JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Mike from Des Moines, IA:
It sounds like Tom Coughlin was a great football coach because of his attention to detail and ability to get players prepared for their games – and maybe because he was adept at teaching technique – not because he ruled with an iron fist. Which begs the question: Why do coaches, the 'disciplinarians,' implement a regime that makes players' days more difficult to get through? You can make teammates accountable for their responsibilities to each other without banning the ability to shield one's eyes from what most consider to be a very bright object. Maybe it's subjective. As someone who "played" sports, I feel I would appreciate Gus Bradley's approach.
John: The ultimate answer here is there is no Absolute Right Way to Coach. Some NFL head coaches succeed with a disciplinarian approach, and some successful coaches are considered more "player-friendly." Many take the same approaches and fail. Football coaches commonly take a disciplinarian approach for several reasons, one of which is they grew up playing the game and a disciplinarian approach is common at all levels of football. Most people do things the way they were taught, and a hardline approach is the one most often taught. Football coaches also take the disciplinarian approach because you're trying to communicate and manage 60 players – more during an NFL offseason – and a disciplined approach makes communicating with large number of people easier. The bottom line is coaches must be true to themselves. If a coach is a disciplinarian by nature, then that's the approach he must take. The only "wrong" way to coach is by doing it in a manner in which you don't believe. It's impossible to coach and lead people being a phony.
Chris from Jacksonville:
Day One? I mailed in a vote for the Jaguars to be called the "Jaguars" back in the day. That was a pretty cool that Mr. Weaver did that.
John: He was cool that way.
Mat from Jacksonville:
Continuing with your "professional lenses," I get the whole part of losing the passion as a fan. It's sort of the same way when a person who loves to shop gets a job in a department store: their love for shopping diminishes. However, there still has to be some sort of passion/love to continue doing what you do, because answering all our 'fan' questions has to get monotonous. It's probably what motivates you to continue your job. I assume your passion is translated through showing how football looks in your eyes to the average fan. Am I going down the right road on this?
John: I don't know about the department-store analogy. I'm passionate about what I do because it's my profession and something I enjoy. You can be passionate about the NFL and a team without living and dying emotionally and irrationally with that team. I also am motivated to make this column and other parts of this website as entertaining and informative as possible. The fans of this column seem to care about it and enjoy it. They engage in it and seem to "get it." To be able to entertain, inform and engage with the written word during an era when interest in such things is said to be waning isn't something I take for granted. Of course, there's also the whole "need-to-earn-a-living" thing. That factors in, too.
Travis from High Springs, FL:
If Von Miller doesn't sign his franchise tag with Denver and there's no long-term contract by the deadline would another team be able to sign him? Or can he only negotiate with the Broncos?
John: He can only negotiate with the Broncos.
James from Pitt Meadows:
John, why do you think baseball and basketball players make more than football players? Isn't the NFL America's most popular sport?
John: It's a matter of numbers. Football teams must pay 60 or more players while basketball and baseball teams pay far fewer.
Pat from Jax Beach:
Hey John, since someone brought up Justin Blackmon, does his contract expire with the Jags or do they hold his rights until his suspension is lifted? I feel as though 2015 or 2016 should have been the final year of his rookie contract, but he still shows up on the roster under reserve/suspended and shows two years experience.
John: The Jaguars hold Blackmon's NFL rights until his suspension is lifted.
Rob from Jacksonville:
I was a little young to really appreciate it, but how crazy was it that two teams in their second season made the championship game? I just ordered "Jags To Riches," and it had me thinking … there has been a lot of talk of how magical that season was, but it feels though the Panthers (granted I've really only followed things Jags) aren't really mentioned as often as us. Was Jacksonville's run in '96 somehow more impressive than that of Carolina's?
John: It was absolutely crazy that both Carolina and Jacksonville made their respective conference championship games in their second season, and it was absolutely unexpected. That was because previous expansion franchises typically had long, difficult roads to competitiveness; the 1976 Buccaneers' win-less expansion season, for example, was still comparatively fresh in people's minds. In an effort to avoid that, the league gave the Panthers and the Jaguars extra draft selections in the first two seasons, a move that in retrospect the rest of the league regretted. The teams also had access to true unrestricted free agency, which previous expansion teams did not. As for comparisons between the two expansion franchises … no, Jacksonville's really wasn't more impressive – and in fact, Carolina at 12-4 had the stronger of the two seasons. But Jacksonville's was more memorable, coming as the Jaguars did all the way from a 4-7 start to within a few minutes of the Super Bowl. It truly was a … Jags to Riches tale.
Herb from Amelia Island, FL:
Will there be a practice for season-ticket holders only this year?
John: Yes. It's the first practice of training camp, which is Friday July 29.
Ed from Jacksonville:
Would you add Donovin Darius as one of the best Jaguar players? If he stayed healthy, Tony Brackens would probably be considered one too. Would you agree?
John: I agree Brackens was one of the best Jaguars players ever when he was at his peak and healthy. I wouldn't quite put Darius at that level, though he was very good for a long time.
David from Duval:
State-of-the-art practice facility and amphitheater … One of the best game-day experiences in the league … A young, fast roster with a maturing core group of players … An energetic coaching staff … A patient and calculated front office staff … Investment in the community … The list could go on and on. #becauseShadKhan
John: Indeed it could.
Jesse from Hilton Head Island:
Do you see a scenario where the Jags cut Chad Henne and keep Brandon Allen?
John: Not this season. The Jaguars didn't re-sign Henne early in the offseason just to release him before the season. I do see a scenario in which Henne is the backup to Bortles with Allen as the third quarterback in 2016. Now, could Allen be Bortles' backup in 2017? Yes, that's a possibility.
Rob from the DUUUU:
I was eight years old when my family moved from Charlotte, N.C. to Ponte Vedra Beach. It was January 1994, and the Jags and Panthers had been awarded to Charlotte and Jacksonville. I was crying in the airport, upset with my parents about separating me from all of my friends; my dad showed me a newspaper article about the Jags being awarded to Jax to cheer me up. It showed downtown lit up with fireworks. We all have been fans ever since then, which was our Day One. It was fate that my family moved to Jax the same time we got the only team I have ever cared about. I'm proud of that. What do you say, John? Am I legit even though the only Bulls I know played in Chi town?
Jon from Carroll Valley, PA:
What is cool about the Jaguars being a newer expansion team is we get to hear stories from multiple age/life/family stages talk about what this team meant when it was awarded to Jacksonville. Personally, I lived in Pennsylvania and visited my father in Jacksonville during the summer and a few weeks during football seasons. I remember my dad showing me his season tickets still attached in the sheet and thinking my Dad was the coolest man ever. I got to see some important games throughout the years and I would never not be a Jaguars fan ... even if they moved...although that is a moot point, it's worth saying I would never ditch this team. I've had some of the best highs and powerful lows. Passion and love doesn't sway back in forth like the win/loss column.
John: I once asked my son if his dad was the "coolest man ever." The subsequent look was not ego-affirming.
O-Zone: A look of love
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Mike from Des Moines, IA: