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O-Zone: Simply the best

Posted Apr 28, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Troy from York, PA:
Hey, O-man … I'm pumped about the start of the season. I already got my tickets for the Eagles, Redskins and Steelers games since they're close by. It’s the first time I'll get to watch more than one game, but I am bummed and confused because we get cheated every year. I'm sick of not getting a Monday night game and always seeing the same teams play on those nights.
John: It’s good that you’re pumped – and good for you that you’ll get to see more than one game this season. But no one’s getting cheated, Troy. The NFL and the networks choose games for prime-time, nationally televised appearances that they believe will entice large numbers of people to view them. The Jaguars haven’t made the playoffs since 2007 and went 4-12 last season, so they’re a difficult “sell” to a national-television audience. When they become competitive and start making the postseason again, you’ll see the Jaguars on those nights.
Brian from Greenwood, IN:
Fulham is about to get relegated down. That means a major loss in revenue coming into the system. Shad has some work to do with Fulham...
John: Right. And that’s what he’ll do.
Emily from Jacksonville:
Why, why, why are we not going to get a quarterback this year??? My daughter and granddaughter no longer want to go to games because "it's too sad." I don't know how much longer we can hold out any hope. I just heard on the news that the Jags are picked to lose every single game this year and part of that is we have no reliable offense. Our defense is great and they are killing themselves trying to make things happen and our offense does nothing with every opportunity they get. This would be OK if there were hope in the future, but Henne is average at best. With arguably the best quarterback class in quite some time, why would they not select one of the three “game-ready” quarterbacks?
John: Wow, wow, wow, Emily – we’re having a tough time, aren’t we? Sit down in the Truth Chair and I’ll see if I can help. First, don’t pay so much attention to what you hear on the news; what people are picking has no bearing on what will happen next season. Second, and perhaps more importantly, the Jaguars are almost certainly going to get a quarterback in the draft, and quite possibly a couple of them. Now, it’s quite likely that these won’t be in the first round, which is where the third and fourth points come in. While this is certainly a deep quarterback class, I don’t know that anyone would tell you it’s as good at the top of the class as, say, the 2012 draft with Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, and certainly there is no Luck-level prospect. But the most important point is your use of the phrase, “game-ready,” which I assume you’re using to describe Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles. Those three may or may not be first-round selections and they may or may not be the first three quarterbacks selected, but they are generally very much not considered game-ready, which is a big reason the Jaguars may choose instead to address the position after the first round.
George from New York, NY:
GET BETTER JOHN! GET BETTER!
John: TOO LATE, GEORGE!! TOO LATE!
Rutledge from Beay Clerc:
A good draft story you may wish to share … Paul Brown won championships in two leagues. In 1957, he wanted John Bolton, quarterback, Stanford; the San Francisco 49ers took him. Next he wanted Len Dawson, quarterback, Purdue; the Steelers took him. So Paul settled for Jim Brown, running back, Syracuse. Maybe the Jags will do so well.
John: While Len Dawson didn’t turn out half bad, your point – which apparently is that luck has a lot to do with NFL success – is well taken. Luck isn’t perhaps quite as big a factor as our friend Vito Stellino might believe, but when it comes to the draft, it does play a role.
904 from …:
What are the chances the Jags draft more than one offensive lineman in first three rounds?
John: Slim. Almost none.
Eric from Yulee, FL:
Why is Bridgewater not being mocked in the Top 3 if he was seen as a very likely No. 1 pick after the 2012 season and his 2013 season was better than his 2012 season? I thought Pro Days weren't that important? It seems after the 2012 season people thought a team would be lucky to get Bridgewater with the No. 3 pick.
John: “People” generally did believe Bridgewater likely would be a Top 3 selection after the 2012 season, but those people were draft analysts who were projecting months before the draft rather than general managers and scouts. As the 2013 season progressed, you started hearing some doubts about Bridgewater that the Pro Day and workouts apparently have confirmed. Now, I’m not saying Bridgewater’s Pro Day didn’t hurt him. It did – certainly more so than usually is the case. But it’s not as if every general manager was drooling over him for two seasons and suddenly did an about face.
Tim from St. Petersburg, FL:
John, I have quiet optimism for the new regime, but too many have gotten into a love fest with Caldwell. Remember our savior Shack, or in Gene we trust? Both swung and missed on the quarterback. Until Caldwell swings and does not miss on the quarterback, I will temper my enthusiasm.
John: I think Caldwell’s a savvy enough football guy to understand your approach. Caldwell’s not in this for the love fest or a clever nickname. He’s in this to build a winner. Part of that is finding the answer at quarterback, and it’s Caldwell’s job to do that the best way possible in the circumstances in which he’s operating.
Kyle from Jacksonville:
I've been seeing rumors lately that Mike Glennon could be on the trade block from Tampa soon. If that happens and the price is right, such as a fourth- or fifth-round pick, what do think are the chances Dave Caldwell goes after him? Seems to me you couldn't find much in the late rounds better than last year’s best rookie quarterback.
John: Glennon was selected in the third round last season, which means Caldwell passed on him three times. I can’t say that Caldwell absolutely wouldn’t give up a fifth-round selection for him, but it does stand to reason there’s a good chance that there are more than a few quarterbacks in this draft that Caldwell probably likes as much.
Bill from Yulee, FL:
I don't see us trading out of the third pick and I see us taking one of these three: Clowney, Mack or Watkins. A quarterback should be taken in the second round. How do you see the draft playing out?
John: Your scenario is as good as any. It wouldn’t stun me to see the Jaguars trade out of the No. 3 spot, but if you don’t, it could easily come down to Mack or Watkins there. I’m not as certain the Jaguars absolutely must take a quarterback in the first two rounds as most. This quarterback class’ strength appears to be its depth rather than elite talent at the top, so if the Jaguars project multiple quarterbacks similarly, they could address that area in Round 3 or later.
Tim from Jacksonville and Section 213:
I agree that calls for an apology are silly and unnecessary. However, I do not agree that NFL.com is just another blog site on the Internet. They may want NFL.com to be what ESPN.com is, but that doesn't mean the average Joe sees it that way. In the eyes of the layperson, NFL.com is an official site of the NFL with true news stories and information, just as Jaguars.com is the official site of the Jaguars. If NFL.com is just filled with ESPN-style infotainment and editorials, then where is the web site with official NFL news that we can trust?
John: We’re back on the topic of NFL.com’s London Jaguars misstep this week, and while I sense it’s getting close to time to move on, it’s enough of a topic that we’ll milk it for another morning. Your email asks several questions, and as often is the case, the truth on your underlying issue lies somewhere in the middle. I never wrote that that NFL.com is just another “blog site,” just as it’s not fair to call ESPN all infotainment and editorials. Many high-profile web sites are in fact a combination of news, entertainment and editorial. The piece of content that has drawn the ire of Jaguars fans was not a news story or an editorial. It in fact wasn’t entertaining, either, though it appears entertainment must have been its creator’s objective. Just as is the case with ESPN, there are stories on NFL.com that are clearly news stories with official news, and as is the case with ESPN and other news sites, they can usually be trusted. Can they always be trusted? Is there a perfect website out there? Well, no, but the world isn’t a perfect place.
Cory from Philadelphia, PA:
Let us end all of this Blades of Steel and Contra talk. I have only two words for you, John: Tecmo Bowl.
John: Obviously.

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