think you could sorta point to the Manning deal in Denver. Not to open the Tebow can-o-worms but the Bronco ARE improved... I don't care what the record was.
John: Yes, they were. And obviously if there was a quarterback such as Manning available that changes the conversation. Free agency usually is a risky way to build because quarterbacks such as Manning are not available.
Amata from Marshall Island:
O-man, when does the O-Zone (Jags fans) mock draft get started? Also, I got assumption that HC Gus has final say on selecting defensive players while GM DC is more on the offensive side. Could you clarify on that or am I way of base?
John: Regarding the mock draft: soon, relatively soon. Regarding selecting players, Dave Caldwell is the general manager, so he has final say, but good organizations have a situation where a general manager and coach communicate and decide on what's best. There has been nothing to indicate that won't be the case for Caldwell and Bradley.
Josiah from Fargo, ND:
What is the secret to self-motivation, John? I seem to be lacking some right now. Maybe it is just the dead offseason time. I don't know.
John: I don't know, either. Maybe I'll look it up sometime or maybe I won't.

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