Let's get to it . . .
Kevin from Orange Park, FL:
I want to get your feel on David Caldwell. I feel that excitement rising up again inside me for this organization.
John: That excitement is good, and it’s based on something real. Now, let’s be realistic. This is going to be a process, and the reality is that David Caldwell right now probably is as popular among Jaguars fans as he will be until the team begins winning and makes the playoffs. Until then, he will be second-guessed, criticized and bashed at times just like anyone else in his position. And that’s OK. It’s the NFL. That’s part of the gig. There will be ups and downs in this process, steps forward, sideways and perhaps even back. That’s because the excitement about Thursday’s press conference was about the long-term vision. So, while there may be short-term struggles and frustration, there is reason for excitement over the long haul.
Shannon from Jacksonville:
I'm sorry – not impressed, even disappointed, in that press conference. I'm not a huge Tebow fan, but in the past two seasons I have heard extensive conversation from many people with much more credibility than our new general manager speak about how with the right coaching Tebow can in fact be a very good quarterback in this league; for example John Gruden, Jaws and Bill Walsh. Anyone can act cocky and confident for a well-planned press conference. Been a Jags fan for over ten years now and will still be after Caldwell is fired four years from now after another four or five-win season. Supporters will say that he just didn't get any luck just like Smith. Why can't Jacksonville land a proven GM, coach, or player that isn't past his prime to play here? We deserve the truth to that question.
John: Shannon, I’m sorry you’re disappointed. And you’re right that Bill Walsh, in fact, was quite credible. He also died in July of 2007. That, incidentally, is the truth.
Mary from Jacksonville:
I didn't understand the question during the announcement as it related to analytics. Don't all scouting departments use in- depth analytics in the process? Was the reporter insinuating that GS did not?
John: The question wasn’t about Gene Smith. It related more to Tony Khan and his role with the organization. Tony Khan is becoming better-known in league circles as a leader in analytics, and the Jaguars are among the organizations that are using analytics more as part of the process of scouting players and shaping a team. As Caldwell said on Thursday, analytics and statistics aren’t the end all of the scouting process, but they are a key part and technology and information can be used as such.
Lisa from Keystone Heights, FL:
Do you really think Caldwell has guts? My four-pound Yorkie has guts, but that doesn't mean she's bright most the time. Caldwell hasn't had time to make a logical, hard plan for the Jags. He's too stupid to realize that Tebow would sell tickets and is a cohesive team player. I thought by getting rid of Gene Smith we would finally get someone with half a brain. So much for that thought.
John: I’m sorry your dog isn’t smart. Accepting that must be difficult.
Nathan from St. Augustine, FL:
I don’t understand all the bashing of the quarterbacks in this year’s draft class. I don’t recall anyone talking about Russell Wilson much before the season started and now he’s the only rookie quarterback still playing. If our general manager thinks Smith or Barkley is an improvement over our current quarterbacks, don’t you have to take them with the No. 2 pick? They won’t be there in second round.
John: Not necessarily. Caldwell’s job will be to look at the entire roster, the entire group of players available in free agency and the entire draft and set a course for the future. There are a lot of needs and it’s not necessarily the best thing to reach on a first-round quarterback if there are other impact players available. You eventually have to get that guy, and sooner is better than later, but you can’t completely thwart your building process everywhere else if you’re not confident he can be The Guy.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
There have been rumors Greg Roman will be a strong contender for head coach. Do you think that would be a risky move for Caldwell? I'm not saying he isn't qualified, but if for some reason he failed, it would look like Caldwell just hired his buddy instead of hiring the best available coach. He may in fact be the best coach available, but in our world, perception is reality.
John: Yes, it would be risky. So would hiring any other coach in the NFL. Robert Kraft took a risk hiring Bill Belichick after the latter was let go by the Browns. Jim Irsay took a risk hiring Tony Dungy when Dungy was fired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Wayne Weaver took a risk hiring Tom Coughlin. If Roman were to be hired and fail, Caldwell would be criticized for it. If he was to hire someone else and that person fail, he’d be criticized for it. Caldwell needs to hire the coach he believes gives him the best chance to win. If that’s Phil Jackson, his old college roommate, his old neighbor in Indianapolis, or even his wife, Joelle, it doesn’t matter. If the person wins, it’s a great move; if he doesn’t, it’s a mess.
John from Jacksonville:
Already, there is a conspiracy theory that Caldwell he is baiting for possibly a good deal to get Tebow here.
John: I wouldn’t bite on that theory.
Jon from St. Johns, FL:
Thank you Shad Khan for not being a Jerry Jones/ Al Davis type of owner.
John: There indeed was a perception among some and a fear among others that Shad Khan would be a Jerry Jones/Al Davis-type owner in the sense of making football decisions. That doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. Jones has won three Super Bowls, and Davis also won three. But Khan also has said often that he knows enough to know what he doesn’t know – or something to that effect. He always has said he believes in hiring capable, qualified people and letting them do their jobs. So far, he has done nothing to indicate he intends to act otherwise.
Ralph from Wise, VA:
What was the room like when Caldwell said what he did about Tebow? Was there much talk about it with other reporters after the interview was over?
John: There was silence, but while that’s being interpreted by some as people in the room being disappointed or angry, it wasn’t that. It was a big story, one that has been discussed a lot by everyone, and there understandably was a moment where people wanted to make sure they were hearing what Caldwell said correctly. And sure, reporters talked about it afterward. There are some reporters who are pro-Tebow and others who are skeptical that he can play. A lot of those reporters have argued the debate a lot and whenever there’s a big story reporters talk about it amongst themselves. Reporters pretty much are like anyone else, except they don’t bathe as much and aren’t particularly pleasant to be around.
Jon from Durham, NC:
I think the "ending Tebow to Jacksonville" talk may be a bit overblown. Caldwell had been general manager for 48 hours when he made those comments. I doubt that two days is enough time to scout the current roster, college prospects, and pending free agents in such a thorough fashion as to decide whether he should pursue a player under contract by another team. I wouldn't be entirely surprised if it picked up again later.
John: I would.
Shawn from Jacksonville:
Johnny Football, wouldn’t it make sense to make some rule adjustments so "elite" quarterback isn’t so valuable if the NFL wants parity give the non-elite quarterbacks a chance? For years, it almost always is the same few quarterbacks competing this time of year.
John: The same few great quarterbacks always have competed this time of year. The NFL may be about parity from Nos. 32 through Nos. 8 or 9, but once you get past that there’s not much you can do to change it being about the quarterbacks. Staubach, Stabler, Tarkenton and Bradshaw dominated the 1970s and Manning, Brady and Rodgers pretty much dominate now. Some variation on that theme can be found during most of NFL history regardless of the rules. Besides, as nice as parity may sound, stars attract ratings and elite quarterbacks are the ratings magnet of the NFL. The league has little incentive to change that.
Jeff from Starke, FL:
Caldwell certainly does not shy away from difficult decisions. For the first time since Coughlin left, I feel like someone is in charge. It's like going to a new school the first day. This time, you actually think there's a chance the cute girl in English class will like you. Fresh starts open endless possibilities. I love it.
John: If you’re not sure if the cute girl likes you, she probably doesn’t. That’s got nothing to do with Caldwell. I just don’t want to see you get hurt.