JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …
Michael from Orange Park, FL:
Laughing at this John Elway-versus-Joe Montana-versus-other-quarterback debate. Each would beat you. Elway was dramatic, would run for the first down or launch a bomb. Montana was a cool, relentless machine that drove down the field before you realized what just happened. Best matchup between those two was a certain MNF game. To quote Dan Dierdorf, "Take me Lord, I've seen it all."
John: I remember that game, too – as do most people who followed the NFL in the 1990s. Joe Montana was with the Kansas City Chiefs and John Elway of course was with the Denver Broncos. Elway was in his prime, and though Montana was certainly past his it didn’t seem to matter on that night. This was 1994, and you can Google the details, because there’s not room to do it justice here. As for the Elway-Montana debate, I laugh, too – though I tend to laugh at most quarterback-versus-quarterback debates. The reality is there are so many other elements involved in winning and losing football games that it’s unfair and almost always incorrect to compare quarterbacks simply based on winning and losing in the postseason. BUT … BUT … BUT WHAT ELSE MATTERS, O-ZONE? THERE HAS TO BE A COMPARISON, DOESN’T THERE? IT’S ALL ABOUT THE RINGS!!!!! Sure, that’s always going to be a debate and I get that, but you can’t tell me Jim Plunkett was better than Dan Marino and I don’t know that Terry Bradshaw was the greatest quarterback of his era. If you’re counting Super Bowl rings and using the totals to decide your quarterback debate, you struggle with both of those concepts.
Fred from Williston, OH:
When/why did O-Zone begin?
John: The first day of the rest of my life/destiny.
Brian from Atlanta, GA:
You can't give a nickname to someone before they've earned it. People like to try and force nicknames because they're fun, but Johnathan Cyprien
and the rest of the defense really needs to show their continued growth and development before they could be given a name that references pop culture and hitting hard like the Legion of Boom. #Thundercats
John: Nicknames are without question one of those topics that tend to take off then meander for several weeks this time of year. They are meaningless in the big picture, but fun for fans – and that makes the talk OK. The game, after all, is supposed to be fun. But the great truth for nicknames is and always will be that if they are to stick they must feel right and to feel right, they almost always happen naturally. That explains my high school nickname, “Get lost, creep and go far, far away.” #Nickametalk #Deadzone
Tom from Jacksonville:
Three weeks till training camp! With that being said, who do you think is going to win the starting free safety spot? And what are the differences in skill sets between the strong and free safety position?
The free-safety position should be a competition between Winston Guy
and Josh Evans
, and though Evans started more games than Guy last season, Evans will be hard-pressed to win the job in training camp. Evans and Guy split time late last season and Evans – a 2013 sixth-round draft selection – never really solidified himself as the starter before missing the Jaguars’ on-field offseason work after undergoing minor foot surgery in May. Guy, a third-year veteran who joined the Jaguars off waivers from Seattle early last season, worked with the starters during the offseason and though that work was without pads, Guy looked quick, aggressive and comfortable in the spot. As far as the differences in skill sets, it’s not as pronounced between Jaguars strong safety Johnathan Cyprien and the team’s free safeties as it is on other teams, but generally speaking free safeties have more range and speed to go side to side and defend against the pass while strong safeties are more physical and better against the run.
Charles from Bangalore, India:
Some questions about the other O-man, Jedd Fisch. Could you please explain the offensive philosophy, or style of playbook, he has set up here with the Jags? You read West Coast, up-tempo, stretching the field, etc., but I sure could use that analytical side of yours to get a more focused understanding on what our offensive philosophy is, and the style of play.
John: You hear this question a lot, and there’s a reason you keep hearing it – it’s that what to call or how to analyze Fisch’s offense in Jacksonville isn’t yet fully developed. That development will continue to happen as players – particularly quarterbacks – develop and show strengths and weaknesses. Fisch will tell you there are elements of Mike Shanahan’s offense, particularly in how the offense ideally would approach the run with zone block elements. We also saw last season that Fisch likes to get multiple receivers involved and in the vein of Steve Spurrier, he likes to keep defenses off-balance with motion, end arounds and so-called “trick plays,” the last of which is a term Fisch – like Spurrier – really doesn’t like all that much. But as far as a crystal-clear definition of what the offense is, the best answer is that it is still under construction.
Ryan from Charlotte, NC:
With as much praise as the Jaguars coaching staff is getting do you see any coaches being head coaching candidates in the near future? I really like the current staff and would like the team to have a few years of stability before the rest of the league starts luring coaches away.
John: The two most logical candidates on staff appear to be Fisch and defensive line coach Todd Wash. Fisch is a young, bright guy who is confident and comfortable with the media. I expect he will get a head coaching job if he can get the Jaguars’ offense into the top half of the league. Wash also is a young, bright guy who is getting better with the media and who would seem to interview well. He probably will have to be a coordinator first, but it’s not hard to envision him as a head coach. The X factor with both coaches, of course, is the Jaguars must have success. If that happens, people will want a piece of the Gus Bradley/Pete Carroll formula and Fisch and Wash almost certainly would benefit from the connection.
Eric from Boston/DTWD:
What is a realistic expectation coming into training camp for Toby Gerhart
? Do you see his running style more of that of Natrone Means, or do you think he is much more light on his feet? I am never one for looking too much into the past, however, without the bruising running game that Natrone brought us in the postseason in Buffalo and or Denver, those wins would not have been possible. I am excited for a pure North/South runner.
John: I do see a similarity between Gerhart and Means, though that hardly means that Gerhart isn’t light on his feet. Means was far lighter on his feet than your email indicates – and in fact, his foot quickness and agility were as key to his success as his power and size. Gerhart appears to have those same traits, and that appears to give him the ability to get the most out of runs and to make second moves on defensive backs downfield. As far as a realistic expectation for Gerhart, he’s the starter and the Jaguars want to be significantly more effective running the ball this season. So, the expectation is that he’ll be a consistent, productive part of an improved running offense.
Jason from Jacksonville:
Been stretching my forward progress arm motion and my moodachay chants.
Peter from Maribor, Slovenia:
In this time of year you don't want to open NFL news sites and find a Jacksonville player on them. It probably means DUI or games ban. That being said, one fer Will Blackmon
. 1. DUVAL ready. 2. Showing pictures training with Cecil Shorts III
and Mike Brown
. 3.Invading JP's office in full-game attire, helmet on. Too bad there was no tackling.
John: Tackling would have been ideal in that situation.
Nick from Jacksonville Beach and Section 149:
A few weeks ago, I asked a question regarding the most important aspect of Gus' defense. You said the ability for the corner to cover or disrupt the route and timing of the quarterback, which gave the rest of the defense a chance to make a play. Does that mean the corner is the most important position, also? Or is it a player who has multiple roles throughout the game, like the safety, Otto, or Leo?
John: I don’t know that it’s right – or necessary – to hold up a position as The Most Important. It’s something that can change based on your personnel. For instance, if you have an All-Pro cornerback, that guy becomes awfully important. But I’ll always hold up pass-rusher as critical. If you disrupt the passer, particularly in late-game situations, you can turn a lot of games.
Hunter from Jacksonville:
In a world where "politically correct" somehow equals "right", thank you for being a breath of hot air. (I really mean that as a compliment. Stir the pot, O-man!