JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
JR from The Squatchlands
O-man, it seems the Jaguars picked up several rookies with some big-time health-related question marks, both drafted and undrafted. How common is this in the NFL to roll the dice on a player with recent serious injuries? Is this more common because COVID-19 created some unusual circumstances? Is it just an aggressive approach from a new regime? Please, enlighten us.
Players with health issues routinely get selected in the NFL Draft. Where they get selected depends on the quality of player and on the team's doctors' comfort level with the injury. I suppose the approach this year was a little aggressive on the part of the Jaguars, because they selected left tackle Walker Little in Round 2 and safety Andre Cisco in Round 3. Both had torn anterior cruciate ligaments in college. But there's no reason a player with a torn ACL can't return to his previous level. This is not the career-ending injury it was, say, 25 years ago. This is especially true for young players. Little will be two years removed from his injury in September. Cisco's was last season, so he may not be 100 percent immediately. But in the long term, there's every chance both will be 100 percent with few – if any – aftereffects. The Jaguars also signed linebacker Dylan Moses, whose knee injury at Alabama reportedly was very serious and hampered him this past season. There's little risk in signing a collegiate free agent who has been injured. If it works, great. If not, he had his chance and you move on.
Jaginator from (formerly of) Section 124
It's a little tiring when fans repeatedly contend that NFL teams don't honor contracts. Teams don't break their contracts. Teams negotiate deals with players that include non-guaranteed years on the back end. Those years are, essentially, team-held option years. When a team has an option on a player, and chooses not to exercise that option, that doesn't constitute a team "breaking" a contract or failing to honor the deal.
Correct. The idea of teams needing to honor contracts is a narrative of those who don't understand how the NFL's contract system works – and there indeed are many who cover and participate in the NFL who seem to fit this category. But players should understand this. If they don't, their agents haven't adequately explained it. This is not to say this system is ideal. Or that it couldn't be improved. But this is the system, and the players know the guarantees are on the front end. It's why media reports guaranteed money on the front end when discussing contracts and largely ignores the back end of many contracts.
Howard from Homestead, FL
Has Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer ever heard of the law of unintended consequences?
I don't know, but I do know he has won a lot of football games.
Any insight into what we can expect from the rookie minicamp?
Not much. The Jaguars' rookie minicamp is running from Friday through Sunday. Media will attend from 12:45-1:45 p.m. Saturday. This is a smaller camp than a usual rookie minicamp because the Jaguars signed and drafted a total of 15 rookies – and because few players other than that will participate, with the NFL severely limiting "tryout players" from participating this year. There will be limited "team-like" work, so this will be what a rookie minicamp should be: an orientation and a chance to get players familiar with how the Jaguars operate. There won't be much real evaluation. There's time for that later.
Sascha from Cologne, Germany
Hey John, why is media so upset with the Tim Tebow signing and robbing young guys a chance and so on? I don't get it. The owner has the right to give chances to whoever he wants, he is the one paying the bill. And why this anger in the media? If he makes the team, he has earned it. Any thoughts?
Only that you're right.
Chris from Mandarin
The Cincinnati Bengals played on Monday Night Football last season, as well as had the usual one NFL Network Thursday game ... so no, I would say there's still some Jaguars bias going on with the schedule makers. If you look back at the previous No. 1-picking teams, they mostly receive more than one primetime game as well.
The Jaguars play in a small market and have had one winning non-losing season since 2010. I guess you can call it Jaguars bias, but it's how it is – and not surprising considering the circumstances. The league's broadcasting partners pay a lot of money to the NFL; in return, they want what they consider compelling matchups. The Jaguars aren't there yet. But it will happen, and it has happened before. The Jaguars were on national television a lot in the 1990s. They were good and had exciting, star players. If they get good and have exciting, star players again, they again will be on national television a lot.
Matty from Saint Augustine, FL
You said, "The Jaguars will not go 7-9 in 2021." You hit the proverbial nail on the head. I guess someone didn't get the 17-game memo. I still think we click early, and our vets step up to show the rooks how to get stuff done! I am hopping on the 9-8 horse and riding all the way to Walmart!!
Matty is "all in."
Hugo from ABQ, NM
O, the defensive line still has some holes in it to shore up the run defense. Do you think the Jags are going to make another move to bring in talent or does the signing of Tebow also fill this hole?
Tebow won't play defensive line for the Jaguars. They traded for former New Orleans Saints nose tackle Malcom Brown, and they signed Roy Robertson-Harris from the Chicago Bears as an unrestricted free agent in March. They also selected defensive tackle Jay Tufele in Round 4 of the 2021 NFL Draft. Those moves made sense considering what else the Jaguars needed to do in free agency, and considering what was available in the draft. It appears on paper the line will be improved against the run. I expect it won't be quite where Meyer wants it next season because it can take time to get into the top quarter of the NFL from where the Jaguars were last season, but I expect it will move in the right direction.
G-Dawg from Waycross, GA
Chill out, people!! Things could be worse. I hear Green Bay is signing Blake Bortles.
Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC
I also would not expect the team to go from 1-15 last season to "exceptional" this season. But would going 9-8 or even 10-7 truly be exceptional? After all, while rare, the Indianapolis Colts did go from 2-14 before drafting Andrew Luck go 11-5 in his rookie year (I googled this). Were there other circumstances that played into that - perhaps related to coaching, injuries, or even just luck (pun not intended)? We had a bunch of injuries and opt-outs last year! We've got a new coach who has created a professional atmosphere not seen in a long time. What's to stop us from winning 11 games this year, or even more? Sure. that may be optimistic, but any worse than at least 7-10 would feel awfully disappointing.
Improving by eight or nine victories is exceptional. While it has happened, it is rare. That's not to say it's not doable, but it is rare.
Stu from Vancouver, Canada
With the moves on the defensive line in offseason, we haven't heard about DaVon Hamilton who looked to be progressing late on in the 2020 season. Given his Ohio State connections do you see him being a big part of the lineup next season?
His Ohio State connections won't have much to do with whether Hamilton contributes. What will matter is his ability to disrupt and occupy blockers. The Jaguars believe Hamilton can contribute in that role on the interior along with Tufele and Brown.
Scott from Daytona Beach, FL
Can we please move on from all the Tebow questions?
Readers ask questions. I answer. That's the deal. Always has been. Presumably always will be.
Jim from Jax
Could it be that all the hoopla surrounding Tim Tebow is good in that it takes the spotlight some off Trevor and gives him a chance to breathe a little?
I suppose the Tebow issue is deflecting attention from Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, but the reality is Lawrence was the No. 1 selection in the 2021 NFL Draft and there's going to be attention. As there should be. If the Jaguars didn't believe he could handle attention, he wouldn't have been selected there. And if he couldn't handle attention, he wouldn't have excelled in a constant spotlight while at Clemson. I wouldn't worry about Lawrence's ability to breathe, though. He's prepared for this. He'll breathe fine.
Teebow from Tebow
Teeebow...::Tebow. Tebow Tebow Tebow...:teeeeewwwbow teebow Tebow......teebow? Teebow Tebow Tebow teeeeebow. .....Tebow