JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
John from Jacksonville:
With some great defensive talent – but with some of that talent not yet having any NFL experience – my expectations are that we'll see a better Jaguars defense next season with some plays making us go "wow" and them putting together a few "wow" games. These "wow" moments will allow us to have confidence of a very bright future for this team. However, the goal of a shutdown defense will take a season or two. The offense? Well, it has been a while since I've not worried much about moving the chains rather effectively.
John: I agree that the Jaguars' defense will be improved, and I also agree that by the end of the 2016 season it could – and should – look like a unit with a very bright future. But no … I do not expect a shutdown defense yet – and I think such an expectation is unrealistic. As for the offense, I suppose I see it a bit differently than some fans. I believe it has a bright future and I believe it will be good in 2016. I'm curious to see how good it will be and how efficient it will be. The offense improved a lot in 2015 and showed an ability to make explosive plays. That was fine, but it also had a tendency to have some long droughts of real ineffectiveness. Reducing those long droughts, improving third-down efficiency, improving as a running team … all of those feel tied together, and how the Jaguars fare in those areas could determine how the team fares as a whole.
Eric from Somewhere on Earth:
Do you still collect sports cards?
John: No. I still have nearly all of the sports cards I collected from 1972 or so through about, say, 2001 or 2002. If I had to guesstimate, I'd guess I had between 20,000 or 25,000 – and that's probably low. I have no real inclination to part ways with the collection, but I also haven't actively collected or been into the hobby in about 15 years.
Andrew from Sampson, FL:
You have generally covered what happens at this time of year for the players. From May 18 on what specifically goes on daily? How much time do players work out? How much time is devoted to general film study? How much time if any do position groups get together? I ask because you have commented about certain players working exclusively at one position and I didn't think that could be done under newest CBA. Thanks for the continuing education.
John: The schedule varies a bit, but generally speaking players can meet with coaches for about an hour a day four days a week, can be on the field for about the same amount of time and can strengthen and condition for about the same amount of time. There are on-field coaching sessions during which players can get reps at their specific positions. The on-field work is individual and instructional for now, with 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 non-padded, non-contact work permitted beginning next week.
David from Broward County, FL:
O-Man, with all the positive things happening with the Jags this offseason and draft, and all the talk of great improvement, I'm thinking something different. Last year, the Patriots KNEW they were going to destroy the Jags. They knew they would have their way with them, just maybe didn't know the final score. This year and going forward, no team will think this with the Jags on their schedule. That's not to say they won't have some bad losses, they will. But no team will look at the Jags the way the Pats did last year. Never again! Good things are on the horizon for the Jags. #DTWD
John: I have no idea how all 31 teams will perceive the Jaguars, and who knows? It's possible some team indeed in coming seasons will feel the Jaguars are an easy mark. I believe the roster is at the point where the Jaguars will prove such a team wrong far more often than not because … yeah, it looks the roster has improved enough to make that the case.
Brian from Gainesville, FL:
Big O, over four seasons J.J. Watt has 69 sacks. Watt is shaping up to be an all-time best, but is there any chance – in your learned opinion – that Dante Fowler, Jr. will be a big-time sacks guy? He was respectable in college, but his skill set there was more about keeping constant pressure on opposing quarterbacks. I know sacks are not be-all-end-all, but they are a lot of fun.
John: Sacks indeed are fun, and I believe Fowler will be able to generate his fair share. I anticipate he may be very much how you describe him at Florida: as a player who's suddenness, strength and athleticism constantly pressures quarterbacks. Will that translate to sacks often enough for Fowler to be a double-digit sacks guy? Who knows, but if he's impacting the quarterback, forcing shorter throws, forcing rushed throws and making the quarterback think about him before and during plays … well, that's the job.
Jim from Columbia:
What exactly is our defensive scheme?
John: There's no "exact" defensive scheme in the sense of having a cool name and being really easy to define in 140 characters. Guess what? Most teams don't have "exact defensive schemes" in the sense of their coaches or organization officials saying, "We Run a 4-3 Calgary Slobbernockers' defense." The Jaguars essentially run a 4-3 defensive scheme with some 3-4 traits that is similar to the defense run by the Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons in the sense that it employs a strong-side defensive end on early downs and emphasizes stopping the run on those downs. It's also similar for its emphasis on a Leo pass-rushing hybrid end/linebacker at the other end; that player's job is to provide pass-rushing pressure from the weak side of the defense. They also emphasize physical, press coverage with a safety in the box and a free safety playing a lot of single-high defense over the top. That's a relatively accurate description, though I expect the Jaguars to feature more wrinkles and different looks than they did the past three seasons.
Steve from Chris-De-Berg, NC:
High draft pick or not, assuming hamstrings and knees behave themselves and good health holds across the receiving corps, how does Marqise Lee realistically "make his mark" this year? If the "Allens" are healthy they're obviously out there on passing downs. I like to think of Rashad Greene in the slot. Is it possible/likely that Allen Hurns drops to the slot to give Lee's speed a shot up the field? Don't get me wrong: it would be a fantastic problem to have, but isn't it possible that there'll be an "only-so-many-balls-to-go-around" problem for Lee to REALLY break out? I'm overthinking this, aren't I?
John: You're not overthinking it at all; this is actually an important task facing Jaguars offensive coordinator Greg Olson this offseason. Lee indeed needs to be on the field, and because he is far more of an outside receiver than a slot, getting him on the field entails putting him outside and moving Hurns or Robinson. I don't expect Robinson to be moving, but I do expect the Jaguars to have packages with Hurns in the slot and Lee on the outside. How much the Jaguars will use those packages will be determined by how effective they are in those packages. And don't you dare pay the ferryman. In fact, don't even fix a price. Not until, of course, he gets you to the other side.
Tim from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Eleven Leos? Come on John, not everybody is as knowledgeable about football as you. Even though your answer was amusing and gave me a chuckle, don't alienate those fans who aren't as football savvy.
John: As long as you laughed, Tim, that's all that counts. It's what I live for.
Scott from Jacksonville:
All the talk is Joeckel and Beachman competing for the left-tackle spot and the loser going to guard. Why wouldn't the loser go to right tackle? Parnell didn't grade out to be that good that Joeckel or Beachman couldn't be better on the right side. Then Parnell could become the swing tackle.
John: That's not going to happen, and that's true whatever happens on the left side with Luke Joeckel, Kelvin Beachum and this Beachman fellow.
KC from Jacksonville:
Am I the only one who has a "Show-Me-Something" mindset on this year's team? I see people saying the Jags will compete in the division and for playoffs. They've done nothing to merit discussion like that; winning the offseason means little to nothing. History tells us that historically the team that does is mediocre at best (e.g. the Miami Dolphins, seemingly every year). I for one, will wait until they hit the eight-win threshold before I start even discussing improvement, and I'd be willing to bet my next year's salary that come Christmas we won't be discussing playoffs. We'll be discussing misplaced expectations.
John: Do you hate Santa and puppies, too?
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
John from Jacksonville: