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O-Zone: Decisions must be made

Posted Feb 11, 2013

Let’s get to it...

John from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Is it me or is “logomania” starting to rub the wrong way? Let’s stick to the tasks at hand: Building a team through the draft and free-agency questions. Don`t mean to sound frumpy, but it is getting old hearing all these fans complaining about the logo. I love it! I think it is re-energizer of the whole team spirit!
John: Yeah, the initial frenzy of logomania has about run its course for now – at least in the Ozone. The interest is understandable, and the passion is impressive, but we’ve overthought it, overanalyzed it and over-discussed it. Many love the new logo and some do not. Many will come to like it more and more. Some won’t. Some won’t care. Now, it’s a new week, so it’s time for a new focus. We’ll touch on the logo now and again, to be sure, but not anymore for a while – at least today.
Troy from Orange Park, FL:
Are there any free-agent rumors yet about who the Jags might try to get?
John: It looks like we better start addressing this now. There’s a huge difference between being stingy in free agency and being smart. I expect the Jaguars to be smart this offseason, and there are probably going to be people who believe that’s stingy because the Jaguars aren’t spending big in the first wave of free agency. New General Manager David Caldwell has said it and so has Shad Khan. This team is going to build through the draft. That probably means not diving into the early free-agency frenzy because that’s where you overspend and rarely get return. Get prepared for it. That’s how it’s going to be.
Kristi from St. Augustine Beach, FL:
I noticed on the final coaches list that nobody was named assistant head coach as Mel Tucker was last offseason. Does that come later or is it that Gus does not want an assistant head coach?
John: The assistant head coach title often is a lure to draw a coach from another staff, or to entice a coach to stay – as was the case with Greg Olson and Mel Tucker on the 2012 staff, respectively. Bradley’s staff is largely a group with less NFL experience except for the coordinators, wide receivers coach Jerry Sullivan and linebackers coach Mark Duffner. The latter two were already on staff, so there was no enticing needed. As time goes on, and there are coaches who Bradley wants to retain, there may be titles added.
Jim from Meridian, ID:
I travel a lot, and sometimes don't see your column for a week or so, so if you answered this, sorry. Do you see the Jaguars looking for a running back in the first three rounds?
John: First, Jim, while Idaho is indeed a technology forerunner, we in other parts of the world do have that wireless internet thing. Second, I think the Jaguars will look for a running back in the draft that would play a key role as a backup to Maurice Jones-Drew. I can’t say for sure what round that would be, though it wouldn’t be shocking to see it in Round 3 or 4.
Buddy from Jacksonville:
All these changes should have taken place last year. Another wasted season, but better late than never. Have they thought about pulling in Alex Smith to compete for the starting job?
John: Awesome.
KC from Bay Area, CA:
I am far more concerned about the concussions sustained by Cecil Shorts than Laurent Robinson. Shorts was just coming on as a big-play threat when he got knocked cold twice in a four-game span. It would be a shame to see a promising career cut short, especially on a team that has struggled to find good wide receivers since Jimmy Smith retired. Do you have any update on his status, and most importantly, has anyone asked for his opinion about the new logo?
John: Shorts has said he has been cleared to play, and yes, the concussions are a concern. Is it a major concern? That’s to be determined. Players have played after sustaining concussions in recent years and been fine and others have been unable to continue. Right now, there’s no reason to think that Shorts’ ability to play and contribute is in jeopardy. I expect him to participate in the offseason and be the starter when next season opens, but as is the case with Robinson, there is uncertainty and concern. The extent of that concern – well, that’s unclear. That’s the nature of the concussion issue right now.
Jim from St. Augustine, FL:
Caldwell makes a valid point about how if Gabbert had come out this year, he would be the No. 1 quarterback taken in the draft. Gabbert was bad his first year and got his butt kicked. Did he improve in Year Two? Absolutely. Do I expect him to improve more this year? Absolutely. The big question is how much.
