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O-Zone: Now hiring

Posted Feb 11, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .

Ben from Indianapolis, IN:
Grabbing Clowney with the third pick would be awesome, but that means a quarterback will likely come in Rounds 2-4. Because that quarterback will most likely not be ready to start immediately, Henne will most likely start the first four-to-eight games to give the other guy time to develop. What if the rookie comes in halfway through the season and is bad or mediocre, like most rookie quarterbacks (especially ones not drafted in first round) and we aren't confident about him going forward but also aren't ready to give up on him? Then, we probably wouldn't go quarterback first round in next year’s draft and the poor quarterback cycle would continue. I guess I'm saying we better make absolutely sure there is not a franchise quarterback at No. 3 overall.
John: “I guess I'm saying we better make absolutely sure there is not a franchise quarterback at No. 3 overall.” Not to make light of your worry too much, but that’s pretty much what the Jaguars’ entire scouting department and David Caldwell will spend the coming weeks and months making sure they find out. A couple of serious thoughts, though, on your email: one, don’t assume a quarterback drafted at the top of the second round couldn’t start very soon, and; two, don’t assume the Jaguars couldn’t go quarterback in the first round next season in your scenario. There are few absolutes when developing a roster, particularly at the quarterback position. And finally this, Ben: don’t worry so much. Let’s see who the Jaguars draft where before outlining disaster scenarios.
Jeremy from Jacksonville:
Why don't we ask Latrell Sprewell or Antoine Walker if it's prudent to take the $10 million over the 5 million?
John: OK, text them and let me know what they say.
Daniel from Jacksonville:
Hey John, now that Brad Meester is a full-time dad to so many women, can you see him coming back to Jacksonville and playing a role in the team similar to Lags and Tony B? I think they move back after those children leave for college. What do you think, sooner or later?
John: Never say never, and the team certainly would welcome Meester in a role, but I doubt settling in Jacksonville is in Meester’s long- or short-term future. I see him as an Iowa guy at heart.
Brian from Mandarin:
Mr. Caldwell mentioned drafting interior linemen in the middle rounds. I see a couple of good ones potentially available in Round 2; is that too soon to be considered middle round?
John: The Jaguars’ second-round selection is in the Top 40, so that’s a bit soon to be a middle-round selection. Third round would be more likely for an interior lineman.
Tom from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
I'm confused about a player's new contract’s impact on salary cap. 1. Is salary simply straight-line amortized or is actual salary per year used? 2. Is guaranteed money and signing bonus the same? Can that number also be spread around in creative ways?
John: There’s no absolute answer to this, because there are nuances and subtleties in many contracts. But generally speaking, an NFL player’s signing bonus is paid up front and is averaged out over the life of the contract to calculate its impact on the cap. The yearly salary is assigned to the cap in the year that it’s paid. That means a player who signs a five-year deal worth $35 million with a $10 million signing bonus and a $5 million salary in each year would have a cap hit of $7 million in each season. That’s a more simple structure than normal, but you get the idea. As far as guaranteed money and signing bonus, yes, signing bonuses are guaranteed, but teams can also guarantee parts of salaries.
Ray from Jacksonville:
It is a team game. If the Jags and Seahawks had traded Henne and Wilson before the season, I think the Jags' record would have been basically the same. Perhaps the Seahawks would not have won the title (however, remember Dilfer and Johnson), but they would have been successful. With all of the opportunities provided by their defense, they ranked 17th in total offense and below the Jags in passing offense. I realize the Jags had to pass more, but it should be considered by people who think all can be solved by picking a quarterback at No. 3.
John: I think most people understand not all of the Jaguars’ problems will be solved by drafting a quarterback at No. 3. At least, I think many people understand this. Some people understand this, don’t they? Don’t they? Hello …
Tym from the Southside:
Now you're starting to come around O-Zone. One fer Watkins!
John: Hey, one fer O-Zone!
Darren from Jacksonville:
With the Colts dominating our division is it safe to say the Jaguars need to build a team that can beat the Colts?
John: First, although the Colts won the AFC South this season it had been won by Houston the two seasons before that, so I don’t know that this version of the Colts is “dominating” just yet. Either way, I’m not big on the concept of building a team to beat another. Ideally, you try to build a team that does what it does at a high enough level that it can win the division, then have a chance to win in the playoffs against a variety of opponents. I always liked what Tony Dungy used to say about this concept when he was coaching the Colts. Asked if the Colts needed this player or that player to beat New England, his point was that if they beat New England – or if New England got beat by someone else – then all of a sudden, the Colts would have had to beat the Steelers or the Broncos or someone else to win the Super Bowl. Be the best team you can be, then let other teams try to build to beat you.
Bryant from White Plains, NY:
I’m tired of the parity talk. Take a look at the last ten years. Only three teams have made it to the Super Bowl twice. Out of those three teams the Steelers and Giants, have won it both times. There are no dynasty teams in the NFL. Maybe perennial playoff teams. It takes an amazing season to win it all.
John: Five teams – the Seahawks, Steelers, Patriots, Giants and Colts – actually have made the Super Bowl two or more times in the last 10 years, but your point is correct: it’s tough, and there are no dynasties. That’s not parity, necessarily, but it does take an amazing season to win the Super Bowl.
April from Pooler, GA:
Assuming Clowney is off the board and the Jaguars are unable to trade back, do you think there is close to a 50 percent chance the Jags don't draft a quarterback with the third overall pick?
John: I think there is a 47.82 percent chance the Jaguars don’t take a quarterback No. 3 overall in your scenario. No, wait ... yes, that’s right: 47.82.
Trey from Jacksonville:
Tell Frank to google Blake Bortles and look for his stats. Almost identical to his sophomore season. Just because Frank had never heard of him before this season, doesn't mean that other people were blind to it.
John: Hey, one fer Google!
Chris from Daytona Beach, FL:
Michael Sams was projected to be a mid-round draft pick. Do you think his decision to announce his sexuality will affect his draft stock? Will it be an embarrassment to the NFL if he goes undrafted?
John: Sam as you say was projected to be a mid- to late-round draft pick, and because of that, it honestly will be difficult to know if the announcement hurts his stock. While there is a chance he could go undrafted in May, there was a chance that could have happened had he not announced. I’m sure if he goes undrafted it will be a news-making story and some will criticize the NFL. At the same time, the NFL can’t force any team to draft a player it doesn’t want.
Terrence from Laurel, MD:
If Aaron Murray were healthy, would he be a first-round QB? Could he become the steal of the draft, in the mold of a Russell Wilson or even Tom Brady who went late?
John: Murray’s size likely would have kept him out of the first round. Sure, if he is drafted and ends up being a great, franchise-defining player, he could be the steal of the draft.
JT from Columbus, MS:
I'd like to weigh in on Blake Bortles' potential as an NFL quarterback: I just don't think "Blake Bortles" has that *big-time name* sound to it. It just doesn't strike me as one that would be heard a lot on ESPN. Thus, without even looking at tape, I have successfully figured out that we shouldn't draft him. (Note: I had the same feeling about BG when he was drafted)
John: Shad Khan … Hire This Man!!

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