Let's get to it . . .
Darryl from Tallahassee:
It's the offseason, so let's have some fun and entertain the following in light of recent news. Percy Harvin to the Jaguars. He would answer our kick/punt return issues and offer versatility with the receiver corps and in the backfield. The likelihood of the Vikings trading him is slim, but humor me and give me your thoughts on trading for Harvin.
John: Consider yourself humored, for whatever it's worth. My thought is I imagine the Vikings are treating this request with the same seriousness as the Jaguars would if Maurice Jones-Drew requested a trade, which is to say very little seriousness at all. Now, would Harvin be a fit in Jacksonville in terms of talent? Sure. Any player of his ability would be a good fit on most rosters, which come to think of it is another reason not to get worked up about the Vikings possibly trading him.
Greg from Orlando, FL:
There is naturally a lot of talk about players, Coach Mularkey, and Gene Smith, but we shouldn't overlook the highly respected assistants, coordinators, and coaches on this team. Have you seen more focus from the players when learning and listening to some of the newer coaches as opposed to previous years?
John: I believe there is. I'm always hesitant to go overboard praising assistant coaches, because their effectiveness is a difficult thing to quantify. A lot of it is having players who are talented, focused and willing to be coached. That said, coaching does matter because coaching in the NFL can provide discipline and an atmosphere in which players can succeed. This staff appears to be creating that atmosphere, and the players in the offseason indeed seemed to respond.
Troll from Under the Matthews Bridge:
I haven't heard a lot about Lee Evans in camp. Do you think he will make the team? Does he look to have a little fuel left in his tank? Not that I am putting any stock in Evans being a go-to receiver, but I love rooting for guys in his situation.
John: I see Evans making the roster, though I'm not sure he's going to be in the Top 3 receivers to start the season. That seems likely to be Laurent Robinson, Justin Blackmon and Mike Thomas. That doesn't mean Evans won't have value. Mike Mularkey's offense utilizes a lot of receivers with a lot of different looks, and a veteran such as Evans can give the Jaguars production and big catches in a lot of situations.
Ryan from Atlanta, GA:
O, am I the only crazy one to think we should have been 11-5 last year? We lost two (Carolina 16-10 and Bengals 30-20) due to our punter. Also, we lost four (Pitt 17-13, Cleveland 14-10, Houston 20-13, and Tennessee 23-17) that we easily could have/should have won. Sure, Gabbert looked bad at times, but do you think that if we could have pulled out those six close games, the media/everyone outside of Jax would be bashing the Jags and Gabbert? Excited to see the new offense. ALL IN GO JAGS
John: Well, yeah, I think you may be a little crazy.
Ralph from Wise, VA:
Vic said his favorite two players to interview were Tony Boselli and Fred Taylor. He said they were honest and wouldn't dodge the hard questions asks of them. Have you found your "go to players" on the Jags that you like to interview?
John: Those were two of my favorites, too. Fortunately, there are players in the locker room now of that same ilk: Terrance Knighton, Tyson Alualu and Paul Posluszny are at the top of the list, with Jeremy Mincey, Brad Meester and a few others there, too. Lee Evans is a very good interview, too, though I can't say I know him as well as the others.
Matt from State College, PA:
I've been noticing you never mention players by their nicknames. Does MJD dislike his senior writer talking to him or about him on a first-name basis?
John: When I speak to players, I call them by their first names. When I write about them, I call them by their first and last names first, and their last names after that. That style has been ground into me by years in journalism. What they like or dislike doesn't enter the equation.
Bryce from Algona, IA:
I am in the minority in wanting Meester to be our starting center for as long as possible. Next time you see Brad, tell him there are some UNI Jags fans out there, too!
John: Why would there be fans not wanting Meester to be the starting center? He played at a high level last season, and had one of his best seasons. He has been a rock on this team for more than a decade, and if you told the people who run just about any team in the NFL that they could be assured of their center playing as well for the next 10 years as Meester has for the last 10, they'd take it and be ecstatic.
Mike from Jagsonville:
How's Potroast's eye coming along?
John: When last we spoke with Knighton – a week or two ago, I believe – it was continuing to progress rapidly. Throughout organized team activities, he appeared to be feeling and looking better and better. It looks very good for him to be able to participate in training camp. That is said with the caveat that we are dealing with an eye, which is a very sensitive area when it comes to pressure and contact. That means not being a doctor, I can't say for sure if Knighton will indeed be able to participate fully in training camp, but considering where he was in early April, he's in as good a shape as could be expected.
The Wonderful Wizard from Oz:
I have noticed a lot of names that seemed to be fake/made-up and living in cities that don't exist. Like John from Hopkins and Biff and someone who lives in Slime City. For the sake of keeping this site as serious as possible, can you please only accept questions from people with real names, that live in real cities and not some made-up story book character from a fantasyland place?
John: Funny thing about O-Zone readers. Even the ones from real cities don't seem to be living in the real world sometimes.
Daniel from Gaithersburg, MD:
I read power rankings on NFL.com the other night, and I was surprised to find the Jags at No. 32. What's with that? The writer's excuses were that Blackmon sucks due to his DUI, and MJD's holdout would last forever and that Gabbert would be bad. Do you see this happening this season?
John: No. Teams that finish with the league's worst record are typically teams with major holes in the roster, raw youth or disheveled coaching situations. The Jaguars shouldn't enter the season in the Top 15 or 20 in national power rankings. They haven't earned that. But neither should they be last. Here's what's nice about the NFL. Rankings mean nothing. There is no BCS. There are no bowl games. There are no polls. You play your way in, and once there, you win until you lose.
Bobby from Blaine, WA:
I just learned about a new rule in the CBA that states Commissioner Roger Goodell has all the power and choice in disciplinary in the NFL. Maybe I misunderstood this, but how does one man have so much power? Why not a committee? What if Roger has made up his mind even before a player makes his case? It seems unfair to me, regardless if players and owners signed it. This might become an issue sooner rather than later.
John: That's not a new rule. Commissioner Goodell has power over discipline now, and he had that power since taking office. The NFL Players Association had its chance to try to negotiate some of that power away last summer, but opted not to when hammering out the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. A lot of players don't like it, so it's already an issue, but you know what? That really doesn't matter much. Unfair or not, Goodell has the power for the next nine years. That's when the current CBA expires.
Jarret from Crosby, ND:
If you were going to assemble a team for next year, one year and one year only, who would you take, Jared Allen or Jason Pierre-Paul?
John: Jared Allen, because I trust a veteran and Allen has proven he can do it consistently. He also has reached that point in his career where he has seen most of the ways teams try to block him, and he has apparently learned how to handle it. Pierre-Paul seems destined for an elite-level career, but sometimes young players struggle off and on early in their careers when teams begin focusing on them, as undoubtedly will happen with Pierre-Paul next season.
Mark from Jacksonville:
Pick a day and a bar. Then we all meet for a few beers. Then all the readers will know you.
John: Here's the problem I see. Under your scenario, I would have to get to know all the readers, too.
Just one problem
Let's get to it . . .
Darryl from Tallahassee: