JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Michael from West Palm Beach, FL:
I see that Branden Albert is going to show up for the minicamp. The Jaguars are under no obligation to give him anything more than he made in Miami. Maybe that is why Miami traded him. I would get him for the very least they can get him for: No up-front money, incentive-laden one-year contract. Next year be on the lookout for a good left tackle and dump this guy. He agreed to terms of the trade and then decided he wanted to renegotiate the terms. He has 10 years on him. How many good years does he have left in the tank? I say let the Jags pay as little as possible and go for a stud in free agency with four-to-six years in the league.
John: Your email seems bitter, and while you have every right to be bitter toward Albert, he had as much right in the last couple of months to opt not to attend organized team activities. The fact that most NFL players attend OTAs – and the fact that teams have managed to create a public perception that missing them equates to great moral or legal wrongdoing – the fact remains that OTAs are … VOLUNTARY!! They are also NON-PADDED, NON-CONTACT WORK!!!! Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone has said multiple times this offseason that while they are important, they are not practice. But I suppose I digress. To return to the point of your email, you're right: the Jaguars are under no obligation to give Albert more than his contract calls for, and I don't think they will. I think he'll play for the contract he signed with Miami, which won't be incentive-laden (because why would he agree to something so one-sided in the team's favor?) but will guarantee his base salary when he makes the Jaguars' 53-man roster. As far as your final point, I fear it shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the NFL. There aren't many stud players at the left-tackle position in the NFL these days – and there sure aren't stud free agents available in free agency in their fifth-to-seventh seasons. Besides, the Jaguars very well may have selected their left tackle of the future in April: Cam Robinson.
Steve from Ponte Vedra, FL:
You have a great sense of humor and a funny guy. Thanks for making me laugh.at times.
John: I showed my wife and son this email. My wife read it and in a confused voice asked what language it was written in. My son hurriedly left the room, saying something I thought I heard as, "Going to throw up … toilet … help." So, thanks for making my day.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
From last year to this, what is the most noticeable difference you see from Mr. Coughlin now being leading this team?
John: Ryan O'Halloran seems much happier. Beyond that, it's pretty much the same ol', same ol'.
Charlie from Walmart Parking Lot, USA:
Dearest John, as I ruminate upon the steaming sewage posted occasionally by the angry mob, I cackle at the naive ingratitude displayed by the barbarians at the gate. They whine as they drown in their plastic cups of beer, spouting nonsense and drivel about wanting a winning team when they should be prostrating themselves on bended knee before our Great Khan, the artist of maintaining an NFL franchise in Ye Olde Jacksonvillage. Who are fans to question the divine right of NFL owners? Should they not dutifully support the team with their blood, sweat and tears and count themselves blessed to have one of the only 32 NFL franchises in the known world? Why is it so difficult for the brutes to trust in the vision and acumen of their football superiors? Do they want the team to hop across the pond permanently? Blind loyalty is their duty. Having an NFL franchise is not a right, it is a privilege!
John: I looked for sarcasm in your email. I didn't see it, but maybe it's there somewhere. Look, there's a sliver of truth in what you write – that Owner Shad Khan, President Mark Lamping and the rest of the Jaguars' leadership indeed have done remarkable work solidifying this franchise in Jacksonville. That in no way was a given five years ago and it has been anything but a simple, straightforward task. That said, Khan and the Jaguars' leadership absolutely would tell you that fans – the barbarians at the gate in your analogy – have every right to question and complain about the franchise's on-field performance. The Jaguars haven't been good in recent years and fans deserve more for their reliable, loyal financial support. Leadership understands absolutely and without question that the team does not "deserve" loyalty and support. It must be earned. The Jaguars continue to work toward earning that, but until on-field results improve, there will be questions. Questioning absolutely is within the rights of fans.
Greg from Carlsbad, CA:
John, I don't think you caught the specificity of Bill from Orange Park's question. It's very subtle. If they both become double-digit sack guys, will they have 20 sacks or will they have more than 20 sacks? Glad I could help.
John: Thank you. We don't get a lot of subtlety 'round these parts.
Rob from Brunswick, GA:
The voluntary organized team activities are over now, and the mandatory days start Tuesday. I never have attended an OTA, but can you explain the difference between them? Obviously one is mandatory and one is not, but is there any substantive difference in voluntary and mandatory OTAs? Also, if Branden Albert doesn't report and is therefore officially holding out, how much money will he lose off his guaranteed contract? Is that league standard, or negotiated with a player's contract?
John: In- and off-field structure of OTAs and the mandatory minicamp ultimately is determined by each team's head coach. Still, there usually is minimal difference between the two – and there won't be much difference for the Jaguars this season. There will be meetings, workouts and non-padded, non-contact practices. The major benefit of the entire offseason is to get players comfortable with the concepts they'll need for training camp in July. Albert under NFL rules could be fined $13,400 for missing Day 1, $26,400 for missing Day 2 and $40,205 for missing Day 3 for a cumulative possible fine of $80,205 – if he missed minicamp. Which it doesn't appear will be the case.
Paul from Jacksonville:
That Bob Sanders guy ... he was pretty good. His presence changed everything for the teams he played on. The Colts' defense went from "finesse" to feared. What are your thoughts or memories of Demond? Can you recall other non-quarterbacks who had such a dramatic impact for their team?
John: I have covered very few defensive players who made close to the impact on their teams as Sanders had on those Colts teams. Defensive end Tony Brackens had it at times for the Jaguars in the 1990s, and I see similar traits in current Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey. I always believed Sanders would have been the best safety of his era – better than Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed – had he been able to stay healthy. He never came close to doing that, and therefore is remembered mostly and unfortunately as afterthought. That's unfortunate; he dominated games from a position where few players dominate games – and yeah, he was that good.
Casey from Duval:
Could you see us ending up with a starting offensive line consisting of Branden Albert at left tackle, A.J. Cann at left guard, Tyler Shatley/Luke Bowanko at center, Brandon Linder at right guard and Cam Robinson at right tackle?
John: It's possible if Jermey Parnell isn't available because of injury but beyond that, I doubt it. The Jaguars have expressed a lot of confidence in Parnell. I still see the most likely starting five as Albert, Cann/Robinson, Linder and Parnell. I doubt that changes.
Hunter from Jacksonville:
I just read an article about a team that skipped an OTA and the team was taken out for some go-kart racing. I began to ponder whether I could see this happening here until I remembered we hired Tom "get-to-work" Coughlin. I pondered no more.
John: To go-kart or not to go-kart … if that indeed is the question, it wouldn't be answered by Coughlin. That would be Marrone's decision. I liked what Marrone had to say recently about building camaraderie and chemistry. He basically said he believed relationships and bonds were built in football by players pushing themselves and working alongside one another in difficult practice and training situations. I agree. Not that Marrone wouldn't enjoy a good day of go-karting. Who wouldn't?
Michael from Newport News, VA:
I would take a record of 12-4, and most of our games being 10-3 scores, versus a below-average record and our players having great fantasy stats. Sacks, passing yards, rushing yards, receiving yards can help win a game but it is the final score that matters.
John: Well, yes.
O-Zone: Bottom line
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Michael from West Palm Beach, FL: