JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it . . . **
Tom from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Tyson Alualu has been a great choice if for no other reason than he has been on the field. He has contributed at a high level, and may well do even more this year in his new position.
John:I can't honestly call Alualu a great "choice," because a great choice with the No. 10 overall selection in the draft would indeed have been a dominant player and a Pro Bowl guy. Alualu by any measure hasn't been that. What he has been is a good choice and more pertinently to the Jaguars' situation now he has been – as you said – a very good, reliable player. He never has missed a game in three seasons, although considering his health he absolutely could have. He also has started every game, and there has been little doubt that he has been one of the defense's better players during his career. The "selection" almost certainly could have been better, and for that, people resent and criticize Alualu, but as far as a player, he has been fine.
Ken from Jacksonville:
I saw Shadrick drinking a Pina Colada at Trader Vic's . . . his hair was perfect.
Scott from Jacksonville:
Daryl Smith had one injury his entire career. Granted, it was major, but he was far from injury prone. Suggesting as much is about as fair as "Fragile Fred." That said, I'm glad he's on a contender and hope he lights it up.
John:I never suggested Daryl Smith was injury prone. I said he was a veteran in his 10th year who missed 14 games with a groin injury in the final year before he became an unrestricted free agent. A player who is injured late in his career often is a player who is reaching the end physically. That's not to say that's absolutely true of Smith, but that's a belief among some in the NFL.
Bill from Yulee, FL:
Does Lonnie Pryor have the talent to be as good as Greg Jones down the road?
John:He has the talent to be good, but whether or not he is as good as Jones, he won't be the same sort of player. Jones was a monstrous physical specimen and because of that he was a devastating lead blocker – a very frightening man to pass in the hallway, for that matter. Pryor has blocking ability, but a lot of his value is being able to run and be effective as a receiver out of the backfield or even at tight end.
Nolan from Riverside:
Well, the time is near. I no longer have to occupy my time with #moodachay nonsense. A new glorious NFL season is about reveal itself, and listening to the whining and ignorant ramblings of my fellow Swaguars brethren is no longer my only desperate source of Jaguars entertainment. I will watch these games with joy, regardless of the outcome, and form my own opinions of this team. Thank you, offseason Jaguars column, for the entertainment. See you at the games! #Swaguars
Marcus from Jacksonville:
The NFL must be a very frustrating and devastating place to work for the lower-tier players, especially undrafted free agents. How difficult would it be to work as hard as they work through the offseason, training camp and the preseason only to get cut right before the regular season? Or even worse, to make the 53 and then get cut a few days later in favor of a waiver-wire acquisition. Not saying it's wrong – it's business – but I feel for these guys. Guess that's the price you pay to try to make the big bucks!
John:The last part of your email is the most pertinent. Yes, it's a hard business and yes, it's cruel at times. But the tradeoff is that the players who make it even for a short time are well-compensated. There's a reason players work for years, hang around on practice squads and even spend offseasons trying to get into the league when their practice-squad eligibility is up. Making it even for a few games is darned good money – better money than a lot of people make in a year – so the reward is well worth the risk.
Ed from Brisbane:
I hope John Morgan didn't buy his box in New England...
Tyler from Jacksonville:
We heard all offseason about the record roster turnover that occurred in Seattle during Pete Carroll's first year. We were told that we may even challenge that record for most transactions. After the recent waiver-wire period, it seems like we are getting awfully close. Are you able/willing to provide an update on this? Sorry, research guys, but it's time to work...
John:The Seahawks made 284 transactions in 2010, Carroll's first year as head coach. The Jaguars now have made 150 transactions.
Matt from American Fork, UT:
If an undrafted free agent is hurt during training camp or any other organized team activity does that play receive medical care from the NFL?
John:Yes. Players – drafted, signed or otherwise – receive medical treatment until they are released. A player waived when injured typically negotiates what is known as an injury settlement.
Manuel from Jacksonville and Section 215:
Were Tony Khan's stats a factor on deciding who is released, who we sign off waivers, and who we keep on the practice squad?
John:Tony Khan runs the Jaguars' analytics department, and analytics plays a role in the team's decision-making. In that sense, sure, it was a factor. Gus Bradley probably addressed this best during the preseason when he discussed analytics, saying essentially that it played a role and that the Jaguars are continuing the process of determining how to best use it. It is not the sole factor in the team's decision-making when it comes to personnel, but it is a tool that can be used in various ways to assist the decision-making process.
Tom from Ponte Vedra Beach and Section 106:
I think the Stand United Fridays campaign is a much-needed effort. When you go to great sports cities, you often see lots of team gear - everywhere. That's the way it was here those first years and I can't wait to see it again!
Aaron from Arlington:
Given that the difference between Blaine and Henne is so small, wouldn't it be better to have Henne out there Sunday since Henne will have a more complete week of practice? Your thoughts?
John:I don't know for certain how small the coaches believe the difference in Henne and Gabbert to be. The Jaguars picked Gabbert as the starter, so he's the best quarterback and you want your best quarterback in the game. Your point about practice, though, is valid. If Gabbert can practice full Wednesday, then he'll have a chance to get in what NFL teams consider a full week of practice – Wednesday through Saturday. If not, then yes, it hinders the preparation a bit and that will factor into the decision on whether to start Henne or Gabbert.
Sean from Fleming Island, FL:
Is the game blacked out on Sunday, I have heard nothing about this?
John:The game is not blacked out. The Jaguars aren't expected to black out games this season.
John from Merced, CA:
I am still concerned and a bit confused as to why the Jaguars only picked up one player for depth on the offensive line off the waiver wire. I thought the offensive-line depth was a major concern. Can you please shed some light on why they didn't grab another center or guard?
John:They didn't think there was an offensive lineman available other than Jacques McClendon better than who they had on the roster.
Franco from Jacksonville:
Bummed a smoke off me, and then stole my lighter. #shadricksightings
Jason from Falling Waters, WV:
I haven't seen much of Stephen Burton. Is he that much better than Massaquoi & Shipley?
John:The Jaguars believe he is a rare combination of size and speed to be available on the waiver wire. He is on the roster and the others are not, so the Jaguars believe he is better enough to merit that.
Steve from Jacksonville:
A few of us are going to take the RV and start tailgating on Friday night. Our wives think we have serious issues... what do you think?
John:I think I'm staying downtown Friday night, that's what I think.
Ed from Danvers, MA:
Another practice-squad question – does the team retain any rights over the player? If they want to bring him up to the roster, does he have to go or can he stay on the practice squad (or likely be released) as he looks for another club to pick him up? Also, does the team have the right of first refusal if a practice-squad guy tries to sign with another team?
John:The team doesn't have "rights" over the player. A practice-squad guy essentially is very close to a free agent. A player doesn't have to go when he is offered a roster spot, but it's a significant pay increase and the opportunity for which the player has waited and worked, so it would be surprising to the point of being ridiculous if a player turned down a spot. The player's current team doesn't have right-of-first-refusal, per se, but a player typically will stay with his current team rather than sign with another because of a familiarity with the system and the ease of transition.
John from Jacksonville:
I'm getting ready to put up an ACQUIRE TEBOW & VY NOW billboard. Are you "All" in?
John:** Actually, now that you mention it, I'm out.