Let's get to it . . . Michael from St. Augustine, FL:
I think it is worthwhile to take a step back and look at this Scobee signing. Not only did we not overpay him, we settled REASONABLY with him. I know this is the NFL and I know players aren't trying to do teams favors, nor vice versa, but there is nothing wrong with Scobee getting the deal he wanted and us getting the player we wanted for the right price. This is a great deal by the front office – pretty proud of the new cogs put in place for this team.
John: It does seem to be a pretty fair deal. Good for Scobee, and good for the team for securing a good player for the foreseeable future. On a related note, I was intrigued by the handwringing among fans over this deal, and I think it speaks to the nature of NFL offseasons these days. In this era of 24-hour, seven-days-a-week news, stories sometimes get played up bigger than they really are. To a degree, at least, this was an example of that. Although the Scobee contract made for compelling offseason copy, there never was really much danger of him not playing for the Jaguars in 2012. And there wasn't any danger of him not playing to the best of his ability. It was a big story for Scobee and for the Jaguars' front office, but for the rest of us, it was a little overblown in terms of its effect on the upcoming season.
Chris from Section 147:
Enough about MoJo...How's your contract situation looking, Mr. O?
John: Pretty much as you'd expect. They tell me what they think is a fair wage, I complain about it to my friends, then I show up the next day happy to have a job and hoping the security code works.
Timothy from Glennallen, AK:
I get the feeling MoJo might be the first high-profile casualty to the Jags' roster in two years. As a running back he likely will be at the end of his prime years, we have a capable backup in Jennings who should improve and be able to take over the starting role and we have a lot of "core" pieces that will need to be resigned. I just don't think that the value to pay top dollar for a running back in this day and age is there when you have a capable backup with great hands and other pieces that need resigned.
John: All of that could play out, but I wouldn't worry much about what's going to happen in the 2014 offseason. So much could change between now and then that none of the issues you mention could be concerns. Jones-Drew, as you say, will be entering his ninth season and I'd venture a guess that some of the players you're projecting as core pieces aren't core pieces by then and that some players you're not projecting as core pieces have developed by then. Not that your point doesn't have merit, but so much changes so quickly in the NFL that it's tough to project roster moves two offseasons away.
Chris from San Francisco, CA:
Why is it that the Jaguars are an "easy target" for national media criticism? I think this is something that fans have made up in order to mitigate any criticism.
John: I think you're wrong. While I have written often that Jaguars fans would be well-served to not get so worked up over national criticism, that in no way means I don't think the criticism exists. And yes, I think the city and the team are an easy "target" in the sense that national media and others in the blogosphere/twitterverse can take a shot at the city or the team and not worry about their editors disagreeing or many readers lashing back. I don't think the criticism or the ridicule is always merited, but certainly it exists.
Brian from Atlanta, GA:
I'm a Jaguars fan, but try to remain level-headed and unbiased. Still, I've slowly had an excitement building for this season. Part of that excitement is based on potential. I see so much talent on the team; I'm just looking to see if it is actualized. Blaine Gabbert is the obvious focus with the new talent, coaching and time, and return of Eben Britton to help decrease the rush. I'm really confident in Laurent Robinson and everything I hear about Andre Branch makes it seem like he has a lot of room to grow. I shall not get too excited, but I think this year will show what this team is capable of.
John: You have a good approach, and fans with a similar approach should like this season. As I've stated often this offseason, I don't know that the season necessarily will be one with a giddy start with the Jaguars starting 5-0 and being the flavor of the month nationally. I say that because the offense is relatively young, and I suspect there may be a few games in which the unit stutters a bit as it learns a new system. This doesn't have to happen, and it may not, but it's certainly a possibility. That said, I think fans who are looking for the Jaguars to build something long-term worth believing in may like this season a lot. There's a strong possibility that a good foundation will be set, and with some improvement in a few areas, you could see something strong and lasting on the field around here for the first time in a while.
Aaron from Panama City, FL:
CNNSI just released the top-earning athletes in America. Of the top 50, 11 are from the NFL. With Drew Brees getting close to 20 million a year, it got me thinking. It seems stars in MLB and other sports get much more money than NFL stars. Why is it that if the NFL is the most popular sport, their salaries still lag behind?
John: There are far more players on an NFL roster than in any of the other major sports. The league's current salary structure is based on teams having to spend a certain percentage of revenue on player salaries. Because there is a salary cap, NFL teams are limited in how much they can spend. Because of that, there is indeed a limit on how much even the top-earning NFL player can make. As important as Peyton Manning was to the Colts during his time there, there still had to be money for the other 52 players. As large as Manning's salary was there, as long as Brees is with the Saints, in another sport the players no doubt would have received bigger salaries.
Shawn from Honolulu, HI:
Aloha, O man, here is a new question for you. How is D'Anthony Smith doing in his recovery and if he is active, how was his off season? He always seems to practice well, but always seems to be injured during the season. This is like his third rookie season.
John: Smith from all reports had a very good offseason. He practiced full and seems fully recovered from Achilles and toe injuries that kept him out of his first two seasons. He understands he needs to play and perform this season, but there is no reason based on this offseason that he shouldn't be able to do just that.
Joseph from Russellville, AK:
No matter how dreamy and hunky and strong and confident Gabbert was in that All In advert, you don't have to worry about tramps like that one from Kingsland, GA. You'll always be MY mancrush.
John: And to think I was thisclose to vacationing in Russellville this summer.
Frank from St. Augustine, FL:
I know you're sick of these questions but I get a bad feeling this contract dispute with MJD is fixing to get ugly, especially with the signings of Forte and Rice averaging $8 mil a year. What are your feelings?
John: It's a possibility, but while I may be naïve, I don't think you're going to see a big effect on the field. I don't think the Jaguars are going to renegotiate with Jones-Drew, and while I don't think he will like that – nor should he – I think he will report to camp and think that he has too much professional pride to let hurt feelings hurt his play. The problem Jones-Drew faces is that while Forte and Rice indeed got new deals, they were free agents and therefore there was an incentive for the teams to offer the new deals. Jones-Drew has two years remaining on his contract, so in that sense the Jaguars have less incentive to offer a new deal than did the Ravens and Bears.
Scott from Gilbert, AZ:
Do the same fraternization rules regarding player / cheerleader interaction apply to the Jags' senior writer and The ROAR? Looking at the calendar shoot videos, while recognizing your marital status, I'm thinking they should probably implement that policy and immediately notify those girls of the potential ramifications of hitting on you; as it would ultimately serve in both your, and the readers best interest.
John: It is indeed a necessary policy, and it's my understanding that the members of the Roar have indeed been informed of said policy. I had to stay away from that meeting. I hate to see women cry.
A necessary policy
Let's get to it . . . Michael from St. Augustine, FL: