Let's get to it . . .
Matt from Jacksonville:
Looking at receiver depth, this squad has chance to be solid. What are your thoughts of Jarrett Boykin? Can he make the team? I followed him closely when he was at Virginia Tech and I think he has great upside.
John: It will be difficult for a receiver to crack the Top 5 of Laurent Robinson, Justin Blackmon, Lee Evans, Mike Thomas and Cecil Shorts. That's not to say it can't happen, or that the team won't keep a sixth receiver – just that it will be difficult. That speaks volumes about how much the receivers have improved, at least on paper, this off-season. There's a strong confidence around the team that the Jaguars are making significant improvement in that area, and that with the addition of wide receivers coach Jerry Sullivan, the group can make serious strides. As for Boykin, he's a guy a lot of people liked heading into mini-camp. I can't say he jumped out this weekend, but for everyone outside the workout invitees the weekend was about learning and preparing for OTAs more than being evaluated.
Darrick from Jacksonville:
What's your take on how the new ownership, coaching staff, and administrative personnel are all jelling together? Has there been a noticeable and hopefully positive change in how things are operating at EverBank Field?
John: None like me much, but they seem to be getting along with each other fine.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
Have any of our drafted players signed a contract yet? If not, how can they be at the rookie camp?
John: Drafted players historically participate in the off-season while not under contract, with the contract only being an issue for reporting to training camp. They sign waiver forms and are covered by insurance in case of injury.
Joe from Orange Park, FL:
Would you like to see the Jaguars get a practice bubble? Why or why not?
John: There's very little argument against a bubble in terms of benefit for the team. It doesn't have to be used on days when weather permits working outside and it can be used on days when it rains. I have no idea if a bubble is in the future or not, and I don't know the financials or the logistics, but would I like to see them have one? Sure.
Caleb from Jacksonville:
If Ding proves to be a decent enough kicker could you see the Jags going the way some teams have and just using Scobee for field goals and PATs and let Ding do kickoffs?
John: I do not. Ding has a strong leg, but probably will need to go the path of many kickers, which is to get into a few camps and spend at least a season or two working to improve before he is on an NFL roster.
Josh from Jacksonville:
Who's your favorite Avenger? You have to have one because there is no way you didn't read comics growing up.
John: I have no favorite Avenger because, apparently to your surprise, I rarely read comics growing up. This is in no way to say I didn't have my own sad hobbies that I preferred to keep to myself. I spent hours on the floor playing electric football and any other football or game my parents would buy me. I also would play a baseball game with cards and a golf game with dice and keep the score and statistics as well. Looking back, there were some pretty sad times, but hey, at least I wasn't reading comics. Probably because of that, my grades were pretty bad. God knows what they would have looked like had Madden been around.
Ron from Asheville, NC:
Top three things I am most interested in seeing between now and the end of training camp: how well Gabbert develops, if Kampman can return to pre-injury form, and how much the receiver position can improve as a whole. What would be your top three?
John: You've hit the big ones. Gabbert is the overriding issue, and the receivers must develop along with him. There's no question in my mind each area will be dramatically improved, with the question being just how much so. I don't know how much we'll know on Kampman until training camp, with my sense being you'll see a very cautious approach until August. Once August rolls around, I think you'll see Kampman go full go or close to it to see just where he stands. The other obvious storylines involve injuries, specifically the health of right tackle Eben Britton, how quickly cornerback Rashean Mathis can get back from the ACL and how much better Tyson Alualu can be playing on a healthy knee.
Gary from Broken Arrow, OK:
Thanks for your wit and wisdom. If you were here, I would buy you a beer.
John: If that's true, I can be there soon.
KC from North Bay Area, CA:
After reading Buddy's take on the "Sports Science" with Justin Blackmon, I had to check it out myself. I saw was amazing adjustment on the ball and body control, but those skills don't seem to lend themselves to many yards after the catch. I know a lot of fans are expecting Blackmon to be the next Jimmy Smith, but Jimmy was incredibly fluid in his routes and his catches. I see Blackmon as more Anquan Boldin than Mike Wallace, and expect his greatest success will come as a possession receiver along with Marcedes and Mike Thomas while Robinson and possibly Evans take most of the fly routes, would you agree?
John: Not necessarily. The Sports Science feature emphasized Blackmon's body control, but what a lot of scouts liked about Blackmon was his quickness in and out of breaks and ability to attack the ball strongly and turn the moment after the catch into a broken tackle and an opportunity. Blackmon is far from a finished product and will need to work on route-running details, but as far as the tools to be a play-maker, he appears to have them.
James from Charlottesville, VA:
Just curious. How many rings do Randy Moss and T.O. have?
Charlie from Jacksonville:
In September I ship out to Marine basic training and will miss most of the Jaguars' season this year. I will also miss reading your column. Much of what I've learned of football has come from you and Vic and for that, sir, I thank you for all your hard work.
John: I kid and make juvenile jokes a lot, and my predecessor had his fun, too. I think I can speak for him when I say we appreciate you reading, are glad to have taught you something in some small way and wish you well in your training and also, a safe return. It's an honor.
Ryan from Warwick, RI:
So I have heard and seen a lot about the rookies from the draft and the free agents that we picked up. But what's up with Jones-Drew? Are they still working on a new deal? Is he attending any team activities?
John: This is really a week for talking about the rookies because the draft was last weekend and we're covering rookie mini-camp this weekend. The veterans did continue their off-season program this past week, and no, Jones-Drew was not there – as just as he has attended no team activities this off-season. There's nothing wrong with this because all of those activities are voluntary. I have seen reports that Jones-Drew is unhappy with his deal, but I haven't seen him say that – and because he has two years remaining on his current deal, I'm not holding my breath waiting for a new one this off-season. I don't expect Jones-Drew to miss any mandatory off-season activities. The first one of those will be the veteran mini-camp in mid-June.
Bob from Jacksonville:
About all the "Anger," I personally don't care where a player is drafted or even if he was drafted. What I care about is he helps the Jaguars. Why is everybody so upset? Let's see what our new players can do and then we can criticize them if they don't perform.
John: Or in the case of some O-Zone readers, they can criticize them even if they do.
Derrick from Jacksonville:
If Anger, turns out like advertised – giving this defense great field position on every other punt – do you see that becoming a trend, drafting punters in early rounds?
John: The only way I see that happening is if punters with legs such as Anger become a trend. That's unlikely considering the book on Anger is he might have the best "leg talent" the league has seen in some time.
James from West Liberty, KY:
You think you have every one fooled Johnny O! You play it off as though you really like writing Weekend O-Zone's, when in reality it's a good "reason," or "excuse," to get away from the wife and kids! Naps at work, "excuses" to get away from the family.... I like your thinking and I like your style, O Man.
John: A man must have a plan.
A man with a plan
Let's get to it . . .
Matt from Jacksonville: