JACKSONVILLE – The talk has been talked.
The issues have been analyzed. And discussed. And debated. And re-analyzed. And when we had done all of that again and again, we did it again and again and again.
We discussed the Senior Bowl, and free agency, and the combine, and pro days. We discussed the draft, and minicamps, and organized team activities. We discussed training camp and the preseason.
We discussed Dante Fowler Jr., and Blake Bortles, and Luke Joeckel, and T.J. Yeldon, and Sen'Derrick Marks. We have discussed it all, and now it's time.
And actually, that's not quite right.
As reflected in the can't-wait-for-it-to-get-here tone of the inbox in the last day or so, it's really long past time for the 2015 regular season to arrive. Fans and readers are ready for Panthers-Jaguars at EverBank Field Sunday. Aren't we all?
It's Game Day. At last.
Let's get to it …
Chad from Yulee, FL:
Win … Sunday … pleeeeease!
Jason from Dallas, TX:
Now we are blaming Boselli? Was Favre the worst thing that could happen to Rodgers and the Packers public relations-wise? Replacing Peyton really has hurt Luck's development, right? Come on now. If guys like Pearson, Williams, Monroe, and Luke were good in their own right, this wouldn't be a conversation. Think fans would be asking this question had the Jags drafted Joe Staley the year he came out? Maybe MJD isn't quite as elite as Fred, but we sure don't hold him in any less regard, do we? If you're good, you're good. Doesn't matter who was here before you, or who comes after.
John: This is in reference to an email this week asking if Tony Boselli was the worst thing that could have happened to subsequent Jaguars left tackles in terms of the expectations for those players. I answered yes and I believe that. That's not to say players who came after Boselli couldn't also have been elite-level left tackles; of course his playing here doesn't automatically preclude anyone from every playing well at that position for the franchise again. But does his having played here create an expectation at the position that's difficult for even good players to meet? Yes, I believe it absolutely does.
John from Jacksonville:
I came up with a team slogan … "We are the Bortles, resistance is futile …" What do you think?
John: I think it's time for the season to start.
Scott from Jacksonville:
If a player decides to renegotiate a contract, say, two years before it is up, how does the team handle the signing bonus he got with the first contract? Since he is getting a second signing bonus before the first contract is up, would he essentially be keeping two bonuses?
John: First, the team wouldn't necessarily renegotiate that contract with two years remaining – and, in fact, a lot of teams wouldn't. If the team did decide to give the player a second contract it likely would simply give the player a second bonus. Except in cases when the player didn't live up to the contract in some way it's pretty rare for players to give back signing bonuses.
Ralph from Jacksonville:
John, is there any way we can get Jerell from South Carolina promoted to both head coach and GM? He clearly has far superior knowledge to Gus and Dave even though he does not attend practices or meetings and watches the Jags from 300 miles away. His intellect is awesome.
John: I know, right?
Tom from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
I suppose second-guessing is easy, but I find it hard to see all the muscle-strain type injuries on the Jags and the interminable recovery times. With Tony Khan around, I think the team would be able to put together a scientific fitness/training program like Chip Kelly's … I hate to lose our very best players to stupid injuries caused by pushing too hard or too soon. Four of five best players out .... not good.
John: No, having players out is not good – and your point would be worth considering if the Jaguars indeed were missing a bunch of players with muscle-strain-type injuries. The three Jaguars players ruled out Friday were defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks, defensive end Andre Branch and Julius Thomas. Marks is out rehabilitating a torn anterior cruciate ligament, Branch is out with a medial collateral ligament sprain and Thomas is out with a hand injury. None are soft-tissue issues. Marqise Lee is doubtful with a hamstring injury; that is a soft-tissue issue but it's really the only front-line long-term soft-tissue injury the Jaguars have had during this training camp. So, while second-guessing indeed is easy I suppose doing so with accuracy remains a bit more difficult.
Blaine from Winter Park, FL:
John, I went to the first preseason game and when the time came to yell, "Duval," it only seemed to come from a few sections and they weren't the club seats. Frankly, it was quite weak. What's up with that, Big O? The #DTWD folks need to step up their county-cheer game Sunday.
Dallas from Jacksonville:
Do you think Marqise Lee could end up as a WR 1 or 2 as the season goes by?
John: Yes. If he gets healthy – and if he stays healthy.
John from Starke, FL:
I'm excited about the upcoming season. Please tell our 53 players to have a safe year and I would like to stay under the radar all year. Dave and Gus have done a good job of rebuilding this team and they sure know more than I do. Is it '96 all over? Your thoughts?
John: You had me until the question: "Is it '96 all over?" I can't quite say that – mainly because 1996 was a special year, the drama and unlikeliness of which likely never be repeat. I do agree that this team has some traits the '96 team had before that season: a young, building talent base; a quarterback with potential; an anticipation of improvement within the team and the fan base … Those are exciting things. Let's see how it plays out.
Nate from Dillsburg, PA:
Need your opinion this week, Oman. D-Rob or Frank Gore for RB2?
John: WHAT ARE YOU SAYING!???
Jeremy from South Korea:
Seriously, get a round table!
Sunil from Jacksonville :
On the day this much-anticipated regular season begins, I want to take the time to thank you (the senior writer) and the entire Jaguars.com staff for keeping us entertained and informed all off-season. It is much appreciated. As a new year begins and hopes of a winning season fill our thoughts, I just hope that we (the fans) keep things in perspective and know that this team is still building and though great things are happening, it may not happen as fast as we would like. However, the arrow is certainly pointing up...more than it has in a long, long time. Let's keep it that way! #DTWD
John: Fans won't keep things in perspective because fans gonna fan – and thank goodness for it. #DTWD
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
After watching Brady Thursday, I don't think there will be many defenses that will slow down that offense. He was a man on a mission. After reading all this hype and hope O-man, I am really concerned what will happen if the Jags blow it on Sunday. I don't know if this overeager fan base can handle another disappointing season.
John: Breathe, Greg … breathe. First, yes: the Patriots will have a good offense this season. I don't know that it's time to call them unstoppable yet, though; that's a big statement after one game. As far as the Jaguars, the regular-season opener is undoubtedly big. Fans rightfully expect this team to be improved. I expect the Jaguars to play well. At the same time, one loss in the NFL doesn't define a season in a positive way or a negative way. Now, will it feel as if the opener will define the season at 4:30 p.m.? Of course it will. Fans gonna fan.
Adel from Jacksonville:
Hey, John. As I observe other teams around the league with successful offenses, it seems the wide receiver position mandates at least two players (particularly in three wide-receiver sets) with deep speed to open up the offense. Other than Marqise Lee, we do not have that kind of athleticism at the wide receiver position and that's concerning. Allen Hurns and Robinson get open by a big frame and craftiness, respectively. It seems that this is an area to look at for next year. Would you agree?
John: Speed at the wide receiver position without question is a must, and I do think that's an area the Jaguars will continue to address. The Jaguars have spent the last three offseasons filling a lot of holes and developing a lot of areas; it's hard to get what you want in all areas in so short a span.
David from Orlando, FL:
O-man, Jags have first-and-goal … we run up the middle … Tyson Alualu pancakes Luke Kuechly. I am ready for some football!!!
Andy from St. Johns, FL:
John: Yes, it is.