JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …
Shawn from Jacksonville:
JO: I’ve come across a lot of media criticizing the Jags for getting Cody Kessler. However, what people are seeing is a rookie with moments of good play. He was injured last year and 2018 is just his third year. Other than the normal rookie mistakes and arm strength, what major issues do you see in Kessler’s game?
John: I honestly can’t imagine any knowledgeable media – or at least any media with perspective on the NFL – passionately criticizing the Jaguars for trading with the Cleveland Browns for Kessler this past week. It is an incredibly low-risk move because the Jaguars gave up a conditional seventh-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft; they don’t lose the seventh-round selection unless Kessler makes the roster. I imagine the Jaguars will acquire another quarterback who will compete with Kessler for the backup position. From what I’ve seen of Kessler – not an incredible amount – he looks fine for a guy the Jaguars expect to be a reserve; nothing stood out to make me think it’s an awful acquisition. My advice? Don’t worry about this too much. It’s not a franchise-altering move. My other advice? Don’t waste a lot of time reading or worrying about what media who are worrying about this issue write or say.
Will there be a draft-day event scheduled at the stadium as in years past? Couldn’t find anything on the website about it.
Jim from Jacksonville:
Can you recall a game in which Blake Bortles “put the team on his shoulders” in a come-from-behind, fourth-quarter, last-drive victory? I think that’s what he needs to take it to the next level. He could have done that in the AFC Championship Game, but did not.
John: It’s true Bortles has not engineered such a drive, and it’s true the Jaguars had a chance to come from behind late in the AFC Championship Game loss to New England. It’s also true Bortles threw an accurate pass to wide receiver Dede Westbrook on fourth down on the Jaguars’ final drive in that game that easily could have been a game-winning touchdown pass – or at least a drive-sustaining first down. He also threw a pass to Westbrook earlier on that drive that could have been a touchdown had Westbrook not slipped. Bortles also made big-time plays throughout the fourth quarter of a Divisional Playoff victory over Pittsburgh the week before; without any of those plays the Jaguars probably don’t win that game. He also had several clutch plays during a critical third-quarter drive against Buffalo in an AFC Wild Card Playoff. None of this is to say Bortles has been a great come-from-behind quarterback. He hasn’t yet. But the Jaguars in general were pretty bad in Bortles’ first three seasons, and he made strides in his fourth season as the team improved around him. He needs to make more strides in some important areas, and yeah … putting the team a little more on his shoulders in big situations is definitely one of those areas.
With some media experts suggesting Odell Beckham Jr. would be a good fit in Jacksonville with Tom Coughlin to keep an eye on him, do you think it would be a worthwhile trade?
John: Reports are the New York Giants will need to be blown away by an offer to trade wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Speculation is that to blow the Giants away a team would need to offer two first-round draft selections. That would not be a…