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O-Zone: A great truth

Posted Nov 26, 2013

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it...

Riley from Edmonton, Canada
People need to realize winning now is more important than getting the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Drafting someone first overall does not always translate into success. Improving and winning now definitely trumps the upcoming draft.
John: Yes, it does, and this will be the last question today that deals with this. I didn’t say “last question ever,” because I sense this will be a hot-button topic from now until the end of the season. Most of the people who are currently advocating losing to improve draft stock point to the Jaguars’ regular-season finale of 2011, when the Jaguars beat the Colts to ensure the Colts would have the No. 1 selection in the following year’s draft. That became Andrew Luck. The Jaguars were not wrong to win that game then, because you don’t intentionally lose to hurt another team’s draft status. Who’s to say the Colts wouldn’t have drafted RGIII No. 2? In that scenario, maybe RGIII doesn’t get injured as a rookie and maybe he’s having a better year this year than Luck. Maybe not. The point is you just don’t know. As for this season, it’s a vastly different scenario for the Jaguars. They’re indeed building something under Head Coach Gus Bradley and General Manager David Caldwell, and winning is a good thing when you’re building. There’s also no indication that there’s a clear-cut No. 1 quarterback or even a clear-cut anything in this draft, and there may not be a mammoth difference in picking first and even eighth or ninth – at least not enough of a difference to worry in late November about draft status in May.
Vallen from Green Cove Springs, FL:
You stole Lageman’s glasses?!
John: “Stole” is a very strong word.
Hunter from Jacksonville:
And to think we did it without Tebow.
John: Life is chock full of mystery.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
I am looking forward to the Thursday night game versus the Texans. A national audience will have a chance to see a team on the rise (for next year) in prime time.
John: Yes, they will. The Jaguars probably need to win in Cleveland Sunday for the Texans game to be perceived that way, and honestly even then, the national audience may not be ready to see the Jaguars in that light. But so what? It’s a chance for the Jaguars to play and play well. Those paying attention indeed will get a chance to see it.
Jeremy from Oceanside, CA:
If the Jaguars were to have the first pick in the draft, do you feel the quarterbacks at the top are good enough to allow Jacksonville to procure a similar draft pick haul to what St. Louis received for trading the No. 2 pick to Washington in 2012?
John: No.
Mike from St. Mary’s, GA:
There were a lot of things to like Sunday, but what stood out most was Maurice Jones-Drew in the passing game. It reminded me of his first few years when he was an all-purpose nightmare for other teams as a change-of-pace back and kick returner – and not so much the between-the-tackles pounder he has been recently. He's not as fast as he once was, but he's still an all-purpose threat, and I thought Sunday he was doing what he's always done best.
John: I thought Sunday was an example of Maurice Jones-Drew as a “football player.” What I mean by that is he wasn’t just running, and he wasn’t necessarily getting by on pure running ability. He produced in the passing game and produced when he had chances in the running game. He’s a player of high football intelligence, and he figured out on Sunday how to help his team win. There were people last week questioning why he was starting instead of Jordan Todman or even Justin Forsett. The reason is that Jones-Drew is the best running back – and one of the best players – on the team. You want him on the field.
Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL:
John, I thought you went to Episcopal. I thought you were from the south. It's "yup," not "yep." Go Jags! Draft where you draft.
John: Yup.
Mike from Jackson de Ville, FL:
What are the chances Poz is in a Jags jersey next year? The man has been on a tear this year. Would be really sad to see the leader of our ‘D’ leave.
John: My guess is Poz will be in a Jaguars jersey. Will he be playing for the same contract conditions? At the $6.45 million he is scheduled to earn next season, perhaps not, but he’s a fit here. He knows it and the team knows it and his value is such that it seems likely he is here.
Sean from Fleming Island, FL:
Is next year's opening day starting quarterback currently on the Jags roster?
John: Probably not.
Chad from Section 140:
Do you think we will get a veteran quarterback to play in the interim while our drafted quarterback learns the system? I'm curious if Gabbert got shell-shocked from being thrown into the system prematurely, or if his talents truly don't match well with the NFL. I more concerned though that we would make the same mistake with another rookie quarterback.
John: If there is a first-round quarterback on the roster, I imagine he will start. Playing early doesn’t have to damage a quarterback. In Gabbert’s case, he wasn’t ready as a rookie. He was drafted in 2011 with the idea he would not play immediately and that plan went awry. If there is a first-round quarterback drafted here next year he likely would be more NFL-ready – at least in theory – so the selection probably wouldn’t be made with the idea that he would wait to play.
Logan from Wichita, KS:
Think about this. If the Jaguars win out and the Colts lose out, the Jaguars and Colts will both be 7-9, but the Jaguars will be 5-1 in the division while the Colts are 3-3. The Jaguars will break any tie with Tennessee with another win over them later this year. Tennessee just has to lose to us, Oakland and Denver. Go Jaguars! Anything is possible!!
John: Down, boy.
Rob from Jacksonville:
Here is something I have never understood. If the Jaguars win the remainder of their division games, they will be 5-1 in the division and could theoretically "win" the division, but overall record would not dictate that. Would you still be crowned division champion but not make the playoffs?
John: You’re overthinking this, Rob. The division winner is the team in the division with the best overall record. Division record is brought into the equation to break ties.
Patrick from Merced, CA:
Hey John, do you know why Jay Leno hates the Jaguars so much?
John: When you’re 2-9, you’re an easy target.
Mark from American Fork, UT:
Is there another team in the league starting three rookies in the secondary? If the trio continues to get better, our secondary could be really good in a couple years!!
John: No, there is not another team in the NFL starting three rookies. And don’t forget: in addition to rookies Dwayne Gratz, Johnathan Cyprien and Josh Evans starting, veteran cornerback Alan Ball was signed as a free agent last offseason. That’s a total rebuild from last December. This was an area, remember, where a lot of people questioned Caldwell and Bradley releasing or not re-signing veterans last offseason. But the feeling at the time was the players who played last season didn’t fit what the Jaguars wanted, so the decision was made to rebuild immediately. So far, so good.
Justin from Jacksonville:
Now you're seeing why Gus Bradley was picked to coach the team, and why Monte Kiffin called him a "once-in-a-generation" type of guy. Under Mularkey, neither fundamentals nor performance seemed to improve in 2012. In 2013, improvement is obvious. When you have the right coach, he'll get the most out of the right guys. We'll get more of those "right guys" in the building after this season, and the right general manager finds those guys if he's drafting 1st or 21st.
John: #Standunited
Redmond from Jacksonville:
I’m not Branch-bashing, but three sacks in 10 games is not that spectacular. Look at Chandler Jones: he is a second-year pro with 11 sacks. That’s the type of production expected from Branch.
John: Wow. I’d hate to read what you had to say if you were Branch-bashing.
Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Great win by the Jags Sunday! David Caldwell has a very good eye for players. Gus is the right kind of coach. Hope is back. Henne is a good solid quarterback capable of some big games. Well done to the whole team. Yes, the uniforms do look cool!
John: People like winning. It makes them happy.
Johnny from Boca Raton, FL:
I am officially on the Gus Bus. Watching him on the sidelines coach up our young secondary midway through the fourth quarter and seeing the team’s reaction upon winning surrounding Bradley made me realize he is going to be special once this team gets grown up.
John: People like winning. It makes them happy.

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