Welcome everyone. Hope you had a safe and happy New year's Eve. Let's get started.
Listening to Caldwell in regards to FA it sounds like he will try to address the interior OL along with a pass rusher he can develop. Well I did some research based off that, and came up with C Joe Hawley of the Falcons. Young, smart, ascending, and maybe even a guy Caldwell played a major role in the Falcons drafting him. Is Hawley a guy we should keep an eye on that fits what Caldwell is looking for?
Dirk: That's a good call. I believe the Jaguars will look at Cleveland's Alex Mack (if he isn't franchised) first, but they'll have to battle a bunch of teams for his services. Hawley will be 26 in October, which is the prime age that you'd like to sign a free agent.
Do you think Michael Bennett DE of Seattle is a guy Caldwell will go after or is he someone that will command too much money? He was available last year but I think the Jags felt Mincey was someone they could count on instead of being a disaster.
Dirk: I think the Jaguars want to be moderate spenders, which may limit their chance at Bennett. The strategy is to spend moderately in free agency so they can carry cap room over to 2015, which should be the year they can make a run at the playoffs. Then you can spend more money on a final piece or two.
Now that we know where the Jags stand in the draft. If Bridgewater and Mathews go 1 and 2. Would you take Clowney or take a chance on Broyles or Johnny Fratboy? What would you give the odds?
Tom: I'd take Manziel. He's growing on me as a QB. I've seen him go through his reads trying to find a second or third option. I like the fact that he doesn't automatically take off running. I'd be surprised if the Jags passed on him if he were available.
After watching the Sugar Bowl last night, what's the earliest round that you'd take AJ McCarron in? And what do you think his future is as an NFL quarterback?
Collin: I know he made some mistakes last night but I still really like him and I can see him going in the second round. He's not a guy that panics, has a good arm, and is a smart kid. I
Do you see the Jags picking up Gabbert's contract?
Michael: There's a scenario where he remains on the roster next season: The Jaguars are unable to re-sign Henne and draft a quarterback high. But if they re-sign Henne and draft a QB high then I'd be surprised if he's on the roster. The thing is, his contract is guaranteed so they'll have to pay him even if they cut him.
If the Jags are to be moderate spenders in FA, why do you say they will go after Mack? He will command a lot of money to sign a guy like him.
Big Al: Moderate spenders from the total amount spent. I wouldn't be surprised if they were to sign him and then several lower-paid free agents. Remember, they got Sen'Derrick Marks for $1.5 million and look how that paid off.
Do you think Manziel fits in with the type of player Caldwell and Bradley want? They stated they want guys that love football, are leaders on and off the field like Joekel Cyp etc. Seems Manziel with his sleeping in getting kicked out of Mannings camp, fights, and drinking that the Jags would pass on taking him at 3. What are your thoughts, and do you think there is a good chance a team trades with the Rams to grab him before the Jags even have a chance to debate the pros and cons of Manziel?
Dirk: I've spoken with a few people who have been around Manziel and they've told me the same thing: He's got a wild streak off the field during the offseason, but when practice and the season begins he's all business. They said he's a great leader, hard worker, and great guy in the locker room. I don't know if any team will trade up with the Rams to take Manziel, but that doesn't seem very likely. Someone might trade up to get Clowney or even Matthews. But it only takes one team to be interested in someone to get things going.
What do you think of the Bill O'Brien hire? With that move and the #1 overall selection to address QB, I fear that Houston might vault right back to the top of the division.
Shane: I like it because I think Bill O'Brien is a very good coach and has proven to be especially effective. He got Matt McGloin into the NFL. That's a heck of a resume right there. I believe you're right about Houston. If they find the right QB, this team could do the same thing the Chiefs did in 2013.
can you please activate the Auto Update?
Kirk: I did. Should be working.
Should a team be very wary of drafting a guy like Clowney who only turns it on when he wants to? Do you think his talent is so much that even with him playing at a high level sometimes would be worth taking if there at 3?
Dirk: I take him and not worry about that at all. He's so freaking talented that passing on him - unless it's for someone you believe is a franchise QB -- will be something you'd regret for years.
I'm a Falcons fan and trust me, Joe Hawley is awful. Did you see our OL this season? And he was a backup to a bad player. Seriously. Hawley can't play... so maybe he is a Jag after all.
CC: Hawley is an option, but not one I think they'll pursue. I was just saying that he's a name you could watch and he does fit the age parameter. But in regards to getting players to meet their potential when they haven't is something all coaches believe they can do. Gus Bradley was talking about that the other day, joking that a guy could be terrible for four years but the coach still believes he'll get to him in his fifth year.
What was the biggest strength as well as the biggest weakness of Gus Bradley during Year One? Do you expect any changes in the makeup of the coaching staff? Great work this season, Michael.
Johnny: Thank you for the compliment. No staff changes will take place. Bradley said that the other day. His biggest strength was his ability to remain positive throughout the mess of the first half of the season and the that he didn't lose the team. His biggest weakness was just the inexperience factor of being a first-time head coach. He didn't make any calls that blew games, but there were a few times when he probably should have challenged a call and didn't or should have been less aggressive, but those weren't instances that cost the team games.
Interesting statement from PC Caldwell will welcome back Blackmon when reinstated, and view him as a "luxury pick". I know you don't like that, but I really don't see the downside of having him back as long as he continues where he left off. I do hope for his sake he gets himself clean, and the skys the limit talent wise.
Dirk: If it works out it's a fantastic move, but I don't see how anyone can trust him at this point. He's proven to be unreliable and obviously put himself ahead of the team by getting suspended indefinitely. Again, I'd cut him as soon as I could.
What is the % chance that MJD returns to the Jags next season? Seems like more and more of the league is going to 'running back by committee' and dedicating less $ to the position. Would you be OK adopting that philosophy?
Paul: Absolutely I'd be OK with that provided you were able to find the right mix of guys. As for MJD, I thought earlier in the season that there was a 75 percent chance that he'd be back. I've dropped that to about a 30 percent chance now. When MJD said it was about the money, it sounded like a goodbye because I don't think the Jags are going to offer the kind of money he wants.
Even though Caldwell stated they don't have any problems with the cap, shouldn't they renegotiate big contracts such as Lewis? He hasn't merited such a huge salary, and I would think that sends the wrong message. Yes he played well down the stretch, but not up to the level his salary would dictate.
Dirk: Theoretically, yes, but in this case it doesn't hurt to pay him so much because they are so far under the cap. Lewis has a chance to put up the kind of receiving numbers that would complement his blocking ability and would merit a higher cap number next season. If he's on the roster in 2015 it'll be on a reduced salary, though. I don't see the Jags keeping him around at his salary that year.
Funny how I mentioned to you about eliminating the most anti climatic play in football the PAT a couple weeks ago, and now Belichick is trying to do just that. I hope it happens, do you think it will?
Dirk: I'd be surprised. The NFL is slow to change. Players were getting concussions for years and it's only the last few where they've altered the rules for safety. How long did it take to get the two-point conversion in?
Which WR is the better bet to contribute on O next season: Ace Sanders or K. Taylor?
Mouse: That's a good question. I like what Taylor did in the last three games and I think he can be a significant contributor at receiver next season. What I'd like to see them do with Ace is use him as sort of the role they originally anticipated Denard Robinson filling.
Will the Jags go back to a man blocking scheme exclusively? The zone blocking was a joke.
Kevin: Bradley said the team will continue to mix it up but zone blocking will be their main scheme.
Do you think Gabbert has any trade value? I think Caldwell being as smart as he is stated Gabbert will be back in hopes some team will offer something instead of just having to cut him. I think we all know the Jags will draft a QB whether it be at 3 or with their second pick, and that will be the end of Gabbert.
Dirk: I can't see getting much more than a 6th or 7th round pick for Gabbert. A QB that's always hurt and hasn't produced when on the field doesn't have much value.
Reading between the lines it seems the Jags won't to move on from MJD. I think they want to get young, and have whomever they draft at QB be the leader of the offense. Doesn't make much sense to have the Jags invest money in a 30 year old back on the decline. That's the business side of the NFL, and I wish MJD the best.
Dirk: Believe me, the Jaguars aren't planning on investing a lot of money in MJD. They'll likely offer him a contract that's heavy on incentives that could be worth up to maybe $5 million a year. He's a valuable guy to have in the locker room for his leadership and he can still be productive in a smaller role.
I think the Jags made it clear they really would like Henne back. Having him start while the rookie QB has time to learn and grow so when he is ready he can play. Unlike Gabbert that was thrown to the wolves.
Dirk: That's their plan but it hinges on Henne wanting to be back. He says he does, but what kind of money are the Jags willing to pay? His base salary was $2.6 million in 2013. The Jags are likely going to have to go to $3 million or more to keep him.
Are you going to be covering the Senior Bowl? I read the Jags' coaches are involved. Great opportunity for our staff.
Clinton: Nothing has been finalized yet but it looks like I'll be there. It is a great opportunity provided they capitalize on it on draft day.
Bigger waste of a roster spot: Justin Forsett or Denard Robinson?
Eric: I'd say Forsett because he was paid more. He got hurt early and never got involved in the offense. Denard didn't cost that much and he does have potential whereas Forsett has reached his ceiling.
Any update on Justin Blackmon? Do you think we can make the playoffs next season if we get 16 games out of him and Marcedes Lewis?
Shawn: No update. The Jaguars don't have an update either because they've had no contact with him, either. I think the playoffs are more realistic in 2015.
Which do you think is the more logical approach for the Jaguars: bulk up the offensive line in free agency and approach the defensive line in the draft, or bulk up on the defensive line in free agency and approach the offensive line in the draft?
Collin: This isn't a cop-out, but I'd say a mix. Add a free agent on both sides of the line and add some young talent in the draft as well. If I had to pick one scenario, I'd say go with bulking up the OL in free agency. You already have a couple solid building blocks on the DL with Marks and Miller.
Seems like the top 3 QB's (Bridgewater, Johnny Football and Bortles) are different types of players. Do you see one of them as a better fit for the Jags schematically or will the staff adjust that scheme to fit the talent?
Jonathan: They'd adjust to fit the talent, but I think Bridgewater and Manziel are the two players I'd rather have out of that group. OC Jedd Fisch said he wants his QB to scramble and make plays. Bridgewater makes plays with his feet, just not the same way that Manziel does. Bridgewater moves around in the pocket very well.
Do you really want to overpay for a FA Center (Alex Mack)? It's not like the Browns O line was stout this season . . .
Clinton: You always overpay in free agency for front-line guys. That's just the way it is. If the Jags add a pass rusher like Greg Hardy they'd overpay for him, too. The OL needs more of an upgrade than the DL so adding proven players is going to cost more.
Any roster casualties you see in the off-season? % that Gabbert is back?
Hersey: I don't see Jason Babin or Russell Allen being back of the recognizable, bigger-name players. I'd say 25 percent that Gabbert is back next year at the start of the season.
Thanks for the great job this season, Michael. Which Jags player exceeded your expectations the most this season? Aside from Blackmon, whose performance did you find most disappointing?
Lance: Thank you. Will Blackmon exceeded everyone's expectations. He was a late-August addition and turned out to be the leader of the secondary, a solid player, and a spot-starter. Andre Branch played better than I thought he would, too. As for disappointing, probably Roy Miller, but that was because of his injury. Denard Robinson didn't meet my expectations, either, and they weren't very high.
Who is your pick to win Super Bowl?
Are you afraid the Jags will end up settling for the 3rd best QB in a draft that's 2-deep (Bridgewater and Johnny FB)? I'd hate to see them pass on Clowney. Loved your work this year, Mike.
Pat: Thank you. They won't settle. They'll take someone else at No. 3 -- Clowney could be available -- and grab a QB in round 2 or 3 (McCarron or Murray, maybe).
If Henne tests the free agent waters, would you make a run at Sanchez?
Eddie: No way.
Manziel if only from a marketing standpoint (jerseys, tickets, etc) makes sense to a team with NO stars. If he shows long term value, that is a bonus.
Throwin: He would make the Jaguars instantly relevant nationally.
Love the chats, Michael. Are you surprised that defensive coordinators seem to have solved the read option so quickly? Between RG3, Wilson and Kaepernick, it was pretty much THE story as the playoffs opened up one year ago. Makes me wonder if the Jags will target more of a traditional pocket passer.
Jack: OC Jedd Fisch said he wants his QB to scramble and make plays with his feet, but that doesn't mean he wants a read-option guy like Kaepernick or that they'll run a lot of read-option plays. It doesn't surprise me that the read-option isn't as effective. DCs are pretty smart and they had the whole offseason to study film.
Why are the Jags year after year hit with so many injuries? They seem to lead the entire NFL with more players hurt than any other team. What do we need to do?
Mike: I know it seems that way, but this year the Jags were about normal. The Colts had 15 players on IR and the Patriots lost their two best defensive players and Gronkowski. It's just bad luck, I guess
We were last in the league in Sacks this season. How can we pass on Clowney? Henne is a proven commodity at QB.
Ray: Henne is a proven commodity, but as an average NFL QB. He could get the Jags through one more year but you've got to land an elite QB to make a playoff run.
I think holding on to MJD until the bitter end is only going to hamstring the development of a future RB. Leadership only has a certain tangible effect, right?
Tampa: Not necessarily. Guys lead in different ways and it's possible for a younger RB to lead as well as MJD. But I'm thinking he's not going to be back so it's a moot point.
Think the Jags will trade anyone or trade down to get more picks?
Big Al: I can see them dealing picks to move up and down but not players. There's not much interest in anyone on the roster, which we saw at the trade deadline.
Do you think that Texas A & M QB Johnny Manziel will be Selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars?
Chris: There's a chance. I'd be somewhat surprised if he were available at No. 3 (and Bridgewater is gone) and they did pass.
When will you being getting a fat head like Vito?
Joey: Vito's a Hall of Famer. I've got a long way to go before I'm worthy of a fat head.
Aren't the Jaguars better off avoiding the top-tier free agents and using a New England approach (grab some cheap 2nd tier guys)? There are so many holes to fill on this roster.
Elgin: They won't pursue a lot of top-tier free agents but going after one or two won't hurt. But the majority of their signings will be the cheaper, lower-tier free agents. Marks was one last year and it paid off.
Do you are a scenario in which the Jags trade down to spots 5-6, and perhaps gets a falling Clowney, and then get a QB in the 2nd/3rd round? I still think a true pass rusher is their biggest need. I thought they should have gotten Dion Jordan last year.
Michael: That's probably more likely than most people would think. I can see that happening. We'll have to see how the Joeckel pick pans out but I think it'll be fine.
(One week Later) Who starts game one for the Jags? MJD, Todman, Robinson (please no), Tate, Blount, other FA or a Rookie?
Keith: Since I think there's a low chance MJD is back I'm going to go with an other FA or rookie.
If Gabbert isn't coming back, and Henne isn't coming back, it's the rookie and ______? Do I hear Tim Tebow's music???
Elgin: Only in your head, bud.
What was your favorite memory from covering the Jags this season?
Willie: Without a doubt the Meester catch. It was a classy move by Bradley and Fisch. I only wish he could have scored.
Can we all just hold hands and pray the Titans keep Munchak hahaha. Next year we will own the Titans!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
John: Almost swept them this season.
Would Caldwell trade up to get the Jag's top-rated QB?
Elgin: That could happen if he felt he absolutely had to have that player. But I think that's very unlikely. He'd be more apt to trade down and get more picks.
Who was your team MVP for the Jags this season?
Frank: Believe it or not, Chad Henne. He wasn't spectacular but he was solid and he did stabilize the mess that was the QB spot when Gabbert was playing. Posluszny was fantastic but the team doesn't win four games without Henne stabilizing the offense.
Great work this season. Who do you see as our biggest competition within the division over the next 3-5 years?
Mike Winchell: Thank you. I still think it's Indianapolis because of Andrew Luck. That team is young and only going to get better.
I am a bit confused about the zone scheme question. Between 'backup' options at each OT spot and the fact it was a change for the veterans like Meester and Uche, I am not sure what was to be expected this year.
Jason: Well, the OL did struggle picking it up because most of those guys had been man-blocking for years. It's a bit of an adjustment. I didn't expect them to thrive early but I didn't expect them to be as inept as they were in the first month.
Great work on these chats. How do you feel about the outlook of the franchise as we move into the offseason as opposed to where we sat one year ago?
Ronnie: thank you. I think it's trending up. I like what Bradley did in not losing the team despite the mess in the first half. I think Caldwell is a sharp guy, too. But we'll have to see how they handle this draft. The key is having consistently solid drafts and not whiffing in free agency.
What about Anthony Barr? Would the Jags seriously thinking about taking him at # 3 ?
My 2014 resolution is to avoid asking Tebow questions. Great work this season, Michael. Any word on whether or not we can expect these weekly chats to continue through the offseason? If not, will you be chatting/tweeting from the Senior Bowl, Combine, Draft, etc? There is no offseason for Jags football.
Reno: Not sure on the chat sked yet. At the worst it'll be once a month, I think. I will be tweeting throughout the year with Jags and NFL news for sure. You're right about there being no offseason. Love it, though.
Can we take up a collection for Shoes Robinson's bus fare out of Jax? Did he do anything right this season?
Ken: Ah, you're being kinda hard on the kid. I understand why. I'll say this, though. He recognizes he's got to work on his hands and he said he will spend time doing that. Let's see what he looks like next season when he has a defined role, too.
That's it everybody. Had a blast, as usual. I'll keep you updated on the chat schedule via twitter and the blog.