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O-Zone: Some ‘splaining to do

Posted Jan 24, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .

Scott from Vienna, FL:
The report from the Senior Bowl said that Marcus Stroud and Mike Peterson were trying to find jobs in coaching. How hard is it for former players to find a job like that in the NFL?
John: It depends on the former players. Many players express interest in coaching while they are still playing and begin making contacts with that in mind. That sometimes enables them to transition a bit easier. Other players recoil at the thought of the hours involved, can’t imagine coaching while they’re playing, then find following retirement that they want to get back into it. That can take more time. There is a limited number of NFL coaching positions, and there are already some pretty qualified people in the positions, so it’s not as easy as simply going on Twitter and saying, “I’m ready.” You have to get an opportunity.
Tim from Ocala, FL:
What do you think the plan is if Chad Henne chooses to sign elsewhere? Will they bring in a different veteran, or will they use Blaine Gabbert as the bridge to the new guy?
John: If the Jaguars decide a player in the draft is a Top 3 quarterback, I don’t think there will be a bridge. I think that player will start very soon, if not immediately. If that doesn’t happen, I expect another veteran to be brought in with a very good chance to start.
Dean from Rochester, NY:
On the PAT thing, Saints versus Jaguars … December 23, 2003… Carney missed an extra point after the crazy River City Relay. I remember the highs, lows, and highs of the long yardage and highly improbable relay play, which would have sent us to overtime with the PAT, followed by the high of the PAT miss. That ending would have been much less interesting.
John: I was inundated with emails Thursday of people pointing this out as an example of why the league should keep the PAT. I can’t argue. No way does that game end as it did without PATs. Such occurrences are rare enough that they probably won’t sway the league to keep the PAT if momentum starts building in the other direction.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
With four games played, four combined tackles, and one interception this past season for the New York Giants, was Aaron Ross still on paid vacation in 2013? #moodachay
John: I don’t know. Perhaps he’ll enlighten us in a nationally-televised interview this offseason.
Mike from Section 238:
If they do away with the PAT, they are really just adding another regular play to the game, then risking more injuries for the big-money players to get injured rather than special teams guys. That doesn't sound like good business for the owners.
John: Unless I’m missing something, that’s not the case. As I understand it, the idea is to award seven points for a touchdown, then add a point for a so-called “two-point” conversion and subtract a point if a team goes for “two” and misses. That wouldn’t increase the number of “two-point” conversion attempts and would eliminate all PAT kicks. By definition that would mean fewer plays, which would quicken the pace of play and reduce injury risk. Those are two things the NFL always seeks to do.
Ryan from Clyde:
How long should you wait to draft a quarterback? On one hand, if you wait you get to pick a player who you think is the best option available to you. On the other hand, you still run the risk of selecting a bust.
John: Welcome to David Caldwell’s world.
Tym from Southside:
Did Jimmy and Barry make the difference, or were the 90s Cowboys just really good? #Neverforget #BarrySwitzer#OehserWantsABulerSwissWatch#ShadrickSightingInSwitzerland #AtMySwissEnd
John: Jimmy Johnson made a huge difference. He drafted and developed many of the players that became the core of that team. Barry Switzer perhaps made less of a difference. And yes, yes, yes – those 90s Cowboys teams were that good.
Arnie from Fernandina Beach, FL:
OMan, I haven't seen much news on the construction of the new improvements. Do you have any insight as to when they are breaking ground? I imagine they have to get started if we’re having them for this upcoming season.
John: Work actually began shortly after the season. It’s ongoing now and it will be more and more noticeable to those driving past the stadium in the coming weeks and months. It will be done before the season. That’s the goal, and whatever the timeframe and whatever the obstacles, these things have a way of somehow getting done.
Richard from Starke, FL:
Why not make the PAT more difficult? I think field goals have gotten way too easy anyway. Narrow the uprights or put a bar across the top and make it a rectangle that you have to kick through.
John: I have heard this idea – making the goal posts more of a rectangle – kicked around more and more lately. I doubt it will happen, but I like the idea. The idea behind possibly changing the PAT rule isn’t as much to make the play more difficult as to increase excitement and player safety. Rectangle goal posts may not get that done, though I’d watch more closely.
Ben from Indy:
John, you seem fairly confident the Jags will go quarterback in the first round. With the supposedly deep class of quarterbacksthis year (including several we get a firsthand look at in the Senior Bowl), what makes you think we go quarterback first instead of defensive end/outside linebacker?
John: Let me clarify my position on this: right now, as of January 24, I figure there’s probably a greater percentage chance that the Jaguars go quarterback than anything else. That’s because it’s just hard to envision the Jaguars not trying to do something significant at quarterback this offseason and the percentages say if you’re going to do something significant at quarterback that’s usually done in the first round. At the same time, we’re more than three months from the draft and the decision-making process has a long way to go. In that respect, I wouldn’t say I’m confident the Jaguars will go quarterback in the first round because there are some fairly significant questions about all the quarterbacks in this draft. It wouldn’t be shocking at all if the Jaguars chose pass rusher early. In fact, it would make a lot of sense. Caldwell said last year there were a few premium positions the Jaguars needed to address and that they couldn’t all be addressed in one draft. They addressed left tackle last year with Luke Joeckel and need to address pass rusher and quarterback, probably over the next two drafts. Which direction will they go this offseason? We shall see.
Alex from Lynchburg, VA:
The way I see it, we are still about three-to-four good drafts from being a serious contender. As a Jaguars fan, I am more than willing to be patient and wait and take every win between now and then as a bonus win. We still need to enhance groups such as linebacker, defensive line, offensive line – not to mention we still need to discover our franchise quarterback. I know that this won't happen in one draft … nor will it happen in two. All good things come with time.
John: We shall see. Getting consistent production – and the occasional above-the-Xs-and-Os plays – from the quarterback position can speed up a building process significantly. Also, even the best teams aren’t perfect at every position group. If the Jaguars keep improving each offseason, there’s no reason they can’t contend quicker than your projections.
Joe from Pontypridd, Wales, United Kingdom:
John, please, please tell me that the ridiculous new timing rules being used at the (awful) Pro Bowl this year will never make it to the regular season?
John: You’re referring to there being a two-minute warning and change of possession at the end of each quarter. No, I don’t see that being a regular- or post-season feature. No way. Almost definitely. Well, let’s just hope not.
Adam from Jacksonville:
Do you think we'll ever see the day that teams considereliminating the dedicated long-snapper position? I know there's more to it than just snapping the ball, but why can't it be a job given to a backup offensive lineman instead of having the position dedicated to a guy that sees the field for only a handful of plays?
John: Team executives consider it all of the time. Then, they see a play or two around the league in which a snap flies over a punter’s head and cost teams games. When that happens, those same general managers bite their lips and re-sign their long snappers. Most teams have long snappers that make minimum salaries or close to it and they’re set with those players there. If you put a backup offensive lineman in the role and the lineman starts playing and gets hurt, then you’re back to having no long snapper. And no one wants to be stuck with no long snapper. Who would … well, you know … snap?
Matt from Jacksonville:
I imagine Shadrick doesn't do a lot of thinkin' and therefore finds himself in situations where he has lots of splainin' to do. #Shadricksighting
John: I imagine you’re right.

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