JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Micky from Jacksonville:
Didn't Blake have issues his rookie season with a dead arm from throwing too much in the offseason? Is there a fear of this happening again with increasing his throws to get the repetition to correct his mechanics? Increasing from 100 to 250 and the philosophy "the more he throws the better he'll be" seems a little dangerous. One of your articles from May 13. I read this was Carson Palmer's problem the first half of last year.
John: It's something to consider, and Bortles indeed did have arm fatigue toward the end of his rookie season. This is a situation in which you must put your trust in Bortles, Jaguars coaches and Bortles' personal quarterbacks gurus in California. Bortles spent two months in California right after the season, then participated in the Jaguars' offseason program. He then returned to California. He by any measure will have done a lot of throwing this offseason - a lot more, presumably, than he did last offseason. The parties involved certainly will have a plan they feel will prevent arm fatigue. But while it's possible his offseason workload could be enough to cause a certain amount of fatigue. Bortles clearly believed he needed a significant amount of offseason work. If he thinks that will help, his approach is probably worth the risk.
Gator from Gainesville, FL:
O Man … I want a backup quarterback with a winning record as a starter. I'm sure there are plenty of those available. Even I'm not that dumb. Well … there is one out there, but he is playing baseball right now.
John: Wait a minute … Aaron Rodgers is playing baseball?
Ryan from Detroit, MI:
John - the Jaguars averaged minus-0.15 yards before contact when running to the right (yes, that's a negative number, and worst in the league). Why do you think we should go into the season with the same right side of the O-line as we had last year?
John: I don't know that the Jaguars should do that, and I don't know that they will do that. I do think the Jaguars will start Jermey Parnell at right tackle, and they believe he will play better than last season because he improved after getting healthy late last season. I don't know who will start at right guard, though I believe Cam Robinson and A.J. Cann will be the team's starting guards in some combination.
Ryan from Dearborn, MI:
Zone, who do you think will be the first defensive player inducted into the Jags' Ring of Honor? Can I get a "One fer Poz?"
John: I admit I'm not a great source when it comes to the Jaguars' defensive history. I missed the some really good defensive teams between 2003 and 2009 or so. I therefore missed the bulk of cornerback Rashean Mathis' career here, and only saw defensive tackles Marcus Stroud and John Henderson a couple of times a year when covering Colts-Jaguars games. My first vote for a defensive member of the Pride of the Jaguars would be for defensive end Tony Brackens because of his ability to dominate games when playing at his highest level. I'd put Mathis second followed by Stroud or Henderson. But I'm all for Posluszny. It's not his fault the Jaguars have struggled during his time in Jacksonville. And when it comes to on-field production, exemplary approach, consistency, etc. … well, if you had 22 Posluszny's on your roster, you would win a lot of games.
Dave from Oviedo, FL:
When your opponent's star player gets injured is it OK if I feel a little bit happy or does that make you a bad person?
John: You're not a bad person in your scenario; you're a fan. And fans gonna fan.
Todd from Jacksonville:
As a hockey fan, I've heard the argument about old players versus the new, and how much technology (sticks, size/weight of pads and such) has helped the new. I was wondering if you feel that technology has helped the current tennis pros out, and if the McEnroes and Connors of the world (in their prime) could beat the Federers with equal technology?
John: I can't compare tennis to hockey because I don't know enough about hockey to speak intelligently about the effect of equipment. My son has played competitive tennis for the last decade or so, so I know enough about the equipment in that sport to be dangerous. I do know that the technology of the rackets has made the game different enough that tennis in the 1970s is barely the same sport as tennis in the 2010s. Players today swing out on the ball with such a pace and put such top spin on the ball that McEnroe and Connors often would be unable to get balls back across the net. That's IF McEnroe and Connors were using the rackets they used when they played. If McEnroe, Connors, Bjorn Borg and the like had grown up playing with today's equipment, they no doubt would have grown up playing a style that would have allowed them to be elite and compete. Great athletes adapt to their times and circumstance.
Jim from Middleburg, FL:
Dear John, talk, talk, talk, talk … September: They will or they won't! … #ask me in October
Mason from Palm Bay, FL:
Much has been written about Myles Jack's ability to call the defense this offseason. Is this because he has shown that he mentally can't handle this, or is it just because he hasn't had to before, therefore we don't know how quickly he will be efficient at it? I can't tell if this is a legitimate concern or if it's a "we don't know until we know" kinda thing.
John: It's a lot more the latter. Jack certainly has the mental and physical capacity to handle the responsibilities of middle linebacker. His ability to call the defense is being discussed a lot right now because he never has done it at an NFL level – and because the player he is replacing, Posluszny, has done it at a high level for a while. When a young player replaces a capable player and that capable player is still on the roster, that young player is going to be in the spotlight. As for how legitimate the concern is over Jack, yeah … it's a we-don't-know-until-we-know thing. And we won't know until we know. Or something like that.
Dallas from Valdosta, GA:
I really hope some of Tom Brady rubs off on Bortles during the joint practices with the Patriots. Do you think they will spend much time practicing together or will it be team against team?
John: The practices with New England early in 2017 Training Camp will be solely team against team.
Eric from Jacksonville:
People are sleeping on Yannick. I think No. 91 is going to wake up the nation come 9/10. The man on the top of the mountain didn't fall there.
John: Yannick Ngakoue indeed is perhaps the most-overlooked young player on the Jaguars' roster. He had eight sacks as a rookie last season, yet people seem to talk about pretty much every other Jaguars defensive player except Ngakoue. I'm guilty of this as well. Perhaps because he was a third-round selection, some people seem to have the idea that he has maxed out or can't be elite or a difference-maker. At minimum, he doesn't get talked about enough as one of the Jaguars' best young players. That's unfair, but situations like this have a tendency to work themselves out. If Ngakoue continues to be a consistent pass rusher with eight, 10 or more sacks a season, I imagine recognition will come soon enough.
Letsgofun from Jacksonville:
Do you ever root for the other team?
John: I don't "root" much at all, though I prefer to see the Jaguars win. But no, I never root for the Jaguars' opponent. I have no vested interest in any other NFL team to remotely consider the possibility.
Logan from Wichita, KS:
Jackson believes we will be in the Super Bowl this year … you know what? OK!!! I am in!!! Jaguars to the Super Bowl! You can't win until you buy in. Time to buy in.
John: I actually received emails from Jaguars fans who didn't like Malik Jackson's Super Bowl prediction. Jackson played on a Super Bowl team in Denver. He looks around him and sees a young team with talent. He believes in himself. He believes in his teammates. If he wants to set the Super Bowl as a goal, good for him. What is he supposed to want when a season begins? To lose?
Dylan from Tulsa, OK:
Being born and raised in Oklahoma and being a Jags fan is hard especially with the recent success Dallas and Kansas City have had. I've been a fan since the days of Donovin Darius, Marcus Stroud, and Mike Peterson. Any advice or snappy quips you could give a loyal Jags fan just trying to defend my team?
John: I know you are, but what am I?
O-Zone: Fighting back
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Micky from Jacksonville: