JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Alan from the Westside
Should the Jaguars shop Fowler with more effort now? It doesn't look like we can afford to re-sign him and his attitude seems to be detrimental to the team. It could be addition by subtraction.
I'm getting a lot of emails about this in the wake of Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. being suspended this week along with cornerback Jalen Ramsey. First, the team never has said it wants to trade Fowler – and there are in fact many reasons not to trade or release him. The people who want Fowler traded or released seemed to miss a few important things. One is that the year he has remaining on his contract is an important one for this franchise, and it's entirely feasible he could help the team in a big way in that season. As far as his attitude, it didn't seem to hurt the Jaguars when he had eight regular-season sacks and two more in the AFC Championship Game last season. And even if the Jaguars did want to trade Fowler, it's easier said than done. A team trading for him must be willing to obtain a player whose contract runs out after the season and who has a recent history of off-field, practice and game incidents. That's not something for which teams necessarily want to exchange draft selections.
Cliff from Everywhere with Helicopter
As in most areas of my life, when dealing with a difficult or contentious situation, I tend to take my cues from The O-Zone. So when there's a problem at work – or the old lady's barking at me about something – I have taken to replying: "We remain hopeful the situation will improve." It's worked remarkably well, in the short term anyway. Further details as they become available.
I like your approach. Stay strong.
Chris from Mandarin, FL
Since the NFL is basically governing content on each NFL website now, are they planning to funnel certain stories from NFL.com to the website during the season or do you guys at Jaguars.com still have total control of the content? If not, are there any plans to reduce your title from "senior editor" to "lowly Jaguars writer guy?"
Wow. Someone has blown a tornado of misinformation your way. The NFL isn't governing the content for each NFL website, and there are no plans to "funnel stories" anywhere. The admittedly clunky transition to new league-run technology and infrastructure does not in any way change the editorial vision of the site. The team does control its own content and the title is senior writer not senior editor. Keep your chin up, though. Better day tomorrow.
LZ from Duval
I was talking to my uncle telling him how impressed I was with backup quarterback Cody Kessler's performance during the first preseason game. He responded by saying, "Yeah he was good against their backups." I went back and looked and he was wrong. They still had a lot of starters on the field during his first drive when he was five-of-six passing and drove us down the field. I know you don't want to admit it, John, but people like you and my uncle who are set on Blake Bortles being the unquestioned best quarterback on this team, may be wrong.
Mark from Prescott, AZ
Just curious, John: Which coach is responsible for the tight end position, receiver or offensive line? If the receivers coach is responsible for them, then tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins should have a breakout year. One (big) fer McCardell.
Jaguars tight ends coach Ron Middleton is responsible for the Jaguars' tight ends. (The key here is the "tight ends coach" part).
Logan from Wichita, KS
OK, so we go from free agency having two overpaid veterans that can't be dominant No. 1 or No. 2 receivers to now we have eight "really good receivers"... uhhhhh I don't buy it. Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook are good but not dominant yet – key word, "yet," because they could be soon. DJ Chark Jr. is a rookie, so his bar is low. Marqise Lee is still our No. 1, knowing full well he is a crossing-route champion and a stone-hands-when-it matters champion. And Donte Moncrief is still overpaid. So, is it we HAVE eight good receivers or is it we have eight guys that we will mix and match and hope for mediocrity? Based on the depth chart my fear is it's the latter.
"We have arguably the worst offensive line in the NFL and we keep compounding how bad it is. I won't say we are in for a 0-16 season ... but I also won't say we aren't." – Logan from Wichita, KS, September 3, 2017
Jim from Jacksonville
Just remember: No matter what happened Thursday or what will happen the next three games, it's the preseason. It doesn't count.
Is there that much confusion on this?
Robert from Reno, NV
Hey, John. So, I'm curious about your thoughts on Lee. You've written a lot about the receivers, since training camp started, of improvements and standout performances. But Lee hasn't been mentioned much. Does his contract prevent a release? I truly hope we keep the best wide receivers. Go Jags!
Lee hasn't been mentioned much during training camp, but he has been mentioned. He also has looked fine and is clearly going to be one of the Jaguars' better receivers this season. I don't know where he will rank in that group because all five of the top wide receivers have looked very capable of having big plays and big games. As far as Lee's contract preventing a release … yes, it would be difficult to release him because of the way his contract is structured. But even if it wasn't difficult, why would the Jaguars want to release him? Releasing good football players who make you better is silly. Wise teams try to avoid it.
Darrell from Fernandina Beach, FL
John, what does suspension from the team entail? Are the players precluded from all contact with the team and facilities? Including: weight room, treatment, facility meals, access to film study, position meeting rooms?
Fowler and Ramsey will be away from the team until Monday.
Jason from Da 'Hass
John, what's up with the outrage over two guys being suspended for A PRESEASON game? Doesn't hurt the team. One less week of injury potential. I personally don't care. I don't want a team full of boring and "mature" guys unwilling to express their opinions. I like that our team has personality – and yeah, I even like that Fowler is unhinged. Eight regular-season sacks plus two against New England, and the potential to be better this year? Yeah, I'm cool with unhinged. It's the job of the coaches and front office to manage the personalities and they're more than capable. We had a boring team for ten years and they were terrible. I welcome the interesting, as it has come with more winning.
You're absolutely right that these coaches have done a masterful job managing the personalities of this team. It's a team that plays on an emotional edge. Sometimes when you play and live there, you go over it. Sometimes when you go over it, you must be pulled back. It's a fine line. There aren't always easy answers, but in the big picture Head Coach Doug Marrone has steered this ship well.
Jag Fan from Jacksonville
I love Jalen Ramsey and Dante Fowler Jr. I think they just need to play ball and worry about winning championships. I love how Ramsey has his boys' back but his job is to play football. Just like media's job is to film and give fans something to watch. If you don't want it filmed, fight in locker room. Any media person would have done the same thing – every single one of them. Media and fans have right to film and show anybody what you do in public good or bad. So be mature. Stop worrying about what's not important and win this city a championship. We have your back and support you, too. It was their fault, not the media's, so take y'alls anger out on the other team.
There is this strikingly rational point of view …
Mike from Port Orange, FL
Why are they keeping Fowler? Trade him or cut him loose. He will explode again; that is his nature. He is already on thin ice. He has great potential, but poor control of his temper could cost the team during the season. I hope the players who make the team shun Phillip Heilman! Don't respond to his questions or just give him a no comment answer. He goes for the sensational event to boost his ratings. He attacks the team too much. He just cost two players at least a week's pay for biased, rating-seeking reporting. Freeze him out, since I am sure management won't risk the bad ink and do anything concerning his style of reporting.
… and there is this other point of view.