Let's get to it . . . Nick from New York, NY:
I recall that around this time four years ago (maybe after he had already won the GOP primary), Jack Del Rio endorsed John McCain for president at a public event in Jacksonville. Do you have any thoughts on sports figures involving themselves in politics?
John: I care as much about them involving themselves as I care about who they're endorsing.
Mike from Savannah and Section 147 Row Q:
Might have missed this in earlier discussions, but given your long history with the Colts and your outstanding credentials in the NFL, do you get to go to the Super Bowl in Indy this year?
John: I won't be going to the Super Bowl. That has nothing to do with my former affiliation with the Colts, or whatever NFL credentials I may have. My job is to cover the Jaguars for jaguars.com readers, and what's going on at EverBank Field this off-season and this week is more pertinent to jaguars.com readers than what's going on in Indianapolis.
Mike from Bridgeport, CT:
John, I am looking forward to getting to know you better and learn more about you this off-season. Please, don't be reluctant to answer a question because you are afraid to "bore non-Redskins fans." I'd much rather you "bore us" than answer a question daily about who we should draft at no. 7 three months away from the draft. Vic used to talk about the press box views and food they served at certain stadiums. He loved his hot dogs before his heart attack. What are some of your favorite and least favorite press box views, and what is your press box meal of choice?
John: The Jaguars' press box view is first-rate, as is that of Tennessee and Baltimore, and the crab cakes in Baltimore are second to none. As far as press box meal of choice, I'm a big believer that press boxes can serve whatever they like as long as they provide what I call "the sandwich option--" i.e., if you're going to have breakfast or some sort of gamey bird with bones, it's good to have the option of throwing some cold meat on some day-old bread. The worst views, unfortunately, are becoming more prevalent as teams put press boxes higher and move luxury suites to where the press boxes were. Being out of season, I won't get much more detailed than that about the press box views, but I can tell you as I write this I'm gazing upon a black rubber hallway and a teal-and-white cinderblock wall – and that there's nowhere else I'd rather be.
Joe from Orange Park, FL:
If a kicker kicks a field goal and it soars directly over the goal post, is it good or no good?
John: It is supposed to be good, although it obviously becomes a judgment call – and there have been well-documented times in the past when many believe the call has been missed by officials. Perhaps the case that stands out in NFL lore was in 1965, when the late Don Chandler kicked a 22-yard fourth-quarter field goal for the Green Bay Packers that tied a Western Conference playoff game against Baltimore, 10-10. Many Baltimore players believed the kick was wide right, and Chandler later said he thought he had missed it, too. The Packers won 13-10 in overtime and the next spring, owners voted to extend the upright from 10 to 20 feet above the crossbar and to have an official under each upright.
Ken from Jacksonville:
If anybody winds up calling Shad Khan cheap, they need to check out the boat parked in front of the Hyatt. He may be many things, but the dude ain't cheap.
John: He's also no dummy. We're two months into the Shad Khan era, give or take, and so far, there definitely is an energy. It's also apparent around EverBank Field and around Jacksonville that this was not a case where Khan bought the team, said a few of the right things and high-tailed it back to Champaign, Ill., until training camp. He's working diligently to ensure things are moving in the direction he wants and to assure people of Jacksonville realize he's serious, committed and capable.
Joe from Aurora, IL:
Just ask the Patriots how that first round bye and home field advantage worked out.
John: This year, it worked out well – and it worked out well, for example, for Indianapolis and New Orleans in 2009. It didn't work out so well for the Colts, say, in 2005, nor for New England or Atlanta last season – or for Green Bay this season. That was really what I was getting at Wednesday – that the home-field advantage and first-round bye doesn't ensure anything anymore. It's good, and to have it is better than the alternative, but unlike in the 1970s and 1980s when it seemed an overwhelming edge, now it's just not.
Lee from Duval County, FL:
I would be shocked if the Jaguars selected a WR with their first pick. There are some good wide outs out there, but no clear-cut, pro-ready, No. 1s and with our track record drafting receivers I doubt if Gene risks being wrong again.
John: Nearly three months out, I'm not betting the house that the Jaguars will take wide receiver at No. 7, either. That's because I believe the Jaguars will address it fairly heavily in free agency and that that will allow them to again go Best Available Player on Draft Day. I'm also with you – that there may not be a wide receiver that makes sense at the position. We'll see.
Earney from Springville, AL:
Just wanted you to know that not all of missed the "TURK" humor. Very DRY, but I got a chuckle from it. Keep up the good work.
John: Alas, this may be on my horizon.
Frank from Fernandina Beach, FL:
A seventh-rounder for Lowery? Really? That seems like a steal for the way he played last year settling the safety position with Landry. If Gene re-signs him and he's penciled in as a starter the next three-to-four years, then that's a great move. Folks want to criticize Gene for the draft choices not meeting or exceeding expectations, but some of the other moves he's orchestrated have been spot on.
John: Yes, they have. Smith has spent the first three years as general manager putting together the foundation of the roster. It is obvious improvement must be shown and it is obvious that it must be shown soon. Smith would be the first to tell you that. But I agree with you that the good things he has done thus far have largely been ignored by many. That's as understandable as it is unfortunate; when you're 5-11, the good things tend to get ignored.
Curious George from Duval County, FL:
I've noticed that on several occasions you've commented that the Jags Scouting Staff is one of the best in the league. I was wondering if you could elaborate as to what you base that statement off of. I don't think anyone would argue that our records the past decade haven't exactly vouched for that sort of endorsement (nor have the majority of the players we drafted). Please don't tell me it's just what important "people who really know the NFL" have been telling you.
John: I only have written that a few times, and on the occasions I recall having done so I have been clear that I was writing that based on the opinions of people I trust – not people within the Jaguars' organization. This is a topic that angers many readers because of the record in recent seasons, but I am a reporter first and because of that, I try to talk to people I respect about the NFL. Many of those people believe the Jaguars' scouting staff one of the best. It has nothing to do with me working for the Jaguars or being close to the people on staff. It's simply what I hear from people who have no incentive to say so if they don't truly believe it. That's not the answer you want, but that's the reasoning behind it when I have written it.
Nick from Fleming Island, FL:
Austen Lane and several other Jaguars players have posted they saw our new black jersey. Have you seen them yet?? Let's us get a picture, O man!
John: I can't post a picture because the jerseys don't exist yet. I have been told there are NIKE prototypes of black jerseys, and Khan has said the plan is to have black jerseys next season, but for now, that's where it stands.
Adam from Jacksonville:
So, is it against NFL rules for Chris Snee to hang out with his father in law in the offseason? If so, that's about as good an excuse to not hang out with the in-laws as anybody's ever gonna have.
John: The rules don't say players can't see or talk to coaches. They severely restrict how much football can be discussed when coaches and players talk. I'm sure Chris Snee won't mind that restriction a lot when the Coughlin family gathers to dine.
A welcome restriction
Let's get to it . . . Nick from New York, NY: