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Handling a "dilemma"

Let's get to it . . . Sean from Fleming Island, FL:
Yes, Maurice Jones-Drew has had "an enormous number of carries in the last three seasons." But the team decided to give him those carries, unless MJD now calls his own number in the huddle.
John: I don't quite get your point. Yes, the team did give Jones-Drew the carries. My point was that those carries add up for a running back and contribute to the idea that the clock is ticking on players at that position. I'm not sure that whose decision it was to give him the carries really factors into the argument.
The Grabster from Jacksonville and Section 216:
With the quality of the starters and the depth on this roster getting better each year, do you believe the Jaguars are nearing the point to where they will be less active in free agency in the coming years? I would assume we would be re-signing our own draft picks, drafting additional college players who will contribute, and tapping into some jars on the shelf. It would seem logical to me that this would equate to less spending in free agency on high-profile players, which I know has been the long-term goal of Gene Smith.
John: I think the Jaguars got pretty close to that this past off-season. They really only signed one high-profile free agent from another team, that being wide receiver Laurent Robinson from Dallas. They waited until pretty much after the first wave of free agency to sign cornerback Aaron Ross. That's pretty close to what you want to do in free agency – i.e., have a deep roster, re-sign your own players and add a player if necessary to fill a need.
James from Charlottesville, VA:
Do you think the NFL will ever eliminate ties in regular-season games? On that note, would you like to see the NFL adapt the college rules of overtime?
John: The NFL has gone a long way toward eliminating ties. Since it instituted the sudden-death regular-season overtime policy in 1974, only 17 regular-season games have ended in ties, four since 1989. That's close enough to total elimination that I doubt you'll see a rule change. As far as adapting to the college rules of overtime, I'm not a proponent. It's always felt sort of staged to me, and seeing those 56-49 scores with touchdowns after multiple overtimes never felt right. I've never sensed any momentum within the league to move toward that format, the reason being it has a tendency to lengthen games and increase the number of plays. That leads to fatigue and injury, things the players association and the competition committee traditionally try to avoid.
Chris from Jacksonville:
From what you have seen, who does Andre Branch remind you of in the NFL?
John: So far, he reminds me of a guy who hasn't yet had pads on in the NFL. Not to be snide, but I prefer to wait on comparisons until we see him against live competition. I know the Jaguars like him a lot, and he did things in the offseason – i.e., showing quickness and burst and a willingness to work – that make the team optimistic. That's about as excited as I want to get for now.
Chris from Jacksonville:
If you had to pick one, who would you say had the better season this past season, POZ or D. Smith? It was too close for me to call.
John: I honestly don't know how to gauge that. My first instinct would be to say Posluszny, mainly because his impact was the most obvious and dramatic difference from the defense in 2010 to 2011. He made a difference on the field during the play and getting the defense in and out of plays before the snap. Still, to quickly say Posluszny is to make the same mistake many have made for years, which is to undervalue Smith because he is a consistent player who is never a distraction and doesn't demand attention off the field. I'm going to give the nod to Smith because my guess is he probably graded out a touch higher and may have been a little more consistent, but the difference in the two is negligible.
Ronnie from Section 123 and Jacksonville Beach:
If you're not one to believe players would let off-season contract issues affect their play, you should ask Scobee what he meant when he said, "playing under the tag could negatively impact his mental state and performance."
John: I'm sure what he meant exactly what he said, and I'm just as sure that it was like so many things said in offseason contract situations – i.e., something that gets said that really means nothing once the season plays out. Do you really believe that Scobee will let being under the tag hurt his performance? I just don't see it.
Bryan from Tampa, FL:
This may have been asked and answered already, I can't recall. But I wanted to know if the Jaguars were planning to have joint practices with the Falcons again this year as they did the previous two.
John: Not this year.
Phil from Woodmere, NY:
Here's the important question... If MJD is willing to hold out throughout training camp and the upcoming season, do the Jaguars want him on the field so badly that they pay him more? Or do they hold their ground and start Jennings? I'm thinking they go with Jennings. What about you? (And don't say you don't think it's going to happen because first of all, you said that about mandatory minicamps and you were wrong. And secondly, my question is a hypothetical, but possible scenario).
John: Obviously that's the important question. That's the important question with any holdout, and in fact, it's essentially the only question. (And don't give me orders, even parenthetically; it's still my column until that day long-awaited by many Jaguars fans when Shad Khan tosses me into the St. Johns). I think the Jaguars are going to hold their ground and I don't think that means Jones-Drew will miss the season. But if he does, yeah, that means under that scenario they would go with Jennings.
Casey from New Hampshire:
I know you've answered several questions about Mojo and Scobee's contract situation(s), and I understand both standpoints clearly. But with $25.1 million in available cap space (the most in the league), don't you think the Jags are being a little stingy? What exactly are we saving all this money for, if not for two of the most important players on roster?
John: What the Jaguars are saving the money for is future years. Having available cap space in one year is not a reason to cave in on negotiations. If what Jones-Drew is wanting is an extension into 2014 and 2015, your worry in terms of the cap is those seasons rather than the 2012 or even the 2013 cap. In that scenario, you're talking about committing cap space to a ninth-year running back. Yes, there is cap space now but you don't want to commit it foolishly in future years. As far as Scobee, I just don't know that we can say the Jaguars are being stingy. They have offered Scobee a long-term deal. Just because there is cap space is no reason to overpay.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
Maurice Jones-Drew doesn't deserve more money. He works a fake job. If he wants more money tell him to get a real job and work long hours in a factory or coal mine, and do serious work. The same goes for Josh Scobee. Honestly, should someone get paid millions of dollars just to kick a football? Some people can't afford to feed and provide care for their children and these guys whine for more dough. I hope the two of these ungrateful jerks go to the beach this summer and get eaten by a shark. I demand your reply!
John: No.
Dave from Section 412 and Jacksonville:
I get why Caddy Shack isn't your favorite sports movie of all time because, like me, it is your favorite movie of all time in any category. Gunga-la-gunga.
John: I know I'll get a lot of flack because there are hardcore Caddy Shack fans, but I'm not among them. I saw it in the theatre and watch bits and pieces occasionally, but I can live without it.
Dave from Section 412 and Jacksonville:
Will says your comments are quick-witted. I laughed out loud at that. This is the way I see it. You read the posted questions, take a nap, play nine behind a slow foursome, take your weekly shower, get your back waxed, have a pedicure, take another nap, then answer the questions. Witty, maybe. Quick-witted, not in print.
John: I don't play golf.
David from the Island:
I'm in a corner here her O-man. We're going diving on a wreck this Saturday off of my boat. I started the trip after yapping my lips after happy hour. I'm relatively inexperienced and the other folks are "less" experienced. I'm worried about the "man in the gray suit," aka Mr. Shark. I'm hoping for big winds to cancel our trip. If the winds fail me, how do I back out without losing too much face?
John: Your dilemma centers around "saving face" – i.e., maintaining dignity or pride. For those of us with neither, scenarios such as yours aren't so much dilemmas as weekly routines. Tell your friends you're scared and simply lack the courage and backbone. If they know you as my friends know me, they will understand. Probably, they will expect it.

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