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O-Zone: A real eye-opener

Posted Feb 12, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .

Chris from Jacksonville:
If the quarterback isn't ready to start Week One, then he wasn't worth the No. 3 pick in the draft.
John: Absolute statements rarely are absolutely correct, and this one is no different. There are scenarios in which a rookie quarterback could have a very good career and not be ready to start Week One. Aaron Rodgers comes to mind. To make that a viable option, you need the right circumstance – i.e., a capable veteran quarterback – and an organization that can withstand the hue and cry for the rookie to play immediately. One important consideration is what “ready to start” means. Does it mean ready to play at a high level? If so, then few rookie quarterbacks are truly ready to start. Does it mean ready to play, make mistakes and tough it through those mistakes to eventually grow into a good quarterback? Well, a whole lot of guys aren’t ready for that, either, but you’d like your No. 3-drafted quarterback to be such a player.
John from Cape May, NJ:
Well, well, well, well...Watkins at No. 3 isn't so absurd of an idea after all. I've been saying it since December and I'll say it in May: if Clowney is not there, you take Watkins and draft a quarterback in the second round. Like the soothsayer says to Caesar, so will I say to the Jags, "Beware the over-hyped Quarterback."
John: Careful, John: You can get a pretty mean muscle pull twisting that hard to pat yourself on the back.
Dan from Jacksonville:
Do you ever read any posts and comments on the Jaguars message board? When I read the message board, I feel like I get dumber... Thanks for your article - I do not feel dumber after reading it.
John: What’s a “message board?”
Chris from Nebraska:
ESPN writer Mike DiRocco has been outspoken in his articles that he is very confident the Jaguars will not draft a quarterback in the first round and he has said several times that if Clowney and Bridgewater are both available, we will take Clowney without question. Do you share the same feelings regarding the first-round pick? Second question is after all the studying is done and Dave has his guy that he wants and is No. 1 on their board, do you think there is a good chance they trade up to get him or stay at No. 3 and possibly miss out on him?
John: I think Caldwell will be very, very, very stingy with draft selections, and if he trades up, it will be to take a player that he thinks is a serious difference-maker. I doubt he does that this year. As for DiRocco, he’s a rascally little feller. We go back a long way. Sometimes when I see him here at the Jaguars, I pat the top of his head for luck.
Frank from St. Augustine, FL:
I can't concentrate reading the O-Zone while looking at the Venus ads!
John: #Shadricksighting
Sean from Fleming Island, FL:
Based on their records would you assume that teams like Houston and Atlanta will not be getting a prime-time slot other than the obligatory Thursday night game?
John: If you purely went by records, yes, that would be the case. But prime-time appearances are often driven by other factors such as potential ratings and star power. The Texans have J.J. Watt and the Falcons have Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. There also is a perception that the teams are capable of improving quickly, so they could get more than the obligatory appearance.
Jonathan from Orange Park, FL:
Latrell Sprewell said no. He has family to feed. Have a good day, O!
John: Awesome. Thanks.
Wallace from Jacksonville:
While no quarterback comes through at crunch time 100 percent of the time, I hope David Caldwell considers this "intangible" factor when evaluating quarterbacks. Being able to make all the throws and having the intelligence needed to play quarterback in the NFL is not all that matters. How does the quarterback perform in critical moments of important games? To me that's what really defines the franchise quarterback.
John: You have to have the intangible you covet. No doubt. You also have to have the intelligence and make all the throws. You gotta have it all to be a franchise guy. Few do – very, very few. That’s why they’re so difficult to find.
Kris from Copenhagen:
Two for Google. If MJD isn't re-signed, do you think the Jags are planning to use Todman as the starting running back or will they try and pick a starting running back in the draft?
John: If Jones-Drew isn’t re-signed, Jaguars followers may need to rethink the running back position just a touch, meaning that I don’t know that you’ll immediately see a Maurice-Jones-Drew situation where the Jaguars have a clear No. 1 running back who’s getting a significant majority of carries and playing all down-and-distance situations. It’s very possible to win in the NFL with a running-back-by-committee situation, and I’d expect the Jaguars would go that route at least in an early post-MJD era.
Dave from Section 410:
If Clowney is available, you have to take him. Stiffen up the defense so whoever is the quarterback is doesn't have to play from so far behind. The running game can then take the pressure off the offensive scheme. It would certainly help a second- or third-round pick at quarterback.
John: Yes, it would. If and when Jadeveon Clowney develops into an impact player, his presence would help the defense and then all facets of the offense. I’ll say again that that development might indeed be a development, meaning it may not happen Week One of his rookie season. As good as he seems to be, he is still a pass-rusher and pass-rushers often must learn techniques to be effective.
Tom from Ponte Vedra Beach and Section 106:
Thanks for answering my salary-cap question. Interestingly, all four top linemen Ryan O'Halloran offered as benchmarks for an Alex Mack deal would have the same general impact on the cap - in the $10 million range. I get the sense the mustachioed one will spend what it takes. Seems most likely the key point will length of contract. I'm not sure Caldwell is a seven-year contract kind of guy. What do you think?
John: Doubtful. But what Caldwell is more than anything is build-a-sustainable-roster kind of guy. That’s what makes an interior offensive lineman such a hard sell for general managers in free agency. They’re generally not considered as critical in the roster-building process as left tackles, yet in free agency their cap numbers have grown to the point that they use up a tremendous amount of cap equity. I think the Jaguars will sign an interior lineman in free agency, but I imagine it will be for shorter than a seven-year deal –probably four or maybe five.
Aaron from Panama City, FL:
Do you think the Jags should build up a dominant defense before investing a high pick into a quarterback? This way a young quarterback can be successful early (Seahawks and Wilson)?
John: I think the Jaguars should get as good as they can get at all areas, and I think they should try to get a very good quarterback when the opportunity presents itself. While it’s vogue right now to use everything Seattle did as a model, let’s not forget that the Seahawks didn’t sit down in 2010 and say, “We’re going to build a dominant defense and wait and get our quarterback in the third round in a couple of years.” They drafted well and had some late-round players develop and kept trying to find a quarterback until they found one. Remember, they signed Matt Flynn as a high-profile free agent shortly before drafting Russell Wilson. This is not to denigrate what Seattle did; indeed, the job the franchise did building was masterful. But you can’t use another franchise as an exact model. You must try to continue adding good players at all positions, and hope like heck one of those good players is a quarterback who becomes really, really, really good.
Jesse from Gun Barrel, TX:
Your head must be spinning every day. When you get up every day and have your coffee and donuts for breakfast, you look in your in-box and there are hundreds of questions that have no answer. All the questions you pick out have no answer. No one knows if MJD will be back in Jacksonville. This year, no one knows who the No. 3 pick will be. No one knows who will be a bust or who will be a superstar. There are no answers to any of your questions. You have a very hard job.
John: Policemen, farmers and firefighters have hard jobs. I discuss football while monitoring and chronicling the daily doings of J.P. Shadrick. While the latter part is eye-opening at best and disturbing at worst, I’m not inclined to insult anyone’s intelligence by saying it’s the world’s most taxing occupation.

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