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Not counting on the Pulitzer

Let's get to it . . . Dustin from Jacksonville:
There are so many unknowns surrounding our offense this season that starting slow seems like the only given. Will Gabbert be a serviceable quarterback? When will MJD make an appearance? How long does Blackmon hold out? Will his issues affect him? Will Rackley show improvement? Will Britton be back to form? Is the new receiver corps going to be effective? Throw in a completely new head coach and offensive staff and a tough first five games and I can't imagine that we won't have a very rough start on offense. Am I being realistic, pessimistic or optimistic in your opinion?
John: Well, I think we can throw out optimistic. I'd say you're actually pretty pessimistic. Your tone seems to be that the offense will be terrible to start the season, and while I'm not expecting the '99 Rams, I don't see the Jaguars' offense being terrible. Remember, this offense was bad last season. There's no other honest way to say it. It is going to improve, and I believe the improvement will be significant. I also believe you'll see improvement immediately, but that it might take a few weeks for that improvement to be consistent.
Neal from Jacksonville:
If MJD does hold out, will the Jaguars sign a running back from free agency? Will they have to re-tool the entire offense?
John: I suppose if Jones-Drew isn't in camp by the third preseason game signing a veteran free agent would be a possibility, but I don't see that being an immediate move. As for retooling the entire offense, absolutely not. Mike Mularkey's offense is versatile enough that it's not going to be built around one person, whoever the person may be.
Tom from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL and Section 106:
What is Coach Mularkey's demeanor on the sideline? I doubt he's a headset tosser and I hope he's not a Nike suit wearing stoic. What kind of head coach will we see?
John: My expectation is you'll see a game-day version of what we see around EverBank every day – a professional who generally approaches his job as such, but who will get emotional when appropriate. That's what you want from a coach – someone who is true to his own nature and does his job, acting however is appropriate for the moment.
Nick from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Forgive me, but I'm a bit confused about the attitude that running backs have a short life, especially in this new pass-first NFL. As a newer fan, I didn't get to see all the great running backs of old; but my understanding is with all these snaps going to passes instead of runs, shouldn't elite backs have a longer shelf life than they used to?
John: The emphasis on the pass indeed could increase the career span of running backs. Still, even if backs get fewer carries, starters at that position will still take substantially more pounding than most players.
John from St. Augustine, FL:
What is the scoop on Blackmon? Haven't heard much since his ordeal with the police. Do you think he will be an ELITE player or will he end up as a Dez Bryant and continue to fall hard with off field issues?
John: All reports are that Blackmon was focused and worked hard following his arrest. I don't know how he will end up. He has the potential to be elite and obviously he has to be careful with off-field issues going forward. How it will play out is up to him.
John from Elizabeth City, NC:
I'm here in North Carolina (Coast Guard) and all my friends are Patriots, Colts fans, etc. My problem is preseason is just around the corner I've got my brand new Jags hat ready to go and my MoJo jersey. Do I wear it if he doesn't show and get hammered for it and hope he shows or stick with a Jags tee until he plays?
John: Wear the jersey. He'll play this season, and when he does it will be for the Jaguars.
John from Tunnel Hill, GA:
I believe everyone also forgets this is still a young franchise and we are still trying to grow our fans. I was 26-years old when Jacksonville was awarded the Jaguars. We are growing as a team. We will surprise everyone else this year with our attendance and wins.
John: My sense is there's a good chance that will happen. There are a lot of positives around this organization right now, and there is a lot more optimism about the season within the team than there is among, say, the national media. That optimism is based on a strong offseason and a feeling that the roster is stronger than many believe. It's fine to believe that, but you have to show it – and everyone within the organization realizes that. Is the optimism merited? We start finding out this week.
Strnbker from Dothan, AL:
The past year was – how shall I say? – very different. As the new season comes upon us, filled with hope/newness/pride/expectations, one thing has remained consistent: the "O" Man. You have achieved "FULL CONSISTENCY" writing your heart out in spite of the required naps, snacks, days without #9 beer, being taken for granted by the ROAR and dealing with the multitude. Are you at peace with yourself with the new "All In" future?
John: Oh, I am in. I'm so in I can't find the exit.
Taylor from Houston, TX:
Pete Prisco is a coward. If he honestly thinks the Jaguars will be 4-12 he is out of his mind. But I think it was him just trying to fit in with the other guys who don't do their research and bash the Jags for no reason.
John: Pete's a lot of things, but he's not a coward and he doesn't care about fitting in. He also is pretty fair for the most part when it comes to the Jaguars. I disagree with him about the 4-12 record, but if that's his prediction it's because he believes it, not because he just wants to bash the team.
Aaron from Jacksonville:
Will MJD be playing Week 1?
John: My guess is he will.
Nathan from Atlanta, GA:
I saw a lot of Mularkey's offense with the Falcons, and one of his favorite tools was picking spots in a game to use a hurry-up offense. The offense would hurry to the line and set, Matt Ryan would look at the defense, then back off and call a play at the line of scrimmage. Most fans here will tell you that's when Ryan was most effective. My question is do you get the sense that Mularkey trusts Gabbert enough to use the same tactics, or will he want to be a little more conservative with this offense? I doubt the hurry-up is something that will be used extensively early this season, if only because things will still be very, very new. But absolutely I'd expect it to be something that gets used more as time goes on.
Jason from Guam:
I can see maybe one day where stadium tickets are cheap, and to watch the game on your television you would have to pay to see it. I think that might be the only way to curve the ripple effect of the viewing experience at home being more enjoyable. I don't see it happening anytime soon but I believe it can happen.
John: I can see tickets becoming less expensive, and I can see scenarios in which fans might have to pay for certain enhanced features in broadcasts. I doubt the league will ever go to pay-per-view for all games, though. Advertising dollars are too much a part of the equation.
John from Jacksonville:
Personally, I think the Jags are in a perfect position to surprise the NFL nation this season. The fruit in Gene Smith's multi-year plan has ripened and will begin to pay dividends for seasons to come. There is a sign of confidence among the owner, coaches, and players that I feel is different than some previous seasons. The critics will be silenced. Also, as it takes a while for perceptions to change, it will take about three-to-five years for Jacksonville to no longer be the media's negative target.
John: I don't believe it has to take that long. As much as the media can be lazy in following the trend of bashing a team and a city, it can be just as lazy in following a success story. If the Jaguars start winning and filling the stadium, I have no reason to think the media wouldn't write and talk about that.
Steve from Nashville, TN (transplant from Jacksonville):
Hey O! Not a question, but I think you should get a Pulitzer Prize for your daily columns. You provide Jaguar fans with daily enjoyment and good humor. Where do I go to get you nominated for one of those?
John: I'm not counting on the Pulitzer. If the fans enjoy it and are fooled into thinking the humor's good, that's enough for me.

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