JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it . . . James from the Couch:
Looks to me we are about to have a shutdown defense. The moves made are solid and the scheme is fresh and partly under the radar. I predict some shutouts this season. You?
John: I admire your optimism and enthusiasm, and I think the Jaguars' defense this season has a chance to show progress toward what it will become in a year or two. There are going to be positions – defensive tackle, linebacker, cornerback – that almost certainly won't be as strong this season as they will be in a year or two. Also, there will be a learning curve that will continue even once the regular season begins. It's hard to predict shutouts – not only because of the aforementioned factors, but because shutouts are difficult in the NFL even for high-level established defenses. Look for improvement from the Jaguars' defense this season. A finished product is a bit much to expect.
Mark from Raleigh, NC:
How does someone like tight end Lance Kearse get a chance on a roster spot if they haven't seen him play in nine years?
John: Sometimes, a team will take a chance on a player based on the player's athleticism. In Kearse's case, he was an obvious talent in basketball, and recent history suggests the same athleticism that makes for good basketball players can lead to "diamonds in the rough" at tight end. Bear in mind that Kearse is in camp on a workout basis. He's not yet on the 90-man roster, much less the 53-man, regular-season roster. If it works out, that's great for him and the Jaguars. If it doesn't, it costs the Jaguars very little.
Owen from Jacksonville:
Way to go O-Man, another successful video bomb. You may have another career op in the making.
John: You're welcome.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
Does the Kafka signing change anything for Henne, should he not win the starting job?
John: It could. It obviously depends on how Kafka, Matt Scott and Jordan Rodgers perform – not to mention Henne and Blaine Gabbert – but if Gabbert starts, Henne would be a very expensive backup at $3 million. If Kafka performs well, that could give the Jaguars a different option at backup quarterback. At the same time, everything depends on training camp. We can talk all we want about order of depth chart at the position, but two preseason games could solidify a lot or it absolutely could shake things up significantly.
Cliff from Lost Wages, NV:
Any chance the Jaguars are being so careful with the salary cap so they can be prepared to have Eugene Monroe's contract worked out to secure the offensive line for years to come in Jacksonville?
John: I wouldn't say that's the specific reason, but philosophically you're on the right track. The Jaguars indeed are being careful with the cap now because there will come a time in future seasons when it is time to spend – either on core players, or on free agents from other teams. Following this season, they may determine that Monroe or any of the other unrestricted free agents are priority players. If and when that's the case, the wise team finds a way to keep core, priority players. That wise teams needs cap space to be able to do that.
Jared from Madison, WI:
I think we should make a serious inquiry into free agent Tarvaris Jackson. I think he has proved he can be a reliable starter and he is an improvement. If it can happen in Madden it can happen, right?
John: No doubt!
Candice from Jacksonville:
I'm trying to get off my chest how this whole London thing FEELS as a dedicated fan since the beginning. It's like being faithfully married for quite a long time, and loving your partner despite all of their faults. Now that partner is taking long 'business trips away from,' and even flaunting flirtatious pictures about it (see London calendar), etc. Just letting my partner (the Jags) in this relationship know: it hurts not feeling secure about the future despite doing everything I possibly can.
John: That's a valid feeling, Candice. As in any relationship, communication is important and that's why the Jaguars have tried to be as clear as possible about the motivation behind the London series. The idea is to help make the Jaguars stronger in Jacksonville, not weaker. As I've said often, that's outside-the-box thinking, and being outside the box isn't always comfortable. In this case, it's necessary discomfort that may take some getting used to.
Scott from Chelsea, NY:
There's been news of the Jaguars bringing in kicker/punters for training camp to provide breathers. Would it be permissible to bring in a coach to serve this function and not use up a roster spot?
John: I suppose it's permissible, but not realistic. While the kickers and punters brought into provide rest for Josh Scobee and Bryan Anger do take up roster spots, the Jaguars also get familiar with those players in the event Scobee and Anger are injured. Also, you're almost certainly getting a better "look" with a player than most people you would bring in as a coach.
Gamble from Washington, DC:
Since teams are raising local revenue largely through stadiums, when do you see the Jaguars pushing for stadium renovations at EverBank?
John: Well, the proposed video boards can probably be seen as the first push. I'd expect pushing in other areas as time goes on. You can't be successful long-term in the NFL without significant local revenue streams and it's difficult to have significant local revenue streams in outdated stadiums.
Steve from Jacksonville:
For the record, hard times have hit me like they have most people. I also have much bigger limitations on where I can spend my entertainment dollars than I did in the "glory days" of the franchise. That said, I suspect I am not alone in my eagerness to shift my somewhat scarce time and dollars TOWARD the Jaguars just as soon as I "feel" this team becoming competitive. I think I'm just about there and I think there are a lot of other folks in a similar frame of mind. When people break towards this team, I think it will be surprisingly big.
John: I think you're right.
Eric from Boise, ID:
Bone-headed move signing Kafka. I'm also an Eagles fan, and he didn't do anything with them. Does the term "kafkaesque" mean anything to you? He'll probably get cut anyway. Lastly, I hope Henne gets cut.
John: Is it eight o'clock in Boise, Idaho?
Jeff from Starke, FL:
Last year Russell Allen was one of the weak spots in the defense among others. Many of those other spots have been addressed, but this one will likely remain unless we pick up someone on waivers. In my opinion, he's a decent linebacker but gets out of position frequently and doesn't have the speed or strength to compensate being out of position. Is there something specific about this flavor of defense that will help alleviate his weaknesses?
John: I have trouble criticizing Allen too much. He's a standout special teams player, and while he's not an elite-level player at his position, he has been a reliable, steady presence at the outside linebacker when he has played the last two seasons. He stepped in for Clint Session when Session was unavailable the past two seasons, and while he wasn't in the Pro Bowl, I don't know that I'd single him out as the weakest link on the team, either. You need players such as Russell Allen on a roster, just as you need Pro Bowl players. I don't know that there's anything specific about this defense that alleviates the weaknesses, but my guess is in some capacity he's making a contribution this season.
Blues Man from Palatka, FL:
I haven't heard Cyprien mentioned for a few weeks. Have I missed something? How's he doing with the vets? Thanks!
John: Johnathan Cyprien is doing fine. He almost certainly will start, and he seems to be adapting well. One reason you've heard less about Cyprien than at rookie minicamp is those minicamps were open to the public. That meant those of us covering practice could write and talk openly about how players were performing. The access rules are different and it's trickier to mention specifics. That will change come training camp.
John from Elizabeth City, NC:
...And once upon a time the Jags competed for AFC titles or even the playoffs and had players that people rooted for. But I doubt that had anything to do with the ticket sales or high revenue.
John: Well, sure, it had something to do with it. But the fact that other teams also have revenue-producing stadiums has caused many teams to surpass the Jaguars in local revenue. When EverBank was first renovated, it was notable for being one of the most team-friendly facilities in that way. Now, many other facilities have surpassed it. That's what happens when things change.
John from Section 132:
Today, I bought season tickets for the first time ever. Since I didn't get a glimpse of Johnny O at the stadium when I picked my seats, I had to share this on the Ozone. Guess I've been waiting for that Kafka signing...Go Jags.
John: You must not have been the people on the Bud Zone level around 5:30 when I was doing by pre-Jaguars This Week jog – or, as it sometimes has been called, "That Guy Gasping Pathetically for Air Without a Shred of Dignity." I'm pretty sure they bought seats, but they were understandably disturbed.
O-Zone: Disturbing moment
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it . . . James from the Couch: