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O-Zone: Wild-eyed boys

Posted Apr 27, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Chris from Jacksonville:
I know you're not worried about it, but NFL.com is the league "face" on the internet. Anything released on it bears Goodell's stamp of approval by default. NFL.com and Goodell owe Jag fans an apology.
John: You’re talking about the “London Jaguars” quip on NFL.com this week the night of the 2014 schedule release, and you’re right: I’m not worried about it. I wouldn’t expect an apology from Goodell, but after being bombarded by Jaguars Twitter, the NFL did remove the quip and acknowledge that it was a misstep. Remember, while some see NFL.com as the league face, it is in fact a website produced by human beings of all levels of competence, something that was proven true this week. What appears on there shouldn’t be perceived as an Official Statement by Default. Nor should it be assumed that anyone writing for it has inside information. It was a weak, throwaway sentence in a fairly forgettable piece of content. As someone with extensive background in the genre, I noticed it immediately and filed it away as such.
@DUVAL DOOM from Section 217:
Damn right it was "handled" #DTWD
John: Heh. Heh.
Kevin from Fruit Cove, FL:
Mr. O Man, I would just like to say that for the first time since the Tom Coughlin days, the Jaguars have good football minds making good decisions. It does not matter who we pick at any given selection. Jaguar Nation can rest assured that this regime is going to make the right decision. Lighten up, people, and have faith.
John: It does feel that way, doesn’t it? I would describe it like this: while every decision made during the Tom Coughlin era wasn’t the right one, the overall plan was sound enough that more good decisions got made than bad. The result was that the Jaguars for the most part moved in the right direction for a while during that time – with the result a whole lot more victories than losses. That’s starting to feel like what’s going on around the Jaguars now. It’s not realistic to think that every decision David Caldwell make is going to be good. Drafting and signing human beings doesn’t work that way. But overall, this group is sticking to what appears to be a sound plan, which gives the Jaguars a realistic chance to continue building in the right direction. That’s all you can ask as an NFL franchise.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
What are the Top Three positions that the Jags need, or should draft, with their first three picks? Thanks for the great work and keeping us informed. You are a really good writer and liaison for the Jags.
John: You have a keen eye for talent and liaison ability. The Jaguars have many areas of need, and the “Top Three” likely differ depending on who’s doing the analyzing, but I would say, “Wide receiver, pass rusher and center.” Now, that’s a different question than what positions the Jaguars should draft with their first three selections. You don’t necessarily approach the draft to fill your most immediate needs. You try to draft with the idea of building the most talented roster possible over the long haul.
Sam from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Why don't you love me?
John: I did some thinkin’ on this, and decided it likely stems from having to love yourself first before you can love others. But let me get back to you.
Keith from Summerville:
Blades of Steel? Contra maybe, but not Blades of Steel.
John: Heathen.
Michael from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Do all 32 teams talk throughout the middle of the draft and ask who they are thinking about picking? If a team wants to trade down, do they talk to the teams they're passing so they can ensure that even if they do trade down the player they want will still be there later on? Or do they just cross their fingers and hope that player will still be there when it's their pick?
John: Team officials talk to officials from other teams during the draft, but they’re usually exploring potential trades. With rare exceptions, teams don’t tell each other their draft plans – and if they do, they may or may not be telling the truth. So, yeah, teams are basically crossing their fingers in your scenario. Trade down at your own peril.
James from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Determination and drive only take you so far once the burst is gone. And it's gone.
John: I have a rare combination of lagging burst, minimal determination and piddly drive. It’s somewhat less-than-volatile combination that leads to things like this.
Dane from Jacksonville:
Hey Bro-Zone! Have you watched any highlighted of Tom Savage? What are your thoughts on him? Is he a guy that GM John would target in the mid- to later rounds?
John: Savage is a big guy with a big arm, and he has been one of the fastest risers as the draft has approached. I doubt he will be there in the later rounds, but he’s intriguing in the second or third.
Astorm from Ozone Comments:
What sort of background does a general manager come from? Aside from the obvious education requirements, are they typically former scouts or coaches? What's Dave's background?
John: General managers are almost always former scouts or coaches – more often than not, they have extensive experience in scouting and personnel. David Caldwell spent more than a decade in the Colts’ scouting department and five more years in the Atlanta Falcons’ front office before being hired as Jaguars General Manager in 2013.
Paul from Jacksonville:
I'm so excited to see the improvements to the stadium for next year. I've said before that I felt like Shad Khan was writing a success story here in Jacksonville. The more I see him do, the more I'm convinced I was right. How many owners have the vision, means and, dare I say, mojo to grow an entire city to support a sports franchise?
John: Very few.
Bryan from Tampa, FL:
When the average fan, like myself, sees a draft prospect like Sammy Watkins – that is, special physical tools/skills and sustained in-game production to back it up – we can't help but think of him as a "safe" pick to immediately improve that position group. Is Khalil Mack considered by most a special talent who is more likely than not to develop into a Pro-Bowl caliber player like Watkins? Thanks for your input, O!
John: I have a tough time seeing a wide receiver as a safe prospect. It has been a boom-or-bust position too long – and not just in Jacksonville. That said, NFL scouts will tell you Watkins appears to be one of the better wide receiver prospects to come out in some time and most believe he’s a safe bet for the position. Mack indeed is considered a special talent, but that’s true of just about every non-quarterback in the Top 10 this year.
Jared from Banning, CA:
Good read on Herschel Walker and him saying he thinks he could still make an NFL roster. Why not give him a chance? I mean, what’s the worst that can happen when Toby Gerhart is your No.1 running back?
John: I don’t know, but sign a 50-year-old-plus running back and you’ll have a good chance to find out.
Noah from Jacksonville:
Even though Tajh Boyd set ACC records in college he is still projected at Round 7 in the NFL Draft. But Jimmy Garoppolo from an FCS school is projected at the second round for the Jags. Do you think Boyd is being cheated?
John: No, I think Boyd is being evaluated as accurately and thoroughly as possible by people who are paid to do that as well as they know how.
Esko from Finland:
O' the Wisest One, could you recommend me some 38 Special songs that you think are closer in style to AC/DC rather than to Chicago? Wikipedia lists “hard rock” as one of the 38 Special's genres, but, with all respect, their most popular videos in YouTube at least tend to sound more like 1980s soft rock.
John: Although I can’t pretend to be the *best* source on this, I have at least a touch of working knowledge – and not just because I got Wild-Eyed Southern Boys autographed at The Music Shop at Regency Mall in the Spring of ‘81. (“To John, Keep Rockin -- 38 Special;” think on *that* a while, Shadrick). I can tell you that while 38 indeed went the way of a softer, sort-of-kinda-Chicago-style with “Caught Up in You” and the like in their MTV-rotation era – and while they were never exactly AC/DCish – they did have real Southern Rock roots. And for that era, they did have a hard edge … at first. When my friend – the now-renowned, seersucker-suit-wearing, Jacksonville-based-attorney David Barksdale – got 38’s third album, “Rocking Into the Night” in 1980, we pretty much wore it out while playing one-on-one basketball in his driveway. The memories are fuzzy, being nearly three and a half decades old now, but let’s just say I won more than I lost.

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