JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it... Steve from Nashville, TN:
Why would the Broncos not reach out for a veteran center such as Brad Meester for a seventh-round pick? Or are they waiting for the camp casualties that will happen late in August?
John: I don't know why the Broncos behave as they do, primarily because I don't cover the Broncos. I do know they signed veteran center/guard Ryan Lilja on Wednesday, which makes sense because he played with Peyton Manning with the Colts. But more pertinent to this site, Meester didn't return for an 14th NFL season to play for the Broncos; he returned to play for the Jaguars, where he has played his entire career. And the Jaguars didn't sign Meester to trade him. They signed him so he could be a veteran presence on a young line with a young group of quarterbacks.
Michael from Jackson de Ville:
In response to my earlier question regarding Chad Henne lining up as a receiver in the Wildcat, what benefit does this provide? Wouldn't it be more beneficial to have Robinson line up to take the direct snap with the quarterback on the sideline, and another potential receiver lined up instead of a quarterback? Please help me understand.
John: That's a very legitimate question, because logically you're right – having Henne split wide means a wide receiver is not split wide. The reason Henne is involved is because what you do with the Wildcat is move into it once your normal personnel is on the field. This makes it more difficult for the defense to adjust because there is no time to substitute.
Bill from Jacksonville:
Hypothetical question, John: You can start Blaine Gabbert this year and earn the No. 3 overall pick in 2014 or start Chad Henne and earn the No. 7 overall pick. Neither quarterback proves to be the future of this team. Who do you start? Go Jags!
John: Bill! Whaddup!!? Your scenario assumes that neither Henne nor Gabbert will be the future and I assume that you're assuming that the Jaguars want the earlier draft pick. In your scenario, in which you believe that this is a lost season, then of course you start Gabbert and earn the No. 3 overall selection. The Jaguars aren't thinking this way, of course, but that's the answer to your hypothetical.
Sage from Orlando, FL:
Here to stay? Moodachay, GO AWAY.
John: Hey! No way!
Michael from St. Maarten, Netherlands, Antillies:
Where does Jeremy Mincey figure into this new "hybrid-Leo" defense? He does not seem to be the lengthy 3-4 Leo type, nor the massive DE/DT that would play opposite or inside of the LEO. Could he be an odd-man out, seeing as how he just signed that big contract? I would definitely miss him – LOTS OF HEART!
John: Interesting question. On paper, an argument could be made the Mincey would be an odd-man out because of the reasons you cite. He indeed doesn't fit either end position perfectly. At the same time, the Jaguars right now have one proven pass rusher on one side (Jason Babin), one player who is a fit on the other side (Tyson Alualu) and a lot of unknowns. Mincey is a proven veteran who, as you say, gives maximum effort. That's the sort of player who can find a way to fit even when it might initially seem he doesn't.
Brian from Melbourne, FL:
How does Andre Branch look so far in camp? I think he may be a key to our pass rush if he lives up to his second-round potential.
John: Branch would be key, and he indeed needs to live up to that potential. The pads went on Wednesday and there is expected to be more live work today. I would call the coming weeks crucial for Branch's development.
Jeff from Section 142:
With Maurice Jones-Drew coming back from injury and Robinson unproven in his role, how many running backs do you think the Jags will keep? I've heard good things about Forsett, but how are Jonathan Grimes and the other RBs doing? If this year is anything like last year, they'll see the field.
John: The nature of the NFL is that depth typically sees the field, and running back is no exception. The coaches like Forsett, and his quickness is impressive. A player to watch is third-team running back Jordan Todman. He shows up and seems to stand out every practice, and in no way seems overwhelmed by his circumstance. He is strong and has good quickness. As much as a third-team back can show before the preseason games begin, he has shown.
Matt from State College, PA:
At this point we all think that Shorts is going to be really good. But what are the other players saying, particularly the cornerbacks who are trying to cover him? Do they see the elite player potential that we're predicting?
John: I haven't talked to the Jaguars' corners specifically about Cecil Shorts III, though it's a story I plan to work on as the season draws nearer. It's safe to say the consensus among players is that Shorts will be good and he has a chance to be elite. Players know when another player is nearing that status, and they particularly know when a guy has worked to achieve it. Such a player earns respect quickly, and Shorts has that.
Old Man Periwinkle from Encino, CA:
The helmets still look bad. Also, get off my lawn.
John: I disagree on the helmets. As far as your lawn, hey, do something about it, yo.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
At this point in his career we know what Chad Henne is capable of. My concern right now is Blaine Gabbert has not been able to pull away in the competition. I don't think I have unrealistic expectations for Gabbert, but if he is going to be a franchise player, he should be able to distance himself from a career "OK" quarterback going into his third NFL season, regardless of how many coaches, coordinators and systems he's had to deal with. At this point, I think the evidence is pointing to the fact that he will have a career similar to Henne's.
John: I wouldn't base an enormous amount on the first few days of camp, though you certainly have a right to be skeptical about Gabbert developing into a franchise player. So far in two seasons, he has not done that, and when that's the case, people are going to doubt. My point all along this offseason has been that Gabbert will be in a better situation this season than he has been in previously in his career. Logically, that should mean he has a chance to play better and begin to grow. I never have thought it particularly realistic that Gabbert would step on the field on the first day of camp and suddenly remind people of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. It won't be an overnight thing that way. But do we need to see improvement and signs of him taking control of the position. Yes, that needs to happen.
Sean from O'Connell:
I took a look at Gus Bradley's numbers while defensive coordinator at Seattle. In 2009, Seattle's defense had an average points per game of 24.4 (25th in the league), in 2010 it was 25.4 (25th), in 2011 it was 19.7 (7th), and in 2012 it was 15.3 (1st). I long for the days when the Jags had a Top 5 defense, and I think Gus is the guy to bring a dominant defense back to Jacksonville, we just have to give him a few years. #Nomoodachay.
John: It's indeed important to remember that Bradley will need some time to shape the defense as he wants. It took time in Seattle, and when the Seahawks had personnel that fit, Bradley indeed got remarkable play from the unit. It's impossible to nail down an exact timetable, but it will take time to get the personnel that fits.
Rodger from Dade City:
Johnny O, you need to ask coach Bradley to give you a few snaps under center
John: You have that reversed.
John from Section 132:
I am aware that this may be a stupid question, but in my visiting the training camp for a few days, I noticed that the practice fields are pretty heavily raised in the middle of the field. Is this for draining purposes? I just notice a few ankle sprains and wonder if that has anything to do with it. I know it didn't affect Gabbert's sprain, but it may have on some other players. My stupid question is in there somewhere. Again, no expert.
John: There are no stupid questions; just stupid senior writers. Yes, the crowns in the middle of the fields are for drainage purposes. I'm not doctor, although I did stay at a Motel 6 during my last vacation, but it's pretty safe to say there's not a connection with the ankle sprains. Just about every NFL and/or major college field I've seen in the last 20 years is pretty similarly crowned.
Gary from Jacksonville:
More of a comment than a question. I watched the Jags today video clip and am wondering what it is that looks as though it is hanging on the chimney decoration behind you. Mrs. Claus's bra or some fat guy's underwear?
John: Who says it can't be both?
O-Zone: Multitasking, sort of . . .
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it... Steve from Nashville, TN: