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O-Zone: No cred at all

Posted Apr 6, 2013

JACKSONVILLE – Not surprisingly, it was an Aaron Ross-oriented in-box this morning.

Ross, speaking on NFL Network’s “NFL AM” Friday morning, called his one-year stint in Jacksonville last season a “paid vacation,” a statement that unsurprisingly drew the ire of Jaguars fans.

That ire spilled into the in-box, and kept spilling much of the day.

Ross, who re-signed with his former team – the New York Giants – shortly after his release from the Jaguars last month, later on Friday apologized to Jaguars fans in an interview with ESPN New York. Ross said what he meant was that he was in Jacksonville for such a short time that it felt like a vacation.

Ross’ explanation is believable, and was probably more careless and thoughtless than malicious. He never played well for the Jaguars last season and will probably be remembered as another of many bad free-agency signings in franchise history, but he wasn’t a bad guy. He also never seemed to particularly like or dislike being here; probably, he was here so short a time in so difficult a circumstance that it’s hard to judge.

Either way he’s gone now, to be remembered for a disappointing season – and, as it turned out, perhaps an even more disappointing choice of words after he left.

Let’s get to it . . .

Ron from Jacksonville:
Is there any chance that the Jags will trade down for more picks?
John: Honestly, I’m 50-50 on whether this question was legitimate or whether you’re poking fun that I have answered this again and again. Let’s assume it was legit, and although it has been addressed, there’s no harm in doing so again. Yes, there’s a chance the Jaguars will trade down, and yes, that probably would be something David Caldwell would love to do in his first draft as the Jaguars ‘general manager. The question is whether or not there will be a team willing to part with draft picks to move up. That question may not be answered until the night of April 25. Now, as for whether I’ll get the question again . . .
Tom from Ponte Vedra Beach and Section 106:
David Caldwell must be crazy - crazy like a fox! All the talk about not being very active in free agency and boom, boom, boom... and I get the feeling he's not done yet. It seems to me he's been MORE active in free agency than before. Sure, they're not the high-profile, high-dollar guys, but he's working his plan like a surgeon.
John: David Caldwell is sticking to the plan he laid out before free agency. He’s going young. He’s going affordable. He’s going short-term. He was up front before free agency that the Jaguars wouldn’t be active, and what he meant was not active in that first-tier, high-priced, cap-crippling part of free agency. Once that period had passed, he has set about bringing in veterans who have a chance to prove they are worthy of being part of this process. It’s not a headline-grabbing approach, but at this stage of the building process, it’s the only rational approach.
Kenny from San Diego, CA:
Aaron Ross just said that his season in Jacksonville was like a "paid vacation." What lesson do I take out of this? Never trust people who wear glasses without lenses.
John: There's this . . .
Kevin from Orlando, FL:
Aaron Ross's comments are quite similar to comments made by Jerry Porter and Hugh Douglas. Big-name free agency is a crap shoot because you don't know how hard the guys will play after getting paid.
John: . . . and this . . .
Andy from St. Johns, FL:
Aaron Ross. Of all the people to run their mouths about last year . . . As a fan, you support and cheer for someone you think is a standup, classy person who represents the team and the community. Then, you get that response. There are no excuses for that, Aaron. I want to say I want to feel sorry for his ignorance, but I am not. His true colors have been shown.
John: . . . and finally, there’s that.
David from Durban, South Africa:
I see that even the great Mel Kiper came around to your way of thinking, namely that the Jags will select Ziggy Ansah with the second overall choice. It must be your gangsta hat....
John: First, while I mocked Ansah to the Jaguars at No. 2, I never said I thought they would do that. The mock draft version 1.0 is done well in advance of the draft, and you have to mock someone to the Jaguars. At the time, Ansah was as good a choice as any. If I had to mock again now . . . well, wait a few days and we’ll see. As for the powers of my hat? Well, Mel’s hair has nothing on the fedora.
Nick from London, England:
A paid vacation? Yeah, you took a vacation to the Olympics, came back and played like you had your shoes on the wrong feet for most of the year. Then, you leave and give the trash talk? Thanks for nothing, Aaron.
John: (Oh, yes, and that.)
Carson from Jacksonville:
Can you PLEASE settle a debate? There are those who think that Brandon Marshall is, and I quote, at best a second-rate wide receiver despite the fact that he has broken 1,000 yards receiving 6/7 of his NFL seasons. What say you? Do you think Brandon Marshall is, in fact, elite? Do you think he is a quality number 1 wide receiver? Thank you for your valuable time.
John: This likely won’t settle the debate, but I’d say he’s an elite receiver. Now, do his off-field issues make him a scary entity to have on your team? Yes, very. Are there a few receivers I’d rather have? Absolutely. But is he a quality player that can dominate a game? If that’s your definition of a No. 1 receiver, then he fits it.
Buddy from Jacksonville:
I still feel Culpepper and McNabb had (five) good years left in the gas tank with the right O-Line. Why don't the Jaguars pull both of them in for one-year contracts? In algebraic terms: D1xD2=D2 PS=SB if {PS=Post Season} and {SB=SuperBowl)if Intensity = Energy x Velocity/E=MC2 Hey, not bad for a Jazz Musician!
John: Yes!!!
Jeff from Section 1142:
When do we get to see the new uniforms?
John: Soon, Jeff. Soon.
Randy from Jacksonville:
Locker room last year, training room this year, new, new sound system, new video monitors in the future??? I bet you still get emails about Shad being cheap (FA) and moving the team to London. I feel sorry for you, I really do.
John: I feel sorry for me, too, but it has nothing to do with Khan’s investment in the team.
Steven from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Signing free agents to a one-or-two year deal has a risky flip side, doesn't it? Yes, it gives the team a chance to decide whether they want to invest further in these players, but can't the successful players decide to "take their talents" elsewhere at the end of short term contracts?
John: They indeed can, but in this case, it’s worth the risk. If the Jaguars get two solid years out of every free agent signed it would be a wildly successful foray into the middle of the market. If even one of those players is deemed worthy of “core” money when their contract expires, David Caldwell would be a happy man.
Cole from Jacksonville:
I know it's too early to prognosticate and I am excited about the Jags' chances this year. However, if we have a disappointing season, I would bet it would be lack of QB success. So how bout Teddy Bridgewater? Thoughts on this Gator beater?
John: Bridgewater looked very good last year, particularly in the bowl game. At first glance, I like him as much or more than Johnny Football. At the same time, you’re not hearing “Andrew Luck buzz,” and remember that through four or five games last season Geno Smith was being talked about as a franchise-changer. He still may be that, but the point is there’s a looooooooooog way to go before next year’s draft.
Nick from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
I had a question, but then I forgot. Poz is still the man, though.
John: He still frightens me.
Ken from Jacksonville:
Why is it that the Jags are bringing in free agents and nothing ever happens? No follow-up story, the recent cornerback from Dallas came in and left and nothing mentioned. Why even bother to bring it up in the first place?
John: It was “brought up” because Mike Jenkins was visiting. Jenkins visited, the Jaguars made an offer and he hasn’t signed yet. This was written here in the O-Zone, but since nothing happened yet there hasn’t been a headline news story.
Austin from Marathon, Iowa:
I just saw the Vikings are releasing sneak peeks of their new jerseys. Could you use your street cred to convince the Jags to do the same thing?
John: My lack of “cred” is actually pretty incredible.

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