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Filling Tony's Time

Let's get to it . . . Jon from Durham, NC:
I read Fred Taylor is shadowing the scouting department this week. Is he planning on joining the coaching staff? I think it's great for players to use their knowledge of the game for the next step in their career. Not all of them can be TV analysts, after all. But more specifically for the Jaguars, I think Taylor's success and experience can add a lot of credibility to the staff. Moreover, what better way to build the fan base than have the great ones like Boselli, Spicer, and Taylor stick around?
John: Taylor is trying to figure out if he wants his post-career path to include the front office or coaching. Toward that end, he shadowed the personnel department this week to see if that's something he wants to pursue. Either path would be a long process, and Taylor likely would start at the bottom, but I got the feeling this week he'd be OK with that if he decides that's what he wants to do. I don't know, exactly, what this week will lead to for Taylor, but I do believe Taylor will be successful in whatever he wants to pursue. He's a sincere, thoughtful, humble person willing to work hard. That goes a long way.
Mike from Orange Park, FL:
How is Tyson's progression from injury? Is he still as quick as he was when he first started playing on the pro level or did knee surgery slow him down?
John: I'd say so far in this camp Alualu has not quite been 100 percent. This isn't incredibly unusual coming off of knee surgery. He doesn't seem to quite have full confidence in the knee, and therefore may not be quite as quick as when he first came into the NFL. At the same time, I'd expect that to improve and for him to get better as he gains that confidence.
Scot from Jacksonville:
Do you think the signing of Blackmon puts a kind of intangible pressure on MJD to end his holdout? After all, there is only one player left now that is not in camp.
John: I think Maurice Jones-Drew wants more money.
Greg from Neptune Beach, FL:
I know it's part of the CBA, but what is the logic behind having players not be able to practice in full pads for a few days after signing a contract? Oh, and as far as "If Gabbert is awful and Blackmon is a bust and the Jaguars play in the AFC Championship Game, do you think Shad Khan is going to say, 'Thanks for the successful season, Gene. Now, hit the road? Of course no,''' I've got 2 words for you: Marty Schottenheimer. Just sayin.
John: I guess your point is that a guy can still get fired after being successful, and I suppose you're right. My point is that Smith's job is to build a deep roster with enough good players to be a long-term contender and that doesn't have to mean dependence on one or two players. As for your question about players not practicing in pads the first few days after signing, it's a rule put in to protect players and it's a good one. Many teams in the past rushed players into full contact hours after they stepped off of planes, something that often led to injuries. This rule forces teams to allow the player to get acclimated to camp.
Ron from Jacksonville:
You mentioned to Mike the Jags signed Blackmon, but you forgot to tell Mike that they signed Mojo, too. A couple years ago, in fact.
John: Well, yes. There is that.
In response to Joy commenting on MJD's contributions to the city, I had an opportunity to have dinner with he and his wife and some at-risk youth here in Jacksonville. He has done several things to give back to agencies that I have worked for. MJD is a humble individual and doesn't feel the need to broadcast every good deed he does for recognition.
John: No, he does not, and yes, Jones-Drew does do things for the Jacksonville community. I certainly never intended to suggest otherwise.
Jon from Jacksonville:
I was watching Mike and Mike. They were discussing the NFL's problem with concussions. It seems to me the pads players have are significantly smaller than in the '90s. I may be wrong, but do you think that this might have added to the problem? If players didn't run as fast and the game slowed down, even if it is just a few seconds, don't you think it would help? Obviously, it will not take away the problem completely, but I think it might help. Thoughts?
John: I don't necessarily believe concussions are more prevalent than they were before. I believe teams are more diligent in determining if a player has a concussion, and therefore there are more reported. So, I'm not sure the size of the pads is a huge factor.
Rick from Jacksonville:
If you think Gabbert is better than Henne then I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. Let's see how Gabbert handles a real game. If he hasn't shown a lot of progress by Week 2, Henne will be starting because the head coach wants to keep his job not make Gabbert happy.
John: Mr. Lombardi, please stop sending me emails posing as "Rick."
Josh from Orlando, FL:
Would you say it's a fictional fact that Mularkey has lost the team? Seriously, that seems like it couldn't be further from the truth.
John: This question pertains to a comment made by NFL Network analyst Heath Evans, and while we've spent some time in this Ozone having some fun with Lombardi's comments on the same network, Evans' stance was certainly even sillier. Evans said essentially that Mularkey's handling of the Jones-Drew situation had caused there to be distance between him and the players. I could go on and on listing reasons that's not true, but it's so silly and off-base that it's honestly not worth the time.
Todd from New York City, NY:
As we get deeper into the preseason, is there any chance we would sign another back?
John: There's always a chance, but the Jaguars like the running backs they have in camp. If Jones-Drew is out the final week or two of preseason, there's a possibility they could sign a veteran back, I suppose, but that guy would very definitely be a backup, barring injury.
Bryan from Sunday Ticket Section:
The national "media" discussion on Jags bashing hasn't accounted for editorial vs. objective reporting. Michael Lombardi also said there wasn't any enthusiasm or optimism in Jacksonville "like there is in Cleveland" (!) and that the division "has been ceded to Houston." I think it's important for everyone to distinguish between trained reporters who went to journalism school and know something about ethics and objectivity (like you) and "football men" (former players, coaches, scouts, GMs) who editorialize and have no training whatsoever in actual journalism. Is this the end result of Cosell's Jockocracy?
John: There is indeed a difference between "media," which can be anyone talking on television or blogging or many, many things and a "trained journalist," who as you say is theoretically supposed to adhere to ethics. Lombardi and Evans are media, and there's nothing wrong with being media, but I doubt they would say they were journalists. And yes, bad or good, it's the result of the Jockocracy. It doesn't bother me as much as it does some people, but those are the differences.
Sam from Montreal, QC:
Where did you get your red visor?
John: From the red visor store.
Tym from Orange Park, FL:
Johnny-O, I think you should ask to be moved to first class during the away games. Isn't it part of your job description to "stay ahead of the Jaguars?" Also, who should we look to stand out on Friday?
John: I'd ask to be moved to first class, but my guess is they'd put me in the lavatory instead. I'd expect Rashad Jennings to stand out, as well as Laurent Robinson and Cecil Shorts. They've all shown enough that I'd say we'd see a big play out of at least one.
Lane from Longwood, FL:
O-man, I haven't heard much about the return game so far this year. Who's in the running for the KR and PR jobs?
John: Cecil Shorts, Mike Brown, Mike Thomas and Charles Gilbert have worked at punt return, and Jennings had caught my eye returning kickoffs. I'd guess Thomas will return punts.
Dave from St. Augustine, FL and Section 434:
Shouldn't we be used to little to no accurate national media coverage by now? Shouldn't we have figured out that a football team has to earn its respect in the regular and postseasons? Shouldn't we know by now that most, (if not every) opinion on the internet is pretty much irrelevant in the grand scheme of things? Shouldn't we have come to terms with the fact that the predictions based on yesterday's practice and the guarantees after today's practice mean nothing tomorrow? Why do we put ourselves through this year after year? Just let it play out and enjoy the ride...
John: Why do we put ourselves through this? What would Tony Boselli do with his time if we didn't?

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