Let's get to it . . . Sean from Fleming Island, FL:
What coaches were retained from last year's staff and can you give us some insight as to why these gentlemen were asked to stay with the team?
John: The coaches retained from last year's staff were assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, defensive line coach Joe Cullen, linebackers coach Mark Duffner, offensive line coach Andy Heck, assistant defensive line coach Paul Spicer, special teams assistant Craig Aukerman and defensive assistant Brandon Blaney. The first four are in what are generally considered key roles, so we'll discuss them. It was generally considered that Tucker did a very good job with the defense and that he'll be a head coach in the NFL relatively soon. It is a general consensus that the Jaguars' staff is better with Tucker than without, and Head Coach Mike Mularkey very much wanted to keep him. The same was true of Cullen and Duffner. Their position groups have performed well, and keeping them along with Tucker keeps the core of what is generally considered a good defensive staff together. Mularkey told Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union recently he considered hiring Russ Grimm and Paul Boudreau for the offensive line position. Grimm opted to remain in Arizona and Boudreau took the same position with St. Louis, after which Mularkey said he asked Heck to remain.
Chris from Jacksonville and Section 243.:
I went to Krystal the other night after my wife went to sleep. I was puking all day the next day. I used to love those little morsels of wonderfulness. Not anymore. They are banned in this house now! We need a White Castle down here.
John: Think of it as part of the experience – and don't think for a minute White Castle doesn't have the same special power.
John from Newark and Section 224:
I just read an article that stated: "Under Article 13, Section 6(b)(v) of the CBA, each team may carry over any remaining cap room from one year to the next by submitting written notice, signed by the owner of the team, to the league office no later than 14 days before the start of the next league year." If this is correct, and I believe the Jags were in the area of about $30 million under the cap, do you see them moving that space into this year's cap. And if so, what are your thoughts on how big this could be for our free agency period? Where do we stand as far as the cap in 2012?
John: I do see the Jaguars moving the $30 million forward, and they will begin free agency about $30 million under the cap. Obviously, it will be big. The Jaguars need to address some premium positions, and if you want to fill needs at such positions you have to spend.
John from Section 214:
On Sunday you mentioned that the Jaguars' top need this off season was the WR position and I completely agree. But my question is do you think Jerry Sullivan would want to work with a veteran who "knows" the league or a rookie who could be a blank slate?
John: Jerry Sullivan is considered one of the best receivers coaches in the NFL – and perhaps in the history of the NFL. I feel confident he can work with a rookie or a veteran.
Mike from Jacksonville:
Is it common for a team to deny an obvious promotional situation for one of its assistants? If I were a GM or a head coach I wouldn't want the reputation of not allowing my people to interview for promotions whether it's to be a head coach, or not. To me it seems like bad business and something that could come back to bite you when you're in search of an assistant coach in the future.
John: It's not common, but it happens. Mostly, it depends on the situation. There are times a team feels an assistant is too valuable to allow to leave, and sometimes if it's so late in the process that a team is worried about finding a suitable replacement a team will block a coach from interviewing. Just as often, a team will allow under contract a coach to interview, particularly for a promotion. As you say, it could bite you in the future – and there's also the element of not wanting someone around who doesn't want to be there. Mularkey mentioned this as a reason he encouraged Tucker to speak with the Vikings in January – to make sure Tucker knew the options and considered Jacksonville the best one. You also don't want to get a reputation for not allowing a coach to move on to a better job. That theoretically could prevent good coaches from coming to work for you in the first place.
Tim from Jacksonville:
I noticed on your Twitter that you took a tour of the local breweries this past weekend. So, which one is your favorite? I'm a big fan of the Killer Whale Cream Ale from Bold City.
John: I indeed took a tour with the fellows from JaxBrewBus.com. Mrs. O-Zone enjoyed the Killer Whale, too, and also enjoyed the Jon Boat from Intuition Ale. I enjoyed Intuition Ale's People Pale Ale, but it's sort of like pizza. I'm not sure there were many bad choices.
Mike from Orange Park, FL:
You said that a franchise deal "will pay the player the average salary of the top player at his position over the previous five seasons." I thought it was the average of the contracts of the top five players at that position for the prior year. Did it change with the latest CBA?
John: I tried to explain it too simply Sunday. The formula has indeed changed under the new CBA, and Jason La Canfora of NFL.com does a nice job explaining it in this article, writing that the franchise tag now is "formed by determining the franchise tags at that position over the last five years as a percentage of the overall cap figure in each of those five years." It's pretty complex, but the long and short of it is that the franchise figure is expected to go down fairly significantly at a lot of positions.
Ron from Jacksonville:
That was Groucho Marx, not Woody Allen.
John: I had heard it from Woody Allen. I believe now he was quoting Groucho, and if so, my apologies. Either way, brilliant.
Gary from Rexburg, ID:
Have you heard anything about any Jags FA players being signed before free agency or redoing any deals before the end of the league year?
John: There are efforts being made, but it's still in the relatively early stages. The league year begins March 13, and the funny thing about deadlines is things tend to happen quickly as they approach.
Austin from San Antonio, TX:
What is your favorite show on TV right now?
John: The shows I'll make an effort to see the same week they air are Curb Your Enthusiasm, 30 Rock and Californication. I'll also watch Dexter, Hung, Shameless and Enlightened, but not as religiously.
Andrew from St. Augustine, FL:
Now that Nike is in charge of jerseys for the NFL, don't tell me that they are going to go with alterations of jerseys such as Boise State, Georgia, and Virginia tech which looked completely ridiculous.
John: I don't know about ridiculous because the NFL will have guidelines, but I think it's safe to say there will be some noticeable changes around the league in 2013 – and that includes the hometown team.
Michael from Kentwood, MI:
What you said about work ethic and Coples got me thinking, isn't it the job of the coaching staff to get every ounce of talent out of a talented player? If analysts say they didn't get enough out of him isn't that the fault of the UNC coaching staff? Surely our new staff could turn his talent into the DE we've been looking for.
John: It's certainly the job of the coaching staff to try. Players are people, and when you get people involved you get the human element. When the human element comes into play, there are things no other human can control. One of those things sometimes is desire and work ethic. There are cases of staffs being able to get more out of staffs than other plays, and my thought on Coples doesn't mean he won't turn out to be a great player, but it's also dangerous to draft a player who underachieved in college thinking you can change him. It's sort of like the woman who marries a beer-drinking, slovenly guy who spends Sundays watching Sunday Ticket with his friends and then is shocked the following fall when he drinks beer on Sundays and watches the ticket with his friends. Who's fault is that, really?
Tommy from Seward, AK:
I like my O-Zone just the same way as I like my coffee: light, not too bitter, and daily, especially on weekends. Keep up the good work O-man, you are appreciated.
John: I like my O-Zone as I like my coffee, too – with someone else making it, and bringing it to my office quietly so as not to wake me from my nap.
Light and not too bitter
Let's get to it . . . Sean from Fleming Island, FL: