Let's get to it . . .
Tom from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL and Section 106:
I may answer my own question here, but why are the offensive left tackle and the right defensive end so high profile - Monroe vs. Allen this week? Is it simply the structure of the pro set with the left tackle unassisted to his outside and the right defensive end with a shorter route to the quarterback?
John: That's part of it, but it's mostly because in the NFL, teams usually line up their best pass rusher on the right side, primarily because that means they're rushing from the blind side of right-handed quarterbacks. That has led to teams generally putting their best pass-blocking tackle on the left side. There are exceptions, of course. Some right tackles are very good pass protectors and some left defensive ends are very good pass rushers, but as a general rule, the left tackle and right defensive ends are the high-profile spots.
Logan from Dickinson, ND:
Do you play fantasy football? I would like to see you do some fantasy blogs on the site. I think it would really solidify you as the best writer in all of sports.
John: Nope. Did it once. Didn't get into it. Don't mind those who play it, but don't plan to start.
Eric from Lynchburg, VA:
It has been said often this week that Jones-Drew knows how to carry the ball whether in a new system or not, and the concern is in blitz recognition and pickup. Why, then, is he going to be the "third-down back" given that third down is when the defense is most prone to blitz? Why not play MJD most first downs when the defense tends to blitz the least and let Jennings play most third downs if Jennings is more "ahead" on the blitz pickup scheme?
John: Good question. Jones-Drew is a very good blocker, and I believe he'll pick up things quickly. One thing to remember is it's not as if the Jaguars necessarily have to stick with this plan as a hard-and-fast rule. I don't believe Jones-Drew is going to play every third down, and he may play on some first downs with Jennings relieving him. I think in discussing that plan Mike Mularkey was trying to provide a general idea of how much Jones-Drew will play. Once the game begins, if Jennings is playing well in certain situations I imagine he'll keep playing, and I imagine the same is true of Jones-Drew.
Robin from Live Oak, FL:
Do you think Blaine Gabbert will have over or under 3,500 yards passing this season?
Will from Jacksonville:
Adrian Peterson thinks the Jaguars would have been terrible without Jones-Drew. Well, I've got news for him. The Vikings are terrible WITH Adrian Peterson, and honestly, we don't need Jones-Drew. At this point he's just a nice accessory. Way to get the Jags fired up, Adrian. Your disrespectful and ignorant comments will be quickly taken back when you have 11 angry men swearing to crush you like a grape.
John: I'm not one to get too overhyped about bulletin board material. Usually, it doesn't have much effect on the outcome. Peterson was simply parroting what many others believe, but it is a little silly for a player on another team to say it. Most players know NFL teams don't rise and fall on one player, particularly players who aren't quarterbacks. I would say Jones-Drew is a bit more than just a nice accessory, but just as a point of reference here's the story to which you refer.
Ed from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
You are too nice. Love means never having to say you are sorry.
John: Actually, love means heartache, disappointment and disillusion – and saying sorry quite a bit.
Richard from Jacksonville:
Your thoughts on Greg Jones running the ball from fullback in short situations? He was successful and powerful as a runner at FSU. Seems to be used as a check-down safety valve out of the backfield on rare occasions.
John: The Jaguars use Jones occasionally as a runner, but here's the philosophy about using Jones too much on short-yardage: He is one of the best blocking fullbacks in the NFL and Maurice Jones-Drew historically has been very good in short yardage. Why take Jones-Drew and Jones away from something they do extremely well?
Jonathan from Middleburg, FL:
I think it's pretty wise to hold Derek Cox out this week to help him be more healthy for next week. The Texans passing game is much more dangerous than the Vikings' would appear to be. What say you?
John: I say if Derek Cox is healthy to play he'll be on the field no matter the opponent. The Jaguars certainly hope he will be on the field against Houston, but they want him there for Minnesota, too.
James from Bossier City, LA:
O-man, I saw an old picture of myself taken when I had a beard. I regret that I didn't shave it off sooner. I looked horrible, but back then, I thought it looked awesome, and the ladies just had to love it... Do you think if MJD reads this he'll get the hint?
John: What a relief. I thought you were talking about my glasses.
Sapo from Parkland, FL:
I'd hate to lose Rashad Jennings, but it's nice to see a good guy hit it big. Given he's been showcased this preseason, and he's obviously good enough to be a full-time starter, what potential trade value do you believe he holds for the Jags? He may be in his fourth year, but he doesn't have nearly as many miles on the odometer as MJD.
John: This is a question I get quite a bit, and I'm always curious about the rush to trade players. If a team has more than one good player at a position, the first thing you hear is discussion of what one of those players' trade value would be. Really, the only position at which this usually is a viable option is quarterback. If you have two good quarterbacks, then you might have a chance to trade one for value. Aside from that, there's really no rush to trade. Players get hurt and it's rare to go an entire season without needing depth at a spot. In the NFL, good players usually wind up playing.
Tommy from Jacksonville:
It's an old school Nokia, isn't it? It's a Nokia.
John: Yep, and when I'm playing Intellivision at night listening to my Walkman, I store it next to my Compaq desktop tower.
Willis from Jacksonville:
O-bro, are your sports coats and stylish frames symbolic of how you're "paid in full"?
John: Oh, they're symbolic of something.
Brett from Ridgeland, MS:
I did some looking at the prime-time schedules (Sunday, Monday, and Thursday night games) and the split is absurd. There are 96 slots in these games for teams and 16 teams hold 75 percent of them. The majority of the 25 percent remaining is on Thursday night, too, and a lot of people can't get the NFL Network. What makes it worse is that in that 25 percent are teams on the rise and could be really good in the next year (Bills, Seahawks, Colts, Jaguars). How does the NFL expect these teams to grow nationally if they are never seen by a national audience? Each team should have three primetime games with at least one on Sunday or Monday night. It would be more interesting seeing every team and not the same ones week in and week out.
John: You play your way into prime-time slots in the NFL. I can't blame television networks that pay billions for the right to broadcast games for wanting the most popular teams. They pay those dollars to sell advertising and you sell advertising based on ratings. In fact, I'm not sure why they would want anything else. It would be nice if Jaguars-Cardinals drew the same as Packers-Patriots, and some day it will, but this season? Hardly. Television is going get fans like you – the hard-core, diehard – no matter who they put on the broadcast. To get the big numbers, you have to have star quality.
Mark from Ponte Vedra and Section 215:
Wouldn't it be great if the Jaguars were to host next year's opening game for the NFL season?
John: Not for the 31 other teams.
Jack from Jacksonville:
I get the feeling that Mularkey isn't going to tell us how much MJD is going to play until after the game Sunday. Is this some sort of competitive advantage?
John: I get the feeling Mularkey's already told us the general plan going in. Jones-Drew is going to play as a reserve, and when the situation dictates. I guess if he wanted to get more specific he could FedEx or fax the Vikings the game plan, but that's a little silly.
Steven from Jacksonville:
"I was actually thinking about how much I love my readers" -Priceless. You sir, have definitely outplayed your contract this week!
John: And you know what? I ain't getting a raise, either.
MoJo and Me
Let's get to it . . .
Tom from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL and Section 106: