JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Brooks from Fleming Island, FL:
Some people writing in have indicated feeling insulted or belittled by the statement that Jacksonville is lucky to have an NFL team. But the fact of the matter is Jacksonville (or should I say Duval!!!) is extraordinarily lucky to have the Jags — and there's nothing insulting or shameful about it. I vividly recall my parents and others talking about how unlikely it would be for Jacksonville's franchise bid to be accepted in 1993. To everyone's surprise, the NFL awarded my eight year-old self (and the rest of Jacksonville) with our own NFL team. Neither I nor anyone else did anything to "deserve" being awarded an NFL franchise (Wayne Weaver & Co. excluded), but now we should do everything in our power to ensure that Duval continues to "deserve" an NFL team for many, many (hopefully winning) seasons to come. #DTWD
John: Good points. Very good points. Jacksonville was fortunate in the mid-1990s to land an NFL franchise. A lot of work by a lot of smart, talented people went into it, but the city was still fortunate that a few breaks in the expansion process went its way. But in a sense, no city anywhere inherently "deserves" to have an NFL team. A fan base must continually earn the team by its support in the same way a team must earn the fan base's support by its actions on and off the field. So yes, in that sense, #DTWD. Absolutely. Positively. No doubt.
Freddy T from Jacksonville:
Who was the best running back the Jags have ever had?
Ruffin from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Regarding the "small-market" question, it usually refers to the size of the television market as identified by the number of TV households. Jacksonville is 50th in the US, just ahead of Buffalo and New Orleans and well ahead of Green Bay.
John: Yeah, I'm not sure how this became anything close to confusing or debatable. Jacksonville by any measure is one of the smallest markets in the NFL. That's a fact, and it's also a fact that the franchise seeks creative ways to succeed in that market. Neither fact is changing any time soon.
Dave from Jacksonville:
Hey John! My colleague expects the Jags to get to 8-8 this year. I said, "No way" (although it would be great) and promised to take him and a bunch of work folks out for an extravagant, all-expenses paid bacchanalia if they do get to .500. Was this a wise deal? Should I start saving my pennies now?
John: I think you and your wallet have a real chance to be very, very nervous come December.
Trevor from Jacksonville:
Speaking of the Wisniewski-Bowanko-Beadles-Cann competition, do any one of those players have that "nasty" characteristic that seems to be prized in offensive linemen? After all, anger is an energy.
John: Nastiness isn't a prerequisite to be a great – or even a good – offensive lineman. Still, I'd say all four of the players you mention have a certain degree of nastiness, though my early impressions are perhaps Wisniewski and Cann are the leaders in the clubhouse with a nod to Bowanko. And may the road rise with you.
William from Section 123:
I'm not sure how I feel about the new Gatorade commercial where JJ Watt crushes Maurice Jones-Drew. No such thing as bad publicity?
John: I guess. This is sort of a "whatever" topic for me, but if you're struggling, keep digging within. And good luck with your journey of self-discovery.
Mike from Jacksonville:
Hey John, You are clearly much more intelligent than me. So I am humbly asking for you to shed some light on why it is we decided to sign another wide receiver free agent (Jenkins) …. isn't this an area where we already have a lot of depth and competition? Why not sign a defensive tackle, defensive end or linebacker? These seem to be areas with less competition. What are your thoughts, oh wise and powerful O-man?
John: I get a lot of questions like this each offseason, people asking why the Jaguars signed a certain player instead of another certain player at a certain position. The answer regarding Greg Jenkins is the same as the answer in most of these cases. They thought at this moment signing Jenkins would help the roster more than signing any other available players.
Nathan from Bradenton, FL:
You ever get tired of talking people off the ledge?
Doug from Jacksonville:
I suppose this has been exhausted but plenty of people have voiced their vitriol for the Jag fans who said they would rather see Aaron Rodgers once at EverBank Field than see, say, Philip Rivers for the fourth time. I want to see Rodgers lose. I want to see Rodgers throw four picks and get sacked four times. I don't want to get in a contest to help him get dressed, but I want to see a Hall of Famer in my hometown stadium. I was never a San Francisco Giants fan but I'm glad I saw Barry Bonds hit a home run. I was never a Seattle Mariners fan but I'm glad I saw Ken Griffey Jr. play. I was never a Colts fan – quite the opposite – but I'm glad I got to see Peyton Manning play. Watching him walk off the field with his head down after Josh Scobee hit that field goal to beat them is one of my favorite Manning moments, not any TD he threw.
John: These are all valid points, and your feelings aren't without merit. I guess I try to keep it in perspective that the London initiative – while not perfect for season-ticket holders in Jacksonville – is key to keeping this franchise healthy. I also know that NFL fans survived and enjoyed games for decades before the current rotating schedule when there was no guarantee that every team would play in every NFL stadium during a 16-year period. This won't help make people happy, but it's how it is.
Bill from Iselin, NJ:
Allow me to attempt to put this London thing to rest. It is a simple case of economics. The one game in London provides more revenue than the one game in Jacksonville. As the popularity continues to grow in London, the revenue will also grow exponentially. This includes tickets, merchandise, advertising, TV, internet, etc. The quicker fans realize this is about economics and not trying to ruin their lives, the quicker they will get over it and enjoy life.
John: You're pretty spot on, though experience tells me to doubt your email will have quite the overarching effect you hope.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
I view the London games the same way I view the Cowboys and Lions playing on Thanksgiving. It's a novelty and in time we may look forward to seeing our comrades in London on television.
John: That's a good, healthy way to view it.
Troy from York, PA:
O-man, I've been watching this whole thing going down about the Patriots and Tom Brady and I've came to the conclusion that the NFL plays favorites. If it would have of been any other team or any other quarterback they would've decided on how long the suspension is and they wouldn't have even thought about reducing anything. What do you think of the matter?
John: I think the NFL is in a difficult position any time it disciplines a popular player because it always is going to be accused of either playing favorites or being too rough on that player. The NFL has reduced suspensions after appeals before and it may do so again in the Brady case. If it does, there's no doubt there will be outcry, but that would be the case if the quarterback in question was named Peyton, Eli or Aaron, too.
Kyle from Clearwater, FL:
John, I told the reporters about how the Jags didn't even want you, but that Shadrick wouldn't come without you. "A League of Their Own" is a good one.
John: I got Shadrick on the train. He got himself in the league. Somehow.
Tim from St. Petersburg, FL:
John: Your answer to Bill about Gabbert needing more playing time ties directly into why the NFL needs a developmental league. Without the USFL or NFL Europe we never would have Kurt Warner, Doug Flutie, Bobby Hebert and, of course, Jim Kelly and Steve Young. What say ye?
John: I say you're sorta right, though Warner developed as much or more in the Arena League than he did in NFL Europe. Also, the USFL wasn't a developmental league; it was a rival league – and I think Steve Young and Jim Kelly might have been sorta, kinda OK entering the NFL directly. Still, there is an argument for a developmental league; the argument against is cost – and to a lesser degree, interest – and so far the arguments against have won out.
BCB Batman from Duvall:
Every day I pace my house, scratch my neck, and randomly scream at people. How do I get the "almost-the-season" jitters to calm down? HELP Dr. O!
John: I'm afraid that's not the almost-the-season jitters. Not in your case.
O-Zone: Nervous energy
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Brooks from Fleming Island, FL: