I'm a little upset this morning – bordering, actually, on very upset. ESPN didn't use my photo in the Body Issue. I'll get over it, but I can't lie: It hurts.
Let's get to it . . .
Anthony from Jacksonville:
Do you think the Jacksonville Jaguars can possibly go 0-4 in the preseason since each opponent was in the playoffs last season, and one team won the Super Bowl?
John: Of course they can go 0-4. They also could go 4-0. I'd be no more worried about the first scenario than I would be excited about the second. This is as good a time as any to begin a theme that almost certainly will run through the end of the preseason. I watch preseason to see if individual players are showing something that makes me believe they have what it takes to be good either short-term or long-term. I watch it to see if there is some continuity among the first team, particularly along the lines. I watch it for individual position groups. I don't watch it to see who wins and loses. Coaches will talk about wanting to win in preseason, and it's good to want that, but the preseason record is no indication of regular-season success or failure.
Logan from Big Bear City:
I read an article on a battle between Maurice Jones-Drew and the Jaguars. I'm really hoping MJD wins. The guy was 52 percent of our offense last year. Does Gene not understand that? If he holds out for part of the season, we would be done by Week 4. Is this just Gene not wanting to pay him or Gene just wanting our team to be a failure!?
John: It's Gene Smith and the Jaguars believing that Maurice Jones-Drew has a contract that runs two more years, and it's Jones-Drew believing he has outplayed his contract. It's a case of two sides each having a good point in what it believes. That's what makes for tricky situations.
Silly Max from Tucson, AZ:
John, is Laurie from Neptune Beach single? I think I love her...
John: I think you're not alone among O-Zone readers.
Adrian from Inglewood, CA:
How many more years can we expect Daryl Smith to be playing at a high level? Does Poz playing at his level, if not slightly better, help Smith extend his playing career?
John: I'd expect Smith to play at a high level at least three more years, maybe more. Posluszny's level of play really doesn't matter much in terms of how long Smith will play. Players' careers are typically only affected by the amount of punishment their bodies take, and I don't think Smith will take much less wear and tear because of Posluszny. Posluszny will help make Smith a better player, and he'll help the Jaguars' defense, but it won't help Smith play much longer.
Tim from Jacksonville:
Winston Churchill once received an edited copy of a story he had submitted to an American magazine in which an editor had blue-penciled a preposition at the end of a sentence with an arrow to where he felt the preposition belonged. The Old Lion drew an arrow back to the end of the sentence and wrote "This is the kind of arrogant pedantry up with which I shall not put." How's that for dead zone filler? Great stuff! Keep it up.
John: I wonder if they would have put Churchill in the Body Issue.
Adam from Section 410:
So the Colts are next team on the list to face possible blackouts? Are the Jags ever going to get past being known as the poster child for blackouts?
John: That's something that will take time, but yes, I believe they will. The first step is to get competitive again. When that happens, the Jaguars will be The Turnaround Team. Then, they need to sustain the success and broaden the fan base. At that point, they will become an example of a Small Market Team Doing it The Right Way. The national media is going to attach whatever label makes for the easiest story. Right now, it's easy to connect the Jaguars with blackouts because the team hasn't given the media much of a reason to do anything differently. Win, and a lot of perceptions will change.
Michael from Orlando, FL:
O-Man, I need context. I was eight when the Jags played their first game, so my memories of the early years are a little fuzzy. That said, I'll never forget the pass for a first down Bryan Barker made on MNF against the Steelers in 97. Thinking about that makes me wonder, though. How good was he. really? Thanks for your insight.
John: He was really, really good. He made a Pro Bowl with the Jaguars, and during the team's early run of success, he was one of the better punters in the NFL. And as far as your memory of the early years being fuzzy, don't fret. My memory of those years is pretty fuzzy, too, and I was in my early 30s.
Joy from Section 103:
ESPN - The body issue. Was looking at the photos on their web site. They have a photo of our very own MOJO "NAKED" (all of the athletes are unrobed) artfully done with nothing exposed, but he looks awesome. That body is indeed a gift from God (and a lotta lifting I would assume) Check it out.
John: I'm good. Really.
Chris from Jacksonville:
Is Greg Jones a part of the plan moving forward or could he be a camp casualty? I hope they keep him. Why not one more year? The team is way under the cap and he is one of the best at his position in the league.
John: This is one that has gotten kicked around among the fans a lot this offseason. There is some logic behind the concern, because while Jones is a very good blocking fullback he is highly paid. He's also entering his ninth season. The Jaguars will continue to emphasize the fullback a great deal under new Head Coach Mike Mularkey, so that certainly puts the odds in favor of Jones staying.
Scott from Chelsea, NY:
Blackmon and Gabbert are our Stars of the future. Makes sense. What about Jennings? He seems like the preverbal Jar on the Shelf just itching to be cracked open.
John: Jennings absolutely has that ability. I can't put him in the category of future star yet until he shows a bit more than he has, but the Jaguars like him and he'll certainly have a significant role this season if he's healthy.
Armand from Jacksonville:
John how are you planning on covering this training camp?
John: Pretty much how I go through life, I guess – on three hours sleep, unplanned and hoping no one notices I'm in way over my head.
Paul from Jacksonville:
If you could go back in time and change any draft pick for the Jaguars, what would it be and why?
John: There are so many, but I'd have to pick R. Jay Soward. The Jaguars were coming off a 14-2 season, and Head Coach Tom Coughlin thought the team needed a playmaker at receiver. He drafted Soward in the first round, and things went quickly wrong for so many reasons. It was a time when the core of a very good team was breaking apart for various reasons, but the selection certainly helped speed up the decline of those early Jaguars teams. You can make a pretty strong argument for Derrick Harvey, too, although with Harvey's selection you pretty much have to include an entire 2008 offseason that set the franchise back significantly.
Phil from Fort Collins, CO:
When you have unsigned draft choices such as Anger and Blackmon, how are they compensated for their participation in OTA's etc...?
John: They receive room and board, essentially. They begin getting paid when they sign their contracts. They receive a signing bonus at that time, then get paid weekly during the season.
Jesse from Hilton Head, SC:
Who do you think will have a better year in fantasy football, Cam Newton or Michael Vick?
John: You'd be stunned to learn how far I am from knowing the answer to your question.
Aaron from Jacksonville:
This might sound like a stupid question, but when do the rookies get assigned their official number? And are the numbers they are wearing now the same numbers that they will be assigned?
John: It's usually assigned by the equipment manager pretty soon after they join the team. And yes, unless something happens to change it, the numbers they have now will be the ones they use in the season.
Tony from Falls, PA:
You know O, this MJD dispute reminds me of the time I was in Nepal working as a lupa, you know, a caddie? I worked with the Dalai Llama himself and at the end, it seemed like he was going to stiff me so I was like "Hey, Llama, Mr. Llama, throw me a little something?" To which he replied, "You won't receive this now, but on your deathbed you will receive total consciousness." So I got that going for me.
John: How many weeks until training camp?