JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Brad from Section 115:
Johnny-O, why do you think Gus Bradley's high-energy and optimistic style fails to resonate with so many fans? When I have conversations with people criticizing his coaching style it always comes down to some version of, "He is too nice" or "He needs to yell and scream to be effective." Thoughts?
John: Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley's style isn't resonating with some fans right now because the Jaguars are 12-36 in Bradley's three seasons, and people are quick to assume that record is all because of Bradley. They overlook circumstance and the talent level of the team, particularly in the first two seasons. Most people perhaps don't know exactly why they blame Bradley, and the easiest thing to point to with Bradley is a perception that he's nice and that he doesn't yell and scream. That's the image people see, and that's Bradley's public persona. I can tell you that while Bradley is on the whole a very nice person – and very professional – he is not always smiling, not always nice and he sometimes indeed … yells!!! I also can tell you that while players love playing for Bradley they see more sides and a more complex version than the public sees. Whatever the players see, know this: There's no such thing as a coach who's "too nice" and there's no reason a coach must yell and scream to be effective. As for when Bradley's style with resonate with fans, that will happen when the Jaguars begin winning. It's awfully hard to be a popular head coach until that happens.
Joe from Jacksonville:
Out of curiosity, since Dante Fowler Jr. has yet to play a down of meaningful football, can he be placed in consideration for Rookie of the Year for the upcoming 2016 season?
John: No. He will be a second-year veteran next season.
Tucker from New York:
One, Jalen Ramsey leads the NFL in interceptions. Two, Myles Jack leads the NFL in tackles. Three, Dante Fowler Jr. leads the NFL in sacks. Which is most likely in 2016 and why?
John: The real answer is none of the above, because all three of these players can be good without accomplishing those "goals" and because being a leader in any of those categories is a tough ask for a player yet to play in the NFL. But the idea of this column is to answer, so if I must … let's say Ramsey. While he didn't get many interceptions in college, it stands to reason that he will be tested as a rookie. That should mean opportunities, and the guess here is Ramsey will be athletic enough to improve his interceptions total at the NFL level.
Donta from Pensacola, FL:
Who has the best chance at rookie of the year? Jalen Ramsey or Myles Jack?
Chad from EverBank:
The quality of the backup quarterback has come into serious question over the past several seasons. Do you think their level of play is so horrific that unless the crop of quarterbacks from the last few drafts pan out the NFL is in question of being able to present watchable games, or do you think the level of play is perceived inferior because we are comparing them to the game-changers like Manning, Brady, Rodgers, etc.? If the quality has deteriorated, what do you think its cause is? Are the quarterbacks just not as smart/quick/leaders as they were in the past?
John: The quality of backups isn't significantly worse or better now than in past eras, and there always has been a significant drop-off between front-line, elite quarterbacks and backups. There are only so many people in the world who play the position at a high level and it's the most important position on the field. That's why finding one is so important.
Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL:
Prior to last season, and the season before, and the season before that, it was easy even for ordinary mortals like me to look at our roster and identify glaring needs. So now I'm looking again, and our glaring needs for 2016 are...... ummm..... So John, are we down to fine-tuning the depth chart?
John: The Jaguars are getting closer to that point, though they're not there yet. What the Jaguars are now is a team that doesn't seem to have gaping holes. There appears at every position to be a player who is a legitimate NFL starter or who in time will be a legitimate NFL starter. I've said before and I'll say again: I don't expect the Jaguars' talent to be the overriding issue in 2016 as much as the development, maturity and cohesion of that talent.
David from Oviedo, FL:
O-man, I notice that when Jag fans start getting "hot and heavy" with the playoff talk, you are quick to douse their excitement with a cold shower. Why can't you just let us dream that we might get lucky, instead of blocking that expectation?
John: People ask me what my expectations are for this team and I tell them. I believe this team is building the right way and has a chance to be much-improved. I think that it has a chance to make the playoffs this season whereas in the past three seasons I believed the playoffs were a long, long shot. As far as me dousing people's dreams, I don't have any dreams left. Why should anyone else?
Robert from Middleburg, FL:
Do you believe the Oklahoma Drill is necessary? It's great to be in "shape," but it's better to be in football "shape." Is it even possible to know how good a lineman is until the one-on-one hitting takes place? One-on-one always turned me into the "Hulk."
John: I do not believe the Oklahoma Drill is necessary in the NFL, nor do I believe it is a particularly good idea at this level.
Max from Wycoff, NJ:
Do you think there is a good chance Mackenzy Bernadeau will start at left guard?
John: No. I think there is a good chance Jermey Parnell, A.J. Cann, Brandon Linder and Luke Joeckel/Kelvin Beachum will be the starting line in some capacity. Anyone not in that group in my opinion has a "less good" chance than those five.
Preston from Oakville, CT:
O-Man, the national media is starting to notice the team we are building and it seems other players/teams are as well. If this team turns into a perennial playoff team down the road, do you think other owners and general managers will show more patience in their rebuild, or will they consider the Jags the exception in that case?
John: General managers without question will notice – and most general managers know in their hearts that David Caldwell's approach with this rebuild is the ideal one. By "ideal" I mean focusing on the draft and placing an emphasis on allowing young players time to develop. While the Jaguars have participated heavily in free agency the last two offseasons, draft and develop remains the heart of the building approach. Generally speaking, the patience issue during a rebuild stems from the owner. Does he understand the time needed to draft and develop? Does he believe in it? Can he withstand impatience from fans? Is he impatient himself? As long as the answer to one or more of those questions is "no," it will be difficult to mimic the Jaguars' approach even if it's wildly successful.
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
Come on, O-man. I get the cliché that every week is the most important game at that moment. Seriously, how important is the Green Bay game in the overall 2016 season in establishing/measuring this team's progress? This will be a quality opponent and will tell a great deal about our team. I am curious if this game has a little more weight to it because of that.
John: The Green Bay game is important, but if the Jaguars lose to the Packers and reel off three consecutive victories, was it a measuring stick – or just a season-opening loss? If they beat the Packers and lose the next three games, how important was the victory? Yes, the Packers game will be deemed very important throughout the offseason, but its real importance will be in the context of the rest of the regular season – just like pretty much every NFL game.
Andy from Saint Johns, FL:
"Golfing with Tony" sweepstakes? You do know the Jaguars are trying to attract new fans, not scare them away! How about "Bar-Hopping Night with O-Zone and J.P."? Now that is a way to attract new fans!
John: I can't speak for the O-Zone/J.P. idea, but I admit when I saw the Golfing with Tony idea my first thought was … well, I'd rather not say.
Goose from Belden:
TPC with Tony? I thought sweepstakes meant you won something. This sounds more like a Guinness attempt to see how many times someone can be interrupted at a golf tournament to talk about left tackles.
John: I really have nothing to add.
O-Zone: No winner in this one
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Brad from Section 115: