HOUSTON, Texas – It's Hall-of-Fame Day in Houston. Tony Boselli will find out by sundown if he is a member of the 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame class.
Here's hoping he makes it. He deserves it.
Let's get to it … Tom from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
So, Zone … you've been at the Super Bowl all week. What's your gut? Does Tony make the Hall?
John: We at jaguars.com indeed have been at Super Bowl LI most of the week talking about Tony Boselli and his chances to be in the '17 Hall of Fame class. The storylines are clear. Voters generally believe Boselli is very much worthy – and they generally realize if he had played a few more seasons he would be a lock. They realize that he was as good or better than other left tackles of his era already in the Hall: Willie Roaf, Orlando Pace, Jonathan Ogden and Walter Jones. The only concern of many voters is the fact that Boselli played just seven seasons. The other issue: there are 15 modern-era finalists and just five slots for modern-era players. That means 10 qualified candidates will not make it. I believe there's a 50-50 chance Boselli gets in Saturday and I believe from talking with voters there's an extremely good chance he gets in sometime in the next few years. That's a major step forward from two years ago, when I honestly didn't know if he ever would make it this far. My gut tells me it's not this year. I hope I'm wrong. We'll see.
Nicholas from Fort Hood:
I am not an engineer, but has Shad thought about all the renovations that will have to be done if Tony Boselli is inducted into the Hall of Fame? Every doorway will need to be bigger to make room for his inflated head.
John: I'm scheduled to meet with Shad late Saturday morning. I'll bring it up.
Troy from Indianapolis, IN:
Is it just me or does it seem like every new coach has a tie to Doug Marrone or Tom Coughlin? So, no other coach out there was worthy? Or is it friends helping out friends?
John: Most NFL coaching staffs have a heavy percentage of people with strong ties to someone within the organization – usually the head coach. Head coaches often surround themselves with people whom they have worked closely for the simple reason that they know that person's beliefs, philosophies, principles, work ethic, etc. Marrone obviously trusts and believes in Nathaniel Hackett as offensive coordinator, and he developed a strong bond with/belief in defensive coordinator Todd Wash over the last two seasons. Coughlin obviously trusts line coach Pat Flaherty, secondary coach Perry Fewell and wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell. The track records of Fewell and Flaherty are strong and McCardell has the makings of a good coach at the position. At the same time, Joe DeCamillis has no ties to either Coughlin or Marrone – and he also has a reputation as one of the NFL's top special teams coordinators. Hiring a staff isn't easy. Many qualified coaches are under contract with teams and coaches must piece together the best staff from what's available. This Jaguars staff seems like a professional, capable staff with a lot of the normal ties and paths to this job. We'll see how it plays out, but there's not a whole lot unusual about this staff's assembly.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
I can understand Diamond Dave thinking, "Alex Mack will be old by the time we get good, and we'll have to replace him anyway." But I think we'd be better off with Beachum, Cann, Mack, Linder and Parnell.
John: Yeah, probably.
Chris from Mandarin:
In a year where the talent in the draft is generally considered lower than other years, a running back at four really isn't a bad idea. This isn't done in a vacuum. Concrete philosophies don't necessarily hold.
John: I agree. The Jaguars have the No. 4 overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft. If there is a worthy quarterback, pass rusher, offensive lineman or cornerback – the positions usually considered worthy of Top 5 selections –then one of those positions would make sense at No. 4. If one of the elite defensive linemen available – Jonathan Allen of Alabama, for example – is there at No. 4, that would make sense because you can't have enough elite defensive linemen. Still, with nearly three months remaining before the draft, it feels like a year when normal Top 5 positions may not be Top 5-worthy. In that scenario, a running back such as Dalvin Cook or Leonard Fournette would make sense. Stay tuned.
Z from Gainesville, FL:
O-man, can you give us an idea of our primary position needs going into free agency and the draft? I would say SS, OG, OT and DT. Question two: do you have any feel on how the organization feels about AJ Cann?
John: Your list differs from my list. Strong safety will depend on whether or not the team re-signs Johnathan Cyprien. I get the idea that may happen, primarily because I don't know that the defensive scheme is going to change dramatically – and Cyprien showed last season he is functional as a strong safety in this scheme. I don't see defensive tackle as a need at all because Abry Jones and Malik Jackson both played at a high level last season with Sen'Derrick Marks and Roy Miller still in the mix. Left guard is a need and right tackle could be a position the Jaguars seek to upgrade, too. One position that remains a need is pass rusher. The Jaguars couldn't land a veteran edge rusher last offseason. While Yannick Ngakoue and to a lesser degree Dante Fowler Jr. showed signs last season, you can't have enough pass rushers – and the Jaguars could particularly use a veteran in that role. As far as Cann, the Jaguars like him. He needs to play better than he did last season, but that's true of many players.
Tyler from Dundee:
I just read an article, on NFL.com, about Dan Quinn and his success in Atlanta. The funny thing is he sounds awfully similar to Gus Bradley. The only real difference is Quinn is successful and Bradley was not. Are you sure it's all about the head coach? I'm starting to think players have a little part in the success of a team. Who knew?
John: No, Tyler. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no because it's always about coaching in the NFL.
Joe from Morgan Hill, CA:
Do the Jags ever have open tryouts? If so when and where?
John: For what?
Gabe from Washington, DC:
Drafting Justin Blackmon absolutely set us back, but so did drafting Blaine Gabbert, Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves. We gave up draft picks for all four of those players, and they all amounted to nothing for the team. That's how you decimate a roster and a franchise for a decade.
John: Whenever a team misses on a player in the first round it by definition sets the team back. It's extremely hard to make up for one first-round player missed because ideally you are hoping that player is a no-worries starter for at least a half decade. When he doesn't work out at all, you have to draft over the position or sign to make up for the miss. You only have so many draft selections and there are only so many quality free agents available, so the resources for making up for a missed first-rounder are exceedingly slim. When you package trades to move up for misses … well, that's just a lot worse.
Ed from Danvers, MS:
Regarding the conspiracy theory of paying a player "under the table," it's already been done – as you know. The Denver Broncos were proven guilty of paying John Elway and Terrell Davis $30 million under the table in order to circumvent the salary cap during their Super Bowl years. They were fined $1 million dollars and a third-round pick. The unproven "deflategate" cost the Patriots a million dollars, a first-round pick and a four-game suspension of their superstar quarterback. Huh?
John: Yes, the Broncos have been penalized for this. My guess is considering the Patriots' recent history – i.e., Spygate, DeflateGate, etc. – their ramifications in such a scandal might be a touch more severe and costly than otherwise might be the case.
John from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Please don't, like, encourage writing how young people speak. It's, you know, a bit distracting. Right? And, um, kinda encourages bad habits.
John: I'll probably keep doing it the way I've been, you know, doing it.
Dan from Fort Dodge:
I hope come Saturday night the first ever Pride inductee becomes a Hall Of Fame inductee. He was an amazing left tackle and seems to be a even better person for the community. My very first jersey was a Tony Boselli jersey, and thanks to that I have been a Jags fan since the beginning. Here is to hoping we see him inducted Sunday night.