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O-Zone: Life lesson

Posted Jan 22, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – I am truly overwhelmed.

This is the last O-Zone in which I will mention my father’s passing Monday. It’s time to move on here, and soon enough, it will be time to move forward personally.

I actually planned to move on today, but I spent Tuesday trying to reply to all who messaged on Twitter, Facebook and in the O-Zone in the last day. My plan was to spend an hour or so responding.

Such was the volume and the heartfelt nature of the responses that it took six – and many of you took time to not just write, but to share something real.

That, I won’t forget.

I often joke that my inbox and Jaguars Twitter are weird, frightening places, neither for faint of heart nor weak of stomach. All true, but it’s equally true that in the last few days I have been grateful for and humbled by both.

All right. Enough of that.

Let’s get to it . . .

Thomas from Jacksonville:
I'm hearing opinions from all sides on this quarterback class. In your opinion, who is the best quarterback in this draft class?
John: Right now, as of January 22, I’d say Teddy Bridgewater because he has the best combination of consistent production in college, NFL-arm strength and prototypical passing-pocket style. As I examine it more as the draft approaches, perhaps that will change.
Troy from York, PA:
Hey O-man, I have 2 questions: First, if we do sign a big name in free agency is there something Caldwell could put in the contract as some kind of incentive to make sure that player plays to the best of his ability and not just be here for a paycheck?Second, I for one am not saying not to draft a quarterback but I think there's a better group of quarterback coming out next year,some I believe people would say blue-chippers, so wouldn't it be a good idea for the Jaguars to fill some major holes on the defensive line this year and take care of the quarterback the next draft?
John: These are a couple of good questions. The thing to remember about incentives is agents/players prefer not to have them if possible. A free agent is unlikely to sign with a team insisting on incentives when there is another not insisting. For that reason, incentives are rare for true high-profile free agents. Secondly, there is a school of thought that supports your idea of waiting on a quarterback. If General Manager David Caldwell truly believes no quarterback in this class can be a quality starter, he may well choose that path. At the same time, you can’t keep going that route forever. At some point, you have to find a quarterback and to find one, you must choose one.
Steven from Jacksonville:
This is more of a statement than a question. I personally hope the Texans take Jadeveon Clowney with the first pick, because he does not impress me at all with the way he takes plays off, and doesn't give 100 percent. Also, I would take SenDerrick Marks any day over Terrance Knighton.
John: You hear this line of thinking on Clowney quite a bit, and perhaps I have done a small part to promote it. While it’s something for a general manager to consider when taking a player as early as Clowney will be selected, there’s no real reason to think Clowney will take plays off in the NFL. In fact, there’s every reason to believe he won’t, especially early when he is playing for a second contract. Incidentally, I’d be surprised if the Texans go any direction but quarterback at No. 1. As for Knighton-Marks, there’s no reason to denigrate one to praise the other. The Jaguars opted to not retain Knighton last offseason because he hadn’t been consistently productive. He was productive for Denver, but there’s not much regret within the Jaguars’ organization about the move.
Joe from Antioch, CA:
I’m trying to find out what exactly happened to Justin Blackmon. Will he be playing next season for our Jags?
John: Blackmon was suspended indefinitely by the NFL at midseason. He may be eligible to apply for reinstatement before next season. As for exactly when he will be eligible, that will be decided on a league level and it is yet to be determined. So, yes, the Jaguars could have Blackmon next season, but they’re not assuming that will be the case and they are addressing the roster as if he is a luxury rather than a guarantee.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
Will the Jags draft a quarterback this year?
John: Perhaps.
Chris from Philadelphia, PA:
Because winning comes first, I hope that the Jaguars do not volunteer--or get forced--to participate in 'Hard Knocks' because I think that the distraction could be deleterious to a young, developing team like the Jags. That said, I will absolutely add HBO if the Jaguars are featured. 'One fer hypocrisy!'
John: Indeed, one fer hypocrisy – but I doubt the Jaguars get chosen for Hard Knocks next season. If the league truly can have its choice, there are more high-profile teams that realistically would draw more interest nationally. The Giants and Tom Coughlin are eligible – now, that I would watch.
Robert from Mauser:
When will the compensatory picks be awarded and will the Jaguars be eligible for any based upon the free agents we lost?
John: Compensatory selections are awarded in March during the NFL Owners meetings. Yes, the Jaguars will be eligible, but I’d be surprised if the Jaguars get much if any from the system this season.
Brook from Jacksonville:
After finally moving in with my longtime boyfriend, I finally got to see his passion for the Jaguars on a day-to-day basis, and it's become contagious. I am still trying to comprehend the game, so I have a football question. How to you differentiate if a penalty is half the distance to the goal or it's original yardage? Does it just take place in the red zone?
John: The half-the-distance penalty occurs when the penalty occurs to close to the end zone to mark off the total yardage. For instance, if an offense incurs a holding penalty on its own 8-yard line, the yardage is stepped off to the 4-yard line because there isn’t room to march off 10 yards.
John from Jacksonville:
I read that the NFL is considering eliminating the extra-point kick and awarding a team an automatic seven points with a touchdown (if the scoring team elects to attempt what is known today as a two-point conversion, the result would either award them an extra point to eight points or take away a point reducing it back to six points). I think this is a great idea because the extra point is almost like another commercial when watching on TV and offers no real excitement when at the game. The other option might be to move back the extra point kick to maybe the 15-or 20-yard line to at least make it interesting. Somewhat like the penny, it had value decades ago but should be eliminated now.
John: It seems we’re probably going this way, mainly because NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seems to want it and he often gets what he wants. Maybe I’ll warm to it someday. It’s probably true, in fact, that it won’t bother me once I see it. But as of right now I’m not warm to the idea. Maybe I’m getting old.
Austin from Atlanta:
One fer the O-man!
John: Slow day for the one fers!
Princefigs from Jacksonville:
Do you think Greg Jones regrets his decision to go play for a "contender" like the Texans?
John: I doubt it. Jones made the best decision with the information he had at the time. Besides, the NFL is a business. Jones made a year’s NFL salary and continued to play. There’s really not much for him to regret.
Joseph from Jacksonville:
First of all, my deepest condolences to you and your family andmay he rest in peace. Now to counter what Eduardo said about Tebow and Magic vs Manziel. There is a big difference. Manziel has much better throwing mechanics, accuracy and timing.Tebow was very systematic/robotic. One fer defending Manziel.
John: One pretty good point fer Johnny.
Beau from the Bud Zone:
Hey John, I appreciate all that you do. With that said, last draft we seemed to have a focus on rebuilding our secondary. What area do you foresee us spending a lot of picks on to try to improve or maybe just get younger?
John: I don’t know that you’ll see a full-on focus on any one position group, but I’d expect defensive line and linebacker to be a focus – and, of course, at least one offensive lineman if not more.
Gavin from Jacksonville:
Don't forget Barry Switzer.
John: This is in reference to a question Monday about national champion college coaches who also have won Super Bowls, but it strikes me as good advice for pretty much everything in life. #BarrySwitzer #Neverforget

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