JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Jim from Jacksonville:
OK, the tarps are coming off. What happens if we can't fill the stadium at some point? Do they put the tarps back on? Do we then have to put up with blackouts again?
John: It's quite likely there will be a game or two next season in which the Jaguars don't "fill" EverBank Field to quite the degree that the Buffalo Wild Card game in January was full – or to the degree the Seattle and Houston regular-season games in December were "full." While some 2018 Jaguars home games such as New England and Pittsburgh likely will sell out quickly, not all '18 will fall into that category. In that case, there could be a few empty seats – as has been the case at times in recent seasons and as is typically the case these days in many NFL stadiums. But the tarps won't go back on next season; league rules prevent it. Either way, there will be no blackouts for Jaguars home games next season – or for any other NFL game, for that matter. The NFL suspended its long-standing "blackout policy" in 2015 and it has not been brought back.
Will from Jacksonville :
I don't know why everyone's hating on Blake!!?? He showed us all a glimpse of what he is capable of in December! If not for the conservative play-calling in the AFC Championship game by the coaches, he would have rolled us right into the Super Bowl!!! Pay the man the $19 million, beef up the line, give him some more weapons for 2018, let him continue building with Nate Hackett! I have no doubt he will prove he can take another step forward. And what's one more step from the AFC Championship game?? Can't wait!! Is it time to play football yet??!!!!
Luke from Ballart:
Free-agent tight end or draft one? And which could be? (Jimmy Graham and Tyler Eifert are soo overpriced for the Jaguars)
John: I'm thinking at this point that the Jaguars likely go the draft route rather than free agency at tight end this offseason, mainly because the premium tight ends available indeed are "soo" expensive and carry age concerns (Graham) and injury concerns (Eifert). I like the idea of Oklahoma tight end Mark Andrews for the Jaguars at No. 29 overall in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft – or a player such as Hayden Hurst of South Carolina in the second. What is hard to figure is where Mychal Rivera fits into the equation. He may be as good an option as most available free-agent tight ends (outside perhaps Eifert and Graham) – and with Rivera already on the roster, it therefore may make sense to upgrade via the draft if indeed the Jaguars are focused on that area in the coming months.
Eddie from Jacksonville:
If Kirk Cousins is a franchise quarterback, then why didn't Washington keep him?
John: That's a fair question, and it's the major "con" when discussing pros and cons regarding signing Cousins. When preparing to give a quarterback "franchise" money in unrestricted free agency, it's very concerning that the franchise for which he played didn't consider him worthy of such a contract. The obvious reason, of course, is the Redskins didn't consider him a franchise quarterback capable of carrying the team. Maybe they were right. Maybe they were wrong. But if you're the team signing him, you darned sure need to be right.
Chris from Roseville, CA:
As far as keeping EverBank teal, you are right that it works both ways. As a Duval transplant in California, my family of four repped the teal at the 49ers game last year and we weren't the only ones.
John: I know. I waved. Thanks for nothing.
Kevin from Nebraska:
I have seen a lot of mock drafts with us taking a tackle at 29. I thought Cam Robinson played really well. Is this for maybe right tackle, or would they compete for left tackle and move one to guard? I wouldn't mind seeing what Robinson could do at guard.
John: Remember: what you see in "a lot of mock drafts" quite often in reality has nothing to do with how a team drafts or feels about its players. That's because mock drafts very often are guesses based on an uneducated observer's random thought about a team's "need." I expect Robinson to be the Jaguars' left tackle next season and I expect Brandon Linder to start on the interior – probably at center. Beyond that …
Jeff from Wake Forest, NC:
"Shadrick talked about it last Thursday and I haven't seen him since." You say that like it's a bad thing?
John: That's not how I said it.
Marc from Oceanway:
John, I know you have a different mindset these days, but for us "fans" continuing to suffer from this loss that should not have happened, how long will this pain continue? How long did you hurt after the refs awarded Mel Gray that ridiculous phantom catch?
John: I was nine years old in 1975 when officials gave St. Louis Cardinals wide receiver Mel Gray a touchdown against what was then my favorite team, the Washington Redskins. The phantom "touchdown" was a ridiculous call in any era, and should not have been awarded. The Redskins nonetheless "lost" the game, a result that helped them miss the playoffs for the first time since I began following the team. I don't remember in detail the reaction in the Oehser "den" inside Riverbend Apartments Unit 906 on that long-ago November Sunday, but it's not far-fetched to believe my father entertained our three-person, one-dachshund viewing party – not to mention our unsuspecting upstairs neighbors – with a profanity-laced symphony as notable for its creativity as its volume. I remained a diehard Redskins fan until about 1993 or 1994, after which it rapidly faded as I covered the NFL and had less time for and interest in professional sports teams I wasn't covering. So, how long did the call hurt? Only about 18 or 19 years. Chin up.
Woken Matt Hardy from Celina:
I will delete you.
John: You know where to find me.
Tim from Section 123:
How about this fix for replay? Three officials are shown the same angles and replays, they each have a voting button and one minute to make the decision – overturn or stands. Unless all three independently agree, the call on the field stands.
John: Though not terrible, this veers a little too much from the conclusive part of replay for my taste. If you open replays to a vote, you leave the process open to what officials think "may have happened" rather than forcing officials to see "irrefutable evidence." The league admittedly seemed to stray from the "conclusive" and "irrefutable" aspects of replay much of last season, but the closer the league stays to that ideal the better.
Tony from Jacksonville:
You're wrong. The Jags coaching staff did have a bad half against the Patriots, and Otto was spot-on with all of his points. Why can't you just admit that instead of protecting them all of the time? I thought the coaching staff did a great job the entire season through the first half of the AFC Championship Game, but they blew that second half. Everyone I know saw it. Why don't you? Everybody knows you can't let up on the Patriots or let Tom Brady pick you apart. We've seen it a hundred times before. I understand that we put the lead in the hands of our defense the entire season with good results, but if the line can't get to Brady, you've got to blitz. How many Q4 comebacks does Brady have? How many times did we throw on first or second down in the fourth quarter? Two stuffed runs and an incompletion on third and long every drive. That's why we had bad field position. We played right into their hands. Everyone makes mistakes and my hope is that they learn from that game. I thought our coaches were great throughout the season and brilliant in the first half, but we were thoroughly out-coached second half. Please just admit it.
Steve from Jacksonville:
How often do teams (Jags and others) typically make changes to their uniforms, colors, etc? Why do the uniforms get changed?
John: NFL teams are allowed to change uniforms and helmets every five years if they so desire – and it's up to teams to decide when they so desire. As for why teams change uniforms, sometimes ownership change prompts a change, or sometimes it's a marketing decision. Sometimes, it's because they just wanna.
Jack from Jacksonville:
What were the best few plays and throws that you guys did in the season? Like, what was the coolest play that happened to you guys?
John: I hit Shadrick with a deep ball early in the digital-versus-public-relations, first-family-versus-second-family flag football game; I followed that by hitting Sexton on a wonderful deep out. I strained something shortly thereafter that no one could really identify. Then I fell down.
O-Zone: All the throws
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Jim from Jacksonville: