JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Steve from Van Nuys, CA:
Top offseason acquisition … Go!!!
John: When it comes to the Jaguars' best 2015 offseason acquisition, I suppose I could go with the obvious and say tight end Julius Thomas – and I probably wouldn't be wrong. But for the sake of argument – and because I've written about Thomas quite a bit in the last few days – I'll go with rookie running back T.J. Yeldon. I'll choose him over rookie edge rusher Dante Fowler Jr. because Yeldon is healthy and Fowler is not – and also because I think Yeldon has a real chance to make a significant impact. Not only does history tell us that rookie running backs can contribute immediately, he appears at first glance to have the skill set to be effective sooner rather than later. Throw in the facts that the Jaguars expect the offensive line to be improved and that they want to run behind that line, and I think Yeldon has a chance to quickly be a significant addition.
James from Destin, FL:
OK, Johnny Boy, you had to pick on Scobee. You've done it now. You better hide at work. I heard something involving his kicking shoe and your back end.
John: He knows where to find me.
Cliff from Las Vegas, NV:
Who do you think gets more snaps this season… Telvin Smith or Dan Skuta? I thought Smith did a great job after Paul Posluszny got hurt last season, but he didn't see the field much before the injury.
John: The answer to your question says more about the Jaguars' personnel packages than it does about the abilities or the importance of the players. Both Smith and Skuta will start, with Smith starting on the weak side and Skuta starting at the Otto. I'd expect Smith to remain on the field in passing situations more than Skuta, so I'd expect Smith to finish the season with more snaps. As for how Smith played last season, yes, he did a very good job after Posluszny's injury, but even had Posluszny not been injured, Smith was going to be worked in at weak-side linebacker. I'd expect Smith to start this season and be one of the Jaguars' better defensive players. That's certainly what the Jaguars are expecting.
Andrea from Robecco Suly Naviglio, Italy:
I'm from Italy, a fan of the Jaguars from 2001 and this year I'm going to see them in London for the first time in my life ... And I'll be screaming "DUVAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLL" from my (cheap? Didn't seem like it to me when I bought the tickets back in January) seat in Wembley Stadium! #DTWD
John: Duval fino alla morte.
James from Jacksonville:
O-Zone. I have a good Dead Zone question for you. My football buddies and I have this ongoing discussion about the 70s Pittsburgh Steelers versus the current Cleveland Browns. My argument is with all the conditioning, strength, speed, stamina, playbook and intelligence of the current NFL team systems, the 70s Steelers could not beat the worst team in the NFL (IMO the Cleveland Browns) on the Browns' worst day. Your thoughts …
John: This is a tricky one, and though I lean toward agreeing with you, there are some important factors that would indicate teams from past eras might do better than you would expect. First, while today's players do indeed train year-round, let's not paint players from past eras as being ridiculously out of shape; they were great athletes and played at a high level, too. Also, the 70s Steelers and many teams of former eras would have had an advantage that no team from this era has – that that the core of that team played together for much of a decade. Witness the New England Patriots this offseason getting rid of Darrell Revis and Vince Wolfork for salary cap reasons. Super Bowl teams of past eras didn't have to endure those kids of losses. Teams of today can't match the continuity of teams from past eras, and that would have played in past teams' favor. All of that said, yes, I believe that the difference in conditioning, strength, speed and stamina would make it difficult for teams of past eras compete in today's eras, but if you gave teams of past eras the same circumstances in which to work and train they would adapt and be great in this era, too.
Tom from Phoenix, AZ:
Phoenix born and raised and I'm #DTWD. Long live the cheap seats out here in the desert – DUUUUUUUUVAAAAALLLLL
John: Hey, one for desert cheap seats!
John from Bainbridge Island, WA:
The NFL is way off on its attempts to make the PAT more exciting. An extra 13 yards? Yawn Why not let the defending team put a defender on the goal posts with a large pole and try to swat down the ball as it comes across? Or maybe a large, trained bird of prey that tries to catch the ball in its claws? Now that would be entertaining!
John: If that bird of prey could be trained to pursue and scare Scobee, I'm in.
Willis from Jacksonville:
I say we add the upper crossbar, then instead of penalizing for yards we make the quarterback stand at the goal line and make free throws.
John: It's apparently about time to close the lid on this topic. It's veering fast toward becoming very, very silly – though the argument certainly could be made that it has never stopped us in the O-Zone before. I tend to agree that moving back the point after has a somewhat gimmicky, change-for-the-sake-of-change feel, which is why I hope the league moves slowly if it's going to continue down this path of altering scoring-based rules. One reason I've never been nuts about the collegiate overtime system is it can skew points and statistics upward falsely. This isn't a problem on the scale of, say, world peace, but I still don't much like it. One relatively minor change to extra-point distance doesn't change the game drastically, but you can go too far.
Sunil from Jacksonville:
Only here would we have people complain about something so simple as Duuuuval! Look, it's unique and cool ... it's not even about where we live … it's just about us being different than the rest of the league and it's catching on. Dante Fowler Jr. yelled it into the mic on draft night … the NFL Network guys said it a few times during the draft. It has become our thing! It sure beats "moving to LA" or "blackouts" as our thing, now, doesn't it? Go Jags...and #DTWD baby!
John: I agree pretty much point by point – with an exception. You say people only complain about simple things here in this column. My experience is it's a bit more common than that, particularly in my home.
Joseph from Longview, TX:
What are Scobee's thoughts on the rule change? Seriously though, does this rule add value or take value from the kickers and punters? Duuuuuvvvaaaaaaaaalllll t.w.d...
John: Scobee's belief is that of all the proposals and ideas being kicked around when the league was deciding to make the PAT more difficult the one that got approved makes the most sense. And Scobee's right about that: it changes the fabric of the game the least while at least bringing an element of mystery to the point-after. I don't see where the rule changes anything about the value of punters. As far as kickers, there's no question it adds some pressure to their jobs, but I don't know that it changes their value. Teams generally wanted their kickers to be able to convert 33-yard field goals and I imagine that will remain the case.
Colby from Santa Monica, CA:
I saw that Mike DiRocco on ESPN wrote an article today about the Jaguars being ranked 32nd in uniforms. I don't know if this is just aesthetic or sales, but it came down to the negative reception of the helmets. I don't see the Jaguars changing the helmets anytime soon, even if they wanted to, but when that window does happen, do you see a possibility of them going in a new uniform direction?
John: DiRocco's story was based on another story on ESPN by someone from a thing called Uni Watch. The guy from Uni Watch didn't like the Jaguars' helmets. That's fine. Not everyone has to like everything. There are things I don't like. So far, the world has continued to spin despite that fact.
Benjamin from FL:
Not that it was very prevalent before, but what happens to the fake extra point, two-point conversion attempt? Is that no longer allowed since the extra point and two point conversion take place at different locations on the field?
John: A team can still fake a PAT from the 15-yard line and go for two on the play, though the risk of doing so from that distance could preclude that from happening often.
Tom from St. Augustine, FL and Section 109:
How long did it take you to burn through your signing bonus?
John: Longer than I thought. There was a line at Sbarro.
Cliff from Jacksonville:
Dan from Jacksonville is absolutely right. Yelling Duval is silly. I propose that from now on we yell Rancho Cucamonga. Thank you.
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Steve from Van Nuys, CA: