JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Braddock from Jacksonville:
Hi John, I'm concerned about the recent rule change. There is a difference between a spear and leading with your head, and the recent rule change makes me wonder how that will affect a guy like Ronnie Harrison. I played football for eight years; unless we start to tackle with our feet, I don't understand how we can take the head from the brunt of the tackle unless we arm tackle, which anyone who ever played will tell you is not fundamentally sound. It's a little confusing to me how they expect tackles to be made in the open field. What are your thoughts?
John: I have said and written often since this rule was "implemented" at the 2018 NFL Annual Meeting in March that we will have to wait to see its true impact. That's because while the rule was "implemented" at the meeting, the details of how the rule will be applied remain to be seen. I suspect that even when the details are announced we will have to wait to see the true impact, because it will be difficult in this case to match the spirit of the rule with the letter of the law. From listening to Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin discuss the issue shortly before the 2018 NFL Draft, the spirit will be to eliminate the hit that the naked eye and reason tells you is unnecessary and egregious with intent to injure. I think it's safe to say everyone wants that. If that's what is eliminated, I think most reasonable people will think the rule is good. It remains to be seen if that's how the rule actually is called on the field.
Geoff from Jacksonville:
Doug Marrone is awesome. That's all. Carry on.
John: Winning is cool. Fans like it.
Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
John, if Blake Bortles is over his wrist surgery are there plans for him to spend some time with Tom House's coaching group in California?
John: Bortles is recovered from the surgery he underwent in January, and he spent time with House's group in California in March. I don't know yet if he plans to spend more time there in June or July before training camp and after the Jaguars' 2018 organized team activities.
Josh from Harrisburg, PA:
All the questions about The Lazard playing tight end and I feel I should ask I if I could play tight end next year as well?
John: I never understand what's going on.
Robert from Fernandina Beach, FL:
I don't understand some people's fascination with Deshaun Watson. Teams are often reluctant to draft a running quarterback because they tend to get hurt – and that's exactly what happened to Watson after just six games. I prefer a quarterback that never misses a game ... oh yeah, we have one of those. Cool.
John: People are fascinated with Watson because he had six good games for the Houston Texans last season, and he looked better in that short span than normally would be expected for a rookie quarterback. If he plays as well moving forward as he did during those six games, then it will appear many teams missed on him in the 2017 NFL Draft – including the Jaguars. Perhaps that will happen; perhaps it won't. But while teams often shy away from selecting "running quarterbacks" because of injury risk and long-term wear and tear, it's hard to use Watson as a cautionary tale on that front; his torn anterior cruciate ligament came during non-contact work in practice and was pretty fluky. But yeah, Bortles' durability and toughness are major attributes. No doubt about it.
Ray from Monroe, CT:
With all this talk about linebacker, Brian Cushing is still out there unsigned. Any chances the Jags think about signing or at least having him in for a visit?
John: Slim. Very slim. Very, very slim.
Mark from Archer, FL:
John, are kickoffs really that dangerous? Do a lot of players get seriously injured during them? It seems every game I ever have watched I cannot recall any big injury from the kickoff. Am I wrong? Are they really that dangerous? Do a lot of players get hurt from the kickoffs?
John: The NFL's medical department reportedly presented statistics at the league meetings in March that concussions were five times as likely on kickoffs than other plays. So, while people may not remember injuries, the strong belief is kickoffs are far more dangerous. The eye test supports it, too. Players are running at each other at a higher rate of speed on kickoffs than on any other play. When collisions occur, they are violent – and yes, dangerous.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
There's a lot of talk about which of the defensive linemen the Jags will eventually cut because of the cap situation. Personally, I think Marcell Dareus will be the first cut of the group, but what do I know? Anyway, I was wondering what your thoughts are on the possibility of Calais Campbell restructuring his deal after this coming season. He's nearing the end of his career, and if the Jaguars continue on the trajectory they are heading, I could see him giving up a little money in favor of playing out his career on a great team with a chance to get a ring ... he just strikes me as a guy who wants to win more than he wants to get paid. What do you think?
John: I hesitate to get into player-by-player, what-if scenarios for what will happen around the Jaguars after the 2018 season. I do understand the fascination and concern over the topic, but there are just too many moving parts – and too much time remaining before decisions must be made – to provide informed, player-by-player analysis. Restructuring a player's contract sometimes is an option, but it realistically almost always depends on market value. If Campbell's production slips in 2018, perhaps he would be warm to restructuring for less money. But Campbell played much of last season as well as any defensive player in the NFL. If his production doesn't slip, it's a stretch to think he would play for less money. He is a great guy. And he wants to win. But he's also a smart man and smart men know they should get paid what they deserve.
Tank from Mechanicsville, MD:
Hey, Wizard of O: I'm a little confused about the impact of the Wembley purchase. I know … being confused can be … um … confusing. Many NFL owners own many different businesses in addition to their team. I would assume the profitability of those non-NFL businesses certainly enhances the financial ability of the owner to invest in their NFL team, as would profits from ownership of Wembley. My confusion is regarding how owning Wembley directly contributes to the profitability of the Jags' business. Some portion of Wembley profits go directly to the Jags? In what way? Thanks, O-Man.
John: Owning Wembley would help the Jaguars in multiple ways. One is that the Jaguars no longer will have to pay rent when they play in Wembley, something they previously had to do as the home team. They also will be part of a lot of revenue streams such as concessions in games played there, something that wasn't previously the case. Perhaps the biggest way it helps is it assures the Jaguars being able to play in Wembley each season moving forward. The worry was that the Football Association would sell Wembley to an owner less interested in holding American football games there. Had that been the case, the Jaguars' ability to play there would obviously have been in jeopardy.
Frank from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Did the Jaguars bring in Cody Kessler and Tanner Lee because they were afraid of a potential quarterback competition this summer?
John: No, they brought in Kessler and Lee as the reserves because they like Blake Bortles as the starting quarterback. There's no desire for there to be a competition. Not inside the team, anyway.
Edward from Los Angeles, CA:
Is it fair to say that T.J. Yeldon is a little underrated? He's performed well running and catching, as well as in pass protection. I'm not sure why the fanbase seems nervous with him as the No. 2 running back.
John: Yeldon probably is a little undervalued by the fan base. I think if he plays a backup role with a start or two mixed in, he will be fine. Why is the fanbase nervous about this? Maybe because fans fan. It's what they do. When in doubt, remember that. It often explains a lot. And calms the nerves.
Bruce from Jacksonville:
When you are confused it makes me unhappy. I am never confused about why you might be unhappy. But can you explain why Ed is confused and unhappy whilst living in PV?
John: I got confused once, but it was because I mistakenly thought I was living in Ponte Vedra. I was happy for a minute then, too. And then I wasn't. Because I wasn't, you know, really living in Ponte Vedra.
O-Zone: Location, location, location
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Braddock from Jacksonville: