Strnbiker from Dothan, AL:
I am amazed the balancing act management must attempt to achieve. Year after year you get three, maybe four, drafted players in hopes they will produce. Now we have a good mix of veterans and newbies. It took several years to get there, but we are there. Once you get to this level, your team should improve season to season. Therein is my concern. You have, some say, all this extra cap money, so spend it. With so many players coming up for contracts, next year makes me nervous. Now I understand why the elite teams are forced to let good players go due to this cap situation. Thus far I perceive management has done a good job overall. Especially with the new coaches. Any thoughts?
John: Many within the team believe the Jaguars are exactly where you say – i.e., at the stage of having a solid mix of young players turning into veterans and forming a core. The results have yet to catch up on the field, but if the team shows the improvement it believes it will the front office will indeed be in the position of having to re-sign a lot of core players. That likely plays into the thinking with Maurice Jones-Drew's contract. You have to structure your salary cap on a long-term basis and to do that, you have to be able to draft, develop and plan accordingly. The next few off-seasons will be interesting on that front.
Peter from Maribor, Slovenia:
I'm probably the only Jaguars fan in this part of Europe. I started watching the NFL a few years ago and then fell into it. So the question is – is it just me, or has this game become too pass-oriented? I love seeing some running back tearing the whole defense apart (like Pocket Hercules does). Best regards to Jacksonville fans . . .
John: And regards to you as well. There are indeed many fans who believe the game is too pass-oriented now, but considering the game's ratings and fan interest in this quarterback-oriented era, I don't think you'll be seeing a change anytime soon. Not only are the rules set up to encourage passing, quarterbacks have on average far longer careers than running backs, which mean teams build around that position and emphasize it more. That doesn't mean you won't see running backs tear defenses apart. It just won't be as common as it was before.
Bo from Dresden, NC:
Mojo, Scobee, London – John, how do you do it? I'm taking some time off. See ya in 3 weeks!
John: Looking forward to it.
Joey from Middleburg, FL:
I read a story where the Chargers are marketing to visiting team fans to sell tickets. This seems to makes a lot of sense (marketing-wise, maybe not so great if I'm sitting in the middle of them). Do the Jaguars do the same thing?
John: Not really. The Jaguars are trying to build a regional fan base here in Northeast Florida and South Georgia, and that's where the marketing efforts will remain focused. There's nothing wrong with fans from opposing teams and markets buying tickets, but as far as a marketing campaign to encourage it, that's not the route the team's going.
Fred from Waycross, GA:
Arghh! Please God, some NFL news. Anything! I can't ever remember such a long painful off season. Make the pain go away!
John: I remember a far longer, more painful off-season. It was way back in 2011.
Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
I get the feeling 2012 is going to be very similar to 1996. Coming off a bad year, way more talent on the roster than people care to admit, upgrade at wide receiver, a new quarterback, and low national expectations. Ironically, Denver once again has a top-tier quarterback as well.
John: I don't know how much the Broncos will factor into the Jaguars' season, but I like the '96 comparison when it comes to the Jaguars. I don't know what the season will bring in terms of record, and you can't expect a repeat of the '96 postseason run, but there was a sense in the offseason before that season that something solid and long-term was being built and that better days were coming. That's certainly the feeling around EverBank this offseason.
Moshe from Mexico City, Mexico:
Two seasons after the Reggie Nelson trade, who was the winner, Bengals or Jaguars? I think Gene Smith failed in that one.
John: I don't know that there was a winner or loser in that trade. It was a pretty low-profile trade in the sense that the Jaguars were really just trying to get something in exchange for a player who hadn't worked out with the franchise. I guess the best way to answer is the Jaguars' football people aren't walking around regretting the trade. In fact the Jaguars acquired two players for Nelson - David Jones and a conditional pick that was used this year to select Jeris Pendleton.
Richard from Woonsocket, RI:
If Scobee were to hit on a new deal, does it kick in right away, or does he have to play this year under his "franchise tag contract"?
John: If Scobee and the Jaguars agree to a long-term deal, the contract will kick in immediately.
Andrew from St. Augustine, FL:
I remember reading a story of how players would come to Vince Lombardi and tell of their accomplishments and demand a raise. Lombardi would chime back with missed assignments and broken plays and tell them their salary would not change. I wish times were just as simple.
John: There's also a story of how center Jim Ringo hired an agent to handle his contract negotiations with Lombardi and how Lombardi immediately traded Ringo to the Philadelphia Eagles. That story has circulated a long time around the NFL, and while it has been refuted in recent years, I still sort of like to believe it. Still, the time of which you speak was one when agents weren't involved and in which players really had no power. So, yes, it was a simpler time, but it really wasn't a fair time for players. I believe Lombardi would have been just as good a coach now as he was in his era because he would have adapted to the modern game. He would have adapted to the goings-on off the field as well.
Steve from Elk River, MN:
It is hard to understand fans who think MJD should get a new contract. This is not Monopoly Money. I once met Mr. Weaver at a public relations event in Orlando, and asked him if he understood the complexities of the salary cap. His answer was basically - "I sign the checks, I must know how it works". It is after all - real money.
John: It's real for both sides. That's why these things get drawn out.
Rob from San Antonio, TX:
O-Man, what's the deal with jersey numbers? I heard somewhere that certain positions could only use certain jersey numbers. Is that true, and if so what is the purpose? The only thing I can think of is that it helps the teams and officials sort out who is who, by position/group, on the field. Also, do you know when this started?
John: The NFL indeed has rules about which positions can wear which numbers. Quarterbacks can wear Nos. 1-19; running backs, 20-49; wide receivers, 11-19 and 80-89; tight ends, 40-49 and 80-89; offensive linemen, 50-79; defensive linemen, 50-79 and 90-99; linebackers, 50-59 and 90-99; cornerbacks and safeties, 20-40; and kickers and punters, 1-19. The number is based on the primary position of a player, with the current system becoming more of a hard, fast rule than a guideline as it was in 1973. Before then, you would see players wear numbers such as 0 and 00 and other players occasionally wearing numbers outside the norm. Its purpose is to make things easier not only for officials, but for fans viewing the game.
Ryan from Ohio:
What are your top three favorite sports besides football? I'd have to go Baseball, Soccer, and golf....
John: Basketball, tennis and hockey.
Tyler from Jacksonville:
There was an article on Big Cat Country on what Gabbert's goals should be next season. It mentioned around 3200 yards and 18 touchdowns. I find that a bit low for a modern-day quarterback. I would say about 3600 yards and 25 touchdowns is a better goal for Gabbert. What say you?
John: I think 3,200 yards and 18 touchdowns is about right, though I wouldn't mind seeing the touchdown goal around 21 or 22. Remember, the record for touchdown passes in a season for the franchise is 23. Should Gabbert move past that number at some point? Obviously, but for this season if he throws for 3,200 yards and 18 touchdowns with a low number of interceptions it would be a very good season.
John from Section 204:
Is Shad Khan aware that you anchor one of the best, if not THE best, team websites in the NFL?
John: I believe he does. I'm not sure why else I keep getting these major pay increases every other month. Near as I can tell, that's the only logical explanation.
Strnbiker from Dothan, AL: