We're not going to turn this into all Tim Tebow all the time. We'll try, anyway.
Let's get to it . . .
Craig from Valhalla, NY:
What are your thoughts on the Ross signing? I live up in Giants land, and the fans seem to have good things to say about his level of play...
John: The Jaguars reportedly acquired Giants cornerback Aaron Ross late Monday night/early Tuesday morning. The deal isn't yet official, which is why we at jaguars.com haven't reported officially on it. He started 19 games for the Giants last season including the post-season, stepping in for Terrell Thomas when the latter sustained an ACL tear in the preseason. With the Giants re-signing Thomas, Ross reportedly knew he wasn't going back to New York and had visited the Bengals and 49ers. He had career-highs with four interceptions, 60 tackles and 12 passes defensed last season. My thoughts without knowing too much more than that about Ross are that the Jaguars are acquiring Ross to fill a need at the corner spot. With Rashean Mathis entering his 10th season and coming off an ACL tear, the Jaguar re-signed him to a one-year deal shortly before free agency. Because there's a relatively good chance at his age Mathis isn't a long-term solution anymore, Ross makes sense.
Denver from Jacksonville:
After Tuesday's news, I cannot wait to read the O-Zone! My opinion is that we should not trade for Tim. I also think that there will be controversy no matter what decision is made by the front office. He's just that kind of player . . .
John: Indeed he is. Here's where we are as of Tuesday morning. All reports indicate that after acquiring Peyton Manning the Broncos almost certainly will try to trade Tim Tebow. Many, many people seem to think the Jaguars should trade for Tebow and will do so, and there are Internet reports that say the team will try to do that. So far, there is nothing of substance indicating anything either way. Team officials under NFL rules can't comment on a player under contract with another team, and Jaguars Owner Shad Khan said as much in a statement Monday. Khan said in January he would have favored the idea of drafting Tebow in 2009 because of the usual circumstances around Tebow and the Jacksonville market. He did not indicate at the time how he would feel about trading for Tebow because he wasn't asked. All of this leads to the question: "What about now?" That, I don't know and I don't know that many people outside a very select few know. Khan, remember, is very good at hiding his intentions until it's time for them to be known, so my guess is most of what we're seeing speculated about Tebow and the Jaguars is just that – speculation. As for the next few answers, I'll speculate what I can and discuss some of the topics that are being discussed, but at this point, it's all just . . . well, you know.
Jordan from Edwardsville, IL:
I do not envy your position of answering endless Tebow questions over the coming weeks. Do know there are some of us who side with the vast majority of scouts in the NFL and the Jags front office: Tebow is not an NFL QB.
John: I do know that there are many Jaguars fans who side with the majority of scouts because there are many O-Zone emails that indicate as much. There are also many that favor signing him. In the O-Zone, the emails seem to run more against acquiring Tebow than for, but as I've said often: I in no way consider the O-Zone anything close to scientific.
Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Were there more, "If they don't get Tebow, I'm getting rid of my tickets," or "if they get Tebow, I'm getting rid of my tickets" emails today?
John: A few more of the latter – and a lot of passion for each side.
Gloria from Jacksonville:
Let's get Tim Tebow!!!
John: Just as I said in the last answer that there are a lot of Jaguars fans against the idea, there seem to be a lot for. I wrote throughout the fall – and many others did, too – that I've never seen an athlete as polarizing. It was striking how in the same game he could struggle enough to make his detractors believe they were right then play well enough to make his supporters feel they were right.
Greg from Section 122, The Bank, Jacksonville:
So Manning is a Bronco. Let the Tebowmania begin. Seriously John, how does Shad Khan come out a winner in this? If you trade for him you risk alienation of all your loyal fans who see that for what it is, a transparent attempt to sell tickets. If you don't trade for him you incite an immediate controversy and backlash from the Tebow loyalists. I thought we settled this when the team did not draft him? What is your take? How does Shad not make someone angry?
John: The truth? I don't think he can.
Jay from Milton, FL:
Everyone, please wake up and trade for Tebow. You screwed up and missed him on the first try. Here is your second chance. GET HIM, and put people in the seats.
John: I got some version of this email a lot Monday – and have for some time. I am on record saying I'm not sure about Tebow as a long-term NFL quarterback, and I would remain skeptical if a move was made. The reason for the skepticism is that while he indeed won games last season I worry that his style – while capable of winning close, low-scoring games against average teams – will always falter against stronger teams with quarterbacks playing at a higher level. That's my worry in a nutshell – and has been since long before I got to Jacksonville, a town that sometimes seems like Ground Zero of the debate. The other side is obviously he is a player willing to work hard and you can't deny there is something special and unique about his ability to make clutch plays late and draw attention to a team. There were moments in Denver last season even his detractors couldn't deny. What I would be most curious about in the short term is his impact on ticket sales. The prevailing theory among many is fans would be lining up to buy season tickets. Perhaps that's true, but my inbox says there also would be some losses. He's that polarizing. I do know it would be very interesting to see the impact, and the truth is we don't know the impact. Tebow has played in two places – Denver and Florida – where season tickets aren't an issue. The assumption that ticket sales would skyrocket could be true, but it's not nearly as much of a given as many believe.
Jack from Jacksonville:
I never really considered myself much of a Tebow fan. For the most part, I've been pretty indifferent to the man. But, having lived in Jacksonville my entire life, I can't see the harm in trading for him if the asking price is just a fifth-round draft pick (as is being projected). I understand there would be a lot of hoopla surrounding the signing, as well as a portion of the fans clamoring for him to start. But I can't imagine that that excitement and passion would really hurt our team. It's been some time since we've enjoyed that energy. I say we go for it, what say you John O?
John: I mentioned in the previous answer you can't deny Tebow's work ethic and ability to draw attention to a team. There is positive in that and negative, too. Tebowmania gripped Denver this past season, and while it without question raised the team's awareness, there also with a player so polarizing is potential for locker-room division, controversy and daily distraction on a scale unmatched by pretty much any professional athlete. Would it be good for page views? Without question. Could it be as much of a negative as a positive? I would think that would be true, too.
Joe from Jefferson City, MO:
I understand people are disappointed the Jags didn't make the big splash in free agency they were "supposed" to, but shouldn't it also be pointed out what the other teams in our division are doing? The Colts released most of their offense, and will be starting a rookie quarterback next year with a rookie Head Coach. The Titans lost Jason Jones and Cortland Finnegan. Not to mention their situation at quarterback, which looks like Hasselbeck or Locker. The Texans lost Winston and Mario Williams (when healthy, he is a player that had to be accounted for at all times). Meanwhile, the Jaguars have re-signed their own, signed a receiver to help out Gabbert, and improved so far. I have this feeling the team is going to peak at the right time, maybe this year.
John: I agree that one aspect overlooked in free agency by too many observers was that the Jaguars did a good job keeping their own players. I got an email from one reader Tuesday noting that last off-season while many Giants fans called for major changes the team stayed steady while the Eagles played free agency in a big way to the delight of their fans. The Giants won the Super Bowl and the Eagles missed the playoffs. Teams often improve from within by staying steady and maturing together. It's not sexy and is never popular in March, but that doesn't mean it's not a smart way to go.
Anthony from Madison, WI:
You answered Justin's question about Trent Richardson and answered partially, "but I don't know that that's a direction toward which you want to continue to build." Perhaps I misunderstood what you meant, but I disagree. While we can all agree the passing game is becoming the dominant need on any team, it seems to me that last year's playoffs are a perfect example why balance is at least important on a team.
John: I don't know that you misunderstood, but I don't think I was totally clear, either. Clearly, Richardson is a very good player and has shown signs of being special. That's why you take him in the Top 10, because good players make you better regardless of position. Here's the argument against – that the way the game is being played now there's a limited value even the best running back brings. Jones-Drew was one of the best two or three backs in the NFL last season and the Jaguars went 5-11. You can't say that about the two or three best quarterbacks in the NFL. Your point is you need balance and that's true, but you can have a balanced running game without an elite running back. In fact, you can have a dominant running game without an elite running back because so much of what they do is contingent on how the offensive line plays. By comparison, it's much harder to have an elite passing game without an elite quarterback. Richardson has a chance to be very, very good, but I just don't know that he'll add significantly more than a second- or third-round running back.
Fred from Naples, FL:
Do you believe the Jags are one of the teams that are having discussions with Plaxico Burress or shouldn't I worry about that?
John: Well, I know I'm not worried.
Rob from Green Cove Springs, FL:
Even after resigning Jeremy Mincey, there is a widespread belief by local media and fans that DE is still one of the biggest positions of need on Jags roster. To me, this indicates that there's not much belief outside of Everbank that Aaron Kampman will be able to come back from his most recent injury and give us anything next year. What about inside the building? Do you think they have any hope at all that he can contribute?
John: Do they hope he can contribute? Absolutely. Can he? That's the question. Kampman missed half of 2010 and 11 games in 2011 with knee and hamstring issues. He remains on the roster, and it's likely that will be the case through at least training camp. There, I suspect he will get the opportunity to show he can be the player he was in Green Bay and that the team still hopes he can be. If he does not show that there's a good chance he can be healthy through much of next season, I don't know that the team will retain him after training camp.