JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Mark from Prescott, AZ
Not that anybody else cares but here's how I see it: I think it's appropriate that quarterback Blake Bortles and the Jaguars' destiny is linked. I'm quite sure Bortles is tired of the respect storyline and so am I. Secure fans should have his attitude: just do it. The respect and adoration will most likely come and if it doesn't, SO WHAT! As the country seems to view the Jaguars and the Bortles in the same worldview, I say "Bring It On in the NFL. I would rather have a Lombardi Trophy then respect from a bunch of know-nothings. GO JAGS.
Not that anyone cares? Are you kidding? Of course people care. I care. Then again, I'm known among my peers as being a very caring person. Either way, I agree there's something that just feels right about the Jaguars' destiny and Bortles' destiny being intertwined. He represents much of the spirit of this team – and if you didn't know that before, all you had to do was listen to just about all of Bortles' teammates late last season and during the postseason. Far from buying into the national perception that Bortles was somehow a liability, this team rallied around Bortles and seemed to use that perception of their quarterback as motivation. Make no mistake: players on this team believe strongly in Bortles and they play hard for him. They respect his toughness and like playing for him. They believe in him. I sense the fan base is believing in him more strongly as time goes on, too. Does Bortles define a lot about this team? Does he symbolize a lot about this team? Perhaps it's overstating it to say either is true. But it doesn't feel like an overstatement. In fact, it feels pretty spot on.
Sam from Orlando, FL
Which hit movie do you prefer? The hit movie Twister featuring an in-his-prime Bill Paxton? Or Independence Day with a Shadrick-esque Bill Pullman?
I prefer early Bloom County with Bill the Cat.
JagsMavs from Virginia Beach, VA
Now that rookie defensive lineman Taven Bryan has signed, here's a Rooster question. Do you expect all seven of this year's draftees to be on the final 53? If not, who do you think will be on the practice squad?
I expect six of the Jaguars' 2018 NFL Draft selections to be on the 53-man roster, with the exception being quarterback Tanner Lee. I expect Lee – a sixth-round selection from Nebraska – to be on the practice squad. This prediction could be wildly off base. It's quite likely that's the case because we have yet to see a single Jaguars rookie take a single snap in a padded practice. But that's the thought here entering training camp.
Scott from Jacksonville
Taven Bryan talking about "those old guys…" that's funny. You going to make sure the "old guys" hear about this?
I am an old guy. "Old guy" jokes aren't as funny as once was the case. You'll see. Trust me.
Josh from Harrisburg, PA
I was in the music store getting my daughter's violin strings repaired and a guitar beginners class was going on. One of the students ask what a fret was and the teacher replied with a raised element on the neck of a stringed instrument named after Longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette. He is a man of many talents.
Brian from State Island, NY
O-Mighty O Man. As I was listening to the Monkees classic hit, "Daydream Believer," the question loomed over my head: Was Sleepy Jean really Sleepy "Gene," referring, of course, to the one and only Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette? I am of the realization Gene wanted no undue attention brought to him, hence why he told the producers to make the character female.
I thought for years Cheap Trick's classic song went as follows: "The Gene Police … they live inside of my head." Imagine my confusion – and disappointment – upon learning it was "Dream Police …" Alas … life went on. Not happily, perhaps. But it went on nonetheless.
Jeff from Jax
Did J.P. Shadrick move away? In my opinion the stories about him were funnier than those about Frenette.
You must not know Gene. Lucky you.
David from Orlando, FL
O-Zone: Jaguars tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins has been in the league for five years. He has only one season with more than 21 pass receptions and in his best year he caught four touchdowns. His career average per catch of 10.2 yards is less than former Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis. How is this guy supposed to be a difference maker in our offense when his track record says otherwise?
Statistics aren't everything – and past performance isn't always the best way to measure future production. NFL players often take time to find the right fit, and they also often take time to develop. That's why there are many cases of players producing far more in the middle of their careers – often with different teams than the ones that drafted them – than they did early in the careers. The Jaguars like Seferian-Jenkins very much. They scouted him diligently and believe he will fit in well with – and produce in – this offense. There's no guarantee they're right, but signs in the on-field portion of the offseason program indicated that will be the case. We'll see.
Cliff from Las Vegas, NV
Do you think the Jaguars negotiating Dante Fowler Jr.'s first contract in good faith will have any bearing on his new deal? I can't help but feel some type of way about giving him the same deal with or without the injury and not having that play into his second contract. Money talks, I guess ...
I don't think Fowler's first contract will have any bearing on his new deal – and I'm not sure the Jaguars would have or could have handled the contract differently either way. You're referencing the fact that the Jaguars signed Fowler to a contract in line with his status as the No. 3 overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft despite him sustaining a torn anterior cruciate ligament a week after the Jaguars selected him. Could the Jaguars have handled that differently? Could they have included offset language or some sort of incentives to make sure he played to the level they believed he would have been without the injury? I suppose these things would have been possible in theory. But it would have been a pretty classless move, and wouldn't have reflected well among other players, agents, etc. And even disregarding that as a factor, such a negotiating approach wasn't necessary. Fowler returned to health and showed no aftereffects last season. And the size of a first contract in the NFL has no bearing on the size of the second. This is pretty close to a non-issue.
_Dave from Dallas, TX _
Hey Mr. O: Responding to Doug 4700 recently, you mention a "bitter contest" when referring to longtime Jaguars fans and newer fans. You're right of course, it doesn't have to be bitter. I've only followed the Jags (and your column) for eight years, but even I get a bit miffed with the Johnny Come Latelys who are all-in on the Jags after one season. Remember when your correspondents lived mainly within maybe 150 miles of Jacksonville? And some from the UK? It's not surprising that longtime fans want to distinguish themselves from the newcomers. After all, where were they in the bad times? I guess, that's just the price of success, as Gene "P" would say. Btw … where's Jerrell? We miss him.
I've never known there to be a limit on how many people can root for a team, and I'm not sure the enjoyment of one fan has to be hurt if another person newer to the experience is enjoying it, too. Btw … I miss Jerrell, too. Fear not. The season is approaching.
Someone from Nowhere
So, I hear u like to beat dead horses ad nauseum.
The Other Michael from Brazil
Hey O-Man, I wonder if I hold the Shift key before pressing Enter if it will allow …
The Other Michael from Brazil
Well ... I guess not.
Karen from Jacksonville
Hey John, I've been told I bear a striking resemblance to the Culligan Girl. Can *I* sit with you at the open practices?
I have no idea what you're talking about.
Ed from Jacksonville
Will you please list the Top 10 fastest Jaguars in order?
I can't do this with accuracy because NFL teams don't time players in the 40- or 100-yard dash. Among the fastest: running back Corey Grant, cornerback Jalen Ramsey, cornerback Jalen Myrick, linebacker Telvin Smith, wide receiver Keelan Cole, linebacker Myles Jack. There are others. I'm probably leaving one or two out. But that's a good group. Want to start a good locker-room debate? Ask the aforementioned group who is the fastest. Then watch the sea of hands go up.