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O-Zone: Plum tuckered out

Posted Mar 19, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .

Steven from Fernandina Beach, FL:
The best quote regarding Teddy Bridgewater’s Pro Day is from Mike Mayock: "The best quarterback Pro Day I have ever, ever seen was JaMarcus Russell."
John: That indeed is the most important thing to remember from Monday. Even as NFL Network Draft Analyst Mike Mayock was calling Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s Pro Day “average,” he at the same time was cautioning people not make the assumption that that automatically meant Bridgewater couldn’t be an effective NFL player. I suspected at the time of the Pro Day and continue to suspect that the quick-trigger, negative reaction to Bridgewater’s performance Monday will soon dwindle, reduced in reasonable fashion as Twitter moves on to future issues. That doesn’t automatically mean Bridgewater will be a great NFL quarterback. The concerns over his size and durability are legitimate. The most likely fallout of Bridgewater’s Pro Day is it prompts a lot of general managers to take another look at Bridgewater’s tape from Louisville games and be sure that they like or don’t like what they see.
Garrison from Baton Rouge, LA:
What would be fair to expect from Gus Bradley going in to next year? At some point, we will have to higher the expectations for this team. And if we land our Franchise Quarterback this offseason, do we make a push for the playoffs?
John: I think it’s fair to expect improvement. I’ve said before and I’ll continue to say that the acquisitions made thus far this offseason don’t make the Jaguars as an elite roster. They make it an improved roster that should be more competitive more consistently. As for landing the franchise quarterback, that could happen, but before pinning too much on his arrival, remember: even if the Jaguars take a quarterback No. 3 overall, it’s very likely that player won’t start immediately. The Jaguars want to allow such a player to develop. That’s the plan, and if the Jaguars take a quarterback at three, I’d be surprised if they don’t stick to that plan.
April from Pooler, GA:
Do you think there is at least a 14 percent chance the Jags offer Mack a contract based on their need at center, his youth, and talent? Cleveland will then have 5 days to match it, of course.
John: No.
Jeff from Starke, FL:
Thinking about free agency thus far and the upcoming draft with as many picks we have, this is a quick rebuild, is it not? Free agency has two starters on offense and four on defense (or at least significant contributors). With 11 draft picks you have to believe you'll get five starters/contributors in the first two days of the draft. Add that to offseason last year and how the secondary was overhauled, the pace of change is quick around Everbank.
John: It indeed has been a quick transition, and it’s going to be different-looking roster. I don’t know that realistically you’ll see five rookies starting. The Jaguars would like that not to be the case. Playing as many rookies as they did early last season wasn’t ideal and they’d like to give most of the rookies more time to develop and learn before inserting them into the lineup. The pace of change is quick, but even with quick change, this is a process and there are still steps to be made before elite status – and possibly before serious playoff contention.
Robert from Orange Park, FL:
What is your opinion of Aaron Murray? I was intrigued by him in college. He may not have the ideal size for a quarterback, but let's face it, the prototypical size for a quarterback is anyone's guess nowadays. For someone who watches a lot of SEC football, I'd say I would love to see the Jaguars use a Day 3 pick on him.
John: The Jaguars could well take two quarterbacks in the draft. It wouldn’t be shocking at all, just as it wouldn’t be shocking if one of those players was Aaron Murray.
Artis from Norfolk, VA:
The only knock I'm hearing on Manziel is his size. I thought Russell Wilson proved that to be a nonfactor these last two seasons. If that's Johnny's biggest knock he deserves to be drafted at No. 3.
John: That’s not the only knock on Manziel. There are also those who worry about his ability to elude the pass rush and buy time in the NFL. That’s a concern because that element of his game was so critical to his college success. There are also those who worry that most of his success in college came throwing to receivers who were already open as opposed to throwing into tight windows in NFL-type routes. This isn’t saying that those things will keep him from being drafted No. 3, but if teams pass on Manziel early size won’t be the sole reason.
Adam from Terrance Suite:
Tandon Doss? Is this the big splash at wide receiver that we were talking about? Where is the star power? The known-named wide receiver? Why not go after someone who is proven? Thank you for all your efforts, John!
John: Splashes don’t win games in the NFL. Players do.
Jonathan from Cobb County, GA:
With the additions of talent and depth along the defensive line, does the offensive line stand a chance for improvement due to tougher competition in every practice from now on?
John: It should help. Gus Bradley’s all about competition, and it stands to reason working against, say, Chris Clemons, will help, say, Luke Joeckel – though a lot of that improvement realistically would come in the first few weeks of training camp. That’s when the majority of the live-pads hitting would come in. Overall, the offensive line needs to improve with some personnel updgrades. Signing Zane Beadles as a free agent was a step. I doubt it’s the last one.
Jared from Cantonment, FL and Section 116:
People have thought I'm insane, but if we don't start a rookie and bring in more playmakers on offense I believe with an incentive-based contract Henne will play lights out. This happens all the time with players in the NFL (Garrard) looking for the big bucks, am I wrong?
John: Henne has a chance to improve if the players around him improve. The Jaguars firmly believe that, which is why they signed him before free agency began. Playing for a year in Jedd Fisch’s offensive system also could help. I can’t say I agree that Henne will improve because of the incentives in his contract. He’s a pretty self-motivated guy, and I’ve never gotten the feel that he’s a guy who will play better or worse because of what’s going on off the field.
Allen from Muscatine, IA:
What role does Austin Pasztor play this season? Will he be the right tackle and will he get a contract extension?
John: He will be the right tackle. If he plays well and proves to be a player the Jaguars can be a long-term solution at right tackle, then yes, he probably will have a chance to get a contract extension.
Isom from Jacksonville:
For fans that remember Bryce Paup, he's a good example of what happens when you sign players that don't fit your scheme.
John: Yes.
Mike from St. Mary’s, GA:
What I like most about these free-agency signings is nearly all guaranteed money can be comfortably paid this year, so there's very little financial impact on future years. I have to admit, even though I'm still a little angry over the state he left the team in for the 2013 season, that without the approach Caldwell took his free agency strategy this year wouldn't be as feasible. I'm coming around. Also, I bet there are quite a few jealous general managers whose owners wouldn't dream of allowing a plan like Caldwell's. While I hated last year and am still not convinced it had to happen like that, I do like that Caldwell so far has been consistent in executing the plan he laid out. I can respect that.
John: The key point you make is that few owners would have allowed this plan. When Caldwell, Jaguars Owner Shad Khan and Head Coach Gus Bradley started planning this build last offseason, all knew the early stages would be difficult. Truly building through the draft takes a measure of patience, and not all owners are willing to really take the approach. So far in two offseasons, evidence shows that Khan is willing to be patient and that Caldwell indeed is willing to truly follow the plan originally laid out. It is indeed worthy of respect.
Joseph from Jacksonville:
I know you are a believer that Dave Caldwell is not a smoke-screen guy. I sorta sense that too. However, if he does take Manziel with the third pick, that will dispel the notion that he isn't a smoke-screen guy because I don't sense at all that they will draft Manziel yet I wouldn't be surprised.
John: I’m very tired all of a sudden.

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