JACKSONVILLE – The countdown continues. One day away.
Players report today. The first practice is at 9:55 a.m. Friday.
Let's get to it . . .
Walter from Jacksonville:
You mentioned the other day Jedd Fisch is building the offense around the roster's strengths. Is this something new as opposed to last year? Do offensive coordinators really just put in a system and hope the players grow into it? If so, why would a team do it that way; it seems like this current approach would be more beneficial.
John: I wouldn't say any offensive coordinators purposely put in an offense and force pieces into it. An offensive coordinator always wants to bring out strengths of players. It's probably more accurate to say that some are inherently more flexible, and that some are more intent on adapting to utilize the strengths of players. When I was in Indianapolis, then-offensive coordinator Tom Moore was very good at getting what he called "the best 11" on the field, and some years that meant playing two tight ends whereas other years it meant going heavy with three wide receivers, a tight end and a running back. I get the idea that Jedd Fisch is going to lean pretty heavily toward the best 11 approach in theory and in practice. Because of the new parts such as Ace Sanders and Denard Robinson – and because of the expanded role that's possible for Marcedes Lewis – that could mean for an intriguing year.
Joey from Jacksonville:
O-Man, I haven't read a column since the draft. The dead zone is dead! Go Jaguars! Duval Til we Die!
John: That's OK, Joey! I haven't showered since Monday. Flies are crowding my neck in a desperate fight for nourishment. Go Joey! Ozone 'til I bathe! Woo-hoo!
Charles from Bangalore, India:
I think most everyone agrees Denard Robinson is an intriguing player who could bring a lot of excitement to the Jags. In regards to his "OW" designation, I was curious if there are any NFL rules in regards to players being assigned to a specific position on the official roster? Or is it just limited to the total number of players on a roster during the season? Also, some have compared Denard to Reggie Bush – do you agree? Any other NFL players, past or present, you might suggest as a similar multi-positional guy?
John: I guess I'm not as hung up on Robinson's "designation" as everyone else, but no, there are no rules about number of players assigned to a specific position. As far as comparisons, there are comparisons to be made to Bush and perhaps Chris Johnson in terms of speed. Robinson's a unique situation in that he is a player with phenomenal speed who, because of his experience in college, doesn't have a clearly defined role. That's what makes this a fascinating situation.
Jared from Downtown O-Town:
I was curious about the rookie salary cap, also known as the "JaMarcus Russell Rule." The scale-appropriate-to-spot selected came as no surprise. What did surprise me was the fifth-year option that first-round selections have in their contracts. The club apparently can exercise the option after the third year, which means a player selected Nos. 1-10 would be paid the average of the Top 10 players at his position. Blaine Gabbert was a No. 10 selection in the first year of the CBA. This makes this, his third year, even bigger in determining his future in Jacksonville, does it not?
John: It is an important year for Gabbert, though it seems doubtful at this stage that the Jaguars would exercise that clause in this situation. Time will tell. This year is big for Gabbert for reasons far beyond the contract, though. He obviously needs to establish himself as a quarterback capable of being a long-term starter and one around which a team can build. I'm pretty confident Gabbert would tell you that earning the job, developing his game and establishing himself at the position is a far bigger priority for now than his contract.
Steve from Jacksonville:
Sorry folks, but enough is enough and too much is too much. It's time for football talk and football-related questions only. The time has passed for the Vacation and Caddyshack references, #ing nonsensical words, comparing Rocket Man to Piano Man, quoting Skynard lyrics and all the rest of the dead-zone silliness. Let's all focus on football again. John... you should have known better, or at the very least the moose out front should have told ya!
John: Absolutely right. #Moodachay. #SkynyrdnotSkynard
Mike from Atlanta, GA:
Real tomato ketchup, Eddie?
John: Nothing but the best, Clark.
Daniel from Johnston, IA:
I've often thought about a hybrid "no-huddle" offense where after every play the team quickly takes formation, and if the quarterback sees an advantage they snap immediately. Otherwise, they would stay there until every second drains off the play clock, and then snap with one or two seconds remaining each down. Do you think this would be effective during the game? It would require extreme discipline for the offense but I would think it would really frustrate defenses?
John: It's the "extreme-discipline" part that at least in part stands in the way of the concept. It means a team having to remain in stance and formation – and therefore focused and at the ready for extended periods of time – throughout the course of the game. Teams have done something close to a version of this, with teams such as the Colts and Patriots in recent years keeping personnel packages on the field and at the ready, then being able to snap the ball if they see the defense in a situation that gives the offense an advantage. Your concept also requires a pretty high level of offensive efficiency, and most teams that are efficient offensively want to run as many plays as possible rather than draining clock. Yes, your idea would probably frustrate defenses, but my guess is the toll it would take on the offense might counteract that advantage.
Cornelius from Jacksonville:
So, I jumped onto my favorite picture sharing app (popularity contest), and to my chagrin (silent satisfaction), found no representation of #Moodachay. Happy to report the issue has been resolved. The "birth" of #Moodachay on Instagram was both royal and nostalgic. Look it up. You'll see. "And the crowd, standing united at the sight of the First Down, let out a grumble that seemed to evolve into a frantic wail. I leaned over to ask what I was now a part of. I didn't need to. The unmistakable look of #Moodachay on their faces let me know where I found myself: home."
Keith from Section 150 and Jacksonville:
O-Man, since the players have to wait four days before the pads can go on, due to a stupid rule, does that mean the players that are injured will have to wait four days from the time they are healthy or can they go straight to pads?
John: Players coming off the Physically Unable to Perform list can begin practicing immediately in whatever capacity the team is practicing at the time. This is a change from previous years, when there was a period in which activated players had to wait before practicing.
Sean from Fleming Island, FL:
Why would the Jags carry three quarterbacks with Denard Robinson on the roster who could fill in if needed?
John: The reason would be you're probably not carrying Robinson with the idea of either having him develop into an eventual full-time contributor at the spot, or as a guy who you want playing a half or more there if there are injuries to the starter and backup. Robinson could take snaps and have a role being behind center in situations, but at this point, it's probably a reach to see him there in the base offense.
Jeff from Orange Park, FL:
John . . . I don't give a darn about Moodachay; besides, I don't even know or care what it means. Just give us cold hard facts, and answers to good questions . . . OK?
John: Questions like this one?
Keith from Palatka, FL:
If we keep a third quarterback, do you think it will be Mike Kafka or Matt Scott?
John: My guess is it would be Matt Scott. Not a knock on Kafka, but you would think the odds are that a third quarterback would be a developmental guy that you felt like you had to keep on the roster to keep from getting signed elsewhere. That's not saying no way the team would keep Kafka as a third guy, but the early projection is that it would be Scott.
Lumpy from Jacksonville:
I didn't like move those chains, but I love moodachay! Let's fix some other chants. I hate when people yell out "Duval!" or "Drewvall!" because I think it makes us sound ignorant and unlearned. Lumpy ain't a fan of that. How can we fix it? Help us Johnny Ozone, you're our only hope.
John: I sort of like, "Duval." Then again, I laugh every time I watch golf and someone yells, "Get in the hole." I can't help it. I find it funny.