Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

December 20, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Michael DiRocco

Michael DiRocco
  (3:02 PM)

Hello everyone. Let's get started.

pj (midlo)

need to pick up flex for championship and the best two available are Todman and Crabtree (SF). Feel Todman is the Man this week but only if he is lead dog on the sled (latest on MJD?) thanks - merry christmas and I checked the list and Santa has 9 victories on it next year for you - keep positive and stay strong

Michael DiRocco
  (3:03 PM)

pj: It's looking like MJD will be able to play some, but nothing definitive until they test him on Sunday morning. However, even if he does play he likely won't have a full load so Todman will get significant work.

egbert Orlando [via mobile]

Who will the jag get in the first round,thanks.

Michael DiRocco
  (3:04 PM)

egbert: I think they'll take one of two QBs: Teddy Bridgewater or Johnny Manziel. That could change, but that's what I'm going with right now.

Dirk (Jax, Fl)

I heard you mention that the Jags will draft a QB with the only question as to which one will be avaible. I don't agree in that the Jags already did that same thing when they drafted Gabbert. Caldwell won't make that same mistake, and I believe he will draft who he thinks has the best chance to become a very good player regardless of a specific position. Obviously the Jags need a QB but there is no way they draft one with question marks like for example Manziel. This draft doesn't have a Luck, nor any blue chip players. So IMO I wouldn't lock the jags into a QB or a pass rusher. Nobody had the Jags taking Joekel.

Michael DiRocco
  (3:07 PM)

Dirk: Actually, Caldwell did tell the media here he was going to draft an OT. They just thought he was trying to mislead them. However, I agree that they may not necessarily go with QB in first round. But if they don't, I'd be stunned if it wasn't a pass rusher. Here's a piece I wrote earlier in the week outlining both arguments. http://espn.go.com/blog/jacksonville-jaguars/post/_/id/3049/qb-or-de-that-is-the-question-for-jags

Ralphie Parker (Hohman, Indiana)

What is your takeaway from Jordan Todman's performance (25-109) against Buffalo? Is he good enough to fill 1/2 of a quality backfield rotation next season?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:08 PM)

Ralphie: I think he proved that against Buffalo. He's not a power runner but he can get outside and be a factor in the passing game. PS: You'll shoot your eye out.

Dirk (Jax, Fl)

Roy Miller has been playing with a bum shoulder this year, has been a team leader, is young, and has proven when healthy to be really good at stopping the run. Do you think the injury has really affected his play, and do you think the Jags will have him back?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:09 PM)

Dirk: The coaching staff says the injury hasn't affected his play, but I think it has from the standpoint that he probably could play more snaps if he wasn't banged up. He has been a disappointment this season because of that. I don't expect him back.

Randy Parker (Under The Sink)

Seasons greeetings, Michael. Which of the struggling AFC South teams do you see returning to contention first? I could easily see Houston bouncing back quickly if they handle this off-season correctly.

Michael DiRocco
  (3:11 PM)

Randy: I agree with you on Houston provided they find a QB. If they do indeed sign Jay Cutler then I'd even pick them to be the division winner next year. I'm not thrilled with the way the Colts have used Andrew Luck. Let him loose. PS: Dad's not going to kill Ralphie.

Dirk (Jax, Fl)

Looks like the Jags have really found a gem in Winston Guy. Would you say Cyrprien and Guy are the future starting tandem at Safety?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:12 PM)

Dirk: I think Guy and Evans will continue to battle that out. The player who finally figures out their coverage duties completely will win the starting job. Guy does seem to fly around more, though, and you I like that.

Flick (Flag pole-Warren G. Harding Elementary)

Do you see any changes at the coordinator slots for the Jaguars? The stats/rankings aren't kind to Fisch and Babich. How much could these last two weeks/continued progress factor into any decisions?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:15 PM)

Flick: I don't think either goes anywhere. The talent level on this team is so low that it's really hard to have issues with the coordinators. Besides, both the offense and defense has played better in the second half of the season. I don't think Bradley will make any changes, not even if someone triple dog-dares him.

Kyle (West Palm Beach)

Great job covering this team this year, enjoyed reading your content. I assume you will be back next year?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:15 PM)

Kyle: Thank you. I'm planning on it. Hopefully my bosses are, too.

The TodmanNado (Jax)

Todman looked impressive against Buffalo. Could he be the RB of the future?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:16 PM)

The TodmanNado: Not as a feature back, but certainly as a significant part of a backfield tandem.

Paulo (NYC)

Do you think Denard gets a few snaps at RB this weekend?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:16 PM)

Paulo: I do, but he better not put the ball on the ground again or he'll be on shaky ground in the offseason.

Yukon Cornelius (The Arctic)

Happy Holidays, Michael. How do you compare Gus Bradley's performance to the other 1st year HC? Please refresh my memory as to the other candidates that Jacksonville brought in for interviews.

Michael DiRocco
  (3:20 PM)

Yukon: Bradley's main task this season was to change the culture inside the locker room and get the players to buy into that and his system. He did that, and he also got four victories along the way. I'd say he did a very good job this season considering the talent level he has.

Tom (NYC)

A coaches job seems to rely on who he drafts to be the franchise Quarterback. If the Jags don't see "The Guy" in this draft, why wouldn't they act similarly to last year and find other foundation players? Next year's QB class has loads of potential.

Michael DiRocco
  (3:22 PM)

Tom: I don't think there's any way they don't take a QB this year. It may be a case where they don't like any of the top guys so they go DE/OLB, DL, or OL first and then get one in the second or third round. The quicker they find the franchise QB the quicker the franchise can improve and become a playoff contender.

Dirk (Jax, Fl)

With Meester set to retire, do the Jags spend big money in FA to fill that spot? I can't see them drafting a rookie to make the line calls, and fill that void. I also can't see them just grabbing a mediocre at best Centerin FA. Seems you have just that, and a couple real good ones in Mack and Brain De La Puente. Whats your thoughts on the Jags grabbing one of those two guys?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:23 PM)

Dirk: The Jaguars will likely address center in free agency, but I don't think Caldwell wants to spend a lot of money on one. You can get by with an average to above-average center as long as he's pretty smart, which is essentially what they did with Meester. Caldwell would like to save as much money this season so he can splurge more after next season to fill any glaring needs then.

Charlie (In-The-Box)

The release of Mincey was obviously based on (lack of) production. Was there any reason (cap benefit, locker room issues, etc) that explains the timing?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:24 PM)

Charlie: He was consistently late to meetings and had some other accountability issues and Bradley felt it was best to cut ties immediately. He denies it, but it was also a message to the team: No matter how much I like you, if you don't buy in, you're gone.

Hermey (Dental School)

Which do you value more: finishing with momentum or landing a higher draft slot? Mixed emotions on this end. Great job on the chats.

Michael DiRocco
  (3:25 PM)

Hermey: For this franchise, I think momentum is the key because it generates excitement in the community in the offseason -- which should improve ticket sales. And really, is there much of a difference in picking 3rd as opposed to 6th? Not really if you have a good GM.

Kyle (West Palm Beach)

How much better do you feel about the talent on this roster now, then you did at the beginning of the year?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:27 PM)

Kyle: At certain spots, much better: the secondary and at receiver. A couple signings (Will Blackmon, Winston Guy) and the development of young players (Ace Sanders, Mike Brown) gives me a more optimistic feeling about those positions.

Alan Stanwyck (Provo, UT)

Do you think the Jags are better off addressing the D instead of QB this draft?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:29 PM)

Alan: If there is a player the Jaguars believe can be a franchise QB available when it's their turn to pick, they have the take the QB. Never pass on a chance to grab a franchise QB for any other position. Maybe they go pass rusher with their first pick and QB with their second, but if they don't take a QB in the top three rounds I'll be stunned.

Nelson (DE)

Do you think there are any scenarios in which the Jags would deal draft picks this offseason in order to acquire experienced players? What position would this most likely happen?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:30 PM)

Nelson: Unlikely because Caldwell really values draft picks. Now, would he deal some to move up or down in the draft? Absolutely.

Ted Underhill (the Country Club)

Mike - It seemed the OL took a step back last week against a so-so Buffalo D. Any insight as to why?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:31 PM)

Ted: Will Rackley not playing and Mike Brewster getting injured really hurt them at left guard. That was the main issue.

Fat Sam (The Beach)

Has Denard Robinson finally worn out his welcome?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:31 PM)

Fat Sam: Not yet, but he needs to make significant strides in the offseason (ball security) or he may not make the roster next August.

The Bumble (Island of Misfit Toys)

We've got the 32nd ranked offense and 30th ranked defense in terms of points/game. Which unit do you think will improve more quickly?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:33 PM)

The Bumble: If the Jags find the right QB, then the offense should improve more quickly. Otherwise, I think the defense can make significant strides next season if they address the pass rush and linebacker.

Stanton Boyd (Boyd Aviation)

What % do you give a Justin Blackmon return? Has he learned his lesson?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:35 PM)

Stanton: 10 percent. I think the Jaguars would be wise to cut ties with him if he gets reinstated next year. As for learning his lesson, no one can know that until he's back in the league and either stays clean or blows another test.

Dirk (Jax, Fl)

Whats your thoughts On Bradley and Caldwell?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:38 PM)

Dirk: I like them both a lot. Bradley has really won over the locker room and changed the culture in there. I've had several players tell me they were miserable last year and now are happy. I think Caldwell is a pretty bright guy and did a solid job with his first draft. They're both sticking to their plan, which is the right way to do things. No shortcuts.

Gummy (the beach)

What will the Jags' schedule look like for next year? Can we realistically talk Wild Card in '14?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:40 PM)

Gummy: The Jags played Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Dallas, NY Giants and an AFC East team at home. They play at Baltimore, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Washington and an NFC East team. I think the playoffs are another year away, but the right QB could accelerate that process.

Chief Jerry Karlin (LAPD)

Marks, Poz and the young DBs are nice building blocks. Anyone else on the D you see worth keeping?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:41 PM)

Chief: Alan Ball and Will Blackmon have done a nice job at corner. They're two veterans who are good leaders and still able to play at a solid level. Tyson Alualu has played well. His position doesn't get a lot of sacks so people think he hasn't been productive, but that's not the case.

Dirk (Jax, Fl)

Babin seems more like a natural fit at OLB in a 34 than a DE in a 43. Time and time again I see OT's bulldoze him into the ground. Not sure how a wide 9 differs from a LEO? Did Babin just lose it or is it just the wrong scheme for him? I don't see the Jags bringing him back with his high salary next year and lack of production. What do you think?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:43 PM)

Dirk: I think he'll be back if he's willing to take a pay cut, and he said the other day that is an option he would consider because he likes it here. I don't think he'd be a good fit at OLB because he's not great in coverage. I like they way they use him, but he does have limitations.

Irwin Fletcher (LA)

Is Marcedes Lewis pictured on milk cartons? Where has he been?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:44 PM)

Fletch: I thought I was never supposed to call you Irwin? Anyway, he has caught a TD pass in three straight games, but I agree that he hasn't been as much of a factor in the passing game as he should be. Part of it is he's been very good as a run blocker, but he also missed a lot of time early in the season so he was behind in experience in the offense in game situations.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What is the Coldest Jacksonville Jaguars Game that you have been to? Merry Christmas!!!

Michael DiRocco
  (3:45 PM)

Chris: Merry Christmas to you, too. I'm not sure I can answer that, because until this season I never covered a Jaguars game that wasn't played here in Jacksonville.

Ignatius Thistlewhite (Southtown)

100+ rushing yards in each of the past 4 games. Gus has to be pleased with the coaching job George Yano has turned in with this injury plagued unit. Is this the type of offense (close to a 40/60 or 50/50 run to pass ratio) that Bradley and Fisch want?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:47 PM)

Ignatius: Yes, with the caveat that they start producing more explosive plays. The ratio is good but the yardage total needs to grow, as well. I expect things to be much better next year with a year in the system and (hopefully) a talented young QB.

The Miser Brothers (Southtown)

Anybody from this weekend's bowl games that we Jags fans should keep an eye on. I was thinking Derek Carr and the OLB from Buffalo (Mack?). Merry Christmas.

Michael DiRocco
  (3:48 PM)

The Miser Brothers: Funny you should ask that. I did a blog post earlier today on exactly what you asked. Here it is: http://espn.go.com/blog/jacksonville-jaguars/post/_/id/3070/jaguars-bowl-guide-part-1

Jim Swarthout (Provo, UT)

Is this the most important off-season in Jacksonville Jaguar history? Another flame-out at QB would be a disaster. No way this club survives another 5-year setback and remains in J'ville.

Michael DiRocco
  (3:49 PM)

Jim: I actually thought last year's offseason was more important because the Jaguars needed to hire a new GM and coach. If Shad Khan makes a bad hire at GM, that affects everything else and it's not something a team can overcome. The last five years are an example of that.

Dirk (Jax, Fl)

Do you think Munchak will go the way of Kubiak if he loses twice to the Jags? Do you think the Jags can win with so many key players out?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:52 PM)

Dirk: Munchak is on thin ice but if he's fired it's more than just because he lost to the Jaguars twice. Paul Kuharsky, who covers the Titans, gave me this stat: He's 4-18 against teams with winning records when the Titans played them and 2-19 against teams that finished the season with a winning record. That's what gets you fired.

Professor Hinkle (In search of his hat)

Is Andre Branch a building block on D? 4 sacks in the past 5 games.

Michael DiRocco
  (3:52 PM)

Professor: A building block? No. A supplemental player? Yes.

Gail Stanwyck (LA)

If the Jags grab a rookie QB, do you think that assures MJD a place on the team? No way the braintrust puts a rookie RB (or Shoes Robinson) back there to pick up blitzes.

Michael DiRocco
  (3:53 PM)

Gail: The only thing that guarantees MJD a place on this team next year is if he wants to be back and is willing to sign a reasonable contract.

Uncle Lewis (Chicago)

Your co-worker Bill Barnwell had 4 former Jags on his All-Bargain Team. Your thoughts?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:57 PM)

Uncle Lewis: I didn't have a problem with the decision to not bring back those players. The only one that probably would have really helped the team this season was Daryl Smith, but the team needed to start from the bottom and saved money by not resigning those guys.

Larry (LA Times)

Is the front office upset that so many teams seem to be tanking?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:57 PM)

Larry: Haven't heard a word about that at all.

Dirk (Jax, Fl)

What coaches do you expect to be fired?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:57 PM)

Dirk: None, to be honest with you.

Mary (The Lingerie Counter)

Is Denard Robinson becoming your new Tim Tebow? Always questions about him when he's just a 5th round draft pick who has fumbled the ball 3 times in 19 carries. Merry Christmas to you and yours, Michael.

Michael DiRocco
  (3:58 PM)

Mary: That's a good comparison. Hope you have a good Christmas as well.

Gail Stanwyck (LA )

Follow up question regarding MJD. Define "reasonable." The guy has been the face of the franchise for the past 5 years. He's one of the best blocking and receiving RBs in the NFL. Show him some love, Shad Khan.

Michael DiRocco
  (3:59 PM)

Gail: Something like a two-year deal with a lot of incentives that could pay him up to $5 million per season. He's a 29-year-old RB who has been battling a lot of injuries the past two seasons. The Jaguars shouldn't over-pay for him.

Dirk (Jax, Fl)

What other teams HC do you expect to be fired? Who eventually do you think will be the Houston Texans HC?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:02 PM)

Dirk: There could be as many as eight head coaches fired: Kubiak (already done), Munchak, Garrett, Shanahan, Frazier, Schwartz, Schiano, Ryan. I think Lovie Smith, who has already reportedly interviewed, gets the job.

Dirk (Jax, Fl)

Whats been your favorite thing so far about covering the Jags in your first year? Merry Christmas

Michael DiRocco
  (4:03 PM)

Dirk: The access to players and coaches is so much better than it was covering the University of Florida. It's allowed me to develop somewhat of a relationship with some guys. That has been a pleasant surprise.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:03 PM)

OK, everyone, that's it for this week. I hope you all have a safe and happy Christmas and we'll talk again next Friday.