Let's get to it . . . Kyle from Charleston, IL:
Isn't punter easier to evaluate than most positions? If the consensus around the league is Anger has a skill set that hasn't been seen in some time that should easily translate to the field. The risk of him being mediocre or average should be minimal to nonexistent, right?
John: In theory, yes, but players are human, so you never know. I have seen cases in which specialists enter the league and kick as projected, but I also have seen specialists come into the NFL and simply not be able to function. I vividly recall a kicker brought in to Indianapolis during my time there to handle kickoffs. I watched the kicker routinely kick through the end zone during practice, but in the game he couldn't get it past the 20. Why? I have no idea. There's no indication that will happen with Anger, though, and the cases of players not being able to function at the NFL level are relatively rare because as you say, there are few interfering factors.
Jarred from Banning, CA:
Any particular reason why we haven't been scheduled on a Sunday night game since 2008? Is it purely a popularity thing considering NBC has the best ratings?
John: It is purely a popularity thing.
Joel from Naples, FL:
Help me out! The wife and I are battling it out on how you pronounce your last name. I say it's, "Osher;" she says it's, "O-sir." And don't be clever and say tomato or tomahto!
John: It's technically O-Zhure, because the 'h' is before the 's.' However, I am commonly called "Osh," so it doesn't bother me. Then again, I also am commonly called, "Hey, #$$$$# #$$$(##!" so in that respect, 'Osher' or 'O-sir' is fine. In your case, being married, nod politely, force a smile and say, "O-Sir." Anything else is so not worth the headache.
Brian from Charlottesville, VA:
Colin Cowherd the other day gave his predictions for the standings at the end of the year: 3-13!!!! I've heard him say before he hates Gabbert as a QB. I sincerely hope Gabbert improves just so he can laugh in the media's face. How can so many people be so sure that a kid with a rocket for an arm, improved receivers, a better coaching staff and a will to improve has no chance to be even average?
John: Coming up with opinions and topics for a show on a daily basis is much, much harder than the average fan realizes. That's why I can safely and accurately say I don't mean it as an insult to Cowherd when I say I can't imagine he knows enough about Gabbert for me to care much what he has to say about him. Listen to shows such as Cowherd's to be entertained, not informed.
Jeff from Orange Park, FL and Section 231:
You put some of the stupidest questions on your site Johnny 'O," yet when someone asks what the status is on Rashad Jennings or will Tahi challenge Greg Jones, you just blow it off! Come on Big 'J", stop putting out meaningless information.
John: I'm not sure how often I have to answer questions before they're considered answered. Jennings' status is he is healthy and participating in OTAs. Will Tahi challenge Jones? I'd say there will be a competition, yes. How close that competition will be remains a question, but Tahi blocked for Adrian Peterson for four seasons and did it well. Can he beat him out? That's the purpose of training camp.
John from Section 409 by way of Neptune Beach, FL:
An average professional soccer goalkeeper can punt a soccer ball 80-plus yards and kick it off the ground nearly as far. The motions aren't all that dissimilar they can't be learned and executed effectively; however, mentally place kicking and punting seem to be far different, with kicking having much more pressure attached to it.
John: I get the soccer argument. I just know that I have talked to punters and kickers about this often, and all say while there are punters and kickers who can dabble in the other specialty – perhaps well enough to do it on an emergency level – the techniques are different enough that it's very hard to be one of the best 32 people in the world at both. I look at it this way: a player who could punt and kick at a high level would have phenomenal job security in the NFL and would also be incredibly valuable in college. Still, with thousands of players kicking or punting throughout the last 50 years, none have been able to do both. There's pressure on both positions, and it's a bit hard to believe that no one ever has had the mental capacity to do both. What's difficult is to be elite at two things that – despite there being soccer goalies who can put and kick very far – are indeed different skill sets.
Thomas from Palm Coast, FL:
I wonder how you feel about our so-called 'fans' here in Jacksonville. I've seen people say they are not fans anymore because of the Brian Anger pick, which I think was a great pick.
John: The Jaguars' fan base is loyal and passionate. Sometimes loyal, passionate fans get upset with something a team does, rightly or wrongly. My experience is those fans typically remain upset if the team loses, move on if the team wins and continue to love and feel strongly about the team either way. I have found the Jaguars' fan base to be rabid, intense and often irrational – which is just what they're supposed to be – and I don't think the team will lose any true fans over the Anger pick.
Jim from Jacksonville:
One of the NFL analysts said that Gabbert's biggest problem is his lack of consistency in throwing passes. From your perspective, is that true? If so, have you seen or heard the coaching staff say what they can do to improve that part of his game?
John: Knowing what to do and seeing the same thing on the field as he saw in preparation will improve all areas of Gabbert's game. That often didn't happen last season and at times, it led to Gabbert appearing uncomfortable and sometimes being inaccurate. The Jaguars should be better coached and better prepared this season than last. That's going to help everything, including a lot of areas of Gabbert's game.
Bobby from Newcastle, UK:
With Coach Mularkey stating the Jags were going to try something different on offense at times this season, such as having someone who can throw step in at quarterback on the odd play, do you think it may have been a factor that two of the rookie receivers we signed this week used to play quarterback? Not saying they are going to compete for a quarterback spot – just that they could stand in on a Wildcat play and have the arm or ability to read a defense to throw if the opportunity came and ability to run if it's not open?
John: The Jaguars signed Chris Forcier and Mike Brown because they see something in them that leads them to believe they might develop into wide receivers. That's the primary reason. Now, if they are good players and earn roster spots, could they be used on occasion in a different formation? Sure. But I don't see the Jaguars adding significant parts of the offense for Forcier and Brown yet. Also, as I've said previously, I don't know that the Wildcat is going to be a significant part of the philosophy. We shall see.
Stuart from St. Louis, MO:
While Slingin' Sammy Baugh is arguably the best two-way player, I would argue that Concrete Charlie was better. Ten Time All-Pro and played on the Offensive Line and linebacker? And that tackle of Gifford? I would think that was more difficult than punting as the secondary position. PS. I love the history of football and wish people would take a second to read about the old players and appreciate how good they were. I think today's fans get caught up with the here and the now and the gaudy stats and miss out on some HoF players that don't seem to be as good.
John: Baugh also played defensive back in addition to quarterback and punter and is the only player in NFL history to lead the league in passing, punting and interceptions in one season. He was a seven-time first-team All-Pro and two-time second-team All-Pro. He was the NFL Player of the Year in 1947 and 1948 and is the only player to lead the NFL in passing six times. He also is considered the first player to play quarterback in the style it is played today. Chuck Bednarik was All-NFL as a center in 1950 and as a linebacker from 1951-1957 and in 1960. They played in relatively the same era and were greats during their time. My guess is they probably had a great respect for one another, and when you look at their careers, I don't know that there's a big difference between the two.
Scott from Section 240:
Since the Bills signed Mario Williams to such a huge contract, will the Texans receive an extra high compensatory draft pick next year, such as a third-rounder?
John: It's possible, although the league also factors in how the players played once leaving as well as whether the team losing a player signed other players. Essentially, to receive compensatory selections the league must deem a team to have lost either more or better players than it signed in free agency the previous off-season. The league factors in performance and salary there, too. Because of that, it's sometimes difficult to project the level of compensatory selection, but it would stand to reason Williams would factor very strongly in the Texans' favor.
Nod politely, force a smile
Let's get to it . . . Kyle from Charleston, IL: