Let's get to it . . . Rick from Tampa:
Is it possible that Shad Khan is having the team play in London for four years to market the Jaguars and raise their value to sell?
John: No. Shad Khan didn't buy the Jaguars to sell the team. He bought them because he wanted to own an NFL team. If you sell an NFL team, you no longer own it.
Scott from Plantation, FL:
I had a boss once tell me no matter how important you think you are to an organization in reality if you take a bucket of water, stick your finger in it and pull your finger out all you have is a few ripples and eventually calm water. While you may matter in the moment, in the long run your ripple is replaced by calm water again.
John: Your boss is a very wise man.
Steve from Jacksonville:
Could you please explain how a team in London could play an NFL schedule? Are they going to fly across the ocean eight times a year? Look at the win percentage of teams flying east coast to west coast. How can that be competitive?
John: I would explain it, but I'm skeptical about a team being competitive crossing the Atlantic eight times a year. Flying across the ocean for one game will be difficult enough on the body that the league will schedule a bye week afterward. I don't see the league having a team try to do it eight times for a long, long time – if ever. That's just one of the logistical issues making having a team in London on a permanent basis anytime soon really unlikely.
Caleb from Jacksonville:
I got about three fiddy.
Jack from Jacksonville:
Is Khan giving a Romney/Ryan infomercial when he talks about growing the pie? Shouldn't he be talking more about revenue sharing for small-market teams like the Jaguars?
John: No. The whole small market thing became much less of a problem with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement signed last summer. In fact, the new revenue sharing agreement was a reason it made more sense for Khan to buy the Jaguars and remain in Jacksonville. When he talks about growing the pie, he's talking about growing the team, the city and the business community together; not revenue sharing.
Ivan from Jacksonville and Section 123:
Just realized we haven't criticized Gene Smith enough for not signing Mike Sims-Walker a year ago and letting him go to the Rams. We can't have good receivers without giving MSW a bunch of money, right?
John: Don't worry. We're just getting started this season. There will be plenty of time to criticize people for no good reason.
Shane from Starkville, MS:
ESPN cannot stop talking about us! We finally got the national attention everyone has been crying for!
Chris from Jacksonville:
Andre Branch seems to be playing very well and the coaches seem to be very high on him. Assuming Austen Lane is healthy once the season starts, who do you see starting? I think this is a great position battle for the jaguars and an area where they could be deep.
John: I'd be surprised at this point if Branch isn't the long-term, permanent starter. He has played well in preseason, and has been far better against the run than anyone around the Jaguars expected. There is little question among anyone in the organization that he will develop into a very good pass rusher, and he should help there immediately. Most importantly for a rookie in the preseason, he has been available. The coaching staff seems comfortable with him there and there doesn't seem much reason to make a change if he stays healthy.
Patrick from Jacksonville Beach:
If Rashad Jennings gets hurt, what do you think will happen with the Jones-Drew contract dispute?
John: Whatever would have happened if he stays healthy.
Sean from San Bernardino, CA:
All right, John. You've defended both sides this whole offseason when it comes to this holdout. I said it from the beginning Khan and Smith weren't verbally handling this holdout properly. When Darrell Revis held out in New York, Rex Ryan had daily contact and even lunch with him to make sure they stayed on the same page. Mike Mularkey has yet to even meet MJD this offseason. Now, when it seems things are close to being settled, Khan decides to test MJD's ego one more time. This has been horribly mishandled by upper management and there really is no denying that now.
John: I'm not going to sift through your entire email and defend/discuss every point. I have discussed both sides, because when it comes to a holdout, I sort of believe the way my colleague Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union believes – that the player has every right to hold out and the team has every right to not give him a new contract. I have believed from early on that the Jaguars had no intention of renegotiating, and I believe on Tuesday Khan didn't so much "test" Jones-Drew's ego as restate what should be obvious to anyone by now, that the Jaguars are building something they believe is strong, and that if Jones-Drew wants to be involved, they want him to be involved. If he doesn't, they can't control that. So, in that respect, it hasn't been mishandled at all. People have asked the Jaguars what's going on with a player who is under contract and Khan and Gene Smith each answered that the player is under contract and that that's the stance. One thing about the whole notion that Mularkey has yet to meet MJD. Mularkey spent the offseason in Jacksonville installing an offense and coaching a team. I think the Jaguars preferred he do that rather than fly somewhere to meet a holdout running back. As I see it, Mularkey was the one who was where his contract called for him to be; not vice-versa.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
If/when the MJD holdout goes into the regular season, how does that affect the 53-man roster? Does he count against that number if he's not here?
Buddy from Jacksonville:
Hey, John. How much do you expect to see the starters play in Baltimore?
John: Mike Mularkey said the Jaguars will play the starters through the third quarter, and maybe into the fourth. That's pretty standard stuff in the NFL these days, with teams using the third preseason game as a dress rehearsal for the season. That includes making halftime adjustments, game-planning and giving players some semblance of playing a full game at regular-season intensity. For that reason, it's the most important preseason game. The starters likely will play some next week, but not nearly as much. That's the game for sorting out the depth and final positions on the roster.
Joel from Atlanta, GA:
Who are we playing in London? Is it the Buccaneers?
John: The date and opponent will be decided at a later date. I expect it won't be a division game, but that's about all we know.
Alex from Fairfax, VA:
I work in Baltimore every day. I HIGHLY recommend the crab cakes at G&M. Best crab cakes on the planet.
John: They have good ones in the press box. I'm basically living for that right now.
Matt from Orange Park, FL:
I may be ignorant, but I don't buy the whole brand-building argument for holding games overseas. American football is not a humungously popular sport in England like it is here. You know how much money I'd spend and loyalty I'd develop if the Tottenham Hotspur Football Club played a home soccer game in Jacksonville for the next four years? Absolutely none. Sure, people would probably go, but not anyone that's not already interested in soccer. I don't see how taking the positive and direct economic impact of a home game away from Jacksonville actually benefits Jacksonville.
John: You're not ignorant, but there are a lot of Americans in London who will be interested in the games, and because the Jaguars will be going there every season, I think there's every chance that natives of London and the United Kingdom could embrace the Jaguars. I don't know that you're going to see England draped in teal from Liverpool to Leeds – that's the extent of my English geography (thank you, "Beatles" and Who") – but I do think playing there four seasons will grow interest in the team and the league.
My English geography
Let's get to it . . . Rick from Tampa: