Let's get to it . . . Matt from Jacksonville:
I write in often and have found my questions will be answered without any personal notification. What's the point of providing my email in the first place? Why not just offer a friendly email that my question has been answered, at the least, read? Thank you for your time.
John: On occasion, I will email a reader in response to a question that I don't choose to answer in the O-Zone. That's the reason we ask for them. As for a "friendly" email back that the question has been read, if I answer every email I receive with a, "Hey, I read your question," I assure you my responses wouldn't be all that friendly. Essentially, you thanked me for my time with an email and asked me for a lot more of it. Irony can be pretty ironic.
Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL:
I know the meaning of the word "voluntary" too. It means a player who chooses to commit extra time to learning a new system and offense. A player who chooses to maximize the limited amount of time with new coaches for the better of the team. A player who shows a commitment to his team and teamates above and beyond, what is simply mandatory. It shows a player who is "all in." There is one and only one player under contract, who is not at OTA's. But because he is a "star," it's "no big deal."
John: Your argument certainly has merit. I don't believe that the absence of a running back, even the star running back, in OTAs will hurt very much in a tangible sense once the regular season begins. Jones-Drew certainly can learn the offense and will be productive. At the same time, there are a lot of good things going on with the Jaguars in terms of the team coming together that anyone not hear is missing out on.
Matt from Jacksonville:
With guys like MJD and Scobee holding out, I can't help but look at the Wes Welker situation. Despite the fact that Welker wants a multi-year contract, he still signed his tender and showed up for camp. If we want to be a Super Bowl franchise, we better take notes and start acting like one. Am I the only one tired of this?
John: I highly doubt it.
Joy from Section 103:
As the mother of a 17-year-old male child, the maturing of Gabbert is not that strange or unusual. Young people make dramatic strides in growth over one year. Not to be sappy, but he was basically a boy and now he's a man. Big difference. Go Sunshine. Make 'em eat lots of crow.
John: Joy, your point is as well-put as any I have heard in a while. I don't know how much of Gabbert's change is because he's in a better situation and how much is because he's growing up. But without question, people his age can and do change in dramatic fashion in a very short time.
Willis from Jacksonville:
I got it! If they eliminate kickoffs let's stop the clock on kneel-downs. Heck, let's do that anyhow. Will you co-sign?
John: Can't sign off on that one. If you eliminate the clock stop on kneel-downs, teams can have a quarterback run a step or two one way or the other or hand the ball off. Yours is a decent idea, but it's too hard to legislate.
Josh from Germany:
You put way to much energy into writing your own material. I get paid to translate websites from German to English and all I need to do is copy what someone else already wrote. Learn a second language and you can start taking weekends off.
John: Donde esta casa de Pepe?
Tom from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL and Section 106:
How much longer can the team do without a practice bubble? With the CBA so strictly limiting practice time, I would think even minutes are precious. You write that the OTA's are mainly teaching, and MM has publicly bemoaned the loss of film - a primary teaching tool. Yes, there's cost, but the weather has so far severely impacted 25 percent of the OTAs.
John: My guess – and this is just a guess and not at all official – is that there will be a solution to that relatively soon.
Brad from Orange Park, FL:
I see the trying to be funny (which entails spewing erroneous derogatory information) as the agenda. As far as not intentionally trying to make the Jaguars look bad, what other logical result would come of, without warrant, making fun of someone or something than for it to make it look bad? I'm not saying there's no merit to what you're saying, but no matter how it's spun, O, the national media singles the Jaguars out in an unparalleled fashion in comparison with any other organization - regardless of motive, intent or it being orchestrated. That or I suppose I'm just Jaguars nuts. Maybe both.
John: You're not nuts, but you're a fan of the team that's getting kicked while it's down. While that's frustrating and hurtful, it doesn't mean the national media has an agenda. I can recall for years the Buccaneers being called the "Yucs" and the Bengals being called the Bungles. The Colts for years were one of the worst franchises in the NFL, and they took a lot of heat for it. The Jaguars have had a difficult time the last few years, and those difficult times have happened in an age in which more and more writers – some far better than others – are writing in an electronic medium that requires more content. The requirement of more content – twitter, blogs, etc. – has allowed more writers to write things off the cuff rather than to be more accurate, and the result has been what seems like an agenda. Again, I think a lot of this will go away when the Jaguars have success on the field. Not all of it, mind you, but a lot of it. We'll see.
Fred from Jacksonville:
Regarding the kickoff and onside kick issue, why don't you just split the difference? No kickoffs in the first half but it's business as usual in the second half (or perhaps even just fourth quarter), so you don't take late comebacks via onside kicks off the table.
John: I like it. I don't have much to add, but I like it.
Kevin from Section 106:
Osh, Vic used to answer questions with a story about the good ole football days and that got me thinking. What is your favorite/most memorable moment in the NFL over any time period in which you have been a fan?
John: I grew up a Redskins fan, so in terms of my fandom, I am fortunate in that my most memorable moment is an easy one. Riggins over the right side. Fourth-and-one. Forty-three-yard touchdown. I'd grown up on playoff one-and-outs and loving a team that was never quite good enough to do much that mattered on a national scale. As John Riggins ran down the left sideline in Pasadena in January 1983, all of that changed. And yeah, to me at the time, it mattered a lot.
Andrew from St. Augustine, FL:
Someone is really complaining about the stadium upgrades for the players? Is that probably the same people that complain when the Jags can't lure a big free agent into town?
John: Who's complaining?
Sean from Endicott, NY:
Why does everyone assume Lee Evans is a lock for the final roster, while Thomas' spot is in question? I like the idea of having Evans in camp to have a shot at reviving his career after last year's disappointing showing, and being there to help the young receivers learn the Mularkey system. However, we know his ceiling (mediocre or lower), he has an injury history, and he's in decline. Thomas did struggle last year, but he hasn't reached his potential, he's a multi-faceted weapon, and he's probably more talented to boot. I personally wouldn't be surprised if Evans is kept on through the pre-season and cut in favor of a promising youngster.
John: I would disagree that Evans' ceiling is mediocre or lower. I'm not sure he'll be a game-breaker any longer, but can he help the Jaguars if he's a three-or-four-catch, 40-or-50-yards-a-game guy. I'd say so. That said, I don't know that many around the Jaguars are assuming anything about the wide receiver position beyond Laurent Robinson and Justin Blackmon likely being the top two at the position. After that, there is a mix of players competing and a lot will shake out in the preseason.
Kirk from right near da beach:
Some friends and I are starting to lose our minds with Jag-Fever. So much so that we are looking into a trip to Minneapolis for the first game of the year. A friend currently living there says great things about the micro-brew scene there. The possibilities and excitement before that first game will not be satisfied by TV viewing. After-all, it is Jag-NATION and our fan fervor is not limited by state boundaries. WE ARE.
John: Dude . . . road trip.
Hitting the road
Let's get to it . . . Matt from Jacksonville: