Let's get to it . . . Justin from Section 122:
Are there any developments with Terrance Knighton's extension? I'd like to see him extended this offseason, because he will probably be much more expensive this time next year.
John: There hasn't been much talk yet about extending Knighton. The team obviously likes him, and believes he has the potential to be one of the better players at his position in the NFL. He also has had well-publicized issues with his weight, coming into camp each of the past two seasons weighing more than he should. You'd like to see him come in for a season with his weight under control and play at the level at which he is capable for an entire season before extending him. Knighton said following last season that he understands this, and if that area is improved this off-season, I imagine you'll see him extended.
Rhett from Old Bridge, NJ:
Did the Jaguars give up their seventh-round pick to the Jets for Dwight Lowery? I remember it being a conditional late-round pick, but nothing has been released about it.
John: The selection for Lowery did turn out to be a seventh-rounder, a pretty savvy acquisition for the Jaguars last off-season – and one, that incidentally, was made not in mid-March, but in early September. The Jaguars do have a seventh-round selection in next month's draft as a result of the trade with Cincinnati involving Reggie Nelson.
Tim from St. Pete, FL:
At the beginning of free agency, does a team call the agent and give a number that will determine if a visit happens or just say we're interested and numbers are discussed when he visits?
John: With the high-profile players – and the demand for those players – a number is certainly understood before a visit, if it's not always hashed out to the final detail. The Jaguars, for example, made calls on multiple free agents in the early days of free agency. Some they pursued and a few they signed. With others there were numbers discussed, with one side or the other deciding to pursue no further.
Steve from Denver, CO:
Why don't the Jags go the opposite direction to the pass-happy NFL? Draft a road grater O lineman, get one fast WR to stretch the field, and pound MOJO and Jennings.
John: I'm pretty sure they've been trying that for a long, long time.
James from Palm Coast, FL:
I just can't get past all the crying from the fans. I'm old enough to have seen every Super Bowl, and when you wanted to know what was happening with your team you read the newspaper. No one wrote in about who should be picked or how much money the team wasn't spending. One thing I can tell you these fans are very good at spending someone else's money. Buy a ticket and scream your lungs out at the game. P.S. maybe they can complain about the price of BEER at the game next.
John: I'm old enough to have memories of seeing all but four Super Bowls, and I, too, remember when newspapers were how you found out about your team. I shudder to think how much of my time would have been spent online reading about the NFL when I was in college had that been an option. But I can't say I have a problem with fans complaining, just as I can't really say that most complain too much. Even considering what I hear in the O-Zone, I never quite grasp when people say, "I'd hate to see your in-box today." After losses – or after some days in the off-season – there are some angry emailers, but they usually make pretty good points, and almost always are people who are passionate and who want the Jaguars to win. I try to answer questions, and while being as transparent and truthful and honest as possible, I also try to give my thoughts while at the same time trying to let people understand why the team might or might not be doing something. Are people always rational? No. But they usually care and for the most part they're trying to have a little fun and that's pretty cool.
Al from Fruit Cove, FL and Section 102:
I listened to the conference calls with Henne and Robinson, and our local media seemed to stop just short of asking, "Why on earth would you want to play for THIS team in THIS city?" Why would they take that position – of trying to get these guys to defend their decisions – instead of being, if not welcoming, at least objective?
John: I was on those conference calls. I didn't get that feel. There was a tone of asking Henne why he wanted to play with the Jaguars, but I thought that stemmed more from the team already having a young quarterback selected in the Top 10 in the draft.
KC from Windsor, CA:
It's great to see that the Jaguars are bringing back players who were critical to an improved defense last year, but my question to you is whose defensive scheme is this? Is this entirely Mel Tucker's creation, or does it still bear some of Jack Del Rio's fingerprints? As a head coach you could argue that he left something to be desired, but as a defensive guru he showed effectiveness and results in Baltimore, Carolina, and Jacksonville.
John: It's always difficult to say an offense or defense is the "creation" of this person or that person. Coaches bring ideas with them when they arrive with a team, and coaches on staff have input in the off-season and year round. I would say Tucker had strong control over the defense – and that a lot of the philosophies such as simplifying the scheme and staying true to a four-three scheme with four defensive linemen rushing the passers on most player were things he believed in.
Josh from Zephyrhills, FL:
You are saying all this garbage about not signing free agents to get you over the top. Honestly, I don't agree with you considering in our second year of our existence we signed guys like Natrone Means, and besides the fact our original team was built through a free-agent pool! The Buccaneers were without a WR and signed both Brad Johnson and K. Johnson! Then there was the buffalo bills of the 90's who signed guys like the biscuit out of the free agency! Cory Dillon was a free agent the Patriots signed along with Wes Welker! Yes, teams generally build through the draft, BUT you must hit on players to become the corner stones!
John: I don't agree with you and that's OK. First off, it's fine to sign free agents to get you over the top – and to fill holes. The Jaguars did that last off-season, and they also signed a wide receiver in free agency this season, Laurent Robinson. Obviously, Gene Smith's not an adolescent sitting in his room and saying, "I won't sign free agents." At the same time, history shows you must be prudent and pick the right spots. Natrone Means, for example, wasn't a first-wave free agency guy. He was signed after being released by the Chargers – at a pretty reasonable price, I recall. I wouldn't be surprised if the Jaguars made a similar move or two this off-season. As far as your other examples, sure, successful teams sign free agents at times but any more it's just not a year-in, year-out way to build for long-term success.
Zoltan from Budapest, Hungary:
Hello John! Do you think that the new coaching staff will give Brian Robiskie and Taylor Price a chance to compete for a roster spot? Do you think either of those receivers could make the final roster in'12?
John: I do expect each to get a chance to compete. My thoughts on who makes the final roster is that I'm not sure there is really a favorite outside Laurent Robinson, Mike Thomas and perhaps Cecil Shorts. I spoke with wide receivers coach Jerry Sullivan this week and asked him his impression of the receivers. He said he had looked at them a bit on tape, but he had no real opinion yet. He said his evaluation will begin in a few weeks, once he starts coaching and gets them on the field. I don't think that was CoachSpeak. I think that's where it begins for most of the receivers on the roster.
Jesse from Section 441:
That thing on Coples' arm is absolutely disgusting! Hey O-Man, do you have any tattoos or disgusting scars shaped in a pattern?
John: I'm disgusting enough without scars or tattoos.
Evaluation will begin soon
Let's get to it . . . Justin from Section 122: