JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Donny from Heathrow, FL and Section 132:
It's disappointingly amazing to me the ignorance and concern regarding the Jags' O-line plans. Not only the questions you answer, but especially the yacking heads on the radio and your journalist colleagues (LOL) at the Times-Union. General Manager David Caldwell, Head Coach Gus Bradley and their staffs (the guys who have spent 20- to 30-years scouting, evaluating, and coaching NFL players) basically can't be trusted to handle the offensive line according to most of these hacks. Kelvin Beachum is automatically the left tackle if healthy … why move Brandon Linder to center? … Luke Joeckel can't play guard? You don't say the same and – contrary to some opinions – you're not just a company man. Do they know something you don't (I doubt it) or are they just misinformed (I'm being nice now)?
John: I can't control the "Company Man" thing, and can't say that I care much about it, either. I also don't necessarily fault people for questioning Caldwell, Bradley or anyone else running an NFL team; fans and observers have every right to question and it's not as if people running teams are incapable of incorrect decisions. I do know many fans/observers seem to buy into three points you mention about Beachum, Linder and Joeckel – and, like you, I don't see it that way. I do think there's a good chance Beachum starts, but I don't think it's a foregone conclusion because of Beachum's health and because Joeckel has played well at times with some glaring exceptions. The Linder move to center makes complete sense because he has shown himself to be a very good interior lineman and there's no reason he can't make the move. I do understand the skepticism about moving Joeckel to guard because his body type looks like that of a tackle more than a guard; but he has run-blocked well throughout his career and his pass-blocking issues have been more about struggling once he's out in space so it's not ridiculous to think he could play guard. As for who "knows" what about this situation … I don't know who "knows" what, but I do think the Beachum-Joeckel competition has yet to be played out and I'd be shocked if the both of those players aren't starting if healthy on the left side of the Jaguars' offensive line.
Jim from Jacksonville:
Will our offensive line be able to protect our quarterback, and will we be able to run the ball during short-yardage situations?
John: Better than last season, yes.
Geoff from Orlando, FL:
I feel like the new rule to move a touchback to the 25-yard line will backfire. I believe that in a game of inches teams will be more likely to kick it high and cover rather than spot the 25.
John: That could happen, but if it does, it won't really mean a backfire. A danger in kickoff returns is the high speed both the coverage team and returning team reach before impact. That's because of the low trajectory of the kick. A punt is less dangerous because of the high trajectory and a higher kickoff also would be less dangerous.
Tyler from Jacksonville:
What have the Jaguars been doing with Ryan Davis? He was inexplicably lumped into a defensive-tackle role during a year of the worst pass rushing in team history. When asked repeatedly why he doesn't see a more edge role, he is said to be best suited for an inside role. Now he is a linebacker?
John: A couple of thoughts on your thoughts. First, last year (perhaps unfortunately) wasn't the worst pass-rushing season in team history – and it really wasn't all that close to being the worst pass-rushing season in team history. But that's splitting hairs. As far as Davis is concerned, his role on the inside wasn't inexplicable at all – and in fact, it was pretty explicable. He is a very good interior pass rusher and has not been quite as good off the edge. Now, the hope is that he can transition to the Otto spot and continue to have a role on this team. The move makes some sense because his body type fits it and his athleticism suggests he could do it. We'll see.
Jason from North Pole, AK:
The more we talk about Myles Jack playing middle linebacker the more I think this might be the last season for Poz as Jaguar. That makes me sad seeing how Poz is one of my favorites. Am I way off base here?
John: Perhaps not. Posluszny is entering his 10th NFL season and has two years remaining on his contract. It's obvious he's nearer the end of his career than the beginning. He also very possibly could be playing a more limited role -- .i.e., first and second downs rather than passing situations. Posluszny is an exceptional player with exceptional work ethic and is therefore exceptionally valuable, so I would never rule him out having a role. But at this stage of his career every season is a lot closer to the last.
Tony from Ocala, FL:
I know you are not big on predictions but give the Jags' struggles getting interceptions the last few years – outside of Davon House last season – with Tashaun Gipson, House, Prince Amukamara, Jalen Ramsey, Aaron Colvin, Telvin Smith, Johnathan Cyprien, Myles Jack and Paul Poslusnzy all being more than capable of getting picks, how many do you think we get this season? We only had nine last year; do you think all of the players mentioned above get at least one pick in the 2016 season? My guess is we more than double it and everybody mentioned above gets at least one. I'm going to guess Jags end up with 20 interceptions for the season. Do you think that is high? Am I getting overly optimistic?
John: That indeed is high. Three teams had over 20 last season and Carolina led the NFL with 24. Aim for the high teens. That would be a significant increase, particularly if the majority of those came from the defensive backs.
Kyle from Somewhere, Ohio:
Why does this offseason seem so long this year? It feels like the season is still three years away.
John: It's not.
Dave from Section 420 and Jacksonville:
Mystery question and I may be going out on a limb here. Jags are much improved, in all facets of the game. Hypothetically, we have a losing season, Gus has been let go. Do you think Tom Coughlin is a target – hypothetically? He's older, but there have been older in the league in the past. Has there ever been a coach in the NFL that has left and came back to coach the same team in the same city?
John: This is a question I get fairly often, though it is obviously unanswerable for a couple of reasons. The first and most obvious is that Bradley is the head coach of the Jaguars, and the feeling around the organization is that's going to remain the case. The other is that Shad Khan and Caldwell – the people who hypothetically would be involved in such a decision – sure aren't going to discuss hypotheticals involving a future head coach. Could Coughlin happen here again? I doubt it for the reasons discussed above and because it just feels like too long a shot – and yes, because the age makes a long-term stint seem unlikely. But yes, coaches have returned to cities in which they have coached before. But it's a tough deal. Joe Gibbs was perhaps the best coach of the last three decades, and while the Redskins made the playoffs twice in his second tenure as coach (2004-2007) it never matched the first (1981-1982). Seconds acts are tough.
Smh from Jacksonville:
Oehser, I don't have much faith in an O-Zone that finds Blazing Saddles funny.
John: How unfortunate for you.
Ryan from Apopka, FL:
So with Wimbledon starting Monday, what are your projections? Can Novak go for 5 straight major titles and 3 in a row on the grass? Can Roger make 8 titles at Wimbledon? Or does someone else sneak in and capture the title? Oh, the DEAD Zone.
John: You say, "Oh, the Dead Zone …" as if talking Wimbledon in late June and early July is a bad thing. I say, "Oh, the Dead Zone!!!" That's because I look forward to Wimbledon, though admittedly far less so because I'm a big Roger Federer fan and I have trouble seeing him getting through to the final this year. I'm afraid the injuries and recent inability to be healthy may signal the end, and I've dreaded that for a while. As for Novak Djokovic, it appears he's going to be the heavy favorite in any important tournament until somebody proves otherwise. Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka could conceivably get him if Djokovic is off his game and if they have monster days, but otherwise, Djokovic wins the thing. When he's on, he's the best I've seen and … wait, you were serious about talking Wimbledon, right?
O-Zone: Big Fed fan
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Donny from Heathrow, FL and Section 132: