Let's get to it . . .
Drew from Jacksonville:
Why we didn't address offensive line? I don't believe ours is consistent enough. I like Eugene and Rackley, but I'm not sold on the other guys. Britton can't stay healthy and that is never good for an offensive lineman. Meester is aging, and had a couple of bad snaps last year, but other than that is still good. And Uche I still feel is weak at pass protection, which in the NFL of today is very important. Do you not think they could have done a better job addressing any of those positions?
John: Sure, they could have. They could have used one of their first two selections and perhaps – perhaps – acquired a player capable of starting somewhere. That would have meant not drafting Justin Blackmon or Andre Brach. I'm not sure anyone would have argued for that. One of the many reasons the Jaguars drafted punter Bryan Anger was they did not feel there was an offensive or defensive lineman available who would have come in and started. Argue that all you want, but that was their belief. In free agency, you could have overspent and perhaps gotten someone to start at right tackle, but to start signing right tackles and interior offensive linemen for big money is a quick way to big-time salary cap problems. They believe the offensive line is in pretty good shape and they believe it's pretty deep.
Liam from Cardiff, Wales:
For fans bitter about the Anger pick, I suggest you watch Indianapolis @ San Diego in the 2008/09 wild-card round, and see the benefits of having an elite punter.
John: No question that's the argument for Anger. I covered that game, and wrote about it on jaguars.com shortly after the Anger selection. There was no doubt in the minds of many around the Colts afterward that Scifres changed that game. The Colts the following off-season drafted Pat McAfee hoping he could flip the field in a similar manner.
John from Section 204:
Finally, your picture is in the header of the O-Zone. You're truly a face of this franchise, John. Whether you like it or not.
Greg from Jacksonville:
I realize you must be tired of this topic, but here is information illustrating why so many are unhappy with the third-round pick. According to NCAA.com, Shawn Powell was ranked No. 1 in punting average last year (47.04 YDS/Punt). Bryan Anger was ranked No. 13 (44.25 YDS/punt). Powell's (FSU) net average was also better than Anger's (Cal). However, Powell was not drafted and signed as a free agent with Buffalo. This has nothing to do with FSU, I just know Powell because he played there and I think he is good. Bottom line, the Jags picking up Anger with their third pick was a huge reach.
John: We shall see. I have heard all the arguments. I also know Anger was the highest-rated punter on the board according to many analysts, and that many services had him as a third-to-fourth-round grade. Many analysts around the league and some ex-scouts have talked about him being the best punter they ever have evaluated. People inside the Jaguars certainly feel that way. I can't say I would have picked him that high, and I know there's only so much stock you can place in a pre-draft grade. What I can tell you is that Anger was graded by most grading services significantly higher than the players you mentioned and that there is more to how scouts grade punters than net punting average. Again, we shall see and it may end up being a reach, but to say that there were punters in this draft with grades comparable to Anger simply isn't the case. Argue using a third-round selection all you want, but everything you hear is that it's silly to argue the quality of the player.
Jack from Rochester, NY:
For all those who obsess with draft grades even though they mean virtually nothing ESPN just gave the Jaguars an A for the offseason as a whole. While it means little to me maybe it will help some of the more panicked fans settle down.
John: Yes. Yes. YESS! YEAH. Yes. YEEEEEEEEEESSSSSS!
Jeff from San Diego, CA:
I wanted to share a story about Junior Seau. Junior has a restaurant here in San Diego called "Seau's." One night after Seau's had closed they had a live band playing in one of the smaller front rooms. It was a small, intimate setting, probably 40 people or less in total. I remember Junior coming out and getting on stage to thank the band for coming, thanking everyone else for coming and telling everyone to enjoy themselves. He then went around the whole room and spent a few minutes meeting and conversing with everyone who was in there, including myself. You would have never known that he was a 12-time Pro Bowler. He was so nice, and gracious, I was really blown away by his spirit. He's one of those people when you meet him there's just this aura around him that puts a smile on everyone's face. He spent the rest of the night dancing and just having a great time with all the guests. This was 4 months ago, and I can't believe he's gone now. He was such an icon and inspiration to the city of San Diego. He will truly be missed. Sorry for the long post, I just wanted to share it with you.
John: Good stuff.
Steven from Charlotte, NC:
Not sure why all the so-called analysts are laughing at us. What is worse? Drafting a punter in the third round or using a fourth-round pick for a punt-protector? I think I would rather have the punter.
John: Well, there certainly is that.
Wade from Jacksonville:
Might this upcoming season be the make or break year for D'Anthony Smith and Zach Miller? Neither seems to be able to get on/stay on the field. What appears to be the backup plan behind these guys?
John: For young players who haven't signed second contracts, every year is make or break. That's not being snide. That's just the truth. No question it's a critical year for each. Smith hasn't played because of injuries and it's hard to think he would be a big part of the plan if he can't put in something close to a full season this season. Miller has dealt with injuries, but in his defense, last season was the first time he has been out for anything close to a full season because of injury. The backup plan behind each player is pretty basic – have the players behind them play if they don't play this season, and reevaluate after this season if it's evident they're not going to work out long-term. That's usually the approach to a reserve player.
Miguel from Mexico:
Ric used to tell us stories about players when tragic things like today took place, can you share a story about Junior Seau, O'Man??
John: Seau wasn't a guy I covered much, and I won't make something up. I can tell you that in an era in which linebacker generally was a little less high-profile than the era I grew up watching, Seau stood out for professionalism and productivity. The other thing I'd tell you about Seau is he was legitimately good. There are many cases of high-profile players who make Pro Bowls and get lauded as elite based purely on name and reputation. Mention those players to coaches and personnel people and you often see smiles, because they know the performance doesn't match up. You never heard that about Seau. He played 20 seasons, and though he wasn't the player he was at the end that he was at the beginning, he was still productive enough that Bill Belichick kept asking him to return and play. What I haven't mentioned is what's obviously disturbing about Seau's death, and that's that it was an apparent suicide. You hate to speculate about the whys in situations such as these, but this is happening far too often to NFL players. The obvious connection people are making is it is somehow related to concussions. If indeed it relates to concussions, then it's not hard to see why the league is so focused on player safety. There will be more discussion in this vein certainly, but no question the league has to keep addressing it. That's a discussion for another day. For today, it's time to mourn the loss of a great player who by all accounts was an equally good person.
Sean from Jacksonville:
Hey O-Man, would you happen to know if or when the team is going to have practices open to the fans to come watch? Go Jags! All In!
John: There will be training camp practices open to the public, and it is my understanding that there may be practices open during the mid-June mini-camp. Stay tuned on the latter.
Ryan from Jacksonville:
As an Army vet (2003-2010) I was happy to read on Jaguars.com that the Jags had invited Army FB Collin Mooney to a workout this week. However, Mooney signed a contract with the hated Titans. Can you please explain how this is possible?
John: The players who attend camp on a workout basis aren't on an NFL roster and aren't under contract. Mooney had agreed to work out for the Jaguars, and therefore remained free to sign a contract to join any other team's active roster.
Dominic from Orange Park, FL:
I think Evans will surprise fans and be better than expected this upcoming season. What is your take on the WR depth chart and do you think Evans will beat out Thomas for the third spot?
John: I, too, think Evans may surprise those who don't think he will contribute. I don't know that you're looking at Evans as a full-time starter or even a full-time third guy, per se. I think you're going to see the Jaguars' receivers play a lot of different roles, and I think within that concept there are a lot of ways the team can use Evans to be productive.
Buddy from Jacksonville:
John, did you see the ESPN Sports Science feature on Justin Blackmon? Fascinating.
John: Indeed it was.
Mike from Jacksonville:
You finally got a picture up. Just like your predecessor, you have offered a friendly face to put to the words. It's a smiling beacon welcoming us into the Ozone. I'm comforted by your apparent professionalism. The column really has an air of credibility to it now. I can't say it looks better, but certainly more credible.
John: Actually, we posted the wrong picture. Here's the real one.
A picture of credibility
Let's get to it . . .
Drew from Jacksonville: