JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Keith from Palatka, FL:
Why are people upset that Tom Coughlin is finally going to fix the most important unit on the team - the offensive line? Kelvin Beachum is a nice guy, but can't run block to save his life. A.J. Cann was consistently shoved into the backfield whether he was on the left side or right side. Both players are great interviews and not very good at run-blocking. If we are ever going to run the ball well, we need offensive linemen who can not only pass protect, but run block as well. The only offensive lineman currently on the roster who is good at both is Brandon Linder. Look for a massive overhaul of our offensive line (thank goodness!). A powerful and fast runner, like Leonard Fournette, would be nice, too.
John: This indeed is curious. I have gotten many, many emails in recent seasons wondering why the Jaguars struggle to run and wondering why the team doesn't address offensive line. Now, the Jaguars appear to be addressing offensive line in a big way and there is a hue and cry about how it's being done. Fans gonna fan, I suppose, but offensive line no doubt will be intriguing to watch this offseason. While I don't know that four starters will be replaced, it certainly appears Coughlin won't be satisfied with the status quo and that he will look to get into situations where personnel can be upgraded – either this offseason or soon thereafter. And yeah … there seems little question that run-blocking is going to be a much sought-after trait. It's apparent that you better be able to run block if you want to play on this line. That appears likely to be a theme moving forward.
Rob from the Duuuu:
Can the Jags pass up on an elite running back after Zeke's performance this year? Also, do you think A-Rob can be as productive as two years ago ever again? Who is our top pass rusher by the end of the year and who is top receiver? Do you think there is any chance the Jags roll out Henne as the starter on Day One? (I ask because Bortles is terrible) Is the plan to keep three quarterbacks? Is there a record for most pick-sixes per games played? Who has it and where does Bortles rank? (I ask because he throws an extraordinary amount of pick sixes) Moodachay. And Moo-on-from-Bortles. Seriously
John: Wow. Many, many questions; I'll answer quickly as best I can. While I don't know what they will do at No. 4, the Jaguars – and many teams, for that matter – indeed can pass on an elite running back so early because many teams believe the top half of the first round is simply too high to take the position; that's because of the position's dependence on the offensive line and because there are so many productive backs found in later rounds. I don't know that Allen Robinson will consistently be a 14-touchdown,1,400-yard reception guy as he was in 2015 because those are lofty numbers, but he can be consistently productive. Yannick Ngakoue will be the Jaguars' most productive pass rusher next season and Robinson will be the most productive receiver. Chad Henne will not start at quarterback for the Jaguars in 2017. Yeah, I think the Jaguars will keep three quarterbacks in 2017. I've never seen the record for pick-sixes per game played, but if there is one, Bortles certainly ranks too high on the list.
Kent from Jacksonville:
They don't pick up the option for Kelvin Beachum, then I hear on Midday Chalk today that the Jags are rumored to be interested in trading for a broken-down 32-year-old tackle from Miami that can't stay healthy. How would that be an improvement from Beachum? Beachum played very well in my opinion, and is five years younger than the ugly rumor. What is Tom thinking?
John: If the Jaguars indeed are attempting to acquire Branden Albert from the Miami Dolphins – as it appears quite likely they are – then it means Coughlin and the Jaguars' decision-makers are thinking that Albert is an upgrade over Beachum. Considering Albert's age, this likely wouldn't be a long-term solution. But part of what Coughlin will bring to the franchise is more an eye on the now than on the long-term future, and Albert's acquisition would certainly fit that.
Abe from Mobile, AL:
Do you think there is a sort of Rich Gannon out there right now that could be our guy? You know, the late-in-his-years journeyman that has not been highly touted but knows the game and on the right team ignites, explodes for yards, and even gets an MVP season and Super Bowl appearance. Who do you think are the closest to being a Gannon?
Alex from Fairfax, VA:
If you could pinpoint one thing that has kept this franchise from a Super Bowl berth what would it be, and at what point in the franchise's history would it be? I'm asking this question because I recently watched the 1999 AFC Championship game on YouTube. It just seems so crazy how unfortunate things have been for this franchise since then. Other than the Pittsburgh playoff victory in 2007 (which I attended), it seems like this franchise has been doomed. Whether it's early draft-pick busts or expensive free-agent busts, nothing seems to capitalize. Last summer I submitted a question to you asking if I should expect a home playoff game within the next three years. Your response was, "absolutely." I'm not submitting this question to call you out on that. I just want to watch a playoff game at EverBank Field so bad. Do you still think that expectation is realistic in the next two seasons?
John: There's never any one thing that keeps a franchise from a Super Bowl berth, but the best way to build a team – and therefore, the best way to make the Super Bowl – is to draft a Most Valuable Player-level quarterback, then to draft well and develop around that player. The Jaguars haven't found the quarterback and they haven't drafted/developed well enough over the past decade or so. Perhaps the results of the coming season will change that narrative, but for now that's the Jaguars' story. As for a home playoff game at EverBank Field, sure it's possible. You get one if you win the division and the AFC South is not so daunting that the Jaguars can't win it in the next two seasons.
Dave from Orlando, FL:
Mr. O, I used to trust your opinion until it recently came to my attention that you sit on a throne of lies! How do you sleep at night belonging to such a dishonest profession?
John: On my right side, with a long pillow between my knees.
Ray from Jacksonville:
John: The reason people like the idea of signing Cutler -- or McCarron, or any other free agent quarterback – is that the one the Jaguars have is absolutely awful. Your analysis of Bortles has changed over time to the point you point out his many shortcomings. I wish the young general manager had already done so.
John: My analysis of Bortles always has been based on what I see, and it actually has changed little since the end of the 2015 season. I thought at the time he needed to make dramatic improvements in a lot of important areas for the Jaguars to be competitive, and I wrote that quite often throughout last offseason. Is that pointing out shortcomings? Perhaps. But it doesn't represent much of a change on my part.
Mark from College Park, MD:
As a fan who knows nothing, the notion that we are allowing Kelvin Beachum to become a scheduled free agent fuels the thought the Jags have been very "unlucky" in free agency again ... Gerhart, Thomas, Beadles, Brown, Bryant, Clemons... I can go on, O-Man, but I think you are intelligent enough to understand our free-agency resume the last four years has a direct correlation with the poor record. #CoughlinSaveTheJags
John: I don't know how intelligent I am, but I have been covering the NFL long enough to know very few teams that depend heavily on free agency to build rosters have a very impressive resume in the area. You know the term "fool's gold?" Free agency pretty much defines it in the NFL. That's not to say the Jaguars shouldn't partake this offseason. They should and they must. But don't expect free agents acquired to be the core of a long-term successful franchise. It's just rare that it works that way.
Sam from Orlando, FL:
Enough Jags questions for a minute. I wanna see if you can be trusted. Are you a Seinfeld fan? Next, who is your favorite secondary character? I have a tough time deciding between Uncle Leo and David Puddy. Bob Sacamano is close as well.
John: Kenny Bania is probably my favorite secondary Seinfeld character. I'm a bigger Curb Your Enthusiasm fan than Seinfeld, I suppose, partly because of the greatest secondary character in television history: Marty Funkhouser.
O-Zone: All-time great
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Keith from Palatka, FL: