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Keep preparing for the season

Let's get to it . . . John from Kingsland, GA:
ARGH! ARE YOU FRIGGING KIDDING ME!?!?! Talk me down, John, because right now I'm very angry.
John: As might be expected, from about noon on Sunday, the inbox was pretty much all Justin Blackmon all the time – and as should have been the case, it all centered on his arrest. I got emails calling him an idiot, calling him stupid, calling for him to be released and wondering what this means for the Jaguars. I'm not going to remotely attempt to talk you down today, John. You should be angry. Teams spend a lot of time talking to young players about what to do and what not to do, and when you're a Top 10 selection, it's even more important that you act in responsible fashion. At this point, it's unknown what the punishment would be, but whatever it is it pales in importance to how Blackmon responds to this. If he responds as he should and focuses on putting it behind him and getting his head where it needs to be then it doesn't have to have dramatic long-term effects for the Jaguars. If this turns out to be a long-term problem, obviously that's different. There's no way to know yet, but this obviously isn't a good start for Blackmon and he obviously needs to get it through his head quickly that this isn't acceptable.
Strnbiker from Dothan, AL:
Changes for the Jags have been discussed and the list is quite extensive. Yet, in the many years I have followed this team, I cannot recall this or any team having such a massive change in attitude, determination and zeal as is now. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the puzzle pieces seem to be falling into place and either this year or the following year, barring IR etc., it will be complete. For once in a long time I am really excited about our future as it appears everyone is unified, on the same page and moving forward.
John: Yes, there is a buzz and while there are those who wonder if the lease agreement thing last week and now the Blackmon arrest will change that, I don't think so. You create a buzz by doing things right and getting the core of the team moving in the same direction. I don't think that changes based on a few events in late May and early June.
Sean from Fleming Island, FL:
I don't think generally fans understand the importance of division games. If you sweep your division or win five of the six, I would think the chances of winning the division are high.
John: Fans may not understand, but teams certainly do. Players and coaches generally talk about division games with the idea that they count "twice." In other words, you have a chance to not only win and gain ground, but to push a rival down in the standings. And yes, while there are cases of teams winning five or six division games and not making the playoffs, it's rare. Generally speaking, if you're good in your division, you're good and have a good chance to make the playoffs.
Ed from Jacksonville and Section 433:
If all these OTAs are voluntary, why can't the players and coaches volunteer extra time if they volunteer to do so?
John: Because the owners and players agreed last summer they can't.
Jteamrain from Jacksonville:
I get the easy target part, and usually just roll with it. But, right now I feel compelled to point out that while we were 5-11 last year and didn't perform well, we were not at the bottom of the league. We were at five wins not one, and we were without our presumed starting quarterback. Sometimes you would think we were worse than the Lions were. The Jaguars aren't.
John: No, they were not, and if you take a look at their roster and honestly evaluate it, it's clearly far from the worst in the NFL. Time will bear that out and the nice thing about the NFL is it's played out on the field and not on the Internet or in preseason polls.
Scott from Gilbert, AZ:
Hey John, In an attempt to be the guy that can admit when he's wrong, I was one of the Jag faithful upset when we needed a strong safety and felt like the team didn't do what was necessary to secure Otagwe. Here we are two short years later, and OJ, who commanded some nice money for a long-term deal, isn't on anybody's current 90-man roster. Moving forward I think I'll just let the guys that get paid to make those decisions do their job, while I simply relax and enjoy the product on the field.
John: Suuuuuuuuuure you will.
Jack from Kingsland, GA:
It irked me that Moe isn't here, but then I got to thinking. Isn't it possible his absence is helping Blaine assume that leadership role? Heck, folks, we could be watching the true transformation of our Jaguars into a team with an actual LEADER under center. That's exciting. The position was ignored far too long, and I for one believe that's where the fan base's frustration really stems from. We've had no one but running backs to root for for the last decade.
John: Yes, Jones-Drew's absence may help Gabbert assume a leadership role, but to be honest, that's going to happen anyway. It's a quarterback-driven league. When there is a quarterback who is The Guy, that quarterback is going to be the face and leader of the franchise. Gabbert is on his way to being The Guy, and when that happens, he's the leader. It's just the way it is.
Dean from Rochester, NY:
NICE "Donde esta casa de Pepe?" Omelet Du Fromage.
John: I like to get small.
Jim from Jacksonville:
Why are you and others so quick to defend MJD when it comes to him missing the voluntary OTAs? He's supposedly one of the team's leaders, this is a new season, with a new coaching staff, some new players, presumably a new offensive system, and hopefully a new mindset that will overcome the team's dismal past. If MJD doesn't get it, or is willing to put that second to his personal desires, then just maybe he's not the type of guy we like to think he is!
John: I'm not sure how much I've defended Jones-Drew. I've said it would be preferable if he were here, and I said he certainly should have been here for at least a day or two to show support for new Head Coach Mike Mularkey. The reality is no matter how much fans or the team might prefer he be here the rules state that attendance is voluntary. Voluntary does indeed mean voluntary, and considering Jones-Drew's history of being prepared and being productive, it's hard to imagine he won't be ready when it's time to play.
Ron from Jacksonville:
The last time I bought a new car I did it because I liked the style and I couldn't remember seeing many of them around. As soon as a bought it, I saw a car like mine everywhere I went. The reason for that phenomenon is the same reason why it's easy to think the national media is picking on Jacksonville. Maybe there are a few more "Jacksonville is bad" stories than there are about other teams but when you read everything you can get your hands on looking for content about your team and very little is positive, it can seem like everyone is out to get you.
John: There is that. It's also true that when one writer takes a little shot it becomes that much easier for another to do it. And so on. I think that's what's going on here as much as anything. Eventually, the tide will turn, but until then, it is difficult. No question.
Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
It's easy to say you want a practice dome. Just like it's an umbrella on a rainy day. But the fact of the matter is it's a big structure that has not proved its safety in high winds. In addition, it costs a lot and it breaks a lot. It's a big waste of money and it's a money pit. It's not where you practice; it's what you practice. I would say it means very little in getting the Jaguars where they need to go. You really do not need to have everything that everyone else has. The guy with the best shoes does not win all the time! I think it's a bad idea!
John: It's true. I have pretty nice shoes and I never win.
Buddy from Jacksonville:
Boy, do I feel sorry for your inbox today . . .
John: I got this a few times Sunday and really, a day like this isn't tougher than the rest from the point of view of the O-Zone. Blackmon screwed up. Big-time. Fans write in angry. As they should. As a franchise, what the team does is deal with it, address it, move on and keep preparing for the upcoming season. The NFL is largely about handling the unexpected. This isn't to minimize the importance or severity, but Blackmon was Sunday's unexpected event. Now, we'll see what happens next.

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