JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …
Spazman from Jacksonville
Regarding comparing the best college teams to pro teams, there is a real model that can be applied: the former College All-Star Game, which was held annually at Soldier Field in Chicago and which was last held in 1976. The College All-Stars defeated the previous season's NFL champion in 25 percent of those exhibitions. So perhaps it is fair to assume that even in this modern era, a college team of elite players may do better than 0-16 as you suggest?
I am well aware of the College All-Star game, and I am aware the college all-star teams won many of those games over the years. I am also aware that the NFL team won the last 12 matchups in the series. Would a team of the best college players in a particular draft have a chance to win a game or two in an NFL season? Perhaps. Would the best team in college football – say, Alabama or Clemson – beat the worst NFL team even once? No. Remember: Even on the best college teams there are multiple starters who don’t make NFL rosters. There also is a mammoth difference in size and strength between 24-to-30-year-old men playing in the NFL and 19-22-year-olds playing in college. Anyone who has stood on an NFL sideline and a college sideline has heard the difference in the speed and violence of the two sports – and they are in a very real sense different sports. The difference in size, strength and experience – particularly along the offensive and defensive lines – is significant enough that the NFL team would win. And it essentially would name the score.
Johnny from Jacksonville
There are lots of questions and discussions (among fans at least) about the Jags using a 3-4 defense. But, do we really have the personnel for that? The essence of a 3-4 is the defensive tackle’s abilities to hold the point of attack, while the linebackers penetrate. ... I love our defense, but is a 3-4 *really* going to happen, and be effective? #DTWD
I doubt you’ll see the Jaguars go to a straight 3-4 base defense and I expect them to remain in a 4-3 scheme in many base situations. When they do go to a 3-4 in base, it will look as it did when they used it early against Miami last Thursday: Calais Campbell at end with two tackles also down, and Yannick Ngakoue and Josh Allen on the edges. Remember, too: Most NFL defenses these days have elements of both 3-4 and 4-3 schemes, and teams are only in base defenses about 30 percent of the time. They play the other 70 percent in their nickel. The Jaguars plan to use Campbell, Ngakoue and Allen along with defensive tackle Marcell Dareus extensively a lot in their nickel schemes this season. That should be an effective front no matter what scheme they use as their base defense.
American Pharoah from Louisville, KY
John: I am not sure my arms are bigger than Josh Allen's.
Nick from Annapolis, MD
Is it reasonable to think that Chris Conley will be the Jaguars’ leading receiver? Dede Westbrook is getting higher projections, but I see Conley having a big impact. What's your opinion based on what we have seen in training camp?
Conley likely will have a big impact on the Jaguars’ offensively. I absolutely could see him leading the team in yards per reception and big plays because my sense is new quarterback Nick Foles is going to trust him as a deep receiver. But I expect Westbrook will lead the Jaguars in most receiving categories because he’s likely to get the most opportunities on intermediate and short routes. Foles apparently trusts him there, and I expect that to be a major part of the Jaguars’ offensive approach this season.
Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL
While I hope the entire team stays healthy, if Foles were injured, what would be the more likely scenario: Gardner Minshew II starts, Alex McGough moves up to the active roster, and another quarterback is signed to the practice squad? Or the Jaguars bring in a veteran quarterback?
I would guess in your scenario Minshew would start with a veteran quarterback brought in as a backup – and that McGough would remain on the practice squad. I’m assuming in this scenario that Minshew is the backup entering the regular season, something I believe will be the case but is not necessarily a guarantee.
Brandon from Jacksonville
John, love reading about Dawuane Smoot seemingly turning the corner. There were a lot of doubters and I can't help to notice the similarities between his situation and Taven Bryan’s. Granted: one is an early third-round selection and the other is a late first-round selection (is it that big of a difference?) but it takes some a little while longer to "figure it out." Here's hoping you're writing the same thing about Taven as Smoot either later this year or next offseason.
This isn’t out of the question.
Bryan from Tampa, FL
Mr. Zone, is there a timeline on Josh Oliver's return to health? I am really looking forward to seeing him in extended game action. Is there a new Jaguar you are most looking forward to seeing play a regular season game?
The hope was that rookie tight end Josh Oliver would return from his hamstring injury in time for Week 1. The Jaguars get tighter with injury information as the regular season approaches, so any guesstimate on Oliver’s return is just that – a guesstimate. Oliver wasn’t among several players returning from injury this week, so it seems unlikely he would return for the opener. We’ll see. As far as the new Jaguars player I’m looking forward to seeing … let’s go with linebacker Quincy Williams. I have an idea how a lot of new players will play based on their preseason performance. I have no idea how Williams will fare in the NFL because he has yet to take a preseason snap, but Jaguars officials and coaches believe he will excel. Stay tuned.
Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL
The roster will get thinner by 36 players Saturday. I do wish well those players that have to empty out their locker. Of the 36, how many do you think are really borderline versus the ones that you already know they will not be part of the 53 elite?
Two or three.
Jason from St. Augustine, FL
Offensive line is so important to keeping the defense fresh, running game going and quarterback protected. Why do offensive line players optimally play the whole game when defensive line is a rotation? Wouldn't rest and subbing help? Is this merely an issue of league-wide lack of depth?
Teams typically play offensive linemen the entire game because continuity and cohesion are important blocking for both the run and the pass. Communication between the five offensive lineman is critical. Teams rotate defensive linemen because rushing the passer and chasing the ball is far more taxing physically on a play-by-play basis than pass-blocking, so there is incentive to rotate defensive linemen to keep them fresh.
Nicholas from Mogadishu, Somalia
When a player retires, what legal recourse do teams have in recouping the player’s signing bonus? If a player plays for 20 percent of their contract, are they allowed to keep 20 percent of the signing bonus and then work out the remaining 80 percent with the team? If the team chooses not to recoup the money, does the signing bonus still get spread out over the time frame of the original contract or does the money count against the current financial year? With Colts quarterback Andrew Luck retiring, is it possible the Colts would be over the salary cap if they have to count the signing bonus to this year's cap number? On a separate note, when is the 53-man roster deadline?
Teams can try to recoup the signing bonus. When they do, it works as you suggest – if a player has played 20 percent of his contract, he keeps 20 percent of the bonus and could be obligated to pay back the remaining 80 percent. As was the case with the Colts’ approach to Luck, teams also have the option of not trying to recoup the bonus. In that case, the signing bonus is treated as if the player was released; the bonus rolls up into the current year unless the team chooses to treat the release as a “June 1” release and allocate part of it to the following season. The Colts won’t be over the cap because of Luck, who will count $18.4 million on the cap this season. On your other note, teams must trim their roster to 53 by Saturday at 4 p.m.
Damian from Outer Space
If Minshew scores a touchdown against the Falcons will you wear a headband on the next video you are in?
I can be talked into things.