John: That is the question. Caldwell is taking the only approach that really makes sense. He has a Top 10-drafted quarterback on the roster, and that quarterback has dealt with pretty much constant change and uncertainty. The quarterback has two years remaining on his contract. It makes sense to give him a chance and not rule out the possibility of him fulfilling his potential. I don’t get the idea Caldwell is thinking he’s going to rise and fall exclusively with Gabbert, but to have Gabbert as part of the equation and a possibility makes total sense.
Michael from Port Orange, FL and Section 122, Row AA:
Is the roster on this page up to date? Who have we released – if anybody – so far?
John: The roster on the site is up to date, but there likely will be many changes in the coming weeks. The Jaguars are currently in the process of evaluating the roster, and there is no official need to make moves or announce decisions yet. Many of the free agents – particularly players signed during the season to one-year deals – won’t return, and there may be some players under contract released. Much of this will occur in the next month before the start of the 2013 league year. That’s the same date as the start of the 2013 free agency period, March 12.
Keith from Lakewood, PA:
What is the thought on Clint Session? Is he going to play again? He changes the game when he is in there.
John: The Jaguars released Clint Session late last season, and considering he didn’t play last season after his concussion issues the previous season, it’s extremely unlikely he would return to the Jaguars. Whether he plays somewhere else, I don’t know. The last time Session discussed his situation publicly was last training camp. It sounded as if he wanted to play, but was extremely worried about the aftereffects of the concussions. I doubt he’ll play again, but that’s a semi-educated guess on an issue that I don’t know enough about to pretend to be accurate.
Michael from Jackson de Ville, FL:
In your response to Sally, you are wrong John. The Jaguars fan base is more whiny and more incapable of ever being happy with anything.
John: Point taken, but Jaguars fans are fans. Some whine, some don’t, and those that do have more of a forum now than they did in years past. That’s about it.
Cory from North Bay:
If we want to build around Gabbert or any quarterback, don’t you think it would be wiser to draft an offensive tackle with our top pick rather than another defensive end?
John: It depends what you think of the offensive line. David Caldwell said recently he believes the pieces are in place for a solid offensive line, and considering Eugene Monroe has the ability to be a franchise left tackle, there may be better positions on which to use the No. 2 overall selection. I’ve said it often since late last season that while the Jaguars may draft offensive linemen I don’t know that they need to draft them in the first round.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
So in other words you are saying the focus is on defense in the draft and free agency and the offensive line is fine?
John: No. The offensive line does need to play better, but you don’t have to draft an offensive lineman No. 2 overall to improve the offensive line. You can do it with improved coaching, with improved health, with the addition of Will Rackley, with a lower-tier free agency. It doesn’t have to be addressed on the first day of the draft.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
I know we have Shorts and Blackmon but who do you see as our No. 3 wide receiver next year?
John: That will be a key area to watch in the coming weeks and months. Part of the decision will depend on the future of wide receiver Laurent Robinson, who could potentially play a role at the No. 3 spot. He also is still recovering from the aftereffects of four concussions last season. Jordan Shipley also played well late in the season in the No. 3 spot and could be a factor. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Jaguars draft or add a player at this spot, particularly if Robinson decides not to play again.
Paul from Jacksonville:
Let me get this straight, O-man. You're saying that a professional sports team that costs millions of dollars per year to run is better off carefully examining its options and making logical decisions, rather than just blowing things up and following the suggestions of learned, expert fans off of Internet message boards and comment pages? Next thing you know, you're gonna go off the deep end and start advocating insane ideas like "it's better to spend less than you earn," or "eat right, exercise and go easy on the beer!"
John: Every once in a while I throw a zany idea out there. Fans have the right to their opinions. Sometimes, teams have to make decisions and trust they’re the right ones. You can’t please everyone all of the time, and a team has to make decisions knowing this. It doesn’t make everyone happy, but the reality is you never, ever will.

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