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O-Zone: Newfound respect

Posted Mar 2, 2013

JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . .

Dane from Young Harris, GA:
Let's assume David Caldwell and Gus Bradley's strategy for building this team into an elite contender pans out. What will the team look like? What "brand" of football will they play? How will roster management look on a year-to-year basis?
John: I don’t know that we know yet precisely how the offense will look because it’s hard to know the type of quarterback who will lead the offense. If he’s mobile, the offense would look substantially different than if he’s a pocket passer. Either way, the guess here is it’s a strong running team; the Falcons were certainly geared that way, and Caldwell believes in strength in that area. Defensively, Bradley has outlined pretty clearly his ideal – a strong pass rushing team that gives different looks up front depending on the situation, with an aggressive secondary designed to give the defensive line more time to rush the passer. As far as roster management, ideally it would be a relatively young team with core players signed to long-term deals and aging players released at the proper time even when the decision is painful and unpopular. That’s not rocket science, though; that’s everyone’s goal.
Greg from Jacksonville and Section 436:
People are missing the fundamental difference between Gene Smith and Caldwell. Most GMs in this situation would probably have the same strategy - don't overpay free agents to pacify the fan base and keep your options open in the future for when you could be a real contender. It only ties up money on aging players in the meantime. Take your medicine, draft high (and right) for a year or two and then spend to get you over the hump. Gene Smith just didn't execute. He picked wrong and misevaluated the true talent on the roster. It's all in the execution, O-Man. Agree?
John: He also never had a quarterback play like a franchise quarterback. It’s important not to underestimate that. When you have that, everything else looks a lot better around it and when you don’t have that, many things that aren’t terrible look awful.
Eric from Lake Stevens, WA:
Is Blaine Gabbert the guy? Will the Jags draft Geno Smith? These questions could have been avoided if they just kept David Garrard a few more seasons. Garrard still doesn't have a job. Why wouldn’t the Jags consider bringing him back? He is proven veteran.
John: And off we go . . .
Blade from Orlando, FL:
Jets bringing in Garrard for a workout. He'd be an upgrade over anything they have now, right?
John: If he’s healthy and can still play as he did in 2007, sure. Those are big ifs.
Andre from Ocala, FL:
I keep hearing we won’t be active in free agency for the first season and we are building through the draft. What's the difference between free agency this year versus next year? Thanks and keep up the good work.
John: The difference is you want to wait and dive into free agency when you see what the true needs are. The idea is to build a strong core of young players through the draft and collegiate free agency, then essentially get a second draft class next season. That gives you two rounds of young players who have a chance to form the core of the new system. A few months before that second draft, you supplement the process with a key player or two that fit with what you’ve established. You’re probably not going to be ready to be a Super Bowl contender next year. The odds are certainly against it. So, why waste money on an older player now? Wait and sign an older player next year so you’ll have him at his peak during what you expect to be a strong period of contending.
Hot Rod from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Now that Joeckel is more than likely No. 1, let me explain how we'll know who'll be the No. 2 pick. Come March 14th, if David Caldwell is at West Virginia's Pro Day while Gus Bradley is at Oregon’s, then it's probably Geno to Jax over Dion Jordan. If both the GM and head coach is in West Virginia, then I'll be about 100 percent sure Geno's headed to Jax. If they're both in Oregon then it's Dion. Hopefully we're buying plane tickets to Morgantown!
John: What if they’re both in Jamaica?
Ryan from Baltimore, MD:
"Until we hear for sure the Jaguars aren't interested in Geno Smith, the Jaguars and Geno Smith will be part of pre-draft conversation." How could the Jags brass justify taking Geno Smith with the No. 2 pick when they just finished saying that Blaine Gabbert would be the highest rated quarterback on the board had he been eligible for this draft? Great, now potential Geno Smith suitors will be calling the Raiders, not us.
John: They could justify it if they believe he’s a potential franchise quarterback. What other justification would they need? And why would what I wrote have anything to do with anyone calling the Raiders?
Todd from Beaufort, SC:
So it's now two years from the draft of Julio Jones. It may be still a little early to know for sure, but I'd like your opinion: was Julio worth the "King’s Fortune" Atlanta gave up for him, or was that still way too much for a wide receiver in the first round?
John: The jury, ultimately, is still out. Right now, the early thought is that it worked for the Falcons. Jones is an impact guy and they appear to be better than they were before. How much not having those draft selections hurts them probably won’t be known for a few years.
Zach from Ponte Vedra, FL:
How important is the 'undersized' trait for the Leo role in Gus' defense? Could, for example, a certain 6'6 pass rusher from Oregon fit the role, or would he be *too* big for it?
John: It’s not so much the size of the Leo, but the speed. If a 6-6 guy can get around the corner and cause havoc in the backfield on passing downs, I’m sure he can play the role.
Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
It seems the Jaguars were in this position before when they had Byron and Benjamin Todd "Ben" Roethlisberger Sr., was available. That did not work out so well. That is the reason the Jaguars have to select Geno Smith if he is there. That, or trade down and recoup the value for him. At this point, with the second pick and a 2-14 record, the need is value not need. Thinking Blaine Gabbert is the little red train might indeed be in the best interest of the team. Dave Caldwell is a smart guy and I think Geno Smith has been the guy all along. We will see!
John: If Geno Smith is as good as Ben Roethlisberger, you couldn’t be more correct.
John from Jacksonville:
In Mark Lamping's interview (part 2) he states, "We generate significantly more revenue in London than we do one game here." Since we haven't yet played a game in London how does he know for sure what revenue will be generated? Maybe he should have inserted the word "might" into his sentence. Other than ticket sales, TV rights and apparel, what other income does a London game generate? I'm sure London gets a share as well. Seems to me our local community breaks even or loses more than it gains. Think of what the fans add to the local economy for a home game (concessions, parking, shuttles, etc.).
John: Lamping’s been doing what he does a long time. He knows what he’s doing. The London game is sold out. Because of that, the Jaguars have an idea what the game will generate. They also know what games in Jacksonville will generate. It’s Lamping’s job to know the difference between the two. And of course, London makes money on the game. Lamping has been pretty clear about the benefit of London to the Jaguars and the local community. The benefit to the Jaguars is they make more money from a game in London than they do in Jacksonville. That makes the franchise stronger. The benefit to the community is the game in London not only makes the franchise stronger financially, it makes tickets for games in Jacksonville more affordable by keeping costs down. London makes the franchise stronger in Jacksonville, not weaker. There’s no “might” about the benefits at this point.
John from Atlantic Beach, FL:
I must say after watching your private NFL Pro Day video you so gracefully compiled, you are quite the athlete. I must also point out you donned your Jaguars workout attire with pure grace and dedication. Having thoroughly enjoyed myself at your expense, I have a new found respect for you. If you were to throw your name into the 2013 NFL Draft you would get some looks from a lot of teams! Trust me, dude! It`s all about first impressions! You have the IT factor!
John: Oh, I’ve got something all right. And no doubt, I’d get some looks.

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