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A gentle reminder

Let's get to it . . . Trent from Groves, TX:
I know MJD questions are getting old, but I just read about Fred Taylor working out with MJD over the offseason and he said he wouldn't be surprised if MJD held out through camp and "possibly" even further. My prediction is he will be a no-show for camp but come game time he will be there. The guy loves to compete and wouldn't miss out on the season. Would you agree?
John: I've been saying for a while that I think Jones-Drew will hold out for a few days of camp then come in. Maybe it's a few more days than that. Maybe it's a couple of preseason games. I don't know, and I don't imagine the Jaguars do, either. Here's the thing: Jones-Drew will play for the Jaguars this season. When he does, the Jaguars will be happy about it. Until he does, they're going to prepare and get the entire team ready. This is going to be a big story until Jones-Drew arrives. I get that. The team gets that. Everyone gets that. But while it is the story that will draw the most focus from outside the team, I don't get the idea his absence is going to disrupt very much in training camp. This is a team with team goals and the players who have been here throughout the offseason have a lot of belief in what they've been doing – all of which has taken place without Jones-Drew. The important thing to remember is this isn't going to be an offense dependent on one player this season no matter when Jones-Drew decides to show up.
Sean from San Bernadino, CA:
Fred Taylor is the single most reason I am a Jaguars fan, even though I was born and raised in California and have never stepped foot in Florida. Fred's rookie year changed my entire perspective on football. He made me love the game and made me love this team. ANY player who has had the effect on a fan base in and out of Jacksonville the way Fred Taylor has should be a SHOE IN for the Hall of Fame. I don't feel it is even debatable, John.
John: Most hardcore Jaguars fans don't, either. That sort of passion is what makes the NFL great.
Chris from Section 131 and Tallahassee, FL:
Of the Jags mentioned as potential Hall of Fame players such as Jimmy, Tony and Fred, how about taking a look at Brad Meester? Offensive linemen normally get in on longevity and team success. He sadly doesn't have the latter, but what he does have is (I assume) a Top 5 running game over the course of his career. Thoughts?
John: I'd disagree that most offensive linemen get in on team success. I know that's a perception, and it does help, but Hall of Fame careers for offensive linemen are usually built on extensive seasons in which the player widely was acknowledged as one of the best at his position in the NFL. Meester has been a very good player for a long time, but there was never really a widespread belief that he was the best center in the league. Whether that perception was correct or not, that will hurt his chance at the Hall of Fame. However, I'd make a strong argument for him being in the Pride of the Jaguars, and that ain't a bad honor.
Gary from Broken Arrow, OK:
In your answer to Steve from Jacksonville, I read and reread your answer. I was really surprised that you didn't elaborate on any of the finer points on being lazy. I look up to you John and want to be as lazy as you have claimed that you are. Next time that laziness is mentioned, give us budding slobs a few pointers.
John: I thought about elaborating, but it seemed like an awful lot of work.
Cody from Jacksonville:
When you say you expect the offense to start slow and have a few issues getting going here and there, what exactly do you mean? On a scale of Luke McCown vs. the Jets last season and Tom Brady (Tom Brady being the best), what do you think we'll see?
John: Probably somewhere pretty close to exactly in between. A lot of people have locked onto my thoughts that the Jaguars' offense could start slow, and as a result that concept has taken on something of a life of its own. The idea really stemmed from talking with Jaguars wide receiver Lee Evans, who played for Mike Mularkey during Mularkey's first season as head coach in Buffalo. His point is that the Bills' offense that season had some struggles early, but that once it got going it played at a very high level. Evans' emphasis when talking about that has been on the level the offense can potentially reach and that was the spirit of what I have written as well. I don't expect the Jaguars' offense to be tripping over its own feet early. I do expect there to be hiccups, but I absolutely expect we'll start seeing something productive and competitive as the season continues. That would be a dramatic improvement from last season.
Scott from Chelsea, NY:
It's not that I didn't think that you could make it; it's that I didn't think that you would make it. Any idea how long you plan to keep up the "STREAK."
John: The streak, as I've written often, is a bit overblown. It started when a fan expressed thanks that I'd written an O-Zone on a training camp Saturday. This didn't seem like that big of a deal to me, so I said we'd do one every day until the Jaguars didn't have a game televised. In that sense, it started organically, in a sense, without fanfare or buildup. I imagine it will end much the same way.
Ryan from Springfield, MO:
Do you think the sports writers over at Sports Illustrated got it right when they said we deserve a D- for the amount of offseason work we did? I think they're severely under estimating our strengths and believe that we had many gaps to fill.
John: I always have detested "offseason grades," and I have grown to detest them more in recent years. The problem with offseason grades is they never take into account where improvement in the NFL most often occurs, and that's from teams and players improving from within. Football is a sport in which teamwork and knowing what's expected is very important, so more often than not a player who has been in a system is going to improve and a player unfamiliar with teammates and coaches is going to have an adjustment period. That's why you see so many high-profile NFL free agents struggle. The Jaguars did things the right way this offseason in that they made moves that made sense for what they wanted to do, and for where they are as a team. Were they the most high-profile moves in the NFL? No, but history suggests that teams that make the biggest noise in the offseason are rarely those winning the most games come the fall.
Matt from Rockville, MD:
I think the reason the media gets it wrong so often is they look at Skip Bayless and think, 'He gets money for saying that kind of crap. Well hell, I can do that.'
John: Bayless is to blame for a lot of things. I don't think we can blame him for every problem with the media, though. Oh, shoot. Go ahead.
Nathan from Richmond, VA:
Regarding Damon's point about what the fans have, one of the greatest football plays I have ever seen technically did not happen. It was the '93 Sugar Bowl and George Teague chased down Lamar Thomas at a full sprint, stripped the ball from him without falling to the ground, and took the ball the other way. It's not in the game file because the Alabama defense jumped offsides on the play, but it's something that I will never forget. I don't need a plaque to remember that play.
John: Such are the plays of which memories are made. I have written here before that my favorite play of all-time is John Riggins' touchdown run to beat Miami in Super Bowl XVII. That's one everyone remembers, but as a diehard Redskins fan growing up, I remember nearly as vividly waiting for hours in a Tampa hotel room to get the autograph of Mike Thomas, a little-remembered running back who qualified as my favorite player in 1977. I remember, too, Billy Kilmer throwing for a touchdown to beat the Giants with a band-aid on his nose in the '76 season opener. Like any fan of any team, I have countless others of players who won't sniff the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, but who certainly have a place somewhere in mine. I'm not sure one is so much more important than the other.
Deb from Jacksonville and Section 150:
Can someone please remind Dane from Jacksonville, that winning solves everything and if winning doesn't solve everything, it won't matter. Because I'll be so stupid excited I won't care.
John: Sure. Dane from Jacksonville, winning solves everything and if winning doesn't solve everything, it won't matter. Because Deb'll be so stupid excited Deb won't care.

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