Let's get to it . . .
Dustin from Jacksonville:
I don't understand what Mo hopes to gain at this point. Both Gene and Shad have been very clear in stating a deal will not get done. It seems like at this point, he's holding out just so he doesn't have to come to work. Wish I could afford to do that.
John: I don't think it's that he doesn't want to come to work. That's easy to say, but his track record suggests that that's anything but the case. But I'm not sure how much there is to gain, either. It's true that he's a prideful guy who is going to stand up for himself, and that's admirable. But in this case, I don't see that there's going to be a lot of movement.
Adam from Gilbert, AZ:
No judgments, but I disagree with placing Rashean Mathis below McCardell and Brunell and wanted to hear your side.
John: McCardell finished his career as one of the NFL's all-time leaders among receivers, and had four 1,000-yard seasons in six seasons with the team. He also was a key member of four postseason teams. Brunell made three Pro Bowls and quarterbacked four playoff teams. I think Mathis deserves to be in the conversation with McCardell and Brunell around the 5-to-8 spots, but I had no problem with McCardell and Brunell being higher on the list.
Blake from Jacksonville:
There are two misconceptions that are bothering me. The first is that MoJo is underpaid because of what his salary is over the next two seasons. This is completely missing the context of the contract. Money is paid out in different ways and the salaries are different each year. The total value of the contract isn't far off of what other running backs are getting today. The second is the Jaguars' cap space. Yes, we have a lot of it but we also have a lot of players that are due for contracts after the year, which will eat up a lot of that free space. Or we could be like the Texans and not be able to re-sign our best player.
Chris from Jacksonville:
With MJD holding out, Rashad Jennings is going to be working with the starters. Jennings is no MJD, but do you think Jennings could be an effective starting running back for the Jags if by the unlikely event Drew isn't back for the regular season?
John: We've covered this topic before, but with new readers flooding the O-Zone literally by the dozens each day, we'll recover (or is it, re-cover). Jennings when he has played has shown exactly what you want from an NFL starter. He has speed and has the size to be an every-down back. He has very good hands. There's no reason he couldn't be a 16-game starter and have a very good season. What you don't know about Jennings is whether he can be consistent for 16 games. That is something at which Jones-Drew has excelled in three seasons as a starter. Whatever the circumstances, he has been there, and almost always he has played well overall – as a blocker, runner and receiver – when he has played. Rarely has Jones-Drew had a game when he was just ineffective or unavailable. Of all of Jones-Drew's strengths, that may be the most important and that's what you worry most about losing in his absence.
Joel from Atlanta, GA:
I think it's time for that break. Training camp started and you didn't even put a "Let's get to it." I am so disappointed.
John: That's on me. I was in the new locker room taking a European steam.
Brett from Ocoee, FL:
I was thinking, "How impressive can a locker room be?" Then, I saw the picture that Mike Thomas tweeted. Wow! If the changes that Mr. Khan has in mind are all that good, then we are in for a treat.
John: Yes, we are. I can't wait for my new office.
Ryan from New Orleans, LA:
I have a question about the impact of the CBA rule changes restricting the amount of full pads practice and player's contact with coaches in the offseason. Are we going to continue to see a drop in the basic fundamentals of the game, such as tackling, because of the decreased amount of time it can be practiced? Is it more important than ever to find players with a high work ethic who work hard by themselves when they can't be with the coach? Lastly, do you think we will see a higher amount of 'busts' because the player thinks their raw ability is all that they need and that they don't work on increasing their ability while not in official practice?
John: I'll defer to my colleagues on Jaguars This Week on this one. Tony Boselli and Jeff Lageman played in a few more NFL games than I did, and each will tell that they believe the new rules generally will benefit players. Boselli in particular thought reducing the number of training camp practices would have benefitted him significantly because he would have been fresher and gotten more out of each practice. You could make an argument that limiting the number of padded practices late in the season might hurt the quality of tackling late in the season, but a lot of teams cut tackling down in December anyway. In general, I don't think quality will suffer in a noticeable fashion.
Anthony from Madison, WI:
I get it, not every analyst is informed about the Jaguars. However, I have to believe there is something the Jaguars did (other than draft a punter in the third round) in the offseason that they absolutely detest, because a team doesn't go from 5-11 to the absolute worst (in power rankings) with the No. 6 defense, No. 1 rusher, and the most people on injured reserve in the entire league without something going horribly wrong. What went so wrong that analysts literally think the Jaguars will actually go 1-15, 2-14 instead of 5-11, 6-10 when it seems that the major concerns (WR corps & Pass Rush) have been at least slightly addressed? Blaine Gabbert gets worse with his first offseason? It's not just poor journalism or knowledge about this particular team, it just seems like some of the worst logic I have ever witnessed.
John: Not a lot of thought goes into a lot of those lists. Less goes into the bottom than the top. That doesn't make it right, but it serves as another reminder not to get too worked up over offseason lists. Or, wait: Have I said that before?
Silly Max from Tucson, AZ:
Seriously John? Brant Boyer didn't make the Jags Top 25? Seriously???
John: On my personal list of guys I've covered, he's Top 10.
Robert from Moorpark, CA:
One thing I hope to see improved this season is our ball hawking abilities. I feel after a year of playing with each other, we start snatching balls and becoming the best secondary in the league.
John: That's a goal for the Jaguars' defense, too, and it will be a big storyline of training camp – just how to force more turnovers. The Jaguars' defense was a lot better last year than in 2010, but it didn't create plays with sacks or turnovers enough. Increase the pressure on the quarterback, and you'll probably see more interceptions. One usually goes with the other.
Mark from Yulee, FL:
For the record, I am completely on the Jaguars side of the MJD renegotiation decision. I do wonder what the long-term downside is though. Future free agents have to see this and think, "I'm not going there." Can the Jags do something PR wise to rectify that?
John: It can be rectified in the future when Gene Smith calls a free agent and says, "We'll pay you this to play here." The Jaguars aren't being cheap when it comes to Jones-Drew. They have paid him. If Jones-Drew were a 25-year-old free-agent with four years experience, I think this story would be playing out differently. It's a contract issue, not a cheapness issue.
Neil from Mesa, AZ:
Am I the only one who thinks that MJD's style of play won't lend itself to a long career? The way he runs, he's not going to gradually slow down (he's not overly fast to start with), he's much more likely to get injured. Each year, that chance increases. Also, taking a front-loaded deal without the intention of playing out the second half of the contract is just plain dishonest. At least the Jags can recoup some of the dishonestly attained pay via fines.
John: You're not the only one who thinks his style will shorten his career. History and logic suggests it, too, though some players defy both. As for Jones-Drew being dishonest, I don't see that. He has every right to want the contract he's seeking. But the team has every right to want him to honor the contract, and because he has two years remaining on the deal, that's where the discussion ends from the team's point of view.
John from Jacksonville:
I almost make $30,000 a year. Do you think Mularkey would let me scrub toilets in the new locker room for a daily Jones-Drew fine? Actually, I will do it for a mere $1,000 a day. I'll have my agent call his agent.
John: The money does boggle the mind. If you and Mularkey get something worked out, see if you can cut me in.
Cut me in
Let's get to it . . .
Dustin from Jacksonville: