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A different era

Let's get to it . . . Chris from Jacksonville:
I watched "10 Greatest Pass Rushers of All Time" on NFL Network recently. In your opinion, who is the greatest pass rusher of all time?
John: The best I saw was Lawrence Taylor. He was enough of a force as a three-four outside linebacker that he made offenses change blocking schemes and indeed forced teams to change personnel philosophies. He also was so good that he spawned a legion of copycats – teams that spent years drafting "pass-rushing, game-disrupting" outside linebackers early and waiting for the next Lawrence Taylor until at last realizing he was a special player whose effectiveness and style you couldn't duplicate. As far as four-three ends go, I'd say Reggie White.
Paul from Jacksonville:
So, reading anything good this summer?
John: Because you're here, I assume you're not.
Sean from San Bernardino, CA:
Chris Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice, Matt Forte, Stephen Jackson, Darren McFadden, DeAngelo Williams, Michael Turner, Arian Foster, and REGGIE BUSH. From Chris Johnson's $8 million to Jones-Drew's 4.45 million, all of these running backs are set to make MORE money than Jones-Drew in 2012. I mean, John, Reggie BUSH is going to make more money than Mojo. If you want to say this is a business, fine, but if you want to say he is being compensated fairly, I will be forced to call you ignorant of his worth.
John: You can't compare base salaries in the NFL as a way of comparing compensation. You have to include signing bonuses. I'm not going to break down the salaries and bonuses of Jones-Drew compared to the other backs you listed and do a player-by-player analysis. Because of bonuses and number of years in the contracts, it's usually very difficult to accurately compare salaries. Jones-Drew signed a contract that at the time was very fair and was designed to ensure he would be with the team for the next five years. The team wants to stick with that and Jones-Drew has the option of holding out or not playing if he doesn't think that's fair. Right now, that's where we are.
Joe from St. Augustine, FL:
Anthony in WI is the only one grossly mistaken. As you explained, in the NFL, there is a guaranteed portion of a contract. The "bonus" was paid up front. I think a lot of business people would love to have a bonus paid before any performance factors are taken into account... especially in this lousy economy. Not to mention business people do not work under contract and therefore do not get bonuses outside of their non-existent contract. At least in the real world that is how it is. O-man- I got your back.
John: SOLIDARITY!!!!!!
Joe from Jefferson City, MO:
How much of the idea for the Jaguars Caravan came from Mark Lamping? I only ask because I am wondering how much he had to do with Missouri's Cardinals Caravan for the St Louis Cardinals. Similar to what the team wants for the Jaguars, the Cardinals Caravan helps the Cardinals become Missouri's team. It's just kind of interesting to see Lamping come to the Jaguars and then use a similar tactic for getting more fans.
John: Lamping was a big proponent of the Caravan, and as you say – that's not surprising because the Cardinals used a similar concept in St. Louis and the Cardinals' success in becoming a regional brand is clearly something the Jaguars would like to emulate. The caravan concept also is something I had heard discussed a bit in the past and by other people, and its execution was the result of a lot of people within the building. It was a pretty logical concept – i.e., reaching out to fans and meeting them face to face – but absolutely Lamping and Shad Khan deserve a lot of credit for committing the resources and the people to make it happen.
Wayne from Middleburg, FL:
I can't find enough information about our guys that were or are on the injured reserve. I would like to know how John Chick is doing. Is there some reason you can't give us this information? Are there league or team rules that would keep you from asking the player in question and reporting on what improvements you see on the field?
John: This will sound like a snide answer and it's not meant to be. I wrote about John Chick earlier in the offseason and have written about him in the O-Zone on more than one occasion since. He is returning from a fibula injury that put him on injured reserve last season. I wrote about that. He was limited throughout the off-season program. I wrote that, too. He likely will be limited in training camp and while the hope is to get him back for the regular season it's not guaranteed. It's a story that will play out in the next month or two, and that's about what we know right now.
Kamal from San Francisco, CA:
Your response to the streak question, explaining why you continue to do the column, made me tear up and choke out the words "That's my senior writer!"
John: Thanks, Kamal. I cried when I was writing it, too – probably for different reasons than you.
Josh from Jacksonville Beach and Section 106:
If I'm not mistaken, and I'm not, both Andre Cooper (FSU) and Jeremy Hyatt (NC State) were pretty good football players, too.
John: You're not mistaken at all. Cooper played football and basketball at FSU before focusing on football, and Hyatt played basketball four seasons at North Carolina State.
Nick from Aarhus, Denmark:
Normally I agree with your assessment of the media moving on, but in Lombardi's case, is it not different given his "remarkable" response to Gabbert's comments?
John: If Gabbert plays well, Lombardi's thoughts on that would certainly be a story – for a day or two. Lombardi perhaps would write a column on the matter, and he certainly would discuss it on television for a few minutes. Then, one day would turn into the next and everyone would move on to the next story. For perspective, always remember that the media is writing based on what they believe and see and hear that day, and emotions aren't really part of the equation. They aren't nearly as attached or concerned about what they say on a long-term basis as the fans of the teams.
Manuel from Jacksonville:
Do you foresee having MJD and Rashad Jennings in tandem more often to exploit the best of both talents? Or using Greg Jones as full back, with either MJD or Rashad is our best option?
John: I doubt you'll see many formations with Jones-Drew and Jennings playing together. You might see it on occasion, but I'd be surprised if you see it as a base formation. I think you'll see Jennings play a lot in relief of Jones-Drew, though, with each playing a similar role as the so-called "feature" back on the play. That likely would have happened last season had Jennings been healthy.
John from Jacksonville:
Your answer about the team's motive for signing Enderle got me to thinking. When I started really following football in the early 80s and up until the internet age, you heard nothing from the Super Bowl until the start of training camp, the exception being the draft for just a few days. While I do have an enormous appetite for information about my team, I've recently discovered that pulling away and not spending hours on the internet reading every column and blog or overanalyzing the team picking up a young developmental quarterback that may not even make the practice squad kind of reminded me why I started watching football. I watched for the game on the field and not all the coverage. The coverage was secondary. It seems now that the coverage and overanalyzing has dwarfed the game on the field. It being your job to write about it year-round aside, what do you think?
John: I thought a lot about your question, because it raised an interesting point, and I do believe the 24-7 news cycle and instant availability of an incredible amount of words about the league has changed how people perceive the game. I say an incredible amount of "words" for a reason, because I'm not sure that there really is more information or informed opinion out there. What I see out there is a lot of buzz and noise. That's no one's fault, and it's not necessarily bad. There's clearly a demand for it or it wouldn't be out there. There actually was year-round coverage before the internet, but it was limited to newspapers, which meant you pretty much only got it if you lived near your favorite team. Still, your point about it dwarfing the game on the field – I admit, there are times it does feel that way. I often joke that had there been an internet when I was growing up and in college, I'm not sure how much studying I would have gotten done because I would have been reading about the Redskins all the time. I would have loved it. I also wonder sometimes if it hasn't made being a fan a lot different. It's certainly a different era. The games did seem magical and I wonder if that's as true anymore.

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