JACKSONVILLE – Players-report Thursday. The offseason is behind us.
Let's get to it … Daniel from Jersey City, NJ:
Maybe it's just me, but if you or I make a mistake that negatively impacts our business (the team), we lose our job and learn from our mistake. If we are lucky, another team gives us another chance. The bar is set so low with athletes it almost begs them to make mistakes because the consequences are so low. I hope Ace Sanders learns and recovers from his mistake, but at the end of the day the team should hold him responsible because the team and fans will suffer and that's not okay.
John: First, you're right: it's not OK. And no doubt I have received several emails with similar sentiments, just as I receive emails with similar sentiments whenever a player makes news for off-field incidents. It's understandable that people feel this way, but the stance you take neglects one critical fact: the NFL is not a normal business and players do not operate by the same rules as "normal" employees at "normal" businesses. On one level, an argument can be made this is not "fair" and that the world would be a better, easier-to-digest place were players treated as "normal" people. But this is not an issue of fair. It's an issue of reality and the reality is that the NFL is a talent, performance-driven business. If you possess a talent that can make a team better – and that "normal" people do not have – then you're going to be treated differently. If a team believes a player can help it win, the player is going to be treated differently. Think of NFL players as you would entertainers – say, actors or musicians. So long as actors or musicians entertain, they get second- and third chances. Athletes don't get as many anymore but they get them. Is that just because they have talent? Absolutely? Is it fair? It doesn't matter.
Al from Orange Park, FL:
Don't be so down on yourself John. We all love you. Not in spite of your flaws, but because of them.
John: I'm a lot more lovable than is ideal.
Mike from Jacksonville:
I am beyond frustrated. I would like to see a zero-tolerance policy on drugs in the NFL; you get busted and you're done. They are robbing the fans that have bought season tickets. They are robbing the teams that have used draft picks on them and have paid them very well. And no, I don't feel sorry for them. I do understand addictions. But they know right from wrong at a very young age. I knew from a young age that drinking ran in the family so I stayed away from it and no problems.
John: Your frustration is shared by many, and it's good for you that you have avoided problems. Not everyone does. But you won't see a zero-tolerance policy. No one wants it: owners, players or coaches. And I suspect few fans want it, either. It's frustrating, yes, but there's really not much to be gained by running players out of the league after one offense. I think most people would consider that pretty extreme.
Charlie from Hollywood, CA:
Hey John, with Ace Sanders being suspended for four games, does he count against the 53-man roster for the first four?
Ed from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
I hate to see Ace Sanders maybe suspended. He was exciting to watch. Who of the rookie wide receivers besides Marqise Lee do you see stepping up?
John: Allen Robinson. I have a good feeling about his talent and his approach. I've had good feelings before. We'll see what comes of this one.
Dave from Atlantic:
I feel ya, John. They say memory is the second thing to go; I forget what the first is.
John: I left a small carton of milk in my desk drawer Monday.
Bryce from Algona, IA:
I think it would be more reasonable to expect the Jags to avoid double-digits losses rather than attain double-digit wins this year. Temper expectations people. I SAID TEMPER! Thank you.
John: Well, sure, your thought is more reasonable. The Jaguars went 4-12 last year and weren't competitive in half of their games. And while they have made strides, they are still very much early in the building process. So, is it more reasonable to expect seven victories than it is to expect 10? Of course. But this is not the time for reason. These are heady, giddy days just before training camp. That's the time for unreasonable hope and expectations. And that's OK. It's something with which teams must deal. The Jaguars should be improved, and over time this season, that improvement should be noticeable. That's the primary focus whether it meets expectations or not.
John from Jacksonville:
It's very exciting to know that Carrie Underwood is performing here in Jacksonville to celebrate the new Planet Earth boards. She has a lot going on with the NFL this season including her being the feature singer on the Sunday Night Football opening shows and the opening act for this year's Super Bowl. Might as well have her start the excitement this season here with us this weekend! What a perfect pick by the organization!
John: It is indeed a perfect fit, and it should be a memorable night. Information is available here.
James from the Westside:
There seems to be growing concern in the O-Zone – and for myself – that we may lose Coach Fisch to another team if we have a moderate to successful season. Is there any measure the Jags' organization can take to prevent him being taken for at least a couple more years? There's nothing worse than an offense having to adjust to a new playbook every two years.
John: Not really. If Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch is offered a job as a head coach he likely would take it and a team can't block a coach from accepting a head coaching position. But let's step back from this: offensive coordinators leave teams all the time to take head coaching positions. It might happen, and if it does it's a good problem because it means the Jaguars were successful. It's really not something about which to lose sleep, and there's not much that can be done about it, anyway.
Jordan from Jacksonville:
Starting July 30, how long will the full padded practices be?
John: About two hours and 15 minutes.
Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL:
At 39 years, all is my fault.
John: I'm starting to see that.
Tim from Jacksonville :
Do you know if Maurice Jones Drew skipped OTAs this year and worked out on his own? I was just curious since that always made him seem somewhat detached from the Jaguars. I wonder how the Raiders would look at this.
John: Jones-Drew participated in the Raiders' offseason. It would have been unusual had he not because he's a running back who needed to learn the team's offense and he's in his first year with a new team. But while I get that Jones-Drew's approach of not participating in OTAs may have created a public perception that he was detached, that's a case in which perception was different from reality. Jones-Drew performed at a very high level for six seasons for the Jaguars, and during that time he rarely attended OTAs. He had the ability do to that, and with the exception of the year he held out – 2012 – I never got the feeling that his absence caused much of an issue.
Patrick from Jacksonville:
"Rookies, first-year players and quarterbacks may report three days before that, but the rest of the team may not." How do you designate first-year players? What Jags fall into that category?
John: I actually should have said "isn't required to report," because veterans can be around before that; teams just can't start training camp practices yet. To answer your question, a first-year player is a player who has been with a team but hasn't accrued enough game action to be a second-year veteran. A player who spent a rookie season on the practice squad would fall into that category, as would a player who played less than six games as a rookie and therefore didn't accrue a full season. Defensive tackle Jordan Miller, wide receivers Lamaar Thomas and Chad Bumphis and tight end Brandon Barden fall into this category.
Andrew from Panama City Beach, FL:
This "Tebow" that Hunter mentioned as a goal-line runner … has there ever been any talk about bringing him here?
John: Not that I know of.
Thrill from Section 236:
As the dead zone is winding down, I figure this is my last chance to get an answer. What's the deal with the trash cans by the curb?
John: This story involves 2013 Jaguars Training Camp, and Florida Times-Union columnist Fene Drenette's masterinh of Twitter as a means of commcatng with fans. Oh, forget it: just click here and try to enjoy is it in all of its glory.