JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …
Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL
Regarding the Jaguars All-25 or Hall of Fame discussions, how much does comparison with contemporaries count? Tony Boselli was dominant during his short career, but in that time frame there were very few standout tackles. Walter Jones (Seattle Seahawks) is in the Hall of Fame. Orlando Pace (St. Louis Rams) and Willie Roaf (New Orleans Saints) had comparable talent. Tony stood out because (a) he was very good, and (b) there were relatively few dominant tackles during that era. During the years Fred Taylor played, the league was blessed with a plethora of star running backs: Edgerrin James, LaDanian Tomlinson, Shaun Alexander, Jamal Lewis, Curtis Martin, Terrell Davis, etc. Seems to me it is statistically more difficult to get a Pro Bowl selection when the field of candidates is so deep. And if Pro Bowl selections are a major consideration, how will Fred ever make it?
Some readers may be wishing move on from this topic, but this point is so categorically incorrect that I felt compelled to make sure that no others reading this are so misinformed. Perhaps the main argument for Boselli being in the Hall of Fame is that he is considered by many the best left tackle in what many considered the Golden Age of the position. Orlando Pace as you mention is in the Hall of Fame from that era, as are Roaf, Jones, Gary Zimmerman and Jonathan Ogden. Boselli was every bit the equal of any of the five and many analysts/peers/competitors will tell you Boselli was the best of the group. I consider Boselli and Jones the best of the era. As far as Taylor, you’re correct that the lack of Pro Bowl recognition – unfairly – works against him. An issue he faces is that his best seasons – 1998, 2000 and 2002-2004 – came in years that he wasn’t quite among the top two or three backs in his conference, and therefore barely missed out on Pro Bowl recognition. Taylor’s body of work and talent compares favorably with the running backs you mentioned, and I believe Hall voters eventually will recognize that. I also believe it will happen in much the same fashion as Hall voters have started to recognize Boselli’s body of work in recent years – meaning once voters begin to study the player more closely, his Hall candidacy will gain momentum. Once you fully examine both players’ careers, it’s clear they both deserve enshrinement.
Dylan from Danvers, MA
The Eagles signed former Jaguars safety Johnathan Cyprien as depth recently, (probably?) ending the calls for his return to Jacksonville. I never really considered him an option to start on this team, or really be a rotation player. It did bring about a question in my mind, though. If Jarrod Wilson and Ronnie Harrison don't play well this coming season, is there a reason to think there are good replacements in this year's draft? #DTWD!
I’m sure there will be safeties available in the draft, though there’s no reason at this point to think Harrison and Wilson won’t play well. I was curious about the “calls” for Cyprien to return to Jacksonville. Were there? Really?
Sam from Sydney, Australia
Hi, O. Watching the top 25 players in Jags history got me think why D. Smith isn’t considered Hall of Fame worthy?
Former Jaguars linebacker Daryl Smith was a high-level player for a long time. But he was an outside linebacker who played in a 4-3 defense, which means he wasn’t a pass rusher. It’s very difficult for non-pass rushing linebackers to compile the statistics or make the game-changing plays to get noticed enough for post-season honors – or for Hall consideration.
Robert from St. Augustine, FL
Not including quarterback Nick Foles, who do you think are the Top 3 Jags we can most ill-afford losing after an unexpected injury that lasts for an extended period of time?
Defensive end Calais Campbell, cornerback Jalen Ramsey and middle linebacker Myles Jack.
Chris from Nashville, TN
The only reason Fournette averaged three-plus receptions per game is because former Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles couldn't accurately throw a pass much longer than a check down. Regardless, I hardly think that qualifies as "quite good." I am excited to see if new quarterback Nick Foles and offensive coordinator John DeFilippo can utilize him much like a Le’Veon Bell or Christian McCaffrey, but to this point, he hasn't shown anything to lead us to believe he can or will be used in this way. Only one way to find out...
No one’s saying Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette is going to be a 1,000-yard receiver, and I don’t recall saying he’s going to be the equal of Christian McCaffrey in the passing game. But he has been a threat during his two seasons when put one on one on linebackers after receiving the ball in the flat. He has been effective at times as a receiver. At times, he has been quite good. No matter how we approach the topic, that won’t change.
Nick from Palatka, FL
Z: After taking in a few practices and analyzing the observations, does the prognosticator between your ears think the Jags’ offense will be improved enough to overcome what may be a bit of a drop off in defensive prowess (considering the fact that Myles Jack is our only real NFL caliber starter at linebacker)?
I think the Jaguars’ offense will be improved this season. I see little reason the Jaguars’ defense should drop off significantly. This is a unit with two big-time cornerbacks (AJ Bouye/Jalen Ramsey), a premium talent at linebacker (Jack) and big-time, proven talent across the defensive front (Campbell, tackle Marcell Dareus and end Yannick Ngakoue). This isn’t even to mention two first-round talents in end Josh Allen and tackle Taven Bryan – and a potentially very good young safety in Ronnie Harrison. Very good defenses have played with a less. A lot less.
David from Chuloata, FL
Zone: This time last year, running back Corey Grant was talked about as being one of the focal points on this offense. He injured his foot, went on injured reserve, and was eventually let go. Some fans, including myself, were wondering why we let him go and why wouldn’t we bring him back? Now, I see the Green Bay Packers have signed him for his home-run potential. Instead of crying over spilled milk, I want to know if any one of the Jaguars current running backs brings a similar speed and skill set to the backfield?
No. There is no one in the Jaguars’ backfield with the speed of Grant. There are multiple backs who are capable out of the backfield and who give the Jaguars a running and receiving threat.
Travis from High Springs, FL
Some people may not understand this, but coming from someone who's worked outside in the Florida heat for the last 20 years: Considering what these men are doing, and how hard they're doing it, temperature is not a detail; it's the main detail.
Brian from Fleming Island, FL
A sixth-round rookie in his first week of camp cannot, by definition, be savvy.
You’re referencing rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew, and you’re right. Minshew got to the NFL based on savvy and football IQ. It’s too early to know if that will translate.
Nathan from St. Augustine, FL
Hey John, I'm not one to worry about a veteran player missing training camp or preseason time, but if anyone needs training camp and preseason reps you would think it’s a rookie linebacker from a small school expected to be in the starting lineup. With Jake Ryan not even practicing because of injury and Telvin Smith skipping the season has linebacker suddenly become a team weakness?
It’s an area to watch, particularly considering rookie weak-side linebacker Quincy Williams – the projected starter – indeed will miss the preseason after a slight tear in his right meniscus. We’ll find out later if it’s a strength or weakness.
Clayton from Gambier, OH
I enjoyed your piece on Tre Herndon. With Jalen and AJ occupying the boundary, where in your estimation does Herndon get inserted Week 1 versus Kansas City?
If all other players are healthy, Herndon likely will be the third corner behind Ramsey and Bouye and the reserve nickel corner behind D.J. Hayden.
Josh from Jacksonville
O-Zone: This isn't a question, but I just wanted to say that you guys did a great job with the Jaguars All 25 and 25 seasons, 25 games series you did.
I appreciate your thoughts on the 25 seasons, 25 games series; it was enjoyable catching up with a lot of players I covered in the 1990s – and with a few players I missed in my years away from Jacksonville. As for the All-25, much credit to the video team of Patrick “PKav” Kavanagh, Dave “Hit Man” DeCandis, Max “Hollywood” Hochman and Brent “Look in My Direction at your Own #$%&@*% Risk” Reber. Theirs was the heavy lift on that one.