JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Tony from Los Angeles, CA:
#ReasonForOptimism. O Person! I watched my recording of the Christmas Eve game against the Titans last week (because the offseason is long). There were a number of plays in that game where Blake threw the ball at the feet of the running back when the play he wanted wasn't there. He did this when there still seemed to be time left to try and make a play. My knee-jerk reaction was, "C'mon Blake. Make something happen!" I then remembered, "Oh yeah, we win this game in a dominant fashion." And Blake had no turnovers in that game. Seems like I remember some similar plays in the last game of the season. One of the first things Tom Coughlin said when he came back was, "Blake just needs to learn that it's okay to punt sometimes." Maybe Blake started to figure that out at the end of last season. Though Blake may not be the most accurate passer, or maybe not even as accurate as my little sister, I feel like he's athletic enough to win some games when you remove the bonehead plays that occur when a guy is trying to put the whole game on his shoulders. It seems he may have started to figure that out at the end of last season. Here's one for a bonehead-free Blake Bortles season.
John: This gets near the heart of a key to the Jaguars' offseason – and, of course, the 2017 season. The Jaguars are putting a lot of faith in the idea that Bortles is more the quarterback he was in the last two games of last season than the one he was in the first 14. Part of his improvement during those two games was accuracy and efficiency; the first half against Tennessee was one of the best stretches of his career. But Bortles also did not throw an interception in either of those two games. He wasn't all-world, but neither was he making obvious, awful mistakes that cost the Jaguars momentum and eventually any chance to win. Whatever formula the Jaguars find for success next season – if indeed they find a formula for success – more interception-free games from Bortles must be a big part of it.
Chris from Mandarin, FL:
Is Jalen Ramsey the type of cornerback that could reach 20 passes defensed in a season multiple times in his career; just how high do you think his ceiling is, John?
John: Passes defensed are a tricky statistic for a cornerback because opportunities can be out of his control. That's particularly true for a player such as Ramsey, whose reputation seems likely to be such that quarterbacks will throw away from him a lot. If he gets opportunities at the rate he did last season, sure … he can reach 20 passes defensed. He reached 14 as a rookie, which is a good number. What's his ceiling? He has a chance to be a position-defining player for the time he plays. He's that talented.
Jon from Fort Stewart, GA:
My Army career is almost coming to an end, so it's time to look to the future. I was thinking you could use an assistant and I would come on the cheap. Here's what I bring to the plate: One, I can browse the Internet and find funny videos for you to laugh at; two, I can run down to the cafeteria and grab you a bowl of soft serve at a moment's notice; three, every time you make a point I can stand behind you and yell "YEAH." Just something to chew on.
John: This is tempting, but what would be left for Sexton to do?
Nathan from Provo, UT:
John, the only list the Jags will make next year is the Top 10 Defense and Top 10 Offense list. And both based on total yards. This is not "fanning." It's finally coming together. The identity of the Jaguars is stop the run, run the ball explosively. Marcus Stroud, John Henderson, Fred Taylor, Brad Meester, Daryl Smith, MJD, Double D, Mathis, T.B. ... Leonard Fournette, Allen Robinson, Blake Bortles. The next "Big Three." Along with the deepest, all-around defensive starting lineup this team has seen in ten years, the Jags are primed to win now. And I think that is what bad-ass Telvin Smith is saying. What?
Ricky from Fairport, NY:
It was revealed this week that running back Ameer Abdullah for the Detroit Lions had a Lis Franc injury to his foot in Week 2 that the team kept secret for the entire year. My question is: Is that an NFL violation of the weekly injury report? And by the way, what is the purpose of the injury report? It seems the only ones who really benefit from it are the gamblers. Thoughts?
John: League policy is a player must be listed on the practice report (injury report) if he has a significant or noteworthy injury "even if he fully participates in practice and the team expects that he will play in the team's next game." If Abdullah's injury was significant and noteworthy, it is a violation. Whether the Lions will be penalized, I have no idea. The purpose of the injury report is to protect the integrity of the game, and while gamblers "theoretically" could benefit from the injury report so, too, could fantasy footballers, passionate fans and media/observers following the league. The injury report isn't perfect, but in a league in which the instinct of many coaches and front-office types is to say as little as possible about anything imaginable, the absence of an injury report would make accurate injury information so unattainable as to be ridiculous.
David from Orlando, FL:
Thinking back to the 2016 draft, most agreed that Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack were "no-brainer" selections. I kinda feel that opportunity knocked in 2014 with Kahlil Mack and in 2017 with Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney – except in these situations, we didn't take them. I think much of the draft is like rolling the dice, but when things fall your way in the draft you've to be able to capitalize. I know the decision makers have much more info than any of us, but if that info is leading to bad decisions, what is it worth? Thoughts?
John: No-brainer draft decisions are a myth – at least until well after the draft has taken place. If Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney are good, they'll look like no-brainers. If they're not, they'll make the teams that picked them look foolish.
Hugo from Albuquerque, NM:
O-dude, it's the offseason and I've been crunching numbers. In the drafts between the year 2000 and 2014, a total of 187 quarterbacks were drafted with about 23 successful quarterbacks in that span. This means that 12.3 percent of quarterbacks drafted became capable starters with 65.2 percent being first-rounders. It's really hard to find quarterbacks, isn't it?
Chad from Palatka, FL:
What would an undrafted free agent deal look like? Do some teams offer better undrafted free agent deals or are they all the same?
John: Most undrafted rookies sign contracts that pay a minimum – or very close to minimum – base salary provided they make the final roster. But teams do offer larger up-front, guaranteed signing bonuses to the better undrafted rookies. That's the biggest difference in the deals for those players.
Mike from Atlanta, GA:
Why do some people think public displays of anger and yelling at grown men are effective at getting men to do their jobs? Do you have to have your boss screaming at you two feet away because if he doesn't, you will just sit on your butt and do nothing all day?
John: Actually …
Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL:
I expected Derrick Henry to have a much better impact on the Titans' offense last year. In your opinion, are we expecting much more from Leonard Fournette first year? How do they compare or not?
John: Yes, the Jaguars are expecting much more from Fournette than the Titans got from Henry last season. The Titans signed Demarco Murray last offseason with the idea he would be their feature back, and that was the role Murray played; the plan all along was for Henry to be more of a complementary back. Fournette was the No. 4 overall selection in the draft. I would be stunned if he doesn't start the opener. He's not here to be the other guy. He's here to be The Guy.
Alan from Reno, NV:
I have a couple of questions. Remember that one time we didn't want Tim Tebow because of his goofy throwing motion?...even though he won 8 games. But we went ahead and got Blake and his goofy throwing motion, and can't win more than 5. Maybe Shad should build something else compleatly unrelated to football and pay some more over the hill players to take a break. He can signed me I promise I won't produce either. What 3 games do you think will get lucky on this year when we go 3-13 again?
O-Zone: Keen insight
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Tony from Los Angeles, CA: