JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
MrPadre from Kingsland, GA:
I'm a little worried everyone just "assumes" the offense will automatically be as good, or even better, next year. If I recall correctly, our defense was much better than the offense in 2014, yet despite adding Dan Skuta, Jared Odrick and others they obviously took a large step backwards. I am as excited as anyone about our young offense, but I don't think everyone should just continue to think all we have to do is fix the defense and we'll be fine. #keepgettingbetter
John: Your concern is understandable, but remember a couple of things. First, no one inside the building "assumes" the Jaguars' offense will improve "just because." People inside the building absolutely know the offense indeed must improve in critical areas such as third-down conversion, running effectiveness and short-passing efficiency – to name a few. There's no thought that any of those things will happen just because they improved last season. Remember this, too: the offense is in a different situation this offseason than the defense was last offseason. This offense is a young unit with a lot of its core in place – quarterback, tight end, receivers, part of the offensive line – at a time in their careers when they should improve. That doesn't mean they automatically will get better next season, but as a group they should improve over the course of time. The defense from 2014 was an older unit that still needed to be addressed with young talent through the draft. It also sustained significant losses last season when defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks missed most of the season and rookie end Dante Fowler Jr. missed the whole thing. I expect the defense to improve this season, but losing key players for extended periods will do little to help its cause.
Scott from Aurora, IL:
The real question is: When you fell out of said chair, did you or did you not allow it to disturb your nap?
John: Slept through it.
Rob from the Duuu:
O Man, in reference to Marqise Lee finishing his degree over the summer in Los Angeles, when does he graduate? I'm a little suspicious this is a convenient excuse to get out of spending time in Jacksonville during the offseason to enjoy a more vibrant social life in Los Angeles. I can't be the only one who thinks it looks bad that he needs to improve the most but is the only one absent during these workouts with Blake Bortles and other receivers. I know that he isn't required to do anything but I guess we all want Peyton-Harrison-Wayne type of devotion or chemistry and only doing what is required will never get you there. Your thoughts?
John: You're far from the only one with an eye on Marqise Lee's offseason, but let's keep perspective here. First, Lee is in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California working toward his degree. I've seen nothing to indicate he's there for any reason but that. To assume otherwise is a bit unfair – and wouldn't really fit with my impression of Lee. Second, Lee's working toward his degree now – not "during the summer;" I expect he will be in the Jaguars' offseason program for the vast majority of May and June. That covers the vast majority of organized team activities, which is when the vast majority of offseason work and progress gets done. Third, while I'm all for Blake Bortles, Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns getting together offsite in the offseason, are we really criticizing a guy for taking a few months in the offseason to work toward … finishing his degree? As for devotion … yes, Manning, Harrison and Wayne worked hard, but Manning to my knowledge wasn't working with receivers extensively outside the offseason program – and Marvin Harrison rarely attended anything in the offseason that wasn't mandatory. Wayne was around a bit more during OTAs, but when I say a bit more, I mean just that. He spent most of his offseasons working out at the University of Miami and neither he nor Harrison were around the facility much in the offseason except when it was mandatory. Look, Lee absolutely needs to have a healthy and productive offseason, but if he does so and is in town from mid-May on, that's more than enough voluntary time to put in.
Bruce from Gotham:
If Chris Ivory can stay healthy and be the short-yardage back he was brought here to be, he might be the biggest free-agent signing of the offseason. He could convert those third- and fourth-and-short situations and keep the offense rolling and more efficient and keep the defense fresher. Could Chris Ivory be the key [or at least a big one] for a winning season next year, Mr. O?
John: I hesitate to say Chris Ivory will be the biggest 2016 free-agent signing; the signings of safety Tashaun Gipson and defensive lineman Malik Jackson were pretty darned big, after all. And I wouldn't necessarily pigeonhole Ivory as simply a short-yardage back, either. I expect he and T.J. Yeldon will split a lot of time and that Ivory will play quite a bit in base offensive packages. I do think Ivory's presence along with improvement on the interior of the line can significantly help the Jaguars' running game – and yes, I think improvement there will help the passing offense and the defense a great deal.
Rick from Folsom:
Did you make a Style Council reference earlier this week? (Headstart for Happiness) If so, you truly are an enlightened fellow. Keeps on Burning.
Dane from Jacksonville:
When James Sample was drafted, it was widely publicized that he was drafted to play free safety. However, now the team is saying he will compete with Johnathan Cyprien at strong safety. What gives? Did the Tashaun Gipson signing allow Sample to slide back into his more natural fit? Or has the team totally done a 180 on the Sample narrative?
John: What gives is the Jaguars needed to be better at free safety in the next few seasons than they have been the past few seasons. Could Sample have made that happen? Perhaps, but he played just four games as a rookie last season and therefore remains an unknown. Gipson has led the AFC in interceptions twice, and therefore there's a relatively good chance he will be an upgrade at the position. The offshoot of that is that Sample indeed appears to be a physical fit at strong safety and he could challenge Cyprien for that position.
Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL:
John, the Aaron Colvin suspension got me thinking. It must be pretty tough for any professional sports organization to walk the line between informing the folks who make the team viable (the fans) and protecting the privacy of the players. When a player commits (intentionally or not) a serious infraction that jeopardizes his standing and his team, isn't it reasonable for fans to expect some details? Doesn't a fan's investment in season tickets, merchandise, sponsor's products, etc. entitle him/her to some consideration?
John: It's not really a fine line; league rules outline pretty specifically what can be released regarding suspensions and what cannot. Players have a right to privacy in this instance. Besides, the NFL announced that Colvin was suspended for performance-enhancing supplements and the team released that information. I'm not sure how much more fans truly need to know.
Bob from Sumter, SC:
One of the things that is really promising about the coming season is that Blake Bortles improved and accomplished so much last season without a consistent run game. If the Jags can get to where the defense has to respect the run and then play-action more – especially on third and short – that could take the offense to another level in addition to another year of experience with the system and each other. No doubt Chris Ivory will help in those situations too. A lot to be hopeful about this season. Go Jags!
Mike from Jacksonville:
O, news is surfacing that both the Titans and Browns want to trade away the top two picks. Does this increase our chances of getting one of the big 3 players on our radar? Also, how likely do you see us trading up to get who we really want?
John: I'm always wary of draft "news" until it becomes official, but it's certainly not beyond reason that the Titans and Browns could trade out of the No. 1 and No. 2 selections. If teams trading into the Top 5 are trading for quarterbacks, it increases the Jaguars' chances of getting either Joey Bosa, Jalen Ramsey or Myles Jack – if indeed those are the three players they want. If teams are trading to get one of those players, then that decreases the Jaguars' chances of getting those players. I do not think the Jaguars will trade up.
John from Boynton Beach, FL:
What do you cause most often? A ruckus, a hullabaloo or concern?
John: I'm not necessarily known for causing any of the three, though I have been known to inspire quite a bit of indifference. Does that count?
O-Zone: Pure inspiration
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
MrPadre from Kingsland, GA: