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Channeling Harry Dean

Let's get to it . . . Keith from Palatka, FL:
And starting for the Jacksonville Jaguars at left guard . . . Will Rackley. And at right tackle . . . Eben Britton. Wow, this area is going to get you beat if you don't improve.
John: So you say. If each player is healthy, I disagree – and the Jaguars do, too. You're judging Rackley off of a rookie season in which he started as a third-round selection. Had the Jaguars' roster been at a more complete stage last year, Rackley would have played sparingly as a rookie and moved into the lineup in his second season. With Rackley, far too many have written him off ignoring the time-proven truth that most players – particularly lineman – drafted outside the first two rounds are more often than not not ready to start as rookies. As for Britton, I'll grant you that he's an uncertainty because of his injury history. Still, for the sake of argument, let's say you're right about each player. Are you going to find the improvement you're looking for in the third round of the draft – i.e., a player who is ready to step in and make an impact ahead of either player this year? Odds are against it.
John from Section 204:
If draft picks aren't signed until July, who pays their living expenses and travel costs for work outs until the first paycheck?
John: The Jaguars do. NFL teams can pay for players to stay in town, work out and eat during the off-season. That includes draft picks.
Donny from Heathrow, PA:
Anyone who continues to feel the Saints' coaches and players that have been punished for BountyGate were treated unfairly after being repeatedly warned to stop it should remember that being arrogant in the face of reality is STUPID! I'm sick and tired of the arrogance from NFL employees who think they're above the rules....does stupidity from being arrogant deserve being made an example for the rest of the league to see in your opinion?
John: I'll be honest and tell you I haven't invested a great deal of mental energy into the bounty stuff since it broke. Not that it's not interesting, but with the Jaguars' draft and free agency, etc., I've been more focused on events around this team. I said early on that the Saints' biggest crime was arrogantly continuing the practice after it was obvious the league office had suspicions about the practice – and after they were investigated. Continuing the practice and being dishonest with the league office defines arrogance, and as in most things in life, it's arrogant disregard for consequences and believing you're above the law that will eventually lead to the harshest punishments. If your child does something wrong, that's one thing. If he blatantly lies to you and refuses to accept responsibility, your response likely will be a bit different.
Scot from Section 240:
In a recent article, you said that the selection of Anger meant that if you ranked all of the players in the NFL, the first one who would not be a Jaguar would be at position 54. The team is that good. Oh, wait. You didn't actually say that. It's a good thing you keep these things on the site so that I can go back and double check what you actually did say before I hit submit. That way, I can avoid looking really stupid.
John: Good point, and in fact, I have been struck by how many people seem to not grasp my point on this topic. I wrote late last week that the Jaguars didn't believe any positional player they selected in the third round would break into their starting lineup and that that led to the drafting of Bryan Anger in April. The response has been a steady flow of emails with the theme of, "Well, if they can't find someone in the draft to help a 5-11 team . . ." And that's fine. I get that there is still frustration over the record of last season and over the playoff drought. The other side of that is the roster as a whole is improving and for the first time in a long time the team is not glaringly weak at any positions. If people really believe that there are positions on this roster now so weak that a third-round selection is likely to come in and start, then that's what they're going to believe and further arguing won't change that. But third-round picks aren't supposed to come in and start immediately on well-developed rosters, and though no one around the Jaguars will tell you there's an elite player at every position, they will tell you they feel better about the roster than they've felt in a long time. That's where they stand. Time will tell if they're right.
Garrett from Ashland, VA and Section 149:
I ask this with the assumption that most players have played football since early high school, if not earlier. There are a lot of comments that say how rookies or players aren't complete products when they enter into the NFL. I understand that they must adapt to the increased speed of the game but are they actually learning more under these new coaches or are they just getting faster? Basically, what constitutes improvement? Additionally, if they are learning more, why don't college and high school coaches know these techniques? Shouldn't they?
John: It varies. Often, in the cases of offensive and defensive linemen, it's a matter of continuing to gain the necessary size and strength to play on the NFL level. That sometimes happens in the weight room and sometimes it is a matter of just continuing to grow and get bigger. The difference between a 26-year-old and 22-year-old can still be pretty significant. There also is an adjustment to the speed of the game, and there is a learning process in terms of techniques, particularly at a position such as pass rusher or defensive back. There simply remains a lot of learning and developing for most NFL rookies. Experience helps with most skills and the NFL is no different.
Paul from Ponte Vedra, FL:
No glaring needs? The team was 5-11 last year two wins versus the Colts who had no interest in winning football games. I can't believe anyone other than MJD or Scobee should feel safe.
John: Really? Daryl Smith? Paul Posluszny? Derek Cox? Jeremy Mincey? I mean, I get that the Jaguars are a team with flaws, but to think that it's not a team with developing, core-type players is a little too extreme the other way.
Fred from Portland, OR:
Regarding Whimper's knee injury, is there anything to suggest he sustained the injury before December?
John: Actually, Whimper sustained the knee injury in December, but he played through a thigh injury most of the season before that and often was limited in practice. He played significantly better in preseason and early in the season than he did following the injury. I can't say for sure how good he would have been had he been 100 percent healthy, but there are worse players to have as depth.
Strnbiker from Dothan, AL:
"Hard Knocks." Wondering if my opinion deserves any thought or merit? I seriously admire Mr. Khan for wanting exposure for the Jags. However, it is well-documented for several reasons that the media is down on the Jags. Considering every team "Hard Knocks" was interested in has declined, I do not see any good coming of being the default team. To me, that would just add fuel to an already unjust fire regarding my Jags.
John: If there is a concern, that would indeed be it. Considering the media's inclination to make fun of the Jaguars and Jacksonville there almost without question would be ridicule thrown the Jaguars' way as the so-called afterthought team. That's the argument against doing it. The argument for is that it would raise the team's profile. Because the Jaguars are a team of good people and a team I expect to be improved this season, it seems likely the positives would outweigh the negatives.
Nick from New York, NY:
Justification for drafting Bryan Anger in the third round: Nick Harris's career average is 42.5 yards/punt; average return against Harris is 6.8 yards; net of 35.7 yds/punt. The 2012 Pro Bowl punters averaged 51 yards/punt last year. Assuming 51 yds/p and only 2 yds/return against Anger (reflecting greater hang time), Anger would net 49 yds/p. That's a difference of 13.3 net yards between Harris & Anger. Since the Jags punted 6.2 times/game last year, that's a net gain of 82.5 yards/game by replacing Harris with Anger. If the Jags had picked up a wide receiver in the 3rd round who averaged 82.5 yards/game, fans would be rightly ecstatic.
John: Indeed they would.
Bryan from Rancho Cucamonga, CA:
I vividly remember last season, how many fans asked for Gabbert to start. And I vividly remember you warning them – not because he doesn't have talent, but because he was a very young rookie being thrown into the lion's den. The youngest quarterback ever to start 14 games? Are you kidding me? Awesome job O-Man, no question here, just a comment that I hope you post so you can show these fans that you warned us about last year. "Sometimes he's going to look real good, and sometimes he's going to look awful." You pinpointed it. Actually, I do have a question, and be honest like you were last year, what kind of quarterback do you think you are going to compare Gabbert to this upcoming season? I personally think he's going to play like Flacco or Ryan did their rookie years but a little bit smarter. I think he will eventually be way better than Flacco, though I still think we have yet to see the best of Matt Ryan.
John: I vividly recall writing that, too, but I also vividly recall knowing the words of warning wouldn't be remembered when Gabbert inevitably struggled. And that's OK. As for how Gabbert, I like your comparison, although I agree that Gabbert will play a little smarter. For the all the criticism of Gabbert last season he did make smart decisions with the ball and I believe as the offense, coaching and receivers improve around him that will bode well.
Andy from St. Augustine, FL:
Red Dawn - Best Swayze movie ever.... WOLVERINES!!!!
John: Let's channel Harry Dean Stanton, shall we? AVENGE ME!

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