JACKSONVILLE -- Still raining.
Let's get to it . . .
Bobby from Owensboro, KY:
All right, John. Bottom line: Who looked good at minicamp Friday? Who stood out?
What you’re looking for in a rookie minicamp are players who jump off the page, so to speak. There are no pads, and the knowledge of the playbook is minimal, but you can see athleticism and get an idea if a guy belongs. Two players stood out in that area Friday – Johnathan Cyprien
and Denard Robinson
. Cyprien was the most noticeable player. He is a physical specimen who looked significantly more athletic and ready for the moment on Friday than most other players on the field. He broke on passes with what appeared to be unusual instinct and ease and the hands he showed on a late-practice interception off Matt Scott
were, for lack of a better word, spectacular. I don’t pretend to be able to project a player’s career off one minicamp practice, but it’s hard to look like you belong in the NFL more than Cyprien did Friday. Robinson also stood out, doing so for the precise reason you would have expected – speed. He had two runs on which he split the defense and turned in long gains. There was no hitting Friday, so it’s hard to project how Robinson will do against NFL defenses, but it’s clear he has special speed.
Jeanne from Palm Beach Gardens, FL:
What is the full schedule for minicamp? I can't make it this weekend, but would love to see our rookies!!
John: What we have here is an impasse, I fear – or at least potential for significant disappointment. The minicamp ends Sunday.
Kelvin from Atlanta, GA:
Since I knew you would be sensitive and have your feelings hurt by my "stay-in-your-lane" comment, how do you feel about UDFA DE Hazel?
John: You can’t hurt my feewings, Kelvin – partly because I have no feewings and partly, because, well, this is a *mailbag,* Kelvin, not a commentary on anyone’s self-worth. All I do here is answer questions as best or as childishly as I can, depending on my mood. As for Hazel, the Jaguars like him. They feel he has potential in the Leo position. He has to develop, and he certainly has to add weight, but he’s a guy to watch well beyond this weekend.
John from Jacksonville:
John, in yesterday’s video you looked like you had gas real bad.
John: If that video was from that day that ended in “Y,” yeah, probably.
Phillip from Brunswick, MD:
Is it wrong to think that a Wildcat Read Option with MJD and Shoelaces in the backfield would be really cool to see? I think this is going to be a really exciting and different season.
John: It might be cool, and you might see it. Or you might not. Jedd Fisch is a creative guy and you have to figure he’ll take advantage of every weapon. So, you might see something like that. Or you might not. We’ll see. (Translation: If the Jaguars are going to install the Wildcat Read Option with Robinson, we aren’t going to know about on the first weekend).
Randy from Fernandina Beach, FL:
That rookie premiere video on the website was awesome – probably the best I’ve seen on here to date. We have some guys with a lot of fire and life in them, it seems. I know you don't like to, but tell ole J.P. he did a great job as well.
John: JP who?
Bob from Castle Harbor:
Why is leadership an important credential in a players resume? Isn’t the coach’s job to coach/lead and a player’s job to play?
John: Sure, it is. A player who can’t play doesn’t have much of a role no matter how well he can lead. At the same time, a team ideally does want strong veteran leaders at as many positions as possible. Coaches aren’t around players 24/7 and the influence of a strong personality/leader on a young player can be significant. Sometimes, players will listen to other players in a way they won’t with a coach.
Ernest from Tuscaloosa, AL:
What’s Corndog Billingsby’s real name?
Wallace from Jacksonville:
Glad to see David Caldwell making changes in the scouting department. The Jaguars' overall poor drafting in the last decade is not solely the fault of the general manager. They have to rely on information provided by the scouts and clearly, the Jaguars’ scouts could have done a much better job of grading the college players they assessed each year.
John: Yeah, but no. The changes in the scouting department were in reality quite minimal. Three members of the personnel department – Terry McDonough, Louis Clark and Chris Prescott – left last week. While McDonough was Director of College Scouting, Clark was director of Pro Scouting – not a job with college responsibilities – and Prescott was an area scout. Caldwell has talked extensively how much he likes the Jaguars’ scouting department and he promoted longtime scout Andy Dengler to assistant director of player personnel. Caldwell also added to the college scouting side Kyle O’Brien (Director of College Scouting), Paul Roell (Assistant Director of College Scouting) and Mark Ellenz (Eastern Regional Scout), so he’s adding people with whom he’s comfortable. To say the Jaguars’ scouts could have clearly done a much better job grading the college players they assessed each year – no, I wouldn’t say the moves made this week were indicative of that, and I don’t think Caldwell would say that, either.
Jamie from Jacksonville:
Can you explain the general lack of love for Jacksonville in the national media?
John: I can, but not today, OK? I’ve spent a week talking Tebow, and I’m still a bit work out from the draft. Plus, it rained pretty hard Friday, and I just need a break.
Dane from Jacksonville:
Funny, I thought the reason Tebow (or any player for that matter) is signed or not signed is a matter of how they play, not the rabidity of his fans.
John: Funny, I thought I pretty much addressed that in the answer.
Jeff from Middletown, PA:
Why are they placing so much promise in Gabbert? This was evident by the draft of no quarterback and I have the feeling do not look for a lot of promise from the Jags again. Too much drama starting up again in Blackmon and I look for a 3rd or 4th place finish. I wish I was wrong but lack the faith.
John: Thanks for weighing in, Jeff. It’s been pretty clearly stated that while there was excitement in the media about some of the quarterbacks in the draft, the Jaguars and many other teams didn’t believe there were many – if any – high-quality prospects at the position. The Jaguars didn’t believe taking a quarterback in the draft was going to improve them at the spot, so they didn’t take one. Argue that opinion all you want. Time will determine if they were right. But that is the reason. The drama regarding Blackmon is a short-term, but in regards to a third- or fourth-place finish . . . yeah, maybe or maybe not. But what Gus Bradley and David Caldwell are focused on aren’t necessarily the specifics of the short-term, but the overriding long term. On that front, the feeling around here is pretty strong.
Keith from Palatka, FL:
Entertaining, witty, informative, and cool...do your wife and kids appreciate the "total package?”
John: Like most people who know me, my wife and son believe a “small glass” of O-Zone is plenty. As supporting cast member Patrick Kavanagh can tell you, I am indeed an acquired taste.
Nick from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
OK, OK, OK . . . Enough of the worthless off-season quips and Tebow talks. This is a football forum where we should hear football answers to real questions such as, ’How do you think Gratz will fare against Andre Johnson and the other number 1s he'll be going up against? Do you think this young secondary will have a tendency to get burned early as they learn how to play as a unit in their new system? Do you see our new offense having a more power running with play action to gain big yards, or a quicker timed passing offense that will use empty backfield sets and have a lot of movement like it did last year?
John: One, I expect Gratz will struggle at first against receivers on the level of Andre Johnson, and I expect he will improve over time. He’s a rookie, so he’ll have an adjustment period. Plus, he’s a third-round selection, so I don’t know that you can expect him to lock up on the elite receivers as a rookie. Two, the young secondary – being, in fact, young – could have a tendency to get burned, but I think they’ll be playing a lot of press and aggressive coverage to help the pass rush. That will put the onus as much on the pass rush and the rest of the defense as it will solely on the secondary. But yes, a young secondary can be expected to have struggles early. Three, I think the offense will be more quicker-timed and up-tempo than pure power running, but I think Jedd Fisch is going to use a lot of weapons in a lot of different ways and it may be a whole before we are able to clearly label specifically just what type of offense it is.