JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .
Tom from Jacksonville:
Playoff hopes are premature. I like the free agency moves David Caldwell has made, but don't forget the Jaguars lost the first eight games in 2013 by 26, 10, 28, 34, 14, 16, 18 and 32 points. The moves so far are to make us competitive and the 2014 opponents also will be tough. You agree?
John: The moves made by the Jaguars thus far this offseason are indeed about getting more competitive. I’m not sure I’ve ever written much different, though the results from the first half of the 2013 season don’t really factor into next season. Yes, the Jaguars’ offseason moves largely have been about building the talent level along the defensive and offensive lines to make them more competitive, and you are correct that it probably doesn’t yet make them preseason playoff favorite. That doesn’t mean they can’t make it because in the NFL it’s dangerous to say “never,” but there certainly is quite a bit more building remaining.
Mikah from Jacksonville:
With Maurice Jones-Drew still not getting a contract with another team is there still a chance he could come back and be in a two-back system with Gerhart??
John: There’s always a chance, but I would say the odds are very, very slim.
Nolan from Riverside:
It’s truly refreshing to feel that this team is in good hands. Caldwell has made fantastic decisions, Gus Bradley seems to garner respect from everyone he meets and we couldn’t ask for a better owner. Having been a fan since Day 1, I've never felt this good about our team. It wouldn't shock me to see the Jags make a playoff run this year! ALL IN!!
John: Wow. A lot of playoff talk lately, and that’s fine. It’s March and things are supposed to be fun in March. You’re right about Caldwell, Bradley and Khan, and I suspect the underlying reason for people feeling good about the direction is for the most part the decisions and moves fit together and are in synch with the original plan laid out by David Caldwell last offseason. The most important thing about any plan is believing in it and sticking to it, and the Jaguars appear to be doing that.
Lloyd Season Ticket Holder Since Day 1:
Why would we not put what our max package would be for Alex Mack. If Cleveland is forced to match that, then nothing lost? Is the part I am missing that he wants more than any reasonable team is willing to pay him?
John: The part that’s missing is that even as good as Alex Mack is, there is a limit on what most teams will pay a center.
Wallace from Jacksonville:
Loved the question from Tim referring to Blaine Gabbert's Pro Day performance pointing out the relative value of these Pro Days. They are a piece of the puzzle, but not a significant one. To me, performance in real games and, more specifically, a player's performance in big games at "crunch time" are very important factors. Having the physical tools is one thing. Being able to stay calm under pressure and use those physical tools with the game on the line is even more important. I like what I saw from Bortles last year. He played well in "big games" and that game-winning drive versus Louisville tells me a lot about the guy. Here's one 'fer drafting Blake Bortles - if he's on the board when the Jags pick.
John: Hey! One fer Blake. And yes, those are big points in his favor. He performed well on the field at critical times last season, and he certainly looked the part at the Pro Day Wednesday. So far, he hasn’t done a whole lot during the pre-draft process to decrease his value. It’s getting harder to imagine him not going in the Top 5. Time will tell.
Franklyn from Orange Park, FL:
Put me down as one NOT fer Watkins. Most games the top wide receiver gets the ball in his hands less than 10 times. Unless the guy is Megatron forcing the entire defense to shift to his side every game, I don't see the bang for the buck for a Top 10 pick. And while I think Watkins will be a good (perhaps even very good) receiver in the league for years, he didn't even reach that level of dominance in college.
John: Well, one not fer Watkins, but I can’t invest an exclamation point. I used to believe as you did – that a Top 10 selection was too much draft equity for a wide receiver. But the way the NFL is played now, it’s critical to have at least one receiver who can force double teams his way. Even if the player doesn’t put up Megatron numbers, the player allows offenses to function at a higher level because defenses must game plan and focus on the player, and therefore open up options in the offense elsewhere. There’s no guarantee Watkins is such a player because there are no guarantees in the NFL Draft, but if he is that sort of player … well, then there probably will be a lot of ones fer Watkins.
Ed from Danvers, MA:
The car videos are gold, O-Man. Gold. Any chance of doing one with you and Shadrick going out for lunch? You could use his BMW or your Yugo.
John: I’ve considered this, but there are issues. Shadrick has been known to take what he calls his “sorting-things-through” lunches. They are extended, often lasting deep into the afternoon and early evening. He often returns with an absent smile, muttering, “You’re not in Kansas anymore” under his breath and telling everyone he’s “ready for what lies ahead in life.” I don’t ask questions, but I don’t want to know details, either.
Ryan from Boone, NC:
I don’t think there is much of a Henne Love Fest, and I’m not sure why so many people are down on re-signing him. Sure, Gus said he is the starter now – a guy who preaches competition is not going to hand the reigns over to a rookie to be named later. Henne also has been signed to a very short deal; clearly no one thinks he is a long-term fix. At its absolute worst the Henne deal allows Caldwell to wait a year if his guy gets taken before Caldwell can draft him.
John: People are down on re-signing Henne because it’s difficult for some people to realize the difficulty of finding a veteran quarterback in free agency who you can trust to run the offense. Had Henne hit free agency, he would have signed very quickly and most likely at pretty much what the Jaguars paid him. As you said, he’s probably not a long-term fix, but he’s a reliably short-term fix and that’s important, too.
Steve from Jacksonville Beach:
I hope this doesn't happen, but if Henne gets hurt who's our quarterback? Someone we just drafted?
Robert from Orange Park, FL:
Has Will Rackley
become a forgotten player? I'm not psychic, but I'm leading to believe he will not be on the roster come Week 1. Am I wrong?
John: The Jaguars haven’t forgotten about Rackley. It appears he will compete for the right guard position – possibly with a rookie. That and center are probably the most fluid, uncertain positions on the Jaguars’ roster right now. I expect Rackley to be on the roster next season in some capacity. Stay tuned.
Phil from St. Augustine, FL:
Regarding MJD and the Ring of Honor, I don't think Jones-Drew has played with much heart at all since his contract dispute/holdout.
John: I would disagree and I think most people close to the situation would, too.
Daniel since Day One:
So you're saying they are developing plans for a removable roof? Gosh what a great idea... I wonder why no one suggested that idea in the last 20 years...
John: I can’t say why it hasn’t been done in the last 20 years, and we’re far enough out on this concept that I haven’t dug deep on details. I can say that it’s my understanding that the technology/engineering for such things have developed to the point where it’s considerably more feasible now than it would have been a decade ago.
Eric from Cinnamond:
John, you are a peasant.
John: Thanks, Eric. I have been described as mildly attractive, manly, intimidating, outrageously witty, stunningly sly and just, plain awesome, but until now, never as “pleasant” … Oh.
Adam from Jacksonville:
With an unnamed true No. 1 receiver on the trade block in Philly do you feel the Jaguars should pursue such an option? I understand the draft is deep at wide receiver, but I do not see anyone as explosive as said player that we could draft. Thanks and keep up the good work.
John: David Caldwell’s approach thus far has been to make moves to secure more draft choices, not fewer. And while I always hesitate to say a collegiate player is “more this or that” than a player who has proven himself professionally,” everything you hear about Sammy Watkins is that he has a chance to be really, really special.
Cliff from Callahan, FL:
There's a guy in Culligan commercial? And a water cooler?
John: So they say.