JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Joe from Pontypridd, Wales, United Kingdom:
Is it fair to expect that we will see Sen'Derrick Marks start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list with a view to hitting his stride into the second half of the season? I have no doubt he would like to be back as soon as possible, but I would hate to see him rushed back before he's ready.
John: He won't be rushed back before he's ready, but the answer to your question honestly isn't yet known. Much of the answer depends on how Marks' knee responds to surgery, then to the rehabilitation process – and there's no way to know that until the process plays out. That sometimes has nothing to do with how hard a player works; rather, it depends luck of the draw. There's a decent chance Marks will start the season on PUP, but there have been cases of players sustaining torn anterior cruciate ligaments late in one season and playing every game the following season. Tony Boselli did so in 2000 and made the Pro Bowl. If you know Marks, you know he'll do everything possible to be ready. If you know the history of ACLs, you know that we'll have to wait and see how it plays out.
David from Oviedo, FL:
O-Zone, I've developed a filter that will identify and eliminate five topics/questions from your inbox forever! Which five questions would you eliminate to die a happier man?
John: No. 1: Which five questions would you eliminate to …
Tom from St. Augustine, FL:
Why does the NFL not allow the players who get in trouble – such as Justin Blackmon – to be around the facilities? Heck, if my son got suspended from school and I put him on the street they would throw me in jail. When a kid needs help the most, the NFL turns its back. Take him off the field, but support him.
John: I agree, and in fairness to the NFL, Blackmon was allowed around the facility during his first suspension at the beginning of the 2013 season. That was because of a change in the substance-abuse policy allowing a player to be around the team's facility on the suspension from the so-called "second strike" offense. Blackmon was later suspended indefinitely. That's the suspension he is serving now and it's true that he may not be around the facility or have contact with team officials. The theory is that the team can help the player during the second offense but that there must be more punishment involved on the third offense. I guess that's the theory, anyway. Either way, it's not ideal, and many people in league circles dislike the rule for the exact reasons you cite.
Jason from Falling Waters, VA:
Do you foresee the Jaguars bringing back five-star high school recruit Chad Henne?
John: I do foresee the Jaguars bringing back Chad Henne, one of the top backup quarterbacks in the NFL.
Mike from Section 238:
I know this may be an old-fogey idea, but it's amazing how many people express that they no longer want to be "fans" of their hometown team unless the team is winning. I get that it is a tougher ticket sale, but you still gotta cheer for your hometown team, right?
John: Fans don't "gotta" do anything, and no one around the Jaguars assumes that they will. But while I have gotten a ton of emails about this topic in recent days, I don't actually worry about it that much. Many fans write into the O-Zone frustrated. Some question why they should buy season tickets when the team is losing. That's a legitimate question because fans want to win. At the same time, this is a remarkably dedicated fan base, one that has shown undying loyalty and support through a very difficult period. The Jaguars' daily objective – on the football side and throughout the business offices – is to reward and earn that loyalty as completely and quickly as possible.
Frank from Knoxville, TN:
Hey, Zone: personally I would be perfectly fine with bringing in Bulaga and Iupati. Those two experienced, somewhat-premier players at their positions added to the young guys with promise would be quite solid going forward. Zane Beadles could then be the swing depth guard, which I think suits him better, along with Austin Pasztor for the swing tackle … and you have a pretty decent offensive line. Now, I think Bulaga re-signs so the point is probably moot, but love to throw scenarios around come FA time.
John: Your email captures the essence of the coming weeks. A scenario that has merit and that would be really exciting if it happens … followed by the reality that free agents often re-sign with their own teams. Welcome to free agency.
Tym from the Southside:
O-Zone, you often say something to the effect of, "Draft for the future, not for the present." With that in mind, let's say we sign either Suh or JPP in free agency. Does that make any impact on who Caldwell takes in the draft? For example, in Suh's case, would Dave be more likely to select a more pure pass-rushing end in Randy Gregory/Shane Ray (instead of Leonard Williams), knowing we already have Marks, Miller and Suh on the payroll at defensive tackle? Not saying that Williams can't effectively play as an end, but would the free-agency signing make a difference?
John: It could, though Williams is considered talented enough to play five-technique end or defensive tackle. A player such as Jason Pierre-Paul would probably have more of the effect you suggest. He's young enough that he could be the core, building-block pass rusher you need, which would likely mean not drafting a Leo-type pass rusher right on top of signing Pierre-Paul as a free agent.
Rob from Fleming Island, FL:
I know draft picks are valuable to a team that's still building, but can the Jaguars afford to trade down and miss on a game-changing player like Williams? I am, of course, assuming that a trade will be offered and Williams is in fact the next Watt.
John: You assume a lot, because trades are far easier to discuss than they are to actually make happen. Also, Watt is a once-in-a-generation player – and then some – so it's asking a lot to ask a player to be the next version of that. As I grow older, I also grow increasingly less big on trade-down talk in the weeks leading to drafts. I more and more favor the idea of, "If you like a player, take him." The Jaguars need impact players; if they think there's one there at No. 3, there's no reason to trade back for two lesser players.
Tino from Sarasota, FL:
If our Jacksonville Jaguars want to improve the run game BRANDON SCHERFF is the way to go. There's no such thing as drafting a position too high if it's a must-needed spot to be filled on your team, right?
John: You feel passionately about BRANDON SCHERFF. I know this because you used CAPITAL LETTERS. I DON'T BELIEVE THE JAGUARS WILL TAKE HIM BECAUSE THERE APPEARS TO BE MORE VALUE AT OTHER POSITIONS. I'M NOT WRITING THIS WAY BECAUSE OF PASSION FOR LEONARD WILLIAMS OR RANDY GREGORY. SOME PEANUT BUTTER GOT STUCK UNDER THE SHIFT KEY AND … never mind.
Nathan from St. Augustine, FL:
I thought Denard Robinson looked really impressive at times last year, especially considering the poor offensive line he was running behind. Any idea on what his role will be or even if he has a role in Olson's offense?
John: Right now, Robinson is the starting running back. Coaches are heavily involved in self-scout and evaluation now, and should emerge from that in a few weeks with a much clearer idea about future roles. I anticipate Robinson having a crucial role next season, whether it's as a starter or backup. I wouldn't speculate beyond that. At least not yet.
Josh from Eyota, MN:
I would be extremely happy with 8-8 this year. Can the coaching staff survive a losing season should they not make it to 8-8? It would be awful to start over again, if the team isn't a winner.
John: Jaguars Owner Shad Khan said recently at the Super Bowl he didn't have a specific victory-loss total in mind as far as next season. He said he's not thinking that way, and there's no reason to believe otherwise. The Jaguars improved last season and considering the youth of the roster and the planned approach in free agency, there's every reason to expect improvement next season. So long as that happens, the build is going according to plan and so long as that happens, I don't see Khan in any rush to make changes.
Ron from Asheville, NC:
I keep hearing trade scenarios that the Jags won't trade down too far to ensure they get a top pass rusher. I believe this to be true, and I also understand this all just speculation. However, if a team such as the Eagles really wanted to trade up to get Mariota if there, they could package a deal with picks and Fletcher Cox. I know players are rarely traded but isn't this something to consider when speculating about trade scenarios?
John: You just considered it. I certainly feel better now.
O-Zone: In consideration...
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Joe from Pontypridd, Wales, United Kingdom: