JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Marc from US Assure East:
John, what is a reasonable fan reaction to Marqise Lee once again missing valuable training-camp time that he needs to gel with the offense? Is it OK that I am bothered that Marqise is not bothered? Is it fair to think if Allen Hurns tweaked his hamstring he would probably keep it to himself and push through it? I drank the Kool-Aid last year and remained hopeful that Marqise's injuries were NOT a pattern and simply a fluke he would overcome. I try to be a positive and supportive fan, but I can't help but think that Marqise will only hold us back.
John: The first thought that struck me about your email were the words "reasonable fan reaction" because I can't really remember all that many. A second thought is, "Sure, it's OK to be bothered. If you're feeling bothered, feel bothered!! Own it! No worries!" A third thought is it's incorrect to say Lee isn't bothered; what he said Friday when discussing this was that he wasn't worried about this being a long-term thing – and there's a difference between not being worried and not being bothered. But the biggest thought is that there may be a misconception on how Lee is approaching this situation. You say that if Hurns tweaked his hamstring he probably would keep it to himself and push through it. Perhaps, but that wouldn't be smart – and considering the soft-tissue injuries the receivers as a group dealt with a couple of seasons back it most certainly isn't what the team would want. Lee's instinct absolutely would be to "push" through this injury. He wants to be on the field. He wants to play. He's in his third season and understands the importance of this season for him. Why wouldn't he want to play? But the Jaguars' trainers, coaches, etc. essentially have told him to err on the side of extreme caution and that's what he's trying to do. Maybe Lee will be able to be a key weapon for this offense. Maybe not. But to paint this as Lee not wanting to play is incorrect.
David from Orlando, FL:
Johnny-O, last year Delanie Walker led the Tennessee Titans in receptions with an outstanding 94 catches for 1,088. The Titans' second-leading receiver had only 36 receptions. Last year, in his two games against the Jags, Delanie Walker killed us with 16 receptions for 200 yards! Johnny-O, please, please, please let me do the introductions: Delanie Walker meet Myles Jack; Myles, Delanie. Party's over, sucka!!!
David from Chicago via Jacksonville:
If the Pride of the Jaguars is about impact on the team, my next pick is Brad Meester. Few people made as large an impact, for as long and as professionally, as he did. Brad Meester was a great Jaguar at a very important but occasionally underappreciated position.
John: I have received many emails about Meester possibly being inducted into the Pride of the Jaguars. One school of thought is if you're honoring great, impactful players then Meester likely won't be in the pride. He never was in the Pro Bowl and probably wasn't ever best player in the league at his position. At the same time, he indeed was really good for a long time and was a consummate, reliable professional. If you had a team full of Brad Meesters you would have a really good team – and a whole bunch of outstanding people. There's nothing wrong with a spot on the wall for someone like that.
Jesse from Orlando, FL:
John, when is enough enough? Lee has a slew of talent, but the guy just can't stay healthy. Trying to stay positive, but it isn't looking good.
John: Enough is enough when you believe Lee has no chance of ever being a game-changing player. That's not yet the case.
Chris from Saint Augustine, FL:
What are your thoughts on having such an early bye week with the amount of new/young players we have on the team?
John: My thoughts on having the bye week so early have nothing to do with the age of the team: teams always prefer it be more toward the middle or end of the season, so having it after Week 4 isn't great. Another thought is I personally vastly prefer a later bye week than an earlier one – and really, my preference is what I mostly care about. As my friend/colleague Pete Prisco says, "What's good for me is good for me."
Wayne from Atlanta, GA:
David Caldwell makes a lot of decisions that hit the fans hard but here are a couple good ones that didn't originally sound good. Josh Scobee traded to Pittsburgh. Eugene Monroe Traded to Baltimore. Chris Clemons released (that one was not surprising). None of the three are playing now and we actually got draft picks for Monroe and Scobee. As much as we the fan might like a player and want them to stay on the team forever, perhaps our general manager might know a thing or two about his players huh?
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
You always said that not all of the draft players would hit and Lee seems to fall in that category.
John: I take no credit for the idea that not all drafted players hit. A look at any draft class in any year in NFL history will tell you that even the best general managers draft players who don't work out. That history also tells you every draft has hits and misses. As far as Lee falling into that category, we'll see. We're not there yet.
Dwayne from Jacksonville:
O-Zone, I think sometimes when you say "I'll pass this along" you're just placating the reader and don't really plan to pass it along.
John: I'll pass this along.
Tyler from Jacksonville:
Last year when fans would ask if anyone stood out in camp I remember you always mentioning Allen Robinson. It surprised me because while he was good in his rookie season, not many people outside of the organization would have expected him to look like a game-changer in camp. Remembering that insight while watching his breakout year was really fun. It's exciting to hear that there is a similar buzz around Jalen Ramsey. Is there anyone else who you or the team has their eyes on for a potential breakout year?
John: Dante Fowler Jr. Sheldon Day. Rashad Greene. Yannick Ngakoue. Malik Jackson. Chris Ivory. Tashaun Gipson. That's not to say no one else has stood out. It's also not to say that all of those players will have monster years on the level that Robinson had last season. But that group has stood out in various practices over the first three days of camp.
Zack from Tally:
Why don't all teams start training camp at the same time? How is it determined when they start?
John: Teams typically open training camp based on the preseason schedule, with teams not allowed to require veterans to report more than 15 days before the preseason opener.
Jim from Middleburg, FL:
Sir, having spent a few seasons playing the game I believe that teamwork can cover a multitude of sins. Is this true of pro ball? As to building an environment where teamwork may grow, these "hey-look-at-me-I-am-great" celebrations do not always foster teamwork. What is the secret to growing teams?
John: I don't know the secret to growing teams, but I do know that in the NFL player celebrations don't necessarily destroy team chemistry. It's often the case that celebrations are enjoyed by teammates, and they sometimes add to enthusiasm and chemistry. This is typically when a team is winning. As for teamwork covering sins, yes … teamwork in the NFL absolutely can make a team better. If teams are of relatively equal talent, a team working together with good chemistry typically will beat one not working together. But professional football also is about talent and playmakers, and an untalented team not making plays isn't going to be better just because it has good chemistry.
Tyler from Jacksonville:
I get downright giddy thinking about the defense when you talk about Sheldon Day and Yannick Ngakoue making plays in camp. They were supposed to be the hard caramel cover on top of the cherry, on top of the whipped cream, on top of the sprinkles. … I love ice cream. You love ice cream. We all love ice cream!!
John: Ngakoue was supposed to be a little more than the caramel over the cherry over the whatever; the Jaguars need him to provide some decent outside pressure immediately. But your point is well-taken: Day and Ngakoue are fourth- and third-round draft selections, respectively. Early on they appear capable of playing above those draft statuses. If they do, that's a good sign. That's how deep, potent rosters are built.
Yo from Jacksonville:
What does the wife do when she is really angry at you?
John: She thinks to herself, "Why is today so much like yesterday so much like the day before so much like …"
O-Zone: Day by day
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Marc from US Assure East: