JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Frank from Knoxville, TN:
You listed a few undrafted rookies who have been somewhat standing out in organized team activities. Do you see any having a chance to make the roster? I'd hope as we get deeper into the rebuild that the roster would be strong enough for those types of players to have a hard time getting onto the roster. Are we not quite there yet? Do you see the practice squad being much more competitive with the new additions not making the roster pushing out some of the guys left over from last year?
John: First: yes, I absolutely see undrafted players making the roster this year. Second, you used the phrase, "Those types of players" to refer to undrafted rookies. That's not fair to those players and doesn't accurately reflect their abilities. Teams routinely have one or two undrafted players make rosters, and that's true of struggling teams as well as contending teams. Remember, there is very little difference between a player selected in the seventh round of the draft and an undrafted player, and in many cases, teams sign players on whom they had draftable grades. I doubt Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell ever wants to get to a point where undrafted players don't make the roster. You want rookies making your roster. It keeps you young and fast. Finally, on the practice squad, I don't think there's any doubt that area will be more talented this year. That's true of pretty much the entire roster and will be true there, too.
Josh from I Wish I was In Brazil:
World Cup!! Who do you like? Or do you care?
John: O-Zone Junior asked me this same question this week. "Yes, the World Cup!!" I said, excitedly. "Who's playing??" He looked at me with a familiar disgust and we went our separate ways.
Tommy from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
I like how Gus reacts toward a question about another team. He responds with, like, one word. You can really tell his one and only concern is this team. I feel that is not always the case with coaches.
John: I sense you're referring to his reluctant, short answers Thursday regarding the Atlanta Falcons getting chosen to be on Hard Knocks next season. While you are right that Bradley is far more concerned about the Jaguars than other teams, a lot of his reluctance to speak is based on Hard Knocks. Bradley certainly doesn't want to say anything bad about Hard Knocks because there's a pretty decent chance the Jaguars could be featured on the show again, but there's no doubt he's just as happy to not be the featured franchise this year.
Jordan from Little Valley, NY:
I make it a point to watch all of Gus' press conferences. I'm pretty sure I could listen to him talk about how great his lunch was every day for the rest of my life.
John: And perhaps you shall.
Shannon from Brunswick, GA:
With all of the new defensive linemen, where does Abry Jones fit in?
John: Abry Jones is backing up Roy Miller at the Jaguars' nose guard position, and it would be very surprising if he doesn't make the roster. The Jaguars love his versatility. He played pretty much every defensive line position last year, including the "Leo" in run situations. That gives a team significant roster flexibility come game day, and that makes Jones very valuable.
Matthew from Section 218:
Hey John! A spy told me that most of the coaching staff wears cargo shorts to practice. Do you have any idea what type of cargo they carry in all those pockets?
Ray from Jacksonville:
With the changes at the stadium, will the seating capacity remain the same for the Florida-Georgia game and possible college playoff games?
John: The seating capacity will remain the same for Florida-Georgia. That's because the plan calls for 7,000 temporary seats to be placed in the North end zone for that game. Those would prevent cabanas and pools being used for Florida-Georgia, but would enable seating capacity to remain at 85,000. The seating capacity for any college football playoff games has yet to be determined, but could vary depending on whether plans called for temporary seating or the use of the pool decks and cabanas.
Richard from Starke, FL:
Knocking Vito in the head with the mic when he asks the same question twice.
Kenny from Rochester, NY:
I read somewhere that Jameis Winston has a slow release. Do you think that will factor into where he gets drafted and is that something that can be fixed? Is it even true? It doesn't seem to be quick but it also doesn't seem terribly slow.
John: I confess that while I have watched Jameis Winston a few times, I haven't spent much time really studying his release – or talking with NFL types about it. It does to this untrained eye appear to be a little slower than is ideal, enough so that I thought about it while watching the BCS Championship Game in January. If it is indeed that noticeable to NFL scouts it certainly will factor into where he is drafted. Slow releases can be fixed, but as is the case with any fundamental, it's not easy and depends on the diligence and willingness of the player.
Josh from Kokomo, IN:
In your opinion which rookie from last year has improved the most coming into their second year?
John: I wrote recently that I believe the answer to this eventually will be Luke Joeckel, but if you're asking which rookie has shown improvement in this OTA from last year, that's tough. First, we can't report on specifics of many of the team drills from OTAs, and second, the practices are unpadded and very much OTAs. Let's go with Denard Robinson. In the couple of open practices, he has looked improved.
Stephen from St. Augustine, FL:
Hey, O-man … can we get an update on the other quarterbacks as well? Just curious. Bortles was my draft pick from bowl season, by the way.
John: The Jaguars coaches are very pleased with Chad Henne in OTAs, and are very happy he will be the starter entering next season. Bortles had a very good practice Thursday, and Bradley said late in the week the rookie has progressed and shown good poise as OTAs have continued. Ricky Stanzi has drawn praise from Bradley and reportedly appears more comfortable in the offense than a year ago. Stephen Morris has a very strong arm and has shown good things during the open practices.
Shane from Pensacola Beach, FL:
What are the chances of you wearing a helmet with a go pro camera catching passes during practices? Then maybe you will have outperformed your contract.
John: Or sustained significant injury, but sure – go with your idea.
Tommy from Jacksonville:
John, I get it that there is no rush for rookie contracts to be signed. I particularly don't care when they're signed as long as the players hit the field when it counts. You mention that it's the details that need working. Having never seen a professional football contract myself, I wonder what type of details might hold up a contract for a while. Thoughts?
John: Understanding that David Caldwell isn't rushing down the hall yelling, "Here, O-Zone! The contract details!! Isn't this awesome!" rookie contracts can still get hung up on a few things. Timing and size of roster bonuses, workout bonuses, etc., and even details of how much salary a player gets in a given year. They're usually not major anymore, and it's no longer a case of two sides in a standstill. Often it's a matter of agents and teams both having multiple clients and it just taking a while to get someone on each side to sit down and get the thing knocked out.
Peter from St. Johns and Section 242:
Cabanas, Pools, All You Can Drink, All You Can Eat, Bikinis, G-Strings, and Speedos! Why bother with football?
John: Why not have it all?
James from Westside:
This talk of Ace Sanders being "on the bubble" seems to be more hoopla than fact. When I see Ace and hear him talk, I get the feeling he's a perfect fit for Jacksonville. He has high energy, great attitude. A great teammate on and off the field. Fast, athletic, versatile. The list can go on. Isn't that what Bradley wants?
John: Well, sure it's more hoopla than fact. It's the offseason, after all. And to be fair to Florida Times-Union Jaguars beat writer Ryan O'Halloran – who started this little hornet's nest a-buzzin' – he never presented it as fact. He said Sanders could be on the bubble. Based on his knowledge and experience covering the NFL, that's what O'Halloran believes. As for Sanders being a perfect fit … sure he is. He's energetic and has a great approach. He still has to produce on the field, but in terms of approach, he's ideal.
Somber Fan from Atlantic Beach:
How does Blake Bortles look?
John: With his eyes.
O-Zone: Looking good
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Frank from Knoxville, TN: