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Focus on what you can control

Let's get to it . . . Ross from Mechanicsville, VA:
I thought for sure the Packers would win the Super Bowl this year. Do you think they would have had their offensive coordinator not had such an emotional event just a few days prior to their game with the Giants? It seemed they were off offensively like never before during the season.
John: It's hard to say for sure because I wasn't around the Packers. I can share one story from experience. When I covered the Colts in 2005, that team started the season 13-0 and some still believe it was the best Indianapolis team of the Peyton Manning/Tony Dungy era. This was a team that won its first 13 games by seven or more points, something that at that point never had been done. With two games remaining in the regular season, Dungy's son, James, died. The Colts then lost to the Steelers, 21-18, in the Divisional Playoff round after having beaten Pittsburgh, 24-7, in November. The Steelers won the Super Bowl that season and there's obviously every chance the Steelers would have won the playoff game, anyway. But being around that Colts team – and talking to people involved with it afterward – there was an overriding sense that the team never was quite the same following James' death. In that same vein, there's no way to know how much the death of Joe Philbin's son, Michael, affected the Packers against the Giants. The Packers, like the '05 Colts and any team, had flaws, and the NFL is so close and so competitive that teams that look very, very good in the regular season often lose in the postseason. But such an event can take the heart from a team, and it's hard to imagine it didn't take at least something away from the Packers.
Paul from Merced, CA:
Thanks for putting in the hard work every day. I don't really have a question just more of a statement. I really can't wait to see how Will Rackley looks after an offseason hitting the weights. Your thoughts?
John: I agree. I'm a big believer in the NFL adage that the off-season between a rookie season and Year 2 is the most critical of a player's career. It's not always the case, but often players make the biggest jump during that time. For that reason, watching players such as Rackley, Blaine Gabbert and Cecil Shorts will be intriguing this off-season.
Kirk from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Top 5 Jags of all-time and no mention of Mark Brunell? I doubt either of those receivers make the list if Brunell isn't tossing the rock, what gives.
John: Nothing against Brunell. I covered him, liked him and he was an important part of the Jaguars' early success. I have my list. You have yours. Mine's Boselli, Taylor, Smith, Jones-Drew and McCardell and I like my list.
James from West Liberty, KY:
Being a long-time reader and listener of the JTW I've wanted to ask this question since questions have been brought up about Boselli. How do you work with him (honestly)? I like Boselli, very football intelligent and entertaining but he's also very Opinionated, not afraid to tell you how it is (much like my father), and very much your "Type A" personality. Always enjoy your wor,k O-Man.
John: I work with Boselli the same way I dealt with him when I covered him -- by realizing what I was dealing with and letting him happily splash along pleased with his own self-worth. On a serious note, I enjoy working with Boselli. He does indeed know football, and while he is opinionated and Type A, he also listens to and respects the opinions of others. I enjoyed my time covering him when he played, and enjoy working with him now just as much.
James from Mooresville, IN:
Please tell me the question AND response about Hugh Douglas was Sarcasm! Hugh is a Joke! He was pathetic and unmotivated here in Jax. He PUBLICLY has stated that he "mailed it in" and "took the money and ran" with his time here in Jax. He also has gotten into "Twitter wars" with fans and said the "Jaguars will not be in Jacksonville in five years." Not only that, he takes a shot at Jacksonville ANY chance he gets on ESPN!
John: Does he? As I said, I don't know Hugh Douglas. He did what he did during his career and says what he says now. I'm not sure either merits much more attention than we've already given them.
Bill from Hamden, CT:
Since your Top 5 Jaguars were all offense, who are your top 5 defensive Jaguars?
John: I did stop and consider that the Top 5 were all offensive players, but couldn't legitimately find someone to take off and replace. I'll list the Top 5 defensive players with the caveat that I was not around for many of the years the Jaguars played their best defense. Off the top of my head, I'd throw out Marcus Stroud, Tony Brackens, Rashean Mathis, Daryl Smith and John Henderson, but I'd actually be more interested in hearing the thoughts of others. It's an interesting debate.
Dave from Al Dhafra, AB:
When is the start of Free Agency?
John: March 13.
Leo from Duval County, FL:
So how is it that the Broncos signed free agent Jason Hill when it's not March 13 yet? I'm confused.
John: Jason Hill was released by the Jaguars last season, and because he then was not under contract with any team, he was a free agent and able to sign anywhere. Players such as Mario Williams, DeSean Jackson and Vincent Jackson – i.e., all the guys we're all talking about as free agents – have not been released and will become free agents when their contracts expire March 13. When the new league year begins at 4 p.m that day, they are then "free" to sign with any team.
Nick from Riverside in Jacksonville and Section 432 – Top Row:
Are you headed back to your old stomping grounds for the combine? Yes. I will be in Indianapolis from Wednesday through Sunday covering the NFL Scouting Combine for
John: We'll have videos, stories and O-Zones throughout the week. I'm looking forward to it.
Roger from Jacksonville:
John, may I use your forum to express how proud I am to be a resident of this city and a fan of its Jaguars? Under Mr. Weaver's leadership, this franchise set a standard for transparency and fan-friendliness that is unprecedented within the historically secretive NFL. We have the league's first ethnically diverse owner. We enjoy the dedication of journalists like you, who provide us with information about our team year round. In so many ways, the Jaguars organization is a model of what a professional sports franchise should do for its fans. A principled, patient, and dedicated approach will succeed in any business, and I'm confident that the Jaguars will be successful because their owner and general manager understand that. We, as fans, should be proud that the Jaguars are our team, and acknowledge the efforts that have been made to cultivate the relationship between our city and the Jaguars. My sincerest thanks to you, Mr. Khan, and the entire Jaguars organization for all of their contributions toward making Jacksonville a premiere NFL city, and a shining example of what a professional sports franchise can do for its fans.
John: You have been heard.
Jimmy from Gainesville, FL:
I am getting tired of all the talk about the Giants' "great defense" winning them the Super Bowl. It definitely helped, but it was not the deciding factor. If Eli doesn't make the throw to Manningham, the Pats win and we hear nothing about the Giants' defense, pass rush, or JPP man-crushes in the O-Zone. These days it is a passing league and the QB is the reason teams win championships.
John: Certainly, it's the deciding factor, but it's just as true that the Giants were a mess before the defense got things figured out late in the season. You gotta have both – not lock-down, all-game defense, perhaps. But you have to be able to pressure the quarterback and get potent offenses off the field in critical situations.
Anthony from Madison, WI:
So, I hear a lot of fans talking about the great cap space we got to spend on some good free agents but when I go to I see a video talking about the room in cap that the Redskins, Broncos, Chiefs, Bucs, and Bengals have. Are all those teams actually better off than us, or is it Jacksonville getting no love in the media again?
John: Yes, because the Jaguars can move $30 million in cap space forward from 2011 to 2012 they will have one of the better cap situations in the league in March. As far as the video, I spoke with Jaguars cornerback Rashean Mathis for a story that ran on Friday, and during that conversation he talked a lot about not worrying about things he can't control. I know from experience that's something that's easier said than done, but if fans could worry less about this particular thing they can't control, they'd have a lot less off-season angst. More succinctly, "Don' t worry about the national media.'' Win, and you'll get love, respect – whatever you want to call it – and even if you don't get the love, you'll worry about what you're not getting a whole lot less.

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