JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … DUVAL DOOM from Section 217:
Your answer about waiting until August 1 to begin preparing shocked me. I have felt for some time it was unusually short-sighted of the owners to give in on all the practice time rules in the last Collective Bargaining Agreement as to me the quality of the game has really suffered since that time. I liked what Tony Boselli suggested this past Monday on 1010XL: EVERYONE reports on April 1 and begins working. Limit the on-field stuff if you must, but everyone is in the building, being coached and working out. Allow on-field practice at the current OTA schedule, but longer sessions. Then, break and come back for camp as normal. It's a job. Go to work.
John: I'm sorry you're shocked. Shock can be … well, shocking. But while I tend to agree that the quality of the play in the NFL has dipped a touch since the 2011 CBA, I attribute that more to reduced contact in practice – fewer "real practices," if you will – than to anything that goes on in the offseason. I don't mind Boselli's suggestion, but it's not dramatically different than what occurs now. His system I guess would have players reporting April 1 rather than mid-April – and I also guess attendance would be mandatory for all players. Most players report for the voluntary offseason sessions anyway. So, in the Jaguars' world of 2017, the player most affected by Boselli's theoretical changes would be Branden Albert because he has yet to report. The biggest thing that could help the quality of play would be more hitting in practice – and more contact practices overall. Still, I don't see the league moving back toward that – or even toward more or longer practices – anytime soon. That doesn't seem to be an area on which the NFL Players Association will want to budge.
Geoff from Jacksonville:
I don't know how I feel about having two Brandons on the O-line. I don't think that's ever worked before.
John: Then I suppose it's a good thing the Jaguars have a Brandon and a Branden.
CC from Duval:
People are really down on Dante Fowler Jr. because of a four-sack season, but they forget he was coming off of an injury that takes a full year after surgery to get back to their comfort way of playing. They also forget players such as J.J. Watt and Vic Beasley had four sacks their first year also; Beasley followed that with 15 sacks in his second season and we all know what Watt has done. Give Fowler a chance to adapt to the NFL and become fully healthy before we start throwing words like "bust" around. DTWD!
John: While I agree that Fowler can't yet be called a bust, the stories of Watt and Beasley don't automatically mean Fowler will go from a four-sack player last season to double digits. Being a year removed from a torn anterior cruciate ligament doesn't guarantee that. The need for him to develop pass-rushing fundamentals is real, and he must do so to reach his potential.
Ben from Northside of Jax:
What are the minicamp dates/times and will they be open to the public?
John: June 13-15. No.
Mark from Jacksonville:
Hi John, I just saw a stat that Blake Bortles has only thrown five touchdowns when the Jags were winning. Do you think this has more to do with the play calling getting more conservative when the Jags are winning or an indication that Bortles only can score in "garbage" time? I found the stat very interesting.
John: I think that statistic mostly has to do with the fact that the Jaguars haven't been ahead very much in the last few years. It's difficult to throw touchdown passes with a lead when you rarely have leads.
Logan from Wichita, KS:
So, I have a what-if question. IF the Jaguars had won the Super Bowl in 1999, how do you think that would have changed where the Jaguars are now? I feel if we won the Super Bowl, the Jags' first-round pick in 2000 would have not been R.J. Soward (the signal of the start of the end of the Jaguars being great). We would have gone linebacker or taken Dennis Northcutt (the clearly better receiver available at the end of Round 1). In that case, we also pay less and could afford to keep our defense solid, and I think we would have built a dynasty on the shoulders of Mark Brunell and Fred Taylor.
John: I doubt a Super Bowl victory following the 1999 season would have changed what was to come for the Jaguars. First, I don't know that it would have prevented then-Jaguars Head Coach Tom Coughlin from wanting the speed/quickness element he felt Soward would bring; more likely, facing the St. Louis Rams in that Super Bowl would have made him want it more. Second, the end of the Jaguars' initial run of success actually was brought about by the decline of an offensive line that lost both Leon Searcy and Tony Boselli in a brief period as well as the obvious effect of losing players such as Seth Payne, Gary Walker, Keenan McCardell and so on as salary-cap constraints began to fully take hold. If the Jaguars had won that Super Bowl, the change would have been a four-year run remembered by a lot more people as it should be remembered – as a remarkable early run of success for an expansion franchise and as a remarkably talented, entertaining team. It wouldn't have done much beyond that.
David from Orlando, FL:
Hey O-man, we're entering the rainy season. We can't afford to lose practice time. When will the indoor facilities be ready?
John: The Jaguars haven't missed any practice time during 2017 OTAs; they instead have moved practice from 11 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. The indoor facility is expected to be ready around mid-summer.
Daniel from Urbandale, IA:
The preseason is a bit like that first HR interview. It won't get you the job but it can cost you the job. Agree?
Jesse from Layton:
As I was listening to Poz's recent talk with the media after the eighth OTA practice, the thought occurred to me: After he is done with football, if Poz wanted to pursue a coaching career he could be phenomenal. He seems to have a very good cerebral grasp on the game and articulates thoughts very well. Has he ever expressed a desire to coach after his playing days are done?
John: It seems to me I have asked Paul Posluszny about this in the past, and it seems he has said he's not sure that's a direction he wants to pursue. I agree with you that I think he would be a very good coach. At the same time, he indeed is articulate, intelligent and willing to work tirelessly. Those are traits that could lead to success in any number of pursuits.
Samwise from Shire:
With Barry Church and Tashaun Gipson out, do you know if James Sample has gotten more reps? I know he is just in pajamas, but how does he look?
John: Offseason media policies prevent us from saying too much about repetitions and other practice details, but the absence of Church and Gipson has given all other Jaguars safeties more opportunities. When Head Coach Doug Marrone discussed the issue recently, he talked extensively about Peyton Thompson and Jarrod Wilson and not much about James Sample. That's not a definitive statement on Sample, but he talked more about Wilson and Thompson.
Aaron from Aldie:
Because Blake Bortles was our best option at quarterback, for me it takes the wind out of the sails. It's probably more likely that we will have a losing season more so than a winning season. Sure we may get three more wins, but the upcoming season feels very ho-hum. The lone exceptions: Leonard Fournette and our defense! Anything else?
John: That's a fair way to look at it, because Bortles and the Jaguars have struggled a great deal in recent seasons. For that reason, they must earn offseason enthusiasm. But if Fournette and the defense are good enough to merit your exclamation points(!), that could earn a lot more excitement than you indicate. And I do think the Jaguars will win substantially more than three games this season.
Jason from Orlando, FL:
O let me know; trying to settle an argument. If they feel like it makes the line better to move Linder to guard; why not kick the tires on Nick Mangold?
John: They don't think he will help at this point in his career. That's almost always the reason teams don't pursue players. Mangold, remember, is in his 12th season. Players don't play at a high level forever.
Dave from Orlando, FL:
O-man, have you stepped foot in Daily's Place and what are your thoughts?
John: Daily's Place is cool. I like it. More importantly, because of its sightlines and unique atmosphere, artists and fans seem to like a lot, too.
O-Zone: Pretty cool
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … DUVAL DOOM from Section 217: