JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Ben from Cuba, MO
O'. It was suggested recently that if Walker Little wins the right tackle job, Jawaan Taylor may slide to left guard and might actually be suited better for that position anyway. So, in your wise opinion would it behoove the coaches to try and make the determination on right tackle more quickly than they might normally make the decision to give Taylor a shot showing his abilities at left guard, if Little is going to win the right tackle spot in the end? Having a position battle with quality players is a good thing and we haven't had that sort of quandary in far too long around here.
I expect the Jaguars to give both Taylor and Little a legitimate opportunity to win the right tackle position, with the decision coming when coaches have seen enough to be comfortable they are starting the right player. And you're correct that there haven't been enough quality position battles around the Jaguars in a while. That's not surprising. When you're 1-15 and 3-14, it's difficult to find good players at every position, let alone two.
Don from Marshall, NC
Do these young players get any training on working with the press? It makes people very uncomfortable to be interviewed. They will say things they did not intend. It would seem they all need to practice because one slipup will cost you. It's almost impossible to be honest all the time. I don't blame the players one bit for not wanting to talk to the press. It's part of the game, but it can be brutal. Collectively, I would like to see the area press make it easier and not harder on our guys, but I realize they have a job to do. Go Jaguars!
Yes, NFL players receive media training – and many have received some level of training before arriving in the NFL. NFL teams also have media relations departments whose job – in part – is to assist in this area. Some departments are good. Some are not. But all teams have them. But I've been in/around sports media since 1988, with all but 10 of those years in Jacksonville. The area media here isn't particularly hard on Jaguars players or the organization. I have sensed during my career here very few media members "out to get" players or asking questions to put them in a difficult spot.
Richard from Jacksonville
John, Decisions in life can be tough. Sometimes all people want to hear is that it's the right thing. Reassurance is the driving force behind many letters to this column. Was it the right pick? Is he heading in the right direction? Is he going to make the roster? The more difficult the decision the more the angst. In football there is a fair amount of hit and miss. Metrics and intangibles are just that and can never replace the game experience. What I have learned in life, though the stress may be the same, when the decision is personal rarely are mistakes made. And that brings me a certain amount of peace when facing uncertain times. I have full trust in everyone within the Jaguars is doing the right thing right now.
Richard is "all in."
Riley from Tallahassee, FL
There has been such a large demand for alternate uniforms to be announced. What is your opinion on the matter? Do you think alternate uniforms have an impact on player's performance/attitude on game day, or is it largely just to appease fans?
Alternate uniforms are fine. Throwback uniforms are fine. Current uniforms are fine. Hell, I thought the Color Rush Gold uniforms were cool. As long as I can read the numbers and names – and as long as one team wears a dark jersey and the other wears a light jersey – I'm fine. No, I do not believe alternate uniform has any meaningful impact on a player's performance/attitude and I don't believe alternate uniforms change games' outcomes. I don't think alternate uniforms "appease" fans, but I do know a lot of fans like them, and I know the league and teams like them. Alternate uniforms generate revenue. Teams and leagues love that.
JT from Palm Coast, FL
I am starting to get the same early preseason feeling, John. Damn Jags getting me excited for another season again. This excitement feels different, though. No way I am alone in that right?
You are not alone.
Joe from Jax
Are head coaches inducted to the HOF the same way players are, for a specific team? I get the hype about seeing Tom Coughlin in the HOF, and not to shortchange what he did with/for the Jags, but I feel like he'll get into the Hall for what he did with the Giants more than anything.
Neither players nor coaches – nor anyone else, for that matter – enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame for specific teams. That's a phenomenon exclusive to baseball, where players are enshrined "with" a certain team because they have a cap on their plaque. Pro Football Hall of Famers have busts with no helmets, so no such hard association is needed. As for Coughlin's Hall candidacy … yes, his two Super Bowl victories with the New York Giants are what makes him likely to be enshrined at some point. But two AFC Championship Game appearances and four playoff appearances with the Jaguars make him the most successful expansion head coach in NFL history. That will help his cause, too, and it's a significant reason he should be enshrined.
Chris from Roseville, CA
No. And stop.
Charles from Savannah, GA
Now that the Bears are moving out of Soldier Field, there is chatter that the next tenant could be the Jaguars. Please tell me, "No, that won't happen."
This "chatter" is essentially a few writers for websites writing "theories" that have nothing to do with reality. I've never heard of the websites, and I darned sure don't know the writers. But no … that won't happen.
Michael from Franklin, IN
Do you think Jake Luton or Kyle Sloter have a chance to challenge C.J. Beathard for the backup quarterback position? Or are they just camp arms and potential practice squad players? I liked what I saw from Sloter in USFL highlights when we signed him.
I expect Beathard to be the backup.
Sascha from Cologne, Germany
Hey, John. Not the top storyline between all the positive impressions, but it seems the Jags have a kicker problem again. What do you think?
The Jaguars on Friday waived rookie free-agent Andrew Mevis and signed Elliott Fry, with the former missing three of four field goals in practice this past Thursday. Fry now will compete with Ryan Santoso. The Jaguars' two kickers are inexperienced, with Fry having appeared in three NFL games and Santoso having appeared in seven. That level of experience makes it fair to say the Jaguars have a kicking question. If neither Santoso nor Fry perform well in the coming weeks, then yeah … that would be a problem.
Sam from Orlando, FL
Andrew Mevis was cut. Last year's regime may have promoted him to QB1. I am kidding. At least, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have done that. Would they?
I admit I laughed at this. Maybe it was fatigue. And I'm not proud that I laughed. But I did laugh.
Richard from Duval
With Boselli about to get his golden jacket, it had me thinking about some of his games. While Fred Taylor was a beast, I can't help but think about how Boselli played in the run game. We all have talked about his pass blocking skills, but let's not forget his impact opening up running lanes. I remember him getting up field and blocking defenders at the second level. The motor Boselli had when healthy is undeniable.
Former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli was as good an all-around player ever to play the position. He was great as a pass blocker. He was great as a run-blocker. He was great as a leader. He was nasty. He worked hard. He cared. He was great in every way. It's why he will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in six days.
Sanford from Jacksonville
Saw your entry concerning July 4, 1976, when you stopped getting better. I flashed back 46 years to the Bicentennial cruise I made for the U.S. Navy on the USS Saratoga. (Then docked at Mayport). It was an experience. They turned us loose on the French riviera. For July Fourth. Topless beaches, casinos. Red clay tennis courts. (My favorite.) It was a little downhill from there.
Unlike yourself, things weren't going particularly great for me before the bicentennial, either.
Jonathan from Jax
It's always amusing to me when people brag about their FSU education. I always tell them, "You didn't have to spend $80,000 to work at Chili's. You can skip the middleman and just work for Chili's."
It's important to be nice. Sometimes. That's not nice.