JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Sam from Orlando, FL
Eight of Calais Campbell's sacks came in two games. He also tapered off quite a bit as the season wore on – in my opinion very indicative of an older NFL player. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
You're correct that the bulk of Campbell's sacks last season came in two games. And I do agree he showed some signs of wearing down later in the season, but I wouldn't agree that he tapered off significantly. I did wonder early in the second half of last season if perhaps Campbell's effectiveness would fade. I thought this enough that I watched Campbell quite a bit during the second half of last season. While he didn't put up huge sack numbers as the season wore on, he still got effective pass rush and penetration. Campbell's age and its effect on his play are things to watch moving forward, but I don't sense he's close to the point of not being productive for an entire season.
Ryan from Dearborn, MI
John, it would seem like this roster finally resembles the Seattle Seahawks' championship roster that former Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley wanted to build. We've got a suffocating secondary with so much depth on the defensive line that we can send wave after wave of pressure at opposing quarterbacks. And our offense is being driven by a punishing running game, supported by a bunch of WR2 types with a chip on their shoulders. But, with the remaining significant difference being at the quarterback position - do you think we can match their success? Also, tell offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett he better just run the dang ball on fourth-and-goal from the 1.
There indeed are similarities between this Jaguars team and the really good Seahawks teams of recent years. Some of that can be attributed to the team trying to build toward Bradley/current defensive coordinator Todd Wash's scheme – and some can be attributed to Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin and Head Coach Doug Marrone believing as the Seahawks did in a power running approach to complement a suffocating defense. The Seahawks during their recent run won a Super Bowl and lost another; that's a big-time stretch of success that I do believe the Jaguars can match. Actually doing so means them doing a lot right and having a lot go right in the coming seasons. But yes … the potential is there.
Craig from Oakleaf, FL
Has anyone mentioned the great coaching by Keenan McCardell with the wide receivers? What a great group of coaches for that position. Think of all they have dealt with and are still getting the young players to respond.
Hey, one fer Keenan.
Renee from Jacksonville
John! I actually have – gasp! – a football question! What's the difference between an RPO (run pass option) and "spread" offense? Is it nuances or it glaringly obvious? I saw Jeff Lageman with Coach Hackett talking about RPO and recently on 92.5 they were discussing the "spread" and if it could be the offensive scheme in the NFL. Enquiring minds!
Like many football terms, RPO and spread can encompass many things – and different coaches bring different elements to each concept. But the fundamental difference is the run-pass option is the concept of running plays that give the quarterback the option of handing the ball to a running back or – if the defensive look calls for it – to pull the ball from the back and shift to a pass. Spread offenses emphasize spreading out defenses and often utilize RPO, though they don't necessarily have to be solely RPO offenses.
Bo from Linwood, NC
Why haven't the Jags signed Bryan yet? Are they negotiating or do rookies even have much to do with their rookie contracts?
It's safe to assume the Jaguars and rookie first-round defensive tackle Taven Bryan are still negotiating. It's also safe to assume the differences are relatively minor. The days of extended holdouts for rookies for the most part ended with the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement and the accompanying rookie wage scale.
Brian from Gainesville, FL
Big O, players such as Jimmy Garoppolo and Deshaun Watson are, of course, talented; nobody is denying that. But, both players took the league by surprise last season. JG in that weird trade to the 49ers when the Patriots left value on the table and DS being tagged in earlier than the Texans planned. This year, though, the coaches will have had some film to study. Won't defenses be a little better-equipped to meet these and other similarly situated guys in '18?
Absolutely. Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey alluded to this during his appearance Monday on NFL Network's Total Access. When discussing Garoppolo's 242-yard, two-touchdown performance in a 49ers victory over the Jaguars last season, Ramsey said of Garoppolo, "He has good potential. I think he'll be a good player, but my experience in playing him, it was a lot of scheme stuff. It wasn't like he was just dicing us up." Ramsey added, "Nobody got to scheme on him this year. There was not a lot of film on him." Ramsey's comments were expectedly and understandably played up on social media and some interpreted as being critical or cocky. In fact, he was just being honest. In the case of both Garoppolo and Watson, the young players have passed the first NFL quarterbacking test; both played uncommonly well during the first few starts. There's no evidence to suggest they won't continue to be successful. But how they do once teams have had a chance to study film and game plan against their strengths will do far more to determine their careers than the results of last season.
Paul from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
O'Mighty O man: So, this season will be a very interesting season. Not only am I hoping it will silence many of BB5's naysayers, I also will be keeping my fingers crossed for his health as I am not certain his backup(s) are a shining spot on the roster. Around the league all those that want to anoint the likes of Watson or Garoppolo the second coming of best quarterback ever ... after only a half season? Let's watch where these sudden SUPERSTAR quarterback gods go versus our guy that this town seems to love to hate at times. Just sayin' … it's gonna be a telltale year one way or the other.
This season indeed will be interesting – and while you're wise to keep your fingers crossed for Bortles' health, the reality is it's wise for any team to hope for health from its starting quarterback. Teams sometimes overcome the loss of their top quarterback (see: Philadelphia last season), but those stories are rare and more often than not the loss is catastrophic. And you're correct that the anointing of Watson and Garoppolo is a bit premature considering they have yet to face a schedule of defenses game-planning to negate their strengths. How quarterbacks respond when that inevitably occurs often is a young quarterback's first major NFL test.
John from Jacksonville
Not a question ... just a comment for the dead zone. The best sequel has yet to be written. However, it's almost finished. It's called "Jaguars 2018/2019" which is the sequel to "Jaguars 2017/2018." It will beat Grease 2, Rocky 10, and even O-Zone 3K.
Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire
Oh Mighty 'O' / King of Funk: inspired by Jerry from Jersey I have conducted research into Ezra Lukman Moises Algebrae, the renown Pyramid Blogger and the answers he gave in his blog, known colloquially as "The ELMA Zone." It would seem most of the answers were "Whatever we tell you," "Ten to fourteen years, so stop asking," "Definitely one 'fer Khufu!," "Look the Pharaoh decides on the adverts; it's nothing to do with me" and "Just slide down and someone will catch you."
The Elma Zone indeed was good stuff – with the author known for his quick wit, boyish charm and comedic irony. Though these traits endeared him to the ladies, he routinely ran afoul of officials in the Pharaoh's army who as often as not "didn't get the joke." Thus, his survival largely depended on his status as a personal favorite of Pharaoh Khufu's son, Pharaoh Khafre – with Khafre being perhaps the era's staunchest supporter of comedic irony. Despite this fortuitous connection with the ultimate higher-up, Elma is known to modern scholars primarily for his role in a controversy involving Khufu's grandson, Pharaoh Menkaure. Menkaure – or "Menky," as he was known to fans – was skilled in the Ancient Egyptian sport, "Tug of Hoop," which the official website of Egypt describes as a game in which "a contestant fixes a hooked staff to hinder any snatch of the hoop by the other player." As often happens in 4,500 years, the details of what historians now call "Menky's Mistake" largely have been lost to time. Indeed, the affair might have been forgotten entirely had an aging Elma not etched in a tomb wall the phrase that secured those involved their place in history: "Pharaoh Menkaure ("Menky") Wasn't Down…"