JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Mike from Jacksonville:
John, what area do you feel will show marked improvement at the start of the season: offensive line or defensive line?
John: This is pretty easy, and because I'm all about "ease," I'll say, "offensive line." There's little reason the Jaguars' defensive line shouldn't be at least as good as last season. Actually, with the addition of strong-side defensive end Jared Odrick the unit actually could be improved from a season in which it overall played at a pretty steady, solid level. But the offensive line has much more room for improvement. That group struggled throughout last season and has added depth and front-line talent in center Stefen Wisniewski and right tackle Jermey Parnell. The addition of assistant head coach-offense/offensive line coach Doug Marrone also should help. Overall, if the offensive line isn't noticeably better, that would be disappointing.
Austin from Jacksonville:
My grandmother, Carolyn Stoner, passed away last Friday. She lived in Jacksonville her whole life, attended Robert E. Lee in the 40s, and was a devout Jaguars fan since '94. Last season, I was able to take her to the home opener when we were pummeled by the Colts. Still, something very special happened that day: Blake Bortles took his first snaps in a regular-season game. She looked at me after Allen Hurns scored his massive touchdown from the arm of Blake and said, "The kid will be a star." R.I.P. Carolyn Stoner, an original #DTWD.
John: RIP, Carolyn. #DTWD
Shane from Jacksonville:
Do the Jags really know what they have in Toby Gerhart? It seems everyone, including the Jags, is writing him off. It was extremely frustrating to see him being asked to run sideways last season when he is clearly a downhill, between-the-tackles runner. That was on top of the fact that he wasn't healthy almost throughout the entire season. I still think he could be very productive playing for an offense that knows how to use him properly.
John: The Jaguars actually aren't writing Gerhart off, though you are correct that many observers and fans appear to be doing just that. Gerhart showed flashes of productivity late last season after recovering from an early-season foot injury, and while that stretch wasn't enough to solidify a spot as a go-to back, it was enough to make the Jaguars think he can have a significant role this season. And yes, the Jaguars do believe he can be more productive running "downhill" as opposed to the more side-to-side approach the team took with him last season.
Bryan from Jacksonville:
John, who picks the questions you answer, your wife? Some of those people are just mean.
John: My wife would pick far better questions.
Chris from Jacksonville:
If you had to make an educated guess today, what position do you think we will draft with our first-round pick next year? Assuming we will be picking somewhere in the middle third of the round, my money is on linebacker.
John: That's not a bad choice. The issue could be whether a linebacker worthy of the selection is there at that point. It's not unreasonable to think the team could be drafting for an eventual replacement for Paul Posluszny, but middle linebacker isn't always a position you take in Round 1 anymore, particularly not in the Top 20. Ideally, a team wants to not have an obvious need in Round 1. That way you can take the best available player and let him develop into a starter at his own pace. It's premature to say the Jaguars are at that point, but it feels like they're closer than they were the past two offseasons.
Jim from Jacksonville:
They're called munchkins, John. And they're possibly the best invention ever!
John: Shout out to the munchkin guy (but they were donut holes before they were munchkins).
Brian from Gainesville, FL:
Big O, there is no doubt that Blake Bortles must improve some this season, that he need not necessarily leap forward to elite-level-franchise-quarterback status this season because there's nothing wrong with continuing to improve in Season 3, that he has been open about the mechanics work he has put in, and that while signs point to improvements we won't know until he's playing in a real game. All true things. But I've noticed lately that when you speak about the organization's estimation of Blake you qualify things by saying that Gus and Dave are "generally speaking" pleased with him. What gives? Are they "specifically speaking" less than pleased?
John: Don't overthink it, Brian. The Jaguars are pleased with Blake Bortles' progress. They like his offseason approach. They feel he couldn't have done more than he did this offseason. They're not doing cartwheels, because the offseason isn't time for cartwheels, but they like the progress he has made and the signs he has shown in a little less than 14 months with the team.
Justin from Jacksonville:
John, Jaxson came to my place of employment a few years ago to help us with our Grand Opening. All of my bosses were there, including one that I didn't particularly care for at the time. I jokingly asked Jaxson to go embarrass this boss somehow, not thinking much would come of it. Without hesitation, Jaxson made a beeline for him from the other side of the store, and right before the point of impact, Jaxson performed the most righteous Spinning Tail Slap I had ever seen! I haven't been able to replicate that evil laugh ever since. Thank you for all of the fond memories, Jaxson!
Jared from Pensacola, FL:
John, didn't the Jaguars and EverBank sign a 10-year deal a year or two back that locks the Jaguars in Jacksonville for another eight years? I also think Shad Khan is definitely not moving the team. The improvements to the stadium by themselves should prove that, but add in the Shipyards and … boom, the Jags are staying for a while.
John: The Jaguars have sponsorship/partnership deals with many companies. Those companies include EverBank and the naming-rights partnership is indeed important. But what locks the Jaguars into Jacksonville isn't any particular deal or agreement. What locks the Jaguars into Jacksonville is that this is where Khan wants the team. I'm not sure what more he could have done since taking ownership to demonstrate that.
Matt from the Matt Cave:
No question, just wanted to tell you how stacked my fantasy team is. I have Rodgers, Le'veon Bell, Jeremy hill, Antonio Brown,Ty Hilton, Gronk and Alfred Morris sitting in the flex spot. shiva kamini soma kandarkram!!!!! #theleague
Redmond from Jacksonville:
Going back two years, if you could assume the role of general manager before the 2013 draft, would you still draft Luke Joeckel knowing what you know now? Personally, I would take either Ziggy Ansah or Sheldon Richardson.
John: Of course you would, because you have the benefit of hindsight. The problem with playing the look-back-at-past-drafts-and-redraft-them game is no general manager could possibly pass such a test. If you had the 2013 draft to do over again and made the decision based on the first two years, yes, you probably would take Ansah or Richardson. You might even throw in Star Lotulelei. If you went back a year before that, you could probably find four or five draft selections later in the first round that you would take over a player chosen early. You could do the same every year. As for Joeckel, he had a tough year last season. He wasn't as bad as observers want to believe, but neither was he good enough. He needs to get better this season, and the belief around the Jaguars is he will. We'll see.
Jason from North Pole, Alaska:
In regards to expanding the schedule to 18 games, I remember in December of 2011 the Jaguars had 27 players on injured reserve. That's over half of the initial active roster. We played Atlanta and I remember feeling like I didn't know any of the players and was watching a low quality of football. I am afraid the longer the season gets the more of that we will see. No thanks.
James from Destin, FL:
John, is there anybody in the organization that has been here 19 years other than Jaxson? I have a lot of memories but the one that stood out the most with me was when during player introductions, he was too close to the fireworks and his head was on fire. My wife and I looked for him and it wasn't until the beginning of the second half he reappeared with a bandage on his head. Love this guy! He needs a bigger retirement go away than any player. He belongs in the Pride.
John: There are several Jaguars employees who predate Curtis Dvorak/Jaxson de Ville. Among them are senior vice president of communications Dan Edwards, executive assistant Alisa Abbott, director of ticket operations Tim Bishko, director of football technology and facilities Mike Perkins, college scout Tim Mingey and director of pro personnel Curtis Driggers. All have been with the organization since 1994. Dvorak actually started Jaxson in 1996, but whatever … we're talking months here. Dvorak's Jaxson was a fantastic mascot and representative of the team for nearly two decades. He will be missