JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Rob from Brunswick, GA:
There are lots of posts on Facebook groups and general chatter about us bringing in basically any decent wide receiver that gets cut: Jeremy Maclin, Victor Cruz, etc. I personally think that's absurd, considering wide receiver is easily our most talented and deepest position – even last year, but especially now with Dede Westbrook on board. What is the position where you feel we could or perhaps should still make a move in free agency for the right player?
John: Indeed … 'tis the NFL offseason and the NFL offseason 'tis the time for chatter. But I don't know that the Jaguars' Facebook chatter – or any other Jaguars chatter, for that matter – is limited to wide receiver. Whenever a player with the slightest name recognition is released this time of year, chatter is pretty much off the charts. Could the Jaguars use a big-time, experienced, reliable veteran receiver? Sure, if he's playing at a high level. Are teams going to release, big-time, experienced, reliable high-level players in June? Or ever? That's a different question. As for the strengths of the Jaguars' various positions, I'm not as sold as you on wide receiver being "easily" the most-talented group. The Jaguars have potential and some proven production there, but not much more than at, say, secondary and defensive line. Where could the Jaguars make a move in free agency for the right player? I suppose they could do it anywhere for depth, though I would be surprised if anyone signed now makes a huge splash at any position.
Robert from Fleming Island, FL:
Coach Marrone's press conferences have shown me someone who is "comfortable in his own shoes:" introspective, honest, and demanding while holding everyone to be fully accountable as professionals. What's your take on how well our team will react to that approach?
John: I have said often in this forum I believe Jaguars players will respond to Head Coach Doug Marrone's approach because there's no reason they wouldn't respond. He is a new head coach and therefore a new voice; players – people in general, actually – typically respond to a new voice. He also as you noted brings an honest, demanding approach and seems to treat players like professionals and adults. Players tend to respond to that. Remember, though: players responded to former head coach Gus Bradley for quite a while and players generally speaking respond to most NFL head coaches for at least some time. Teams must perform on the field and win for players to continue responding to coaches. Belief and response only lasts so long in the face of losing.
Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
I think we need to fire Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone and hire that guy I talked to in the grocery store. Man, that guy had all the answers. He is a janitor right now but he has a very high ceiling. Impressive dude who has a scooter and soon with his promotion he can buy a car. He really has all the answers. He knows a heck of a lot more about football than soon to be Hall-of-Famer Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone. I think his name Billy or Bob or maybe it was Billybob. Just let me know before some NFL team snatches him up. He played soccer in high school so he gets it.
John: His name was William. He knows his stuff.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
If the Music City Miracle had not happened and the Jaguars played someone other than the Titans in the 2000 AFC championship game, do you think they would have played in Super Bowl XXXIV? How do you think the 1999 Jaguars would have fared against the Rams and the Greatest Show on Turf?
John: The Buffalo Bills lost to the Tennessee Titans in the game known as the Music City MiracIe, and the Bills would have played Indianapolis the following week for a spot in the AFC Championship Game against the Jaguars. Bills-Colts would have been played at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, so I suppose the Colts would have had the edge. I do think the Jaguars would have beaten the Colts in that matchup, mainly because I think the Jaguars matched up well against most of the AFC that season – with the Titans being an obvious exception. As far as the Jaguars against the eventual Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams, I would have given the edge to the Rams because of exceptional speed and explosiveness on offense. But would the Jaguars have had a real chance? Obviously. Could they have won? Absolutely.
Larry from Brunswick, GA:
Hello John, is there any possibility that Jacksonville will make a move to prior to summer camp to bring in another quarterback or center?
John: Is there any possibility? Sure. Is it likely? No.
Rob from Orange Park, FL:
Not sure how much access you have to the locker room, but what is your sense of the locker room's "feel" (attitude, morale, confidence, etc.) compared to the last several years. Mostly wondering how the coaching changes have affected the culture. Thanks!
John: In more than two decades covering the NFL I've come to find the "culture" of teams most offseasons is similar: hope reigns supreme. That hope is usually accompanied for weak teams by a confidence of improvement and for stronger teams for postseason appearances and Super Bowl contention. The Jaguars' past two offseasons had a terrific culture, positive attitude, wealth of confidence, etc., etc, etc. That overall forward-moving, good feeling under Bradley really only waned last season when it became evident during a long losing slide that what they originally believed would work wouldn't. The culture, confidence and morale again appear positive. The players seem to have responded to Marrone's approach and there's a general belief that the roster is strong enough to compete and win games. They are saying the right things about Marrone's approach and I sense they mean what they say. Does that mean the Jaguars will win? That's another question entirely.
Gabe from Washington, DC:
If Dante Fowler Jr. does not ever beat out Yannick Ngakoue for the starting weak-side defensive end spot, how likely do you think it is that the Jaguars sign him to a second contract to play a different position (in a couple years)?
John: Not very.
Justin from Hampton, VA:
Colin Kaepernick is still unsigned. The Jags should really consider bringing him in to compete with Blake Bortles. It's proven with a supporting cast and tough defense that Kaepernick can lead a team to the Super Bowl, let alone the playoffs. People are scared to sign him because of the negative attention. I really would like for us to be the team to say "this guy didn't commit a crime;" let's bring him in to compete! I know our defense and offensive weapons would appreciate it; some fans will not, but it's about putting your team in the best position to win! Even Pete Carroll believes he is still a starter in the NFL. How do you feel about the possibility?
John: I don't believe the Jaguars not signing Kaepernick is an off-field issue, though I don't doubt there would be fall-out and negative reaction. I do believe it's a lot more about not believing he's an upgrade over what's already here.
Brandon from Washington, DC:
I just want it to be known – and maybe it's an uncommon position to take – but I really like what the Jaguars are doing with their offensive line. To me, it seems like they are building from the inside out with young talent at the guard and center positions (Linder, Tyler Shatley, A.J. Cann, etc.) with some veteran leadership on the outside at the tackle spots via (Jeremy Parnell/Albert). Got a feeling next year the Jags are going to draft some young tackles to develop into future starters.
John: I think the Jaguars drafted their future left tackle in Cam Robinson this year.
Glen from Orange Park, FL:
John, what is the difference in skill sets for an outside receiver and a slot receiver? Is the difference large enough that the three best receivers may not be the most productive on the field at the same time? In four wide-receiver sets do we typically have two slot wide receivers or three outside?
John: This can differ from team to team depending on the skill sets of a team's receivers. A team ideally would have two outside receivers with speed, length and great hands with a slot receiver who was quick, strong and durable enough to take the punishment necessary as inside receiver. The Jaguars ideally last season would have had some combination of Allen Hurns, Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee outside with Rashad Greene in the slot; instead, it worked out that Hurns, Robinson and Lee played most of the repetitions with Hurns moving inside to the slot when all three were playing at the same time.
Scott from Jacksonville:
I think you just got called Ophelia, and I was wondering how you felt about that?
John: It's whatever.
O-Zone: No worries
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Rob from Brunswick, GA: