Let’s get to it . . .
The Grabster from Jacksonville:
intrigues me this year and could be a classic example of a "jar on the shelf.” Many fans might not realize he had a 14.5-sack season in 2007 at USF and was originally projected as a first-round pick. Injuries derailed that scenario, and he has not done much in his first few NFL seasons, but do you feel Selvie might be a surprise player this year?
John: I do. Selvie was a bit overlooked early in the off-season, having been signed late last season. But one of the reasons for the release of Aaron Kampman last week was the Jaguars feel far better about the defensive end position than they did this time two seasons ago – or even last season. Selvie is a big reason why. He has had a good offseason, and the Jaguars believe he could play a role in the defensive end rotation next season.
Bryan from Charlottesville, VA:
I know you (and we) are tired of the Blackmon questions/comments....but I have one we're missing. When Blackmon took the little girl with him to the draft, it showed he has a good heart. Boneheaded, worthless people don't want others around them (like that little girl) to be burdens and bring down their joyous times. Blackmon isn't a bad person. He's just someone who's young and made a mistake. No question, just a comment.
John: I think this deserved to be heard.
Michael from Canal Winchester, OH:
We draft a punter in the third-round, while taking the hard-nosed stance of no new deals for Scobee and MJD (who practically scored all the team's points last season). This Front Office gets more and more laughable each day!
John: I’m not laughing, and I don’t know that that many people who truly understand the league are, either. I see how eyebrows were raised at the Anger pick, but the fact remains he clearly shows the potential to be a game-changer – and yes, I said game-changer. I’ve grown a bit tired of the argument that a punter only plays five or six plays a game. That may be true, but a punter also touches the ball every time he plays, which means aside from the running back, quarterback and maybe one or two wide receivers he also has a direct impact on the play more than anyone else on the field. If Anger gains the Jaguars seven, eight or 10 yards, say, in field position every time he kicks and he kicks four or five times, that’s between 30 and 50 yards per game he can add. They may not be sexy yards, but there’s a huge difference in how offenses call plays if they get the ball at, say, the 18, compared to the 25-yard line. That’s this week’s Anger argument, at least. As for Scobee and Jones-Drew, the decision-making of the front office is in line with what prudent front offices do. Jones-Drew has two years remaining on his contract and Scobee received the franchise tag. They have made moves to ensure they retain these players. They like these players, obviously, but you also have to make wise moves for the long-term viability of the franchise. I believe these issues will be resolved, and that both players will play for the Jaguars next season.
Yi-khy from Squamish, BC:
It took me forever to figure out what you meant by The Trade That Didn't Happen in your article "The right direction." Unimportant things are easy to forget.
John: Speaking of the right direction . . .
Greg from Section 122, The Bank, Jacksonville:
Say you are right and MJD does end up playing under his existing contract. Does that erode some of the motivation? How do you think MJD will react to this? Does not revamping his contract hurt his relations with the team? I am really concerned that MJD might have a grudge this year against the team that it might translate into his performance. I hope not, your thoughts.
John: I worry about many things. Jones-Drew not playing hard isn’t one of them.
Mary from Jacksonville and Section 116:
If my memory is correct, wasn't minicamp held closer to the draft to show off the rookies before? Also, I seem to recall it being over the weekend and open to the public most days. It's hard for people who work M-F to get to minicamp this year. Is this going to be how it's done now or is this year a trial-and-error year for the new staff in regards to public access to the practices?
John: There was a minicamp this year for the rookies, but it was closed to the public. As for the future of the veteran minicamp, I’m afraid it’s pretty much locked into being a midweek affair by the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Under the CBA, the “veteran,” mandatory minicamp must be during the week.
Sam from O’Fallon, NJ:
Do you like the odds of Anger hitting a punt or more of 70 yards this season. apparently he did so 3ish times his freshman year in college.
John: I do. He absolutely has that sort of leg talent.
Jordan from Muncie, IN:
John: I’d say pretty high. This is not a knock on Brewster, but the Jaguars really, really like Estes. It’s a hard concept for some to grasp, because many people got excited about Brewster and because he went to Ohio State and because they are still relatively unfamiliar with Estes. But the reality is the team likes Estes. When talking about Estes this week, Smith compared his natural ability to the kid who gets picked first every time when choosing sides in backyard football. That’s not to say both players won’t be around next season. As I’ve said before, if each player plays well, they can find a way to keep each player. NFL teams typically don’t have much worry about not being able to find a spot for really good players.
Michael from Port Orange, FL:
If the Jaguars don't want to set a pattern of re-working contracts with two or more years left, then why don't they trade or release MJD? He will not play as he has because he will try and protect himself for the time he will be free. Don't give the professionalism speech. Teams have no intent in honoring most contracts to their conclusion and they release players to save money or to go in a new direction all the time. Example: Manning.
John: Your example couldn’t have less to do with your point. Yes, the Colts released Manning and saved money this season, but that was only after signing him to a contract last season that each side knew was essentially a one-year deal with an option to extend. As to why the Jaguars don’t trade or release Jones-Drew, it will be hard to trade him because it’s hard to get value for a running back in a trade. You don’t release him because he still has value – a lot of value to your team. And just because I won’t give the “professionalism speech,” doesn’t mean Jones-Drew’s not a professional. He has pride and what he does on the field matters to him. Say what you want about Jones-Drew not being in minicamp, but you’re wrong if you think he doesn’t have professional pride.
Shane from Hastings, FL:
I agree MJD is our best player. However, if you look at the teams consistently at the top like the Patriots and the Steelers and even the Colts until last year, it’s about replacement more often than retaining players when they demand new contracts over what the team feels they are worth. If you consistently draft well and coach those jars on the shelf, you are able to do that. Let’s trust Gene is working on that.
John: The NFL is indeed about looking forward, not back.
Manuel from Jacksonville and Section 215:
Hey, O-man, I'm sure you have had this question before many times, but I don't recall your response: Do you honestly consider "writing about football" as a real job?
John: Do you honestly consider that a real question?
Keith from Summerville, SC:
Who do you see as the Jaguar's next most likely "Face of the Franchise"? If MJD holds out into camp and beyond it's likely that he won't be truly ready for the season and his production should suffer. He only has a limited window left to be elite and when that time is over so is he.
I’m not as sure as you are that Jones-Drew’s days as the Face of the Franchise are ending immediately. I’d say the odds are good that he’ll still be an elite player this season and I believe he’ll be ready to play at a high level when he reports. I’d say the most likely next Face is Blaine Gabbert
. And if you’re a Jaguars fan, that’s what you absolutely want to happen.