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O-Zone: Wrong 'Em Boyo

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Keith from Palatka, FL:
With each day that we don't hear about Justin Blackmon the news does not seem good. Does anybody know the status of Blackmon? Is he going to apply for reinstatement before the draft? If he is not reinstated before the draft, this will change our draft strategy regardless of what Caldwell says. Blake has to have a number one wide receiver. We have a slot-Marqise Lee.
John: Blackmon's status indeed is not known, but in this case, that's neither good nor bad. You know what it is? It's unknown. And while your passion is admirable and heartfelt, the reality is Blackmon's status does not change the Jaguars' strategy – in the draft or otherwise. Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell has been consistent and open that the team isn't making personnel decisions based on Blackmon, and nothing has happened in nearly two years to indicate Caldwell's being anything less than honest when he says that. Do the Jaguars have a No. 1 receiver right now? No, likely not. But they drafted two players – Allen Robinson and Lee – who have the potential to be that. And while Lee has some slot skills, the Jaguars project him to play outside, and for the most part, that's what you can probably foresee him doing.
Dave from Orlando, FL:
O-Man, one of our best free agent values was signing Ryan Davis for $585,000. Comparatively speaking, that is not a lot of money for someone who does a great job harassing the quarterback and whose arrow is still pointing up.
John: Davis was an exclusive rights free agent, which is significantly different from a restricted or unrestricted free agent. Essentially, an ERFA must re-sign with his current team if the team extends him an offer. The player's option is to not play in the NFL. From the team's point of view, it's a low-risk, inexpensive signing, with the alternative being releasing the player. All of that said, yes, Davis is a good value and was a good re-signing.
Antwon from Largo, FL:
I know running back is a concern, but what's your take on Storm Johnson, who we drafted?
John: My take on Storm Johnson is he is a talented player with real potential. To reach that potential, he needs to improve in preparation, maturity and all of the things that go into being a professional football player. The same can be said of the vast, vast – did I say, "Vast?" – majority of NFL players.
Matt from New Smyrna Beach, FL:
Why not play three games in London? One home game and two away games? It would need to be three weeks in a row there, but it could help in the quest to become the world's team! I love the idea of the Jaguars representing Jacksonville and the world!!!
John: It wouldn't surprise me at all if the Jaguars played an away game and home game in London back to back at some point. Your thought – the three-game thought – could happen sometime down the road, but I wouldn't look for it any time soon.
William from Section 231:
O, the Dead Zone rapidly approaches. How will you prepare?
John: What do you mean, "prepare?"
Davie from Oviedo, FL:
O-man, playing Devil's Advocate, which would you rather have for $10 million a year, Devon House and Dan Skuta or DeMarco Murray? My guess is 99.9 percent take DeMarco Murray. It's incredible that the .01 percent is in our front office. All I'm saying is sometimes you can focus too much on the dollar menu and pass up the smarter choice.
John: Signing or not signing DeMarco Murray had nothing to do with Dan Skuta and Devon House. It had everything to do with believing that there was a certain price at which it became unwise to pursue a player. I've said this before and I'll say it again: the angst/concern over the pursuit of Murray was significantly higher outside EverBank Field than within. Would they have liked to have had him? Yes, at a certain price. But there was no door-slamming or head-in-the-hands-tears when it didn't happen.
Hunter from Jacksonville:
I think it would be a sound decision to never draft another player named "Matt" or "Jones" in an effort to avoid doing THAT again. I would be OK with missing out any potential players to avoid that again.
John: Shad Khan … hire this man!!!!
Adam from Jacksonville:
Do you think only one out of the three return specialist (Bryan Walters, Ace Sanders and Tandon Doss) will remain on the team after final cuts?
John: It's probably best to think of those three as receivers/punt return specialists because it's doubtful any of the three return kickoffs, but yeah – I think only one will remain on the final roster.
Kyle from Ohio:
With the free-agency period mostly over, it is time to start shifting focus to the draft. I like to try to be as educated on the different players as I possibly can. Obviously, as a fan, we don't get to talk to scouts and coaches and all of that kind of fun stuff. Do you know of any websites that are historically accurate in predicting the NFL Draft, such as if they say player 'A' is better than player 'B,' you might as well consider it highly probable that that is the case? I know does good work, but are there any other high-quality draft sites? There are so many and I'm not sure which ones are just idiots spouting nonsense and which ones are worth looking into.
John: indeed does a good job, with Daniel Jeremiah and Mike Mayock both reliable, sensible sources of information. I'm also a fan of, where Rob Rang and Dane Brugler are also measured, reliable voices. Note that I didn't say much about historical accuracy or sites knowing if player 'A' is better than player 'B.' Predicting the draft and drafting players is a percentage game, and teams and draft analysts alike miss quite often.
Stu from Jacksonville:
Do you think Caldwell will pursue Greg Hardy if he is cleared by the NFL?
John: I doubt it.
Jared from Pensacola, FL:
People keep wondering why Dave would wait so late in the rebuilding process to find our running back. Let's remember the running-back position has the less life expectancy. Running back needs to be found last in the rebuilding process.
John: Yep.
Duval Doom from Section 217:
Serious question? Realizing they were maybe a bit into your "responsible adult" years and definitely cruder than anything I've seen you admit to watching, can you give us your take on Kevin Smith films? What's your favorite Jay and Silent Bob flick? I'm a Mallrats guy, but I like them all. Except Chasing Amy. No one LIKES Chasing Amy, you just tolerate it.
John: Clerks.
Ralph from Jacksonville:
Perhaps I am looking in the wrong places (where I usually hang out) but I have only seen Amari Cooper's name as one who will be visiting Jacksonville pre-draft. Have others been arranged? Who?
John: Others almost certainly have been arranged, and there may be a more extensive list somewhere, but Cooper's the only one I've seen out there. That's because he mentioned it at his Pro Day. But don't get too, too caught up in the names you do see. Teams can bring in 30 players for pre-draft visits and they also interview players at the combine, at the Senior Bowl and at players' Pro Days. It's rare for a team to select a player that they haven't interviewed in some capacity, but teams interview enough potential draftees that it's pretty useless to use any such list as a guide to draft-day strategy.
Rob from Jacksonville:
I think this would be a great idea: Having one of the two (non-games of divisions) be a new rivalry game. Like the Jets/Giants NY bowl, Jags/Panthers 95 bowl, Texans/Cowboys Texas bowl, and Rams/Chiefs, Eagles/Steelers. I believe having these teams and others play each other once a year would build new rivalries, and tribute history (not to mention up ratings). Your thoughts, O?
John: My thoughts are it's not a bad idea and it's actually kind of cool. You could also set up in-state games such as the Jaguars-Buccaneers, Jaguars-Dolphins, etc. I don't see it happening any time soon and I've never heard much chatter about it, but cool? Yeah, it'd be cool.
Anila from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Why is pass rush such a big need for the Jaguars? Didn't they rank in the top half of the league in sacks?
John: They sure did. They also would like to get better at it and have that be a strength of the team for a long, long time. To do that, it sure would help to have a young pass rusher with potential to be elite. For all that the Jaguars have along the defensive front, they don't have that.
Sid from Jacksonville:
Actually, it is impossible for a team to go 20-0.
John: You're right. I was wrong. It happens. Many of you likely will be shocked to learn this. To my wife, I assure you, it will come as no surprise.

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