ORLANDO – Let’s get to it . . .
Steve from Nashville, TN:
Not giving Maurice Jones-Drew a contract extension in 2012 when he held out obviously was a smart move by the organization. Do you know what kind of money he is looking for in free agency?
John: There were reports a few days ago that Jones-Drew was seeking upwards of $3.5 million per season, but I’ll emphasize that those are just reports. Jones-Drew and the Jaguars never really talked money late last season, with the sides instead agreeing that Jones-Drew would test the market. It was understood at that point that the Jaguars were open to the idea of Jones-Drew returning, something General Manager David Caldwell said Monday the team hadn’t ruled out. Realistically, it appears that Jones-Drew likely will play for a contract without a whole lot of guaranteed money, but we’ll see.
Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
I believe Tudor is in the minority of fans who enjoy the heat and sun of EverBank Field, especially the East Side. The first few games of the year are usually brutal. I would welcome some type of shading/roof over the stadium. Even the Roman Coliseum had movable awnings to protect the spectators.
John: Hey! One fer shade!
Dick from Jacksonville:
I can honestly say we would still have season tickets if the stadium had a sunshade over the North End Zone. The wife had heat exhaustion and passed out one preseason game a few years ago.
John: Another fer shade, and this one raises the seriousness of the situation. It’s a very real issue, and one that I know Shad Khan and the entire Jaguars organization are focused on addressing. On a side note, perhaps we are kindred spirits. My wife loves it when I refer to her as “the wife.” I started doing this a few years back, and our relationship has made the accompanying strides.
Andy from Shifnal, UK:
It has been suggested that we might be better off ignoring this year’s quarterbacks and waiting for next year’s class instead. Sounds like a risky strategy to me, but is this thought likely to be in Dave Caldwell's mind?
John: You understandably seem to be in the Round 1 or Nothing mentality of quarterback acquisition. It’s understandable because many observers these days take the approach that if you’re not taking a Franchise Quarterback in the Top Three of the draft you’re not addressing the position. The Jaguars seem to be seriously considering taking a more measured approach, one taken in recent seasons by San Francisco and Seattle. Those teams addressed quarterback later in the draft and free agency while also building the rest of the roster. The idea behind the approach is to continue taking talented players while addressing quarterback in the hope that a quarterback can win the job and become that Franchise Guy. It flies in the face of the idea that You Must Get a Franchise Guy in Round 1, but it’s probably the more prudent, percentage-safe approach.
Paul from Jacksonville:
I'd like to see a proposal limiting proposed rule changes to once every five years.
John: Yeah, you’re not going to see that. Most rules changes in fact are pretty non-obtrusive – offseason furor notwithstanding – but most of the ones that have dramatic, quick impact are put in for safety reasons. The NFL isn’t going to delay a safety measure five seasons.
Scott from Jacksonville:
Everyone keeps talking about the knock on Bridgewater being his size, when I find little-to-no discussion on Manziel's size. How is it a knock on Teddy but not on Johnny? Or is it so obvious with Johnny that it isn't worth discussing? It seems like people are looking very hard to find something wrong with Teddy, and that's the best they could come up with.
John: I hear Manziel’s size criticized all the time, and there’s more than size to criticize about Bridgewater. There is something to criticize about all these quarterbacks, which is why a lot of people are a bit fidgety about the top of the class as the draft approaches.
Mike from Fruit Cove, FL:
Would you be in favor of the NFL taking the last two preseason games and factoring them into playoff tiebreakers? It would be a backdoor way of expanding the regular season and it would also satisfy the fans’ concerns for having to pay for meaningless preseason games. Use the first two to evaluate talent and the last two would be closer to real action.
John: Not to be over-the-top critical, but that’s a horrible idea. Games are either regular-season games or they’re not. I get that baseball uses the All-Star game to decide home-field advantage for the World Series, but you know what? I never said I liked that idea, either.
Doug from Jacksonville:
When does the schedule come out for the regular season? I need to know. I need answers. I need that schedule!
Jeffrey from Jacksonville:
I was reviewing the Jaguars’ 2014 opponents, and it made me very optimistic. Our schedule is very favorable. It wouldn't be a huge jump to believe the Jags could improve to have a .500 record. Purely on paper, it wouldn't be out of the question to see a 10- or 11-win season, would it?
John: On paper? No. In fact? Well … I certainly would call 10 or 11 victories a jump from four victories – precisely, it’s a six- or seven-game jump, which is mammoth in a 16-game season. I may be in the minority, but I think improving to 8-8 is a very lofty goal. The Jaguars showed significant improvement in the second half of last season, but they’re still early in this build process. I could see the Jaguars being a lot better next season and still winning just a game or two more. It can take time to put a build together, and the improvement sometimes isn’t as dramatic in terms of victories and losses as observers expect. That doesn’t mean it’s not improvement. It just means sometimes it takes time.
Matthew from Bartow, FL:
I don't get all of this "face-of-the-franchise" talk. Who cares? I'd much rather have a winning team than a marquee, media-known player. If Dave Caldwell drafts his guy at quarterback and it works out, we will likely end up with both. If we don't have an ESPN-overload player between now and then, who cares? This is the NFL. Just win, baby.
John: I don’t get it, either. Maybe it’s because the Jaguars usually had a “face,” with many faces in the 1990s and Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew since … oh, you know what? I don’t know and I don’t particularly care. When the Jaguars start winning, faces will emerge organically. Until then, enjoy the process.
Peter from Wuhan, China:
I may have been hallucinating, but when Bradley was hired, I seem to recall him talking about transitioning towards a base 3-4 defense. Is that something that is still in the cards or do you see the Jags sticking with a base 4-3 with some 3-4 looks for the foreseeable future?
John: You’re not hallucinating. Bradley did discuss the 3-4, but it was usually in the context of trying to explain his defensive approach. His defense is really not a 4-3 or a 3-4 in the strictest sense. That’s because of the heavy use of the lighter, faster “Leo” player at one defensive end position. That allows the Jaguars to use some 4-3 elements and some 3-4 elements in their base packages. It’s best to continue to think of the defense as a hybrid, with elements of a lot of schemes and a lot of players playing diverse roles.
Jess from Jacksonville:
Why does the field look so bad on the live cam? I know we're a few months away from football, but don't they take care of it in the off-season? Maybe the Culligan folks could spare a little something for the turf?
John: The turf is often resodded at various times in the offseason for events such as Monster Truck shows and the like. Fans don’t often see the field in the condition you see on the live cam, but it’s hardly unusual.
Tim from Jacksonville:
Can you explain why there is a proposed change to move the PAT attempt to the 25-yard line, yet the one-game experiment Jeff Fisher mentioned would be from the 20?
John: Yes, the New England Patriots proposed a rules change to move one-point conversions to the 25-yard line. That would be a regular-season rule change and few expect a change so dramatic to be implemented immediately. Fisher is co-chairman of the Competition Committee and he said that committee likely will recommend the league experiment on a one-game basis from the 20-yard line. That – the idea of experimenting first – is probably more realistic.
Jeff from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Here's a tip for fans that want to beat the heat at games. Bring a towel and soak it in ice cold water so it's nice and soggy. Then, put it over your head like a hood!
John: Well done, my friend. Well done . . .
Mike from Jagsonville:
I dunno who will shake out as the face of the franchise, but it's nice to have the navel of the franchise settled.
John: . . . and you, too, sir … although I obviously have no idea what you’re talking about.