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Rosy-eyed optimist

Let's get to it . . . Drew from Jacksonville:
What do you think of Melvin Ingram out of South Carolina? It's just practice, but he looks a lot better than Quinton Coples.
John: Overall, the word among NFL scouts and coaches is the pass rushing/defensive end group at the Senior Bowl wasn't as strong as, say, the defensive tackle group. That said, Ingram was a guy who impressed a lot of people during Senior Bowl week and he certainly worked his way into being viewed by some as a first-round possibility.
Brandon from Salt Lake City, UT:
Oehser, the Polians, and now Manning. Did your departure usher in the rebuilding of the Colts franchise as we know it?
John: You know the saying, "You're only as good as the weakest link?" I pride myself in being one hell of a weak link.
Scott from Jacksonville:
When a scout or Gene or Terry watches a Senior Bowl practice, how are they able to watch all of the players? I understand and agree with wanting to get a feel for them, but how is it possible to watch more than one guy live at the same time?
John: They watch position drills and the way it's set up, the scouts who are on the field can get a good first-hand look at a lot of players at least once at some point during the week. The practices are also taped. It was interesting this week to hear General Manager Gene Smith talk about scouting at the Senior Bowl. He believes it's important to get close to the drills and see the work and how the players listen. Smith sees that as something that can't be gained from watching tape.
Jason from Orange Park, FL:
I heard Tebow was singing on stage with Brad Paisley in Denver, and the Broncos fans were cheering for him. Would Jaguars fans be booing him since he wasn't at the facility working on his game?
John: It's very, very likely.
Brandon from Apopka, FL:
I know it may sound crazy, but it's been mentioned that veteran quarterback may be brought in to compete with Gabbert, so do you think there's any chance we take another look at Garrard? I know he was cut to due to play under the expected level, but do you think maybe our stagnant offense had something to do with it? I think he could at least be a better backup than McCown.
John: I don't see it happening. The Jaguars moved on from Garrard just before last season, and once you move on from a quarterback, it's difficult to go back.
Glenn from Jacksonville Beach, FL and Section 146 row G:
John, has anyone in the AFC South ever had a running back win the rushing title? If so, how did they do that year?
John: Certainly, Maurice Jones-Drew won the ru—oh. Good one, Glen. Good one.
Mark from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Has a highly regarded kicker ever missed a field goal on the final game of the season to allow the Jaguars to get into the playoffs? That would be exciting.
John: And the beat goes on.
Kevin from Section 214:
High character. Loves the deep ball. Excellent speed. Justin Blackmon looks pretty good O-man. I know I'm blinded by WR Fever so tell me, if you were to snag a DE in the first round, who would be at the top of your list.
John: From my conversations with NFL people at the Senior Bowl this week, I'm not sure there's a pass-rushing defensive end that merits the No. 7 selection. It's also up for debate whether or not Blackmon will merit going that high, although early indications are he may go higher. My guess is it's more possible that the Jaguars sign a wide receiver or two for immediate impact and draft best available player in the first round. If they stay at No. 7, there's a good chance BAP won't be a wide receiver.
Daniel from Johnston, IA:
Based on your reply to Corey regarding a consistent winning coach, why isn't Marty Schottenheimer getting more consideration for these open jobs? To me he'd be one of the first numbers I'd call.
John: He would be one of my first calls, too. I'm on record that I believe Schottenheimer's track record merits him being a head coach. He consistently got a lot out of a lot of different teams, and he often was blamed for not making it to the Super Bowl when in reality he wasn't coaching teams that necessarily were the best team in their conference. Sometimes teams don't win Super Bowls because they're not good enough, and I always thought that was more the case with Schottenheimer than him doing something wrong to lose in the playoffs. Still, rightly or wrongly, it's sometimes tough for teams to give a coach – even one as successful as Schottenheimer – a chance. In Schottenhiemer's case, he has coached four teams already and no matter his success that can be a tough sell to fans.
Paula from Section 122:
This is not a question but an observation. I'm not sure how anybody else feels, but I feel VERY fortunate that the Jaguars aggressively went after a head coach early and got a really good one. I cringe when I see how much trouble all these other teams are having securing one for their own teams. GO JAGS!
John: You mention something that was evident at the Senior Bowl this week. At each practice, there was talk among scouts and coaches about who was getting what job, and as usual, it was an event with a "musical-chairs" feel. Several people with whom I spoke talked highly of the Jaguars' coaching staff, and there was definitely a feeling of the group being a solid one and very much on the same page moving forward.
Paul from Arlington, VA:
I've seen multiple references to the Torry Holt signing from readers when discussing bad deals the Jaguars gave to aging WRs. If any Jaguars fan thinks that Torry Holt is an example of a bad WR signing, then they simply didn't have the proper perspective of what that signing was. Holt earned $3.45 million for one season in which he came in, provided stability, played 15 games, and gained 722 yards. It wasn't a stellar season, but that's not what the Jaguars were expecting and it's not what he was paid for.
John: You're right and I've probably been remiss in not pointing that out already. Holt indeed was not an example of free agency gone bad – and the Jaguars don't think of him that way. You can get value out of a veteran in just the way you discussed, and I think to some degree the Jaguars may pursue a veteran wide receiver in that vein for the same reason – not to be a No. 1 wide receiver, but to provide short-term production and some leadership for what could be a relatively young, inexperienced unit.
Carlos from Barcelona, Spain:
"Receivers are hard to find?" Surely your predecessor would cringe at this notion. He always said they were a dime a dozen.
John: Average receivers are easy to find. Like any position, finding a difference-maker capable of changing a game and consistently, significantly improving an offense is very difficult.
Jordan from Vienna, VA:
Along with Matthew Stafford (whom has been mentioned before on here), Eli Manning is another Quarterback who had a similarly dismal rookie season. Compared to Gabbert's it did not look much better, and look where Eli is now! I think a lot of people are being too harsh on him, why exactly is that? How tough were they on Eli?
John: Fans were tough on Manning, as they are on any quarterback – rookie or otherwise – who struggles on a losing team. Fans are harsh on Gabbert because he struggled at times, and the passing offense was ranked 32nd. I'm a believer that Gabbert has a chance to develop into a very good NFL quarterback, but it's not wrong of fans to criticize him, nor is it difficult to understand.
Romeo from Jacksonville/San Diego, CA:
The Jags need a Rob Gronkowski Aaron Hernandez outlet. Will Marcedes Lewis be that type and are there any TE's on our roster that fit that?
John: I don't know that Lewis is going to be a receiving threat on the level of Gronkowski or Hernandez, but I absolutely believe that Lewis's combination of run-blocking and receiving potential will benefit the offense. Zach Miller could be in that vein, but he must stay healthy.
Keith from Deleon Springs, FL:
Just to clarify the Tebow to the Jags story on ESPN. They teased it for a half hour and then the anchor asked Todd McShay about the possibility. Before he answered he clearly stated with a smirk "it's nice to see that we are now making up news stories to keep Tim Tebows name in the news."
John: I like Todd McShay now more than I did before.
Tom from Katy, TX:
O, have you run into a slick journalist from Green Bay at the Senior Bowl? If so, how's he doin?
John: I have indeed run into the predecessor. I am happy to report that he still has his rosy, optimistic outlook on life.

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