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O-Zone: My little helper

Posted Feb 7, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .

Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL:
I know free agency is complicated, but is it safe to say if MJD gets an offer from another team, the Jaguars can still match it and we keep him? What if the Jags match, can he still pick a lesser offer and leave?
John: It’s not really too complicated, but it does merit explanation. Maurice Jones-Drew will test the free-agent market next month, which means he and his agent can speak to and negotiate with other teams once the free-agency period begins. At that point, Jones-Drew has every right to sign any offer made at any point and he has no obligation to speak to the Jaguars or give them a chance to re-sign. I expect Jones-Drew will keep the Jaguars in the conversation and I expect that the Jaguars will try to work out something to keep Jones-Drew. I expect that because Jones-Drew genuinely likes the direction of the organization and the organization genuinely likes what he still brings to the team. But because Jones-Drew is an *unrestricted* free agent, the Jaguars can place no restrictions on him. He is free to sign wherever he chooses for whatever contracts he chooses.
Mark from Ponte Vedra Beach and Section 215:
If my agent even showed me a contract that was worth $5 mil less per year I would fire the agent. I need more Gucci and Ferraris.
John: He could show it to me. I’m always looking for a good laugh.
Mike from East Moline, IL:
Ask Tudor if he will right now take a 50 percent pay cut to switch jobs to another office. Same job, just different place. In economics we say incentives matter. You can really improve the quality of your life with more money. Money is a great incentive. It's the entire reason we get out of our beds to go to work. I'm sure players love their jobs, but I doubt they would be doing this for free.
John: I’m supposed to see Tudor tonight when we’re both in line at Idealistic FantasyLand … I’ll be sure and ask him about this.
Rob from Fleming Island, FL:
What is with the secrecy surrounding Blackmon being reinstated? Is it possible he is required to pass a certain number of screenings? Or is there a specific length of time required? Or is it just not that important to those who make the call? Be nice to know prior to the draft.
John: It’s absolutely important. This is not a matter anyone takes lightly. The “secrecy” to which you refer is about privacy, which is something the league takes seriously in these matters. This is very much a league issue and much less a Jaguars issue, and unless the league or Blackmon wish to say something publicly – which almost certainly won’t be the case – then little will be said publicly until there is news one way or the other. And yes, it would be nice to know prior to the draft. Life is not always nice and clean.
Charles from Midlothian, VA:
Ahh … the Deadest of Zones … March 6 won't get here soon enough.
John: What? Is that your birthday?
Adrian from Inglewood:
I don't see the reason to trade for Cousins or any player for that matter. If a player is really good, his team will not trade him; if the team does decide to trade him, it would only be because they received far more than said player's value. What is more valuable than one player? Multiple draft picks. If you trade multiple draft picks, you are trading your future for one player. If that player does not work out you just prolonged your rebuilding process. You are more likely to hit on more draft picks than on one player anyway. John, put me down as one ferrational thinkin'.
John: One fer rational thinking, to be sure, but I wouldn’t say *never* trade for another player. That’s extreme, and I learned early in this very sketchy journalism career “never” is a dangerous word. But your point is a valid one. You have to be very careful giving up real equity for players that another team doesn’t want. There are times when player simply isn’t a fit for a certain organization; Sen’Derrick Marks comes to mind. But very, very often the team that is choosing to not re-sign a guy is making that decision for a legitimate reason. Now, in the case of Cousins, he is indeed tempting. He has shown enough to make you think he maybe could be really good. But he also has had shaky moments. That’s why it makes sense to consider Cousins, but it makes more sense to be really, really prudent about what you’re willing to sacrifice to get him, too.
John from St. Augustine, FL:
Key difference between Brady against the Rams in 2002 versus Wilson against the Broncos in 2014 - Brady had a game winning drive. Quarterbacks are defined by how they perform in the biggest moments. That's why Manning gets so much criticism, and why Brady was so intriguing all those years ago.
John: Thanks for explaining that. In reference to Brady-Wilson, I guess that’s a difference, and again, I guess I just remember things differently. I remember a lot of people wondering if he really should have been the MVP and I remember the Patriots’ defense getting the majority of the credit for that Super Bowl victory. It wasn’t until a couple of years later that Brady started being in the conversation as an elite quarterback and a Hall of Fame quarterback. As for defining quarterbacks, I get that many people define them in many ways. I define them about how often they get teams to the postseason and how often they can give a franchise a chance to win Super Bowls. I define them less on what they do after that because the later you get in the postseason the more things happen that are beyond a quarterback’s control. For instance, I still think Tom Brady’s a great quarterback even though he hasn’t won a Super Bowl since 2004 and has only been to two Super Bowls in a decade. I still also believe Aaron Rodgers is a great quarterback even though he only has won one Super Bowl in nine NFL seasons. I also believe Drew Brees is great even though he has won one Super Bowl and been to one in 13 NFL seasons. That definition isn’t popular because it can’t be explained in 140 characters, but that’s OK. I don’t need my definitions to be popular.
Jay from Neptune Beach, FL:
Will the Jags show the Culligan cheerleader commercial on the new big screens next year?
John: I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
John, roughly what percent of Jaguars players stay and work out in Jacksonville during the off season?
John: It varies. Right now, you see a lot of players working out on their own at the facility, but by no means all of them. By the time the offseason workout program officially begins, it will be pretty close to 100 percent participation.
Ray from Jacksonville:
John: It seems some readers would be angry if the Jags wait until the fourth round to take a quarterback, but yet would like to see them trade for Kirk Cousins? Has he done any more on the field than Rob Johnson or Matt Flynn?
John: No.
Austin from Atlanta, GA:
We are not going to trade for Kirk Cousins. Thanks
John: You’re welcome. Or thanks … Wait … What?
Manuel from Jacksonville:
Hey O-man, without question the best team in each conference faced each other in the Super Bowl. We fans expected a good game but honestly, it was not. What a disappointment. Do you think that was because the Seahawks established a good strategy on closing out on wide receivers and rushing the passer, or was it simply because the Broncos had a bad game?
John: First, I don’t know that “without question” the best team in each conference faced each other. I thought the Seahawks were the best team, but San Francisco had every chance to win the NFC Championship and it wouldn’t have been absurd had they represented the conference in the Super Bowl. As for that Super Bowl, I thought the game was one-sided because the Seahawks’ defensive players at the point of attack and in the secondary were much better than the players they were playing. That allowed them to get pressure on Peyton Manning, and it allowed them to make him throw into significantly tighter windows than he had thrown into all season.
Mike from Jacksonville:
I see where Matt Cassel became a free agent. I think he would be a better option than Chad. What is your opinion on this?
John: My opinion is I’m not sure I agree with your opinion.
Ryan from Clyde:
I'm calling it now. Blake Bortles will be a bust.
John: Thanks. This helps me a lot.

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