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Don't kid yourself

Let's get to it . . . Slip from Mayport, FL:
All the same guys who were injured or on injured reserve last year are injured this year. I had a boss years ago who said, "I don't care how good a man does his job if he ain't on the job he ain't worth a damn."
John: Actually, Rashad Jennings was hurt last year and is healthy and starting at running back. Defensive tackle D'Anthony Smith was hurt the last two years and is healthy and playing as a reserve. Eben Britton missed much of last season and is healthy and starting at guard. Injuries are part of the NFL. You get an injury, you rehabilitate and you try to get as healthy as possible to make it through the following year. Injuries frustrate fans, and fans as a result are usually in a rush to cut a player, but the team's job is to make sure a potentially productive player gets every opportunity.
Thrill from Section 236:
"The 21st century in cap management is extending valuable players early, which helps the player out short term and is cheaper for the team in the future." What they fail to realize is that is exactly what the Jaguars did with MJD 3 years ago.
John: Thrilling answer, also a correct one.
Benji from Yreka, CA:
Michael Lombardi just released his top 10 defensive players at each position on No Jaguars but I'm not clamoring for more respect. Just curious, if you would put any Jags defenders in the top 10 and if so, who?
John: I think by the end of the year you could see a few, but entering the season I'd be hard-pressed to find 10 inside linebackers better than Paul Posluszny and 10 outside linebackers better than Daryl Smith. They're the classic guys who get overlooked because the team hasn't been winning in recent seasons, but they're Top 10 guys.
Randy from Oxford, PA:
How many people sent you the question "Surely you can't be serious?"?
John: You're the first. What do you mean?
Andrew from Orange Park, FL:
They just did a more or less segment on SportsCenter for the AFC South and Jon Gruden said that the Jaguars were going to have less than five wins next season, but the Colts are going to have more because of Luck. This shows you how lazy analysis is reaching its boiling point. The Colts are rebuilding with more holes to count and the perception is that they are already a better team. What are the national media seeing that we're not?
John: Oh, no! Jon Gruden said something bad about the Jaguars! Cancel the season! Cut everyone on the roster! THIS CAN NOT BE!!!!!!! Seriously, the great thing about the NFL is there are no preseason polls that matter. There are no regular-season polls that matter. If you win, you're in the postseason. If you're in the postseason, you have a chance to win it all. It's professional football, and what goes on on the field not only trumps everything, it's all there really is.
Lee from Jacksonville:
The good thing for Bianchi is, when you pull his chair out from under him, he won't have far to fall . . .
John: And when he does fall, we can rub the top of his head for good luck.
John from Jacksonville:
I am in the middle of a debate at work, and hope you might be able to give us the correct answer. When a player such as Maurice Jones-Drew decides to hold out, and not show up for mandated OTA's, training camp, and the regular season, while he's holding out, is he still being paid, and do his fines for the days that he missed come out of his paychecks that he still receives, or does his pay stop until he shows back up and participates?
John: The team can fine him up to $30,000 a day for every day missed until the regular season begins. Once the regular season begins, a team cannot fine him, but it can and does withhold his pay each week. Players are paid one-sixteenth of their salaries each week, so withholding the pay is significant. Players are not paid during the offseason, but may receive negotiated bonuses.
Alex from Raleigh, NC:
Man, sounds like everyone in Jacksonville turned into a Debbie Downer since I moved away. We are not even into the regular season yet and everyone is already hitting the panic button. How about we let the team play a few games and see what happens. Love what you do at, John!
John: You had me at, "Love what you do."
Jeff from Ellicott City, MD:
Interesting article here John. It basically goes through the many types of bad contracts in the NFL and the Jaguars are pretty much the biggest serial offender on there. From Robinson to Ross to Marcedes Lewis to Scobee, it's hard to disagree with him. I'm not panicking. I believe the Jaguars might actually surprise a lot of people this season. But to say they are building in absolutely the right way is just not really looking at the facts. I understand that no team is perfect, but we shouldn't be putting Jaguars management on a pedestal.
John: It's actually not very hard to disagree with him. I don't know Barnwell, and in theory a lot of his points are correct. But with Robinson, the Jaguars were signing a young player they believed was ascending. I didn't get the idea they were in love with the one good season as much as they believed he was the best opportunity given the market to improve a position that had immediate needs. With Scobee, I generally agree that you don't sign kickers to big money, but Scobee was a unique player to this market and it was difficult not to re-sign him. The Jaguars actually feel like Ross is a better fit for their system than he was in New York, and they didn't exactly overpay to get him. Finally, as for Lewis, I agree that he had a subpar year, but in terms of free-agent signings he in fact was relatively low risk. That's because while there indeed had been inconsistencies, he always was an elite run-blocker, so you knew you were going to get at least some return on investment. The Jaguars for the long haul are trying to build through the draft. That's the philosophy, but the reality is in the short term they have had to fill needs through free agency. Wide receiver is the perfect example. There was a shortage of talent there, and they selected Justin Blackmon through the draft. But can you imagine the outcry had he been the only addition. You fill needs in free agency for the short-term and draft your foundation. That's how you win in the NFL, and that's how the Jaguars are trying to build.
Eric from Jacksonville and Section 411:
When Maurice Jones-Drew eventually does return, will he be subject to the same three day no-contact rule that applied to Justin Blackmon and others around the league once they got into camp?
John: No, the rule does not apply in the regular season.
Rhett from Old Bridge, NJ:
I know it's early, but it seems pretty reasonable to believe that O-Line Depth will be one of Gene's main priorities in next year's draft.
John: I agree that it will probably be addressed, but I don't know that that means you'll see anything out of the ordinary. Teams typically address offensive line every draft or two, anyway, with the idea that you like to have a player developing. If a player such as Britton, for example, signs elsewhere as a free agent you could see Will Rackley take over the left guard position – assuming Britton continues to start ahead of Rackley. If Brad Meester retires, and there's not an overwhelming reason to believe he will, then Mike Brewster or John Estes could take over there and you might need an additional interior offensive lineman. Don't forget that Drew Nowak is on injured reserve and the Jaguars like him a lot. My point with this admittedly meandering answer is a lot can happen in a year and players can develop. It's hard to know how the Jaguars will feel about their offensive line depth next April.
Odie from South Florida:
It should not baffle you one iota why fans question players receiving big contracts. We fans see production and value from one player currently under (an old) contract who has proved his worth, and compare it to the unproven works of an unproven player who is set to make more this year than the workhorse "face of the franchise" and is not going to be nearly as effective. Or seemingly so. So back to being baffled. Why are you so one-sided on this one? Aren't you supposed to be objective in your approach? Or reproach? Your reports? Thank you.
John: I am objective. I have said that Maurice Jones-Drew has every right to hold out and that I understand why he is doing so. I also have said the Jaguars aren't going to renegotiate. That's why we have an impasse. I don't recall ever writing that Maurice Jones-Drew should report. He is a prideful person who can do with his talent and body whatever he chooses. I do believe that if he wants to play football this year at a high level he should report sooner rather than later, and I believe that if he plays in the NFL this season, it's going to be for the Jaguars. I certainly believe the Jaguars are doing the right thing. The team is setting a tone about the way it will do business going forward, and with a change in ownership, that must be done.
Ryan from Jacksonville:
John, I applaud the new levels to which you bring your laziness. You won't even end your streak because it means changing your schedule, and that, sir, is impressive.
John: Don't kid yourself. Being this lazy ain't easy.

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