John from Elizabeth City, NC:
I love Fred Taylor entering the Pride of the Jaguars and Marcus Stroud retiring a Jag. But how much of it is a coincidence and how much of it is trying to get the fans to remember what they used to love about the Jags in order to sell tickets? Not saying either is wrong; it just seems like the timing is awfully good for an organization trying to get ticket sales.
John: It’s pretty much a timing thing. Taylor retired before last season, so this season is an appropriate time to put him in the Pride of the Jaguars. Stroud decided to retire this off-season, and wanted to do it as a member of the organization. Though I expect the Bengals game September 30 to be well-attended because of Taylor being honored, ticket sales weren’t the motivation for putting him in the Pride. It was the right thing to do at the right time.
Jason from Jacksonville:
Buddy, Buddy, Buddy. Really? COME ON MAN! The arena league cut him! Veteran free agents are released and not signed by teams for a reason!
John: But he’s Terrell Owens. And I’ve heard of him. And seen him on television. He’s famous, for goodness’ sake – FAMOUS!!!
Erik from Knoxville, TN:
Hey O-Man. I read this column every day and I am incredibly glad for the streak. Out of pure curiosity do you ever entertain yourself with the comments on the daily posts? If so... what in the world runs through your mind?
John: I read the comments on occasion. When I do, I try not to think much. It’s best that way.
Dustin from Jacksonville:
While I may not agree with Maurice Jones-Drew
’s holdout, I give him a lot of respect for his comments about not needing to put it out there in the media. He's right that it won't help anything and I think it shows that none of this is personal; he's just trying to get paid. Regardless of the which side of the fence you fall on, I think it just reinforces that he is a true professionalism and we're extremely fortunate to have him in teal.
John: No question Jones-Drew is a professional, and your email brings up a pertinent point – that holdouts needn’t be knock-down, bloody brawls. More often than not, they’re not – and when they’re over, the sides can indeed move forward. Jones-Drew’s desire for a new contract makes perfect sense, as does the Jaguars’ reasoning behind not wanting to negotiate. Eventually, this situation will get resolved. I don’t expect the Jaguars to renegotiate and often when teams make it clear they don’t plan to renegotiate players play because it’s hard to find a job that pays what their contract is paying. In this situation, Jones-Drew certainly is not beyond holding fast to something in which he believes. It’s a tricky situation, but there’s a month before training camp. Time will tell how it plays out.
Dylan from Jacksonville:
What's your take on Clint Session
? It seems to me that he was not a smart signing. He wasn't on the field for over 60 percent of the plays last year. I think he's a good player, provided that he's healthy, but it appears that he's not a great fit here.
John: This is a theme that seems to be taking on a life of its own in recent days and weeks. It’s one that seems to be built on that stat you cite – the percentage of plays Session played last season. The problem with the theory is it doesn’t take into account matchups and the reason teams play certain personnel packages. In the NFL these days, you need about 15 or 16 “starters” on defense, a number that includes a number of players available for various situations. Not all of those players will play the majority of snaps, but if you don’t have that many effective players you’re going to be weak in some critical matchups. Session played more in run situations than pass situations, but his presence there at times forces offenses to play different personnel than they would otherwise. In other words, Session being a good run player might cause an offense to play more passing personnel in an effort to get him off the field, but if he wasn’t there, the opponent would be more apt to run and more effective when doing so. While that may be a hard factor to quantify, what’s not hard to quantify is that Session was limited by injuries last season. If healthy, there’s little question he will help the defense.
Brian from Quincy, MA:
Do you cover minicamp? If so, how has Chris Prosinski
been doing? Is he working with the first team, second team? I’m just curious, because I was very high on him going into the 2011 draft.
John: I did cover minicamp and the entire offseason. Prosinski was running with the second team and likely will play a role as a backup and special teams player next season. Considering he was a fifth-round draft selection, and considering there are two veterans in front of him, that’s about what was reasonable to expect.
John from Tunnel Hill, GA:
What will you be writing about when Training Camp begins, minus the Maurice Jones-Drew Drama?
John: Football. The Jaguars. Players. Coaches. Position battles.
Phil from Woodmere, NY:
I believe it was last year that we heard reports about Rashad Jennings
' hands being very impressive and the possibility of using him in the passing game adding a new element to our offense. Is this still the case from what you've observed? I ask because it seems that the NFL will be trending toward the pass-catching back due to the success of guys like Marshall Faulk and Darren Sproles in the new pass-oriented NFL. Rashad's skills may make him more valuable than MoJo, if we use them correctly.
John: Jennings when healthy does provide a weapon out of the backfield. His hands also are a skill set that matters more and more for running backs the way the NFL is being played. Jennings had a good offseason and has shown signs that he can be a real asset to the Jaguars’ offense. A lot of people in the organization are high on him and believe that if he stays healthy he can have a very big year. There also is a belief that he can take some of the load off Jones-Drew. That I can say. I can’t say he’ll be more valuable than Jones-Drew. What Jones-Drew gives you is consistent yardage and reliability over 16 games and he has proven this by doing it over multiple seasons. That’s why he is elite, because in the NFL, you can’t overestimate that.
Randy from Jacksonville:
I saw Marcus Stroud is sixth in sacks, and from the DT spot. My question, who leads the Jags in all time sacks.
John: Tony Brackens is the all-time franchise leader with 55 sacks.
Scot from Section 240:
I was listening to a radio station the other day, and they just kept playing songs I didn’t like. So, I changed to a different station.
John: Within the context of the O-Zone, you, sir, are a genius.
Timothy from Jacksonville:
John: It’s good to have that many core players who are worthy of new deals. I don’t expect all to be re-signed to long-term contracts, but if all are worthy of consideration that means the team has a lot of good players. That’s what you want.
Thomas from Jacksonville:
I’m curious to see what Michael Lombardi will say if Blaine Gabbert
has a great season. I think it’d be hilarious if he tries to claim that he called it.
John: I imagine he would do what most people in the media would do, which is to say Gabbert had a good season, seems to be improving and that what he wrote was based on what he saw when Gabbert was a rookie. I get a lot of emails wondering what certain members of the media will say if Gabbert is good next season. The reality is they will either praise Gabbert or say that he’s making the strides he should make, then they’ll move on to the next day’s story. Fans of teams and players being criticized care and worry about these things a lot more than the people doing the criticizing.
JoeCool from Orlando:
What do you drive, and what’s your dream car?
John: I drive a Jeep Compass that thus far has fulfilled my dreams.