JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Bill from Arlington:
Does Greg Roman favor a zone-blocking scheme? How might his impact on the future of the running game affect Luke Joeckel and his development? Also, could you ever foresee Joeckel moving back to the right side or even left guard?
John: Historically, Roman really doesn't favor a zone-blocking approach, and that certainly would be a topic in the interview process – not to mention a storyline should he be hired. Roman's approach in San Francisco for the most part favored power blocking rather than zone blocking, though the 49ers – like just about all NFL teams – did have plays that featured zone-blocking concepts. Roman's 49ers offenses were generally known for various looks and formations and utilizing traps and deception to keep defenses off-balance. For a time in 2012 and 2013, he was considered very innovative in that regard – and the 49ers were as effective a running team as there was in the NFL during that span. As for Joeckel, he's athletic, can move well and is already a good run blocker, so he can play in most schemes. I don't expect him to move positions, certainly not this season.
Jeremy from Andover, KS:
Two questions regarding officiating. Do you see the NFL ever changing the rule that the receiver must maintain possession and finish the process of the catch in the end zone? The rule seems rather ridiculous. Also, will there be any clarification on the defenseless player rule moving forward? After reading the actual rule, it doesn't seem refs apply the rule consistently. There were several hits this season, particularly on Hurns, where it looked like clear defenseless player penalties but nothing was called. In other games, there have been much lesser offenses called. Any thoughts or insight?
John: Two answers. Sure, someday the league probably will alter the rule that the receiver must maintain possession and finish the process of the catch in the end zone; most NFL rules have evolved over time and it stands to reason they will continue to do so. Do I foresee that rule changing soon? No, not unless there is more outcry than there has been in recent seasons. I'm sure the NFL will continue to clarify and work to improve the defenseless player rule every season. It's a pretty new rule and still feels very much like a work in progress. And make no mistake: the NFL's objective with any rule is to make it as clear as possible and take judgment out of the equation as much as possible. That's very, very difficult with the defenseless player rule and it's why you have seen such controversy and confusion over it in recent seasons.
David from Jacksonville:
John, I feel if we get a dominant running back in free agency our offensive line won't look half as bad, although I agree we need a vet in there. What are our chances at getting Adrian Peterson if reinstated??
John: They're probably good if the Jaguars offer him a whole lot more money than anyone else offers him. I don't expect the Jaguars to do that.
Rob from Fleming Island, FL:
John, I realize it is purely speculation, but do you think it is reasonable to expect Justin Blackmon to have the same skill level after being away for two years?
John: I think if Blackmon returns dedicated to staying clean off the field and in shape he soon would play at least at the level which he was previously playing.
Tia from Jacksonville:
With the season being over for us what do the coaches do now? You can't sign free agents until March, so what does a coach or scouting staff do between January and March?
John: Assistant coaches are off this week, but when they return they have far more to do than you might think. They have a period of self-scouting in which they evaluate the season just past, then there is preparation for the offseason. They also spend time before free agency and the draft watching tape of potential free agents and draftees. It's not the busiest time of the work year, but between the Senior Bowl, combine, draft preparation and preparing for the offseason program there isn't a whole lot of offseason down time, either.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
Do you think Jordan Todman did enough at the end of the season to have earned a longer look come time for evaluation/roster slotting? I thought he actually earned that last year, but apparently he didn't do enough in camp last year to move up then, either.
John: Jordan Todman was a valuable member of the Jaguars' special teams and a very solid reserve running back this past season. He flashed at times offensively late in the season and for the most part during his time here has played well in whatever role he has been asked to play. It may be a bit much for Todman to be a go-to, long-term, No. 1 back, but his play on special teams and as a reserve gives him a really good chance to be on the roster.
Gary from Rockford, IL:
Is the question of not having Cecil back this year due to him not being as reliable as a good veteran should be or the salary cap that is needed to keep him??
John: Salary cap space isn't a significant issue for the Jaguars this offseason. The main issue regarding Cecil Shorts III's return is that the Jaguars have three young wide receivers – Marqise Lee, Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson – who appear to be the future at the position.
Justin from Los Angeles, CA:
Can you clear up what these reserve/future contracts signings mean?
John: They mean the player can go to training camp with the Jaguars and have a chance to make the team.
Jordan from Jacksonville:
Ryan Davis is a restricted free agent. Do you think the Jags will resign him?
John: Yes. Teams have the option to make tender offers to restricted free agents. If the team declines to extend a tender offer to a player, the player becomes an unrestricted free agent. There are different levels of tenders a team can extend, with a higher offer giving a player a higher salary but also ensuring the team greater compensation should the player receive and sign an offer from another team. I expect the Jaguars to extend a tender offer to Davis, and I'd be surprised if he's not on the team next season.
Randy from Jacksonville:
The 2010 Texans had three Pro Bowlers in their front seven (Mario Williams, DeMeco Ryans, and Brian Cushing) so they didn't NEED to draft J.J. Watt or Brooks Reed. Sometimes, you pick a player that you think will be great.
Gary from Rockford, IL:
Two-part question: One, did you think we had a possible shot at landing to go to playoffs this year before the change in staff? Two, how about now???
John: Two-part answer: One: sure, anything's possible, though at this early juncture I'd say a reasonable goal is competing for a postseason spot into December. The second answer is more difficult, and the only way to answer is to say I don't yet know. Do I think the Jaguars are better just because Jedd Fisch no longer is the offensive coordinator? Absolutely not – and to think that his departure cures all that ails the Jaguars' offense is to not think in realistic terms. As for how much better or worse the Jaguars will be next season, that remains to be seen, but you can't begin to assess it until the Jaguars hire a new coordinator.
Manuel from Jacksonville:
Apart from first-year rookie players Brandon Linder, Aaron Colvin, Telvin Smith, Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns being bright lights this season, second-year veteran Jordan Todman was, too. Todman not only contributed on kickoff returns, but also as running back and receiving when needed. We should keep him. On the other, what do you think will be Ace Sanders fate?
John: I think Sanders will be with the Jaguars when training camp opens next offseason. I imagine he will have to perform better at that point than he did this past season to be on the roster.
Greg from Boise, ID:
O-Man, why can't people understand that, YES our defensive line is/was playing at a high level this year – and that's EXACTLY why we need to invest in defensive linemen from the draft. In order for the defensive line to CONTINUE to play at a high level we need to keep bringing in youth to draft and develop so when our current defensive line stars are in the twilight of their careers, we have young studs with some experience rather than rookies to take their place. Maybe it's just me, but I believe it's better to have your veteran replacements on the roster being groomed and developed BEFORE you need them to be starters. What say you, O'Man?
John: I think I don't know many teams who have "too many great players" and I think at a spot where teams rotate personnel – and defensive line is such a spot – you can usually find ways to use good players.
O-Zone: Best of problems
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Bill from Arlington: