JACKSONVILLE – Look Ahead Wednesday. No more Cincinnati talk. I miss it already, don't you?
Let's get to it … Steve from Atlanta, GA:
Hi, John. What is the chance Luke Joeckel gets cut if he doesn't show something much better than Sunday? It is common sense that Beachum if healthy is the left tackle. Logically, Luke can't be the starting left guard for a team with high aspirations and play like that. It was a very bad job and I genuinely felt bad for the kid watching him being dominated on national television play after play like that. Anyway, if he isn't a starter, why keep him? It may be time to move on. Or am I OVERREACTING?
John: Luke Joeckel was named the Jaguars' starting left guard Tuesday, and that announcement wasn't made for show – and there are no clarifiers to the announcement. Joeckel's the starting left guard because aside from a couple of plays, he played well there – and because overall he has shown signs of being good at the position. Those few bad plays have been glaring and have looked very bad, but the Jaguars aren't making their decisions based on those plays. The belief in Joeckel at guard within the organization is very strong. Now, as for your capitalized question: Are you OVERREACTING? A little, because although Joeckel did struggle at times at left guard Sunday, he wasn't as atrocious "play after play" as many observers opined. One of the really bad plays came when he tripped on the foot of Brandon Linder. I believe Joeckel will be a clear upgrade over Zane Beadles (last season's starter at left guard) this season – and even if he wasn't starting at guard, he would still be on the team. Bottom line? Joeckel's not getting released. No way, no how.
Steve from Greenville, DE:
I miss my Video O-Zones in the worst way. Please bring them back ...
John: Patience, Steve … patience.
Nimrod from Toronto, Ontario:
Hey John, do you think the Jags will be going for two points after touchdowns more often this year? Thanks, and keep being you …. that sexy you!
John: No, I don't think the Jaguars will go for two this season much more than past seasons – and I don't think you'll see two-point conversions up all that much around the NFL. Even with the increased length on point-after kicks, I think coaches still believe an extra point is a safe enough kick that it is better to kick than go for two points. I sense that may be changing, but I don't know that it has completely changed yet. As for the last part … no problem. It's what I do.
C.C. from Duval:
Cyp is awful. He's still taking poor angles, commits pass interference while in coverage (and is always seemingly lost on calls pre-snap) and he's weak at the point of contact (he's always going backwards). He's either trucked, being ran through or ran by because of poor angles. He looks the part but hardly plays like a capable starter. Do we look elsewhere for roster cuts before the season starts – or are we in for another year of liability from the strong-safety position?
John: Your assessment of Cyprien's play is a bit extreme. He's not a Pro Bowl guy, but he is a capable starter – and he has shown improvement this preseason playing alongside free safety Tashaun Gipson. He certainly hasn't played poorly enough that you're going find an upgrade on the waiver wire. Whatever your opinion of Cyprien … yes, I think he'll be the starting strong safety this season.
Chelsea from St. Nicholas:
When do we stop being a young team?
John: The Jaguars will stop being a young team when they're not dependent on rookies and young players to be the reason for their success/failure. They're closer to that than they were last year, but by any measure they're still a young team. They're particularly a young team when compared to teams with veteran, experienced cores – i.e., teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals.
Rob from Section 122:
I know it's possible that some players released on the final cut down will be re-signed to either the 53 or practice squad. But is it safe to say those cut from the 75 are more likely not to be back?
John: It's safe to say players released in the moves to 75 are more likely not to be re-signed to the practice squad or active roster than players released in the final cut down, but it's not unheard of for a player or two released at that time to re-sign to the practice squad.
Matt from Orlando, FL:
Considering the solid performances of Jalen Ramsey, Davon House, and Prince Amukamara it seems Aaron Colvin may not even be guaranteed a pseudo-starting role as a nickelback like many believed. Do you think the Jags would ever consider giving him time at the free-safety spot? I know we have Gibson but with Nick Marshall and Dwayne Gratz it seems backup free safety could be a need. Would Colvin's skills as an inside corner even translate to free safety?
John: I wouldn't rule out Colvin playing safety at some point in his NFL career. He has the skill set. However, I don't see that happening this season unless injuries ransack the secondary. One reason is Colvin will be suspended for the first four games of the regular season, so there's not much time to learn the position. Another reason is the Jaguars like Peyton Thompson at free safety. But the biggest reason is Colvin is a good corner. He will play this season and remember: players get hurt in the NFL. It's OK to have good players who don't start. It's actually a situation for which teams strive.
Charlie from Jacksonville:
Have you noticed that fans overreact more the better this team gets? Do you suppose it has to do with expectations? Or does bellyaching just feel good to some people?
John: I haven't noticed much of a difference in the degree to which people overreact.
John from Jacksonville:
I don't care much about preseason except that we make it to Game 1 without any key injuries. We are pretty healthy with our starters, which is great. I don't have any worries about this season's roster being ready to go for Game 1. It's going to be a fun season to watch. Go Jags!
Rey from Laredo, TX:
I think we need to see how the team comes out Week 1 against the Packers before suggesting this season is a lost cause. If the team can defeat the Packers, nobody will remember this game. Now, if they can actually win Week 1 is the unknown. But I for one will reserve judgment until I see the team play Week 1. Hope is not lost.
John: I have no idea if the Jaguars will beat Green Bay Week 1. I think they have a better chance than many fans who are panicking in the wake of the Preseason Week 3 loss to Cincinnati believe, and I think they will play far better against Green Bay than they did in the first half against Cincinnati. But whatever happens in the opener, the season will not be a success or failure that evening. NFL seasons are decided over the course of four long, attrition-filled months, not one Sunday afternoon.
Ryan from Chapel Hill, NC:
Blake Bortles has had a tendency to hold the ball too long/roll into pressure leading to sacks that aren't necessarily fully the offensive line's fault. It was tough to see this on display the first two weeks because the line was playing well, but it's encouraging to see Bortles not take a sack/throw a dumb interception on a bad day for the line.
John: This is looking back more at Cincinnati than we usually allow on Look Ahead Wednesday, but it makes a good point that is often overlooked. Yes, Bortles has in the past at times held the ball and rolled into pressure – and that at times has made the line look worse than it actually played. It's an area he needs to improve – and I expect that pocket awareness to improve as he matures. It has improved a great deal already, so there's no reason to think that improvement won't continue.
Laval from Jacksonville:
Cliff from Summit, NJ:
Hey O, with the talk about Jalen Ramsey being cornerback or safety - why do you think the Jaguars decided to go with cornerback? Does it have more to do with the personnel we have at other positions, how they see Jalen's skillset, or Bradley's scheme?
John: A small part of the reason Ramsey is playing cornerback was the Jaguars had signed Gipson as a free safety when they drafted Gipson – and playing Ramsey at cornerback gets your best players on the field. A bigger part of the reason is that Ramsey has the skillset to be an elite-level cornerback.
Ralph from Jacksonville:
What we also learned from the Jags-Bengals game: Fans put too much emphasis on a bad (or good) preseason game in deciding what the regular season will look like. Fans gonna fan!
John: Thanks. I forgot to include that one.