Let's get to it . . .
Gary from Broken Arrow, OK:
I continue to read criticism by other readers of a number of the players now on the roster. Most are asking for those players to be replaced. Do you think that a lot of readers will be disappointed when the "core" of next season’s roster is made up of players from last season’s roster?
John: Sure, people will be disappointed. Life’s full of disappointment. There’s a feeling among some that because there is a new general manager and a new head coach that there will be 60 new players to go along with that next season. That’s an exaggeration, of course, but there’s an element of that thinking among some Jaguars followers. It won’t happen, not only because it’s logistically impossible to turn over the entire roster in one offseason, but also because there are good players on the team who can contribute as the roster turns over. Losing the way the Jaguars did the last two seasons makes everything look bad, but there are good players here who should be part of the core in the near future.
Andrew from Orange Park, FL:
I know cornerback is a need, but I feel like Mike Harris
has what it takes to be a starter. Re-sign Cox to a deal with an injury clause (easier said than done) and I think you have your 2013 starters at the position. Would it be farfetched to say that could play out with an addition of a free agent/lower draft pick to play nickel?
John: You answered your question in the parenthesis because re-signing Cox will be the tricky part of your equation. Harris can probably be a starter, but right now he may ideally be a nickel. You would ideally like at least one more corner capable of playing at his level.
Alex from Ponte Vedra, FL:
I understand how global expansion is good for the NFL and understand that a presence overseas could help the city of Jacksonville. But why is it good for the current NFL fan? More popularity means a higher demand for a limited product, but doesn't this compute to a more expensive product? Why should an average fan care about or even support International expansion of the NFL?
John: In a lot of ways, the average fan probably doesn’t care about international expansion. I don’t know what that fan actually does or doesn’t do in terms of supporting it, but in the specific case of the Jaguars playing in London, President Mark Lamping and Owner Shad Khan laid this out pretty specifically at the State of the Jaguars 2013 press conference last week. A strong presence in London will mean increased revenues from ticket sales and sponsorship in Europe. That should translate into keeping games in Jacksonville more affordable.
John from Jacksonville:
I don't understand statements made from fans about players like Robinson that "the Jaguars gambled and lost." The guy had several concussions. Isn't getting a concussion or multiple concussions something that applies to any player in the league and the team didn't "gamble and lose" on a player because concussions occurred? Fans tend to blame the GM for that, too.
Fans blame the general manager for pretty much everything. That’s part of the job and that’s fine. Your point is a good one, though, and one that likely will be a growing issue – that is, the risk of paying players mammoth contracts in this era of increased awareness and concern over concussions. There always has been a risk of signing players and losing them to career-ending injury, but the focus/concern over concussions appears to be increasing this risk. The Jaguars paid significant money and planned the roster around Clint Session and Laurent Robinson
. Now, Session is no longer on the roster and Robinson’s future is uncertain because of concussions. Probably there’s no solution, but these situations certainly appear to be a growing part of the fabric of the NFL.
Tim from Section 414:
If the team clears Robinson and he takes time to decide whether or not he wants to play again, is the team on the hook for his salary while he makes this decision? Other than his prorated signing bonus, would his salary count against the cap whilst making the decision? It would seem unfair to the team to be on the hook for his salary while he "decides" his future.
John: The Jaguars paid Robinson $13.8 million guaranteed when he signed last off-season, but beyond that, they aren’t “on the hook” for anything. He would count against the cap next season with some dead money. Robinson is scheduled to make $2.6 million next season, but if he decides to not play again the Jaguars wouldn’t owe him that. That’s why the upfront money is important to players in free agency. It acts as the guarantees in otherwise non-guaranteed contacts.
John from Elizabeth City, NC:
First, where will the money for the new video board come from? Ticket prices going up? Second, with the new logos being created by Nike when Nike's contract runs up like Reebok's did, will the logos and jerseys change again or do the teams retain the rights?
John: The source of the money to pay for the video boards is still being discussed. It likely would be some combination of money from the city and money from the team. As far as your second question, the logos don’t change when the NFL switches uniform companies. The uniforms usually look slightly different in that scenario, but the alterations aren’t always drastic to the casual observer.
Lane from Longwood, FL:
People are misinterpreting Caldwell and Kahn's statements regarding free agency. Yes, they plan to build primarily through the draft but they'll also utilize free agency. Just because they want to avoid "early" free agency, which usually involves wild overspending on marginal players doesn't mean they're avoiding free agency altogether. They're going to wait after the initial rush and after things die down, they'll place a value on a player and go after their target if the price is right.
John: That’s almost always the best way to use free agency. There are occasionally good values to be found in free agency, but it’s almost never in the early “fantasy-football” frenzy days. The early days are usually when you overpay. It’s often difficult for teams to stay out of that overpriced period, and it’s particularly tough for those who spend time on the comment/message board world and in the Twittersphere. Watching other teams sign familiar names often gives the impression that teams who aren’t participating are being cheap and not wanting to win. That’s rarely the case, and more often than not, teams are better off being quiet during this time.
Scott from Wichita, KS:
First, an article on Yahoo Sports Saturday said, “We continue to hear rumblings about the lack of experience of the group” hired by Gus Bradley and that the “staff has been met with a lot of lukewarm responses league-wide." Second, the talk of implementing the zone- blocking scheme at the same time the NFL might be cracking down on improper, I guess you'd say, blocks. Sometimes I wonder why I read other websites because it's usually negative. Just wanted your take.
John: First, let’s break down the coaching staff: Gus Bradley has been in the NFL seven years, and his offensive and defensive coordinators – Jedd Fisch and Bob Babich – each has close to a decade or more in the league. That’s plenty of experience at the decision-making positions. The staff also has extensive experience at wide receiver and linebacker, with Jerry Sullivan and Mark Duffner. Really, you’re talking about NFL inexperience at a few positions, but I keep thinking back to last offseason when much was made of the experience of the Jaguars’ coaching staff. That didn’t exactly “work out” as people hoped. Bradley wanted compatibility on this staff. It seems as though he has that, and there’s no reason yet to think that’s a bad thing. As far as the move to a zone-blocking scheme, when Fisch discussed this recently he mentioned the need to be disciplined using the scheme. If the Jaguars do it poorly, it will be a problem. The idea is to do it right, and then it’s not as big of an issue. It also remains to be seen how much zone-blocking the Jaguars use. Many teams use elements of it at various times in an offense, and it needn’t be an all-or-nothing proposition.
Tucker from New York, NY:
Word on the street is we have a ton of cap space. Since we clearly don't have a roster full of high-priced, veteran players, would it be possible for us to extend a Khan-style blank check to Flacco and extract him from the cap-troubled Ravens?
John: That’s only possible if the Ravens don’t re-sign Flacco, or if the Ravens opt to not place the exclusive franchise tag on him. I’d expect the Ravens to do one or the other, which would keep the Jaguars – and all other teams – from pursuing him.
Tommy from Jacksonville:
My dad always said, "if it ain’t this they're complaining about, it'll be something else." I took it to mean that you can't please everyone so just do what you do and don't worry about it. I'm glad to see the Jags moving forward and delineating the old from the new. It may not be what everyone wants, but it's certainly what the team needs.
John: My father likes to say, “The only problem with living to be 100 is your 80-year-old son will call to borrow money.” Fathers are very wise.