Let's get to it . . .
Bob from Fernandina Beach, FL:
In a recent article you said the selection of Anger in the third round indicated a satisfaction with the roster – starters and depth – wow! A 5-11 team whose general manager thinks his roster is quality. Could you put this issue on hold till, say, mid-season, when we have had injuries and this supposed quality depth is playing – then let's examine the completeness of this roster and how our their third-round pick could have been spent. I think Gene is smoking something.
John: First off, I'm not sure I said "satisfied." I think I said the selection indicated they didn't believe a third-round selection was going to come in and make a significant contribution immediately. But I don't want to spend this Mother's Day Sunday getting argumentative. You can use exclamation points and disbelief and that's fine, but the fact remains that from 2009-2011 the Jaguars used third-round selections to draft immediate starters. That was where they were building the roster. If you go through the roster right now there's no starter that jumps out where you say, "Wow, this area is going to get you beat if you don't improve." Argue that all you want, and I know people will, but the point I was making is the Jaguars are further in the building process than they have been in the previous three years. The article to which you refer didn't say the Jaguars had a Pro Bowl, elite-level player at every position. It simply meant to point out that the Jaguars have a player at every spot who likely would beat out a third-rounder in training camp. There's a huge difference.
Ethan from Point Gray:
Hey John, how about a shoutout for Ricky Fowler at TPC Sawgrass? Buddy of Blackmon and Gabbert and sporting the Jaguar colors on Saturday?
Sean from Endicott, NY:
OK, let me try leading without the "M" word. In the rest of my question I inquired about the possibility of Shad using his willingness to pay whatever it takes to field the best team by making the Jaguars organization leaders in player health and injury prevention. If we had the BEST medical facilities on game-day and during training camp, maybe we could prevent some of these soft-tissue injuries. Not only would this be beneficial to some extent in our quest to stay healthy and put the best product on the field, but we may also have an advantage over other teams in free agency.
John: I'm all for teams doing whatever possible to keep players as healthy as possible, but in your scenario it strikes me there may be danger of reaching a point of diminishing returns. The Jaguars' trainers are among the most respected in the NFL and the team's physicians are also of the highest quality. This is a violent, physical game and players get hurt. I don't know that paying the world's best doctors and trainers to be on site is going to prevent that.
Kyler from Oaktree, OR:
Were you a bully in grade school, John? Be honest.
John: I was the kid hiding in closets trying to stay out of the way.
Travis from Waycross, GA:
I find it funny how fans are quick to moan over players being cut prior to camp, such as Deji and Coleman. These fans need to prepare themselves. There will be more recognizable names released when cuts are made. My predictions are Kyle Bosworth, Courtney Greene, Ashton Youboty, Brock Bolen, Zach Miller and Montell Owens. My question: with us likely keeping an extra quarterback is it important to find players who can play multiple positions? In reference to Jeremy Cain, exactly what position does he backup? Is there any other players on the roster that can perform LS duties?
John: Wow. Not sure what Jeremy Cain and Montell Owens did to get on your radar, but give me a hint so I don't do it. I don't doubt a few of the names you mention could be released in August. The releasing of familiar names, while difficult, often is a sign that a young team is progressing. I don't see Owens getting released. Special teams still has a role, diminished though it may be. And as for Cain, he doesn't back up any other position and as strange as it may seem to have a guy on the roster to just long snap, that's how it is for most teams. It's a valued skill, and teams are willing to invest a roster spot in it.
Chase from Section 411:
What happened to Charles Gilbert? Did he get cut?
John: He was a workout rookie and was not signed to the 90-man roster.
William from Jacksonville:
Not that it matters, but how many Jaguars should we expect to see on the Players Top 100 List?
John: I have no idea. Not as many as they deserve, most likely, because players on 5-11 teams often get overlooked. I'd think Maurice Jones-Drew would be on it, and I think Paul Posluszny performed at a very high level last season, as did Daryl Smith. There are a lot of other players on the Jaguars I think could reach that level within the year, but for right now, my guess is there wouldn't be many more.
Matt from Bloomington, IN:
How do you see Will Rackley developing and performing next season and into the future? Are we looking at a Pro Bowl guard, an average player, or something else? Thanks O-Man.
John: The Jaguars believe Rackley can be a 10-year starter in the NFL at guard, and that he could potentially be a Pro Bowl-level player. I liked what I saw of Rackley's athleticism and strength last season and I'm always impressed when a rookie lineman can essentially be a starter for an entire season and seem to gain traction in the second half of the season. One mistake fans and analysts often make is assuming a player is something close to a finished product as a rookie and with rare exceptions, it's not even close. I thought Rackley improved and showed things you want to see as a rookie. I also believe a lot of the issues he had will go away with an off-season of conditioning and a season of experience. We'll know a lot more about Rackley after this season.
Tom from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, and Section 106:
What are the technical - voluntary/mandatory, shells/helmets/hats, etc. - and tactical - what type of practice, drills, and such - differences between OTA's, Mini Camp, and Training Camp? What can and what do players work on day-to-day outside of the formal sessions?
John: The practices are essentially the same in the veteran and rookie mini-camps, though there seemed to be a bit less "team" time in the rookie version last weekend. I'd expect the structure to stay essentially the same in organized team activities, though the practice schedule will vary a little because the Jaguars during that period are trying to get as much of the offense and defense "installed" as possible. They will do the same thing during training camp, and though that may seem repetitive, it's necessary to "install" multiple times to ensure younger players know what they're doing. During OTAs and the veteran mini-camp in mid-June, no live contact is permitted and clubs may require players to wear helmets. No shells or pads are permitted in the off-season, but teams may begin working in pads once a day several days into training camp. Players can work on whatever they want away from the facility, but typically most of the work once the off-season begins takes place in the formal sessions.
Brian from St. Augustine, FL and Section 410:
Bryan Anger trained his leg by kicking a mountain; today we call it Mount Rushmore. Next season all flyovers will use no fuel at all; instead, Bryan Anger will kick the planes over the stadium. Bryan Anger can kick start a car. Before punting, Bryan Anger is required to file a flight plan with the FAA, to avoid any collisions with low-flying aircraft. Bryan Anger has never stubbed his toe, because all furniture knows to get out of his way. Bryan Anger's kicking is our nation's only ability to put satellites into orbit since the cancellation of the space program. Bryan Anger can out-drive Tiger Woods with his leg. The Minnesota Vikings will save $26 million in demolition costs by allowing Bryan Anger to kick down the Metrodome.
Mike from Section 238:
Jeff went a little far afield with the blanket Swayze criticism. He was watchable in Point Break. But Dirty Dancing, O-man? Will you drag out Footloose and Flashdance next?
John: You've got to remember the era from which I hail. Flashdance was summer after senior year and Footloose was spring of freshman year of college. I'll proudly admit to seeing both in the theatre – the girls I hung with loved some Flashdance – and while I won't be quoting Flashdance I'll proudly quote my boy Kevin Bacon when he says, "Leeeeeeetttts Daaaaaance!!!" because if you're not inspired by leather jacket-wearing, VW bug-driving, slick-dancin' Ren MacCormick moving from the big city to the small town and stealing the poor dumb bully's girlfriend and making everything all better by having an illegal prom in an old warehouse just over the county line against the wishes of his girlfriend's preacher father who eventually sees the light and turns out to be a good guy just before everything's OK and in the nick of time for the final line dance scene with – yes! – much shiny confetti . . . well, Mike, if loving that's wrong, I don't want to be right.
Let's get to it . . .
Bob from Fernandina Beach, FL: