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A philosophy that allows freedom

Let's get to it . . . Jason from North Pole, AK:
Tony Gonzalez mentioned he felt Matt Ryan was overwhelmed last year with all the no-huddle the Falcons ran under their former offensive coordinator, Mike Mularkey. He said over half their offense was run out of the no-huddle. I remember our staff mentioning they'd like to get into no-huddle some this year. How extensive do you think that will be and do you see a lot of mental errors being made because of it?
John: I believe they'd like to do as much no-huddle as possible because of the advantage it gives an offense at the line of scrimmage. Blaine Gabbert certainly has the capacity to handle the no-huddle over the long-term. How much the staff will throw at Gabbert in the short-term likely will depend on how quickly both Gabbert and the entire offense are grasping things.
Thomas from Jagsonville and Section 142:
Why can't the Jags use the Veterans Memorial Arena for the rare days that an indoor practice is needed?
John: It's primarily a logistical issue. The Jaguars could theoretically use the arena in those situations, but not only would you have to get 90 players, coaches and support staff out of EverBank across the parking lots and into the arena, you would need to get the arena set up for football practice. Sometimes, that probably could be done, but you don't always know the weather in advance.
Sunil from Jacksonville:
The thing that bothers me the most about the national media bashing Jacksonville (and the Jaguars) is that no one, I mean NO ONE defends us. They just keep making outlandish statements without anyone calling them out on it. I wish Mayor Alvin Brown would take up for the city when we are crushed without merit. I wish Shad Khan would say something pointed to those who chose to lie instead researching the facts. It seems to me like the Jaguar fans and the citizens of this great city have to just sit still and get beat up by the national media bullies and there is nothing we can do about it. This is one of the many reasons why we are so frustrated with the play on the field. The team hasn't done anything to shut up the haters. As a lifelong Jacksonvillian, I am fed up with the lazy sports media.
John: I won't say it doesn't get old. But trust me when I say striking out in anger and defending the city and the team every time someone says something critical will only make things worse. The best strategy is usually to be bigger than your critics. When the Jaguars begin to win, the criticism and cheap shots won't be nearly as irritating.
John from St. Augustine, FL:
If there is no lightning, why can't the team practice outside in the rain?
John: Why would you risk injury on May 29? The OTAs are for teaching, not for having a player slip on a practice field three months before the start of the regular season.
Manuel from Jacksonville:
Why not cancel OTAs on bad weather days and re-schedule. Wouldn't this be acceptable to the League?
John: You could theoretically reschedule practices, but OTAs are voluntary and players often schedule their time to be in town around the team's schedule. OTAs are more about teaching and installing the offense and defense than about on-field work, anyway. The Jaguars were able to have meetings as normal Tuesday, then install what was planned during their time "practicing" on the club level. Better to have as many players in town as possible than to reschedule and have fewer players available.
Charles from Midlothian, VA:
Doesn't anyone realize schedules mean nothing this time of year? I bet everyone is looking at the Patriots game next season as a BIG loss, no way we could "possibly" win it. Last year this time those same "experts" were probably also thinking the Colts games would be BIG losses too. How'd that go?
John: I've said many, many times that schedules mean very little. It's why I don't spend a lot of time on breaking down the 2012 schedule. The NFL changes far too much month-to-month – and even week to week – to worry about strength of schedule in May. Injuries are just one factor. Teams also improve and fall apart every year. We'll look at the schedule come August, and then month to month and week to week. Even then, it's unpredictable. That's what makes it fun.
John from Section 116:
I have been a fan of the pro game long enough to understand that quarterbacks have their own mechanics and idiosyncrasies. That being said, I was watching one of the NFL channel's Top 10 episodes. One was featuring Dan Marino (I was never a follower of #13). And I have seen that episode and many variations of footage with Marino several times. To me, there is something in Gabbert's mechanics that that strongly mimic Marino's. The release? The posture? What is it? Your thoughts?
John: I haven't done a side-by-side comparison, but I certainly hope Gabbert's mechanics mimic Marino's. Few ever have played the position as well. My guess is the similarity you're seeing has to do with the release. Marino's was phenomenally quick and efficient, and Gabbert's is as well. In watching Gabbert this off-season, it's probably his release that stands out to me the most. I don't know if I just missed it in the chaos that was the entire Jaguars season last year, but when Gabbert throws, the ball goes behind his ear, then comes out quickly with striking velocity. Again, that may be just me playing arm-chair offseason analyst, but you don't see it very often. There may be some similarity with Marino on that front.
Thomas from Jacksonville:
Before you go on a Gabbert hiatus, I just want to say the environment the organization has created around him as well as how he appears to be responding to it has me excited. Also I've read posts from fans on and, and I must say I'm impressed at how well many people have been tempering their expectations while maintaining an air of optimism for this season and the future...Maybe some of us are listening to you after all.
John: Yeah, I did say something about a Gabbert hiatus, didn't I? Maybe next week.
Scott from Gilbert, AZ:
Knowing that kickoffs might be eliminated completely, does that make getting Scobee's contract done? I recognize that component is far less percentagewise of what you would be paying him to do; however, kickoffs currently are dangerous, a kicker theoretically could have to make an open-field tackle against a man running full-speed; and teams have even used roster spots in the past just for a kickoff specialist. Again, I realize the money you would pay Josh would be for his ability to hit a 59-yarder in the closing seconds of a big game, but for argument's sake, should it be a reduced amount from what the contract would entail if you were certain kickoffs wouldn't be part of the game in for the foreseeable future?
John: No. Scobee is just as valuable whether or not he ever kicks off again, and you would not reduce his salary whatever the future of kickoffs in the NFL.
Brandon from Jacksonville:
What do you think about Hard Knocks choosing the Dolphins over the Jags? I'm really confused, what does the Dolphins offer that the Jags do not.
John: I have no idea. I wouldn't have minded the Jaguars being on Hard Knocks, but I must admit I didn't care much if they were on it or not. I'm sure it would have raised the team's profile on one level, and on another level, I have no doubt there would have been some ridicule involved. I believe in the long run the Jaguars are going to improve under this coaching staff with this core group of players, and in the long run the team will get respect and recognition with or without HBO involved.
Mark from Camden County, GA:
I'm only 10 years old and each year I'm excited about the Jaguars (regardless of record). Football is fun. I asked my father if I could ask you a question since we read the O-Zone daily. Aside from punter, MJD contract points, and other nuisance questions, I'd like to ask a college football question. I hope this is OK, Mr. John. I received my yearly Pro Football Weekly 2012 Preview Magazine. What is the difference between redshirt freshman and true freshman in football terms? As I read the magazine, I see terms such as true sophomore, true senior, and even redshirt sophomore. What does all this mean?
John: In college, a player can sit out one year and still play four other years .The year the player sits out is called a "redshirt" season. Therefore, a redshirt freshman is a player who sat out his freshman season. A true freshman is a player who was in high school the season before.
Randy from Oxford, PA:
I think the issue with the "article" by Dan Hanzus is more about it being published on By it being published there, it lends credence that the story has been approved by the NFL. If it has been approved, then it sets a bad standard. The NFL can approve bashing one of its 32 members, but if a player or exec tweets something wrong, he can be fined or suspended.
John: long has established that it is an editorial entity that allows criticism of its teams. It's the same operating philosophy that allows individual teams to have features such as the O-Zone, so I can't criticize the league for allowing it. It's a philosophy that allows freedom. Does that mean you're going to have stories that make people angry? Obviously. Is that the whole idea? Obviously.

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