JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Chris from Mandarin, FL:
It seems Doug Marrone recently had his first foot-in-mouth/Doh! moment as a head coach when he said the offensive line needs to play with a chip on its shoulder. Pardon me, but was he not the offensive line coach the last two seasons? Wasn't he responsible for them playing well and taking on his philosophies then? If he couldn't get his message across directly to the unit when he was their position coach, why should we think an offensive line that is 4/5 the same as last season will be any different?
John: First off, I don't know that the offensive line will be four-fifths the same next season. The 2017 NFL Draft hasn't been held yet, and there's every chance a starting interior player could emerge from that weekend. With Branden Albert also being new, that's 40 percent of the offensive line. As far as Marrone saying the line needs to play with a chip on its shoulder being a foot-in-mouth moment … I guess this is why coaches and other public figures sometimes are reluctant to speak candidly in public. I'm sure Marrone told the offensive line similar things in the past, but does that make it wrong to say now? If he had said, "You know what? The offensive line has been awesome in recent seasons … I hope those fellas just keep doing what they've been doing," that might have been seen as a bit silly considering how the unit played at times. Marrone's job as head coach is to set the tone for the entire team, offensive line included. He plans to set that tone for the offensive line when the players report for the offseason program, and he said as much. People may think of him saying they need to play with a chip on their shoulder a foot-in-mouth moment, but here's guessing he doesn't regret saying it and that he would say it again.
Jeff from Wake Forest, NC:
Chris Smith was traded and Jonathan Woodard is still around. We haven't heard much since he was injured early on, but they must see something in this young man to keep him around. Do you hear any scuttle on him lately or where they envision him fitting in the pass rush?
John: The Jaguars like Woodard and believe he can be a productive part of the defensive line rotation, though he's more of a strong-side player than a pure edge rusher. He is recovering from the Achilles injury that kept him out all of last season. I expect to learn early next week exactly when he is expected to be full strength.
Tom from Section 141 and the Mean Streets of Arlington:
My son and I were at a Suns game a few years ago and they played Sweet Home Alabama during the seventh-inning stretch. My son then posed the question: "Dad, why is that song the Jacksonville National Anthem?" "It just is, son. It just is." Bring back Sweet Home!
John: You're an awesome father. #bringitback
Steve from Jacksonville:
My question is about the process of NFL trades during the draft. If a team were interested in trading up, would they call some time before the draft to discuss the price and interest with other teams? Or does all of this happen exclusively on draft day?
John: Both. It's quite common for general managers to speak before the draft to gauge interest about potential trades and explore scenarios. At the same time, trades often happen that weren't discussed beforehand – particularly in the later rounds.
Tom from Boston, MA:
JPP, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Chris Canty, Strahan are credited in large part for the Giants' Super Bowl victories holding Tom Brady and Company to just two touchdowns in each game. The offensive line also allowed the G-Men to out-rush New England by significant margins both games. We can't have too much talent or depth in the trenches. Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs were not difference-makers or any better than Chris Ivory/T.J. Yeldon. Let's build this the Coughlin way!
Aaron from Chantilly, VA:
Do you think Blake Bortles could be a solid future backup quarterback and groom Mitch Trubisky for the next year or two while he holds onto the starter role?
John: I don't think Bortles or any other quarterback is going to "groom" a backup while he's starting, nor do I think you want a starting quarterback worried about grooming a young player to be a backup. I also don't think a quarterback selected in the first two rounds is going to sit for two seasons. He might sit for one season, at the most.
A.J. from Kalispell:
I recently read about Telvin Smith calling out players for charging kids to attend their camps. Normally, I don't pay much attention to things like this, but with Smith being on a rookie contract and sponsoring his own camps by involving local business and making sure every kid that wants to come can, it makes me glad he is on our team. Not only is he a beast on the field but he's a true asset off of it. Here's hoping he stays in Duval for years to come.
Marissa from Orange Park, :
John, when you say, "The 59-yarder to beat Indianapolis at EverBank Field in 2010 certainly is Scobee's most memorable kick," the operative word that should also be acknowledged is "EverBank," who committed to Mr. Weaver and the city of Jacksonville just a few months before that game. People remember the kick like it was yesterday. However, they may have forgotten the organization going three years without a corporate sponsor after Alltel's deal expired in 2007. Granted, the monies agreed upon were relatively insignificant in comparison to other NFL markets, totaling roughly the same amount Gillette pays to advertise in the Patriots' parking lot. Nonetheless, the deal was a very instrumental and necessary piece of the puzzle for keeping the team in Jacksonville at a time when every out-of-market question surrounding the Jaguars was, "When are they moving to LA?" At the height of a very tenuous and seemingly dire period, EverBank's endorsement essentially proclaimed belief that professional football could exist in Jacksonville when other corporate sponsors, and subsequently the national media, mostly disagreed. That deal helped provide a foundation for establishing the stability Mr. Khan has been able to strengthen, something that may have never happened absent EverBank stepping up when they did. In a year when three teams now call new markets home, the Jags were never once mentioned in those conversations. Congratulations to Josh Scobee for a great career, and three cheers for the sacrifices the City of Jacksonville and Mr. Weaver made at critical times throughout the organization's difficult infancy, as well as for Mr. Khan's remarkable business acumen since taking over. But, can we also get one-'fer the nice folks at EverBank?
John: True that. One fer EverBank.
Frank from Amelia Island, FL:
Would you agree MARCEDES Lewis has limited utility and needs to be cut? Do you see any chance getting HOWARD AS THE NEXT GRONK?
John: I absolutely disagree that Lewis needs to be released. I think Lewis is a veteran who is a better run-blocker than pass-blocker, but he is a front-line NFL tight end who absolutely has a place on an NFL roster. There is a tendency among fans to want to release or trade familiar players, but releasing good players isn't a smart way to go. As far as selecting Howard … sure. Is it fair to expect him to be the next Gronk? You're talking about a player who when healthy has been among the most dominant players ever at the position, so that's a big ask – but I think Howard has a chance to be really good.
Thomas from Jacksonville:
Lynyrd Skynyrd sucks. Shinedown is the best band from Jax. We should …
John: You wrote some more things and I stopped reading. I admit there was a time when I was young (a long, long, long time ago), inexperienced and unwise that I, too, was lukewarm on Skynyrd. As I grew and matured I realized the error of my ways. I wish you maturity and wisdom, Thomas. Godspeed.
Preston from Oakville, CY:
O-man, I don't see Myles Garrett falling to us, but it's not a lock for him to be drafted No. 1. If he isn't, how seriously would we consider trading with the 49ers to pick him up?
John: Rumors and speculation aside, I'd be very surprised if Garrett is not selected No. 1 overall by the Cleveland Browns. I'm sure the thought of trading up would cross the minds of Jaguars higher-ups. But I would anticipate the 49ers wanting more for the No. 2 selection in that scenario than the Jaguars would want to give up. But who knows? Because who really knows what the 49ers would want?
Charlie from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
I like to pull my cat's tail just to hear it hiss. Is that so wrong, O?
John: Doing that, while perhaps amusing, is cruel to the animal so I am obliged to say, yes, it is wrong – and I would never partake or encourage such an activity. (Although in the 1970s, before political correctness, it was probably a pretty cool hobby).
O-Zone: Hobby lobby
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Chris from Mandarin, FL: