JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Ramsey from New Jersey:
I really like the addition of Julius Thomas. I didn't know much about his character while he played at Denver. After watching his press conference, he undoubtedly is my new favorite player on the team. No... I haven't lost any love for Blake Bortles. Just getting giddy with excitement about the next season.
John: We've had a couple of days to cool down from the frenzy that was Wednesday. With that time to reflect, I'd say … yeah, it appears you may be right about Thomas. He seems like a good, sincere guy who is appreciative of his situation and genuinely excited to be here. Jared Odrick also was impressive Wednesday, and for that matter the entire free-agent class seemed like a fit on that front. That's not always the case. Free agents – particularly first-tier free agents – often are signed without face-to-face interviews, which makes it difficult for either side to have a real feel for what to expect. A team can research players and the player can research the team, but with no handshakes or pre-signing conversation, it's just tough to know. The early signs were that the six players signed Wednesday like what they have seen from Jacksonville, and vice versa. So, there's that.
Jay from Beulaville:
Reading everyone talking about signing more depth for the line, I completely forgot about Brennan Williams at right tackle. With Jermey Parnell inked in at starter and Austin Pazstor at backup, does Williams have a shot at sticking or is he just camp fodder?
John: Brennan Williams was a third-round selection by the Houston Texans in the 2013 NFL Draft. He has dealt with significant knee injuries while in the NFL, and because of that he has played in just one preseason game. He believes he is healthy. If he is, and if he can play to his talent level, he without question would have a chance to be on the roster.
Lee from Jacksonville:
O-man, does a team ever spend so much in free agency that they don't have enough money to sign their draft picks? Is there a certain amount of cap space set aside for rookies?
John: Teams theoretically could spend that amount in free agency. But that team also theoretically would release players or restructure contracts enough to get the rookies signed.
Nick from Toronto, Canada:
Any rumblings about the team approaching Marcedes Lewis to restructure his contract? I like Lewis and the veteran presence he brings to the locker room, and I realize cap space is not an issue. But that's a sizeable salary and cap hit for a below-average pass-catching tight end, regardless of how good he is at blocking. It's about getting the numbers more in line with value.
John: The future is uncertain for Lewis in Jacksonville. I wouldn't be surprised if he plays here, and I wouldn't be surprised if he played somewhere else. I guess the only thing that would be surprising was if he played here at his current salary.
David from Neptune Beach, FL:
Actually O-man, the defense was better statistically and anecdotally without Poz on the field. Whether the two are directly related is debatable but the defense was far better in the second half of last season when Poz was not playing.
John: You see it your way; I see it differently. The Jaguars' defense played its best few games of the season, particularly against the run, from Weeks 4 -7 when it held San Diego to 42 yards rushing, Pittsburgh to 111 yards rushing and Tennessee and Cleveland to 70 and 69 yards each. Posluszny got hurt against Cleveland, and the Jaguars allowed 148 yards or more rushing in five of the next six games. I'm not going to turn the next few O-Zones into a back and forth over Posluszny's value. I get that there are many out there who consider him a liability, and while I disagree, I understand the argument for wanting more speed at the inside linebacker position. All of that said, those numbers I listed were the reason I believe the Jaguars' defense – particularly against the run – is better with Posluszny than without. Feel free to disagree. Disagreement is what makes this country great – that, of course, and funnel cake.
Rob from Jacksonville:
With House, looks like Gratz will drop to dime back. Does this mean the end of Alan Ball? And could Harvin play the slot and return punts for us?
John: It does appear Dwayne Gratz likely will be the reserve corner behind Davon House and Demetrius McCray, and yeah, I would be surprised if Alan Ball returned. As for Harvin, I rarely say "never," but there's an awful lot of history there that makes that a real, real tough situation.
Steve from Nashville:
What Year Two improvements are the coaches wanting to see from Bortles?
John: Accuracy, footwork, fundamental, victories – you know, all that cool quarterback stuff.
Steve from Fleming Island, FL:
With quarterback questions in Houston and Nashville, I see the Jags as a lock for second place in the division.
John: The Jaguars finished 3-13 last season. There are no such things as locks for anything in the NFL, but certainly not for 3-13 teams.
Dave from Jacksonville:
Hey O, I've seen multiple media reports that Amari Cooper is scheduled for a visit to Jacksonville to meet with the Jaguars. So, what is up with that? Why would the Jags bring in this one particular player for a visit and only him? Can he catch passes from Blake or Chad while he's here? Just wondering.
John: Teams are allowed to bring in up to 30 potential draftees for pre-draft visits. These visits are routine and part of the pre-draft process in the same way as Senior Bowl interviews, on-campus interviews at a player's Pro Day or combine interviews. Cooper's reported visit is noteworthy because he is a potential Top 10 selection, but it is not unusual. And no, he can't catch passes from Blake Bortles or Chad Henne or anyone else. It's a visit; not a workout.
Bill from Hammock:
This may be a different view but I am glad we didn't pay the amount it would take to get Demarco Murray. Time will tell what he has left in the tank but we have seen what happens the year after a rushing championship is achieved. A 27-year old running back with a history of injuries does not seem to be a good investment. Do you think a younger version in the draft makes more sense?
Shannon from Brunswick, GA:
Hey John, do you think that Todd Gurley will drop to the second round because of his knee injury? If so, would you draft him if he did?
John: No, I don't. Yes, I would.
Jake from Hermosa Beach, CA:
The interior offensive line has been a major issue for the Jaguars. Why haven't they addressed this? Should have targeted a center, right?
John: Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell was pretty clear after the season that team liked Luke Bowanko and Brandon Linder at center and right guard. He also was pretty clear that Zane Beadles had improved during the second half of last season at left guard. He said the team likely would pursue depth on the interior, and I'd still expect that to happen. But no, I didn't think the Jaguars should have pursued a center in free agency. They like Bowanko's potential, and he played well for a rookie last season. Now, it's time for him to develop.
Terry from Chester:
I was fortunate enough to hear Tony Dungy speak in Lynchburg last Friday. He said that he interviewed with the Jags before he went to Tampa Bay, and Mr. Weaver told him that his style of coaching wouldn't work in the NFL. You mean we could have had him instead of JDR? Might have made a difference, huh?
John: Dungy actually interviewed with the Jaguars in 1995, with Weaver instead hiring Tom Coughlin as the head coach. Coughlin was still head coach of the Jaguars in 2002 when Dungy was fired by Tampa Bay and hired by Indianapolis, so the timing wouldn't have worked to hire Dungy then. Dungy indeed proved his style could work in the NFL, but I don't think Weaver ever regretted hiring Coughlin to build and coach this franchise.
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
The Jags will double their win total from last year with these great signings. Go jags
John: That would make them 6-10 next season. I think they have a chance to do a game or two better than that, but more importantly, I think they'll be better and more obviously in real shape to start contending consistently for the postseason after that. But either way, we agree that the Jaguars are improving and building it the right way. Go Jags.
Webby from Jacksonville:
Great day and a fun day Wednesday. Thanks very much to everyone at Jaguars.com for all the great access and excellent work. Live coverage, highlights, video of signings, wrap-ups and still covered the USC Pro Day across the country. We as fans are lucky to have a great team behind the scenes and wanted you to know your work is very appreciated.
John: Thanks. The supporting cast brought the 'A' game.
O-Zone: Full support
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Ramsey from New Jersey: