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Splashing around

Let's get to it . . . Norm from Dothan, AL:
Is an extra two weeks enough? Several teams have new coaches and the Jags have a new owner. A new coaching staff, new direction, new playbook, new scheme and new players. Considering offense, the only way to achieve consistency is practice. The opportunity to learn the receivers' traits and get on the same page. Same applies with the line and the defense. I find it difficult to believe the extra two weeks is enough.
John: If you talk to any coach or general manager, they will you no, two weeks is not enough. They will also tell you two months is not enough. They also will tell you two years is not enough. Leave it up to coaches and general managers and some would have their teams practicing year-round. The extra two weeks is to give the teams with new head coaches a chance to get the players familiar with the system enough to function during the OTAs and the off-season. No amount of off-season time will allow the team to know the schemes and philosophies as much as they will next year, but that's true of any team and any situation.
Charlie from Jacksonville:
In regards to Jason from Hagerstown question: having an offense that can stay on the field longer than four plays will also help.
John: Well, yes. There is that.
Radley from Orange Park, FL:
As a full-fledged 'homer' myself, I understand loyalties and the ultimate depth at which they can run. I still can't help but being disenchanted by Drew Brees' claim that the NFL has unfairly held Sean Payton accountable for his inaction in this bounty system, though. Then again, I suppose this is the same dude who was "livid" over an eight-figure deal for 365 days of work, too. The Saints went from a feel-good story to one of obnoxious, audacity-soaked belligerence. Makes me cringe to think I 'somewhat' cheered for those brats when Peyton Manning threw that pick in the Super Bowl. Ugh. Am I alone or too harsh here, O? Best wishes, Pot Roast.
John: The Saints' popularity certainly has taken a hit, and in the last month, a league-wide feeling among some that there was an arrogance about the franchise without question has caught on with the public. In terms of Brees, specifically, I don't have much of an opinion either way, but I don't get too worked up over an NFL player making a statement defending his coach. I don't expect them to do much else.
Ian from Charlottesville, VA:
I heard Peyton was calling all the people who reported on him in Indy. Did he drop the O-man a line?
John: I have been asked this question more than I expected, so I'll answer it. It's in reference to a story by Phil Wilson of the Indianapolis Star that got picked up recently by USA Today. Wilson wrote of how Manning telephoned him after leaving the Colts for the Broncos to say good-bye. I imagine Manning called several people in the Indianapolis media with the same message. It's unsurprising, because Manning is nothing if not professional and thorough in every aspect of his approach. That includes his relationship with the media. Manning has not called me in recent days, and I wouldn't expect him to because I cover the Jaguars and no longer cover the Colts. That said, when I took the Jaguars position last February, I received a call on my cell phone. I was covering an event and let it go to voice mail. When I got the message later, it was Manning calling to say good-bye and essentially to acknowledge that we had worked around each other on a pretty regular basis for the better part of a decade. I wasn't overly close to Manning and I wasn't not close to him, either. I covered him for 10 years, and therefore wrote about him and spoke to him often. It was a professional relationship and because of the time I was there, I spoke to him often about some of the highlights and lowlights of his career. I doubt any of that had as much to do with the call as the fact that it was just the courteous, professional "right" thing to do. It was appreciated, and as Wilson said, it's not a common thing for an NFL player to do.
Jodi from Nashville, TN:
If we trade out of the seven spot and get a 2013 1st round pick in the deal and then that team goes on to finish last in the NFL's 2012 season, does that mean we get the number 1 pick next year?
John: Yes.
Jacob from Orlando, FL:
I was listening to Mel Kiper talk the other day and he said that Jacksonville was about ready to kick Blaine Gabbert to the curb. I don't understand how analysts can say things so far from the truth.
John: They say things like that because it's difficult for analysts to speak intelligently and in-depth about all 32 teams. People who follow the Jaguars closely know how the team feels about Gabbert. People who don't, look at statistics and listen to other national analysts and they assume that the team is ready to "kick him to the curb." Listen to the national guys for entertainment. Listen to those covering the team closely for what's really going on. There are exceptions, but that's a good rule.
Michael from Atlantic Beach, FL:
What profits do the Jaguars management speculate will come of the investment in Chad Henne? I believe he was Shad Khan's first move in free agency, and I'm interested to learn why there is not much focus or light shed on his current involvement with the franchise? Henne actually was the second free-agent signee from another team this off-season. Laurent Robinson was the first.
John: I'm not sure how there hasn't been much focus or light shed on his involvement. He's in the off-season conditioning program and will compete with Blaine Gabbert for the starting position with the idea that if he doesn't get it, he will serve as the backup. As to what will come from the investment, the Jaguars will have a starting quarterback if he should win the job, and a veteran backup if he does not.
Kenny from Jacksonville:
I've heard 1,000 times that linebackers shouldn't get drafted high, and you've probably given a decent reason why, but I can't wrap my mind around it. Linebackers tend to be the most recognizable part of each team's defense. They impact the running and the passing game. Guys like Clay Matthews, Ray Lewis, Patrick Willis, Terrell Suggs and James Harrison have huge names and unquestionably impact every game they are in. Do you think the upper echelon of linebackers don't deserve to be selected in the top 10 if they have all-pro talent?
John: They probably "deserve" to be, but that doesn't mean teams will do it. The occasional linebacker does get selected early, but it's also a position that you can traditionally find well outside the Top 10. Teams on draft day are looking to build their rosters and get as much talent at as many selections as possible. That's why most teams focus on positions that are otherwise hard to find in the Top 15 – i.e., defensive end, left tackle, defensive tackle, quarterback and cornerback. There are elite players at other positions, but you can get quality at other positions deeper in the draft. It's very hard to find elite players at the premium positions outside the Top 10.
James from Starkville, MS:
Regarding all the Williams from St Augustine and Big Splashes: The thing about splashes is that they only look good from a distance; otherwise, you get all wet. Another analogy is fireworks: sure, they look great up in the sky but up close they tend to just blow up in your face. It's not a good policy to do something because "it just looks good."
John: I couldn't agree more, and perhaps this puts in perspective. I care little enough about the idea of making a splash that I'm very, very suspect of an email or a conversation that begins with anything close to, "The Jaguars really need to get this player because it will get the fan base . . ." Insert "fired up," "energized," "enthusiastic," or whatever other would you like at the end. It's just so not the reason to draft a player that the very idea of it turns me off. Draft a guy because he is good, and because after months of studying that player all of your experience and expertise tells you he can contribute in a meaningful way and that he will be available to do so. Anything else is just foolishness.
Jake from Winter Park, FL:
Do you see us taking Janoris Jenkins if he's still there in the second round at pick 6?
John: No.
Daniel from Johnston, IA:
You've mentioned before that you don't like taking a guard in the top 10 and I get that you want to be able to get a premium position player like a QB, DE or perhaps even CB but if the players at that position aren't sure things why wouldn't you take a guard? To me, I think having a strong line improves your entire team and especially your QB. Much like an improved pass rush makes your secondary look good having a strong powerful line can make your QB look good...
John: No question. And if it's a left tackle in the Top 10, absolutely. You build your line with the left tackle first, and then get the rest after that. You want to get good players at the other positions, but generally speaking the difference you're going to see on the field from having a Top 10 guard against a guard in the second round typically doesn't justify the selection.

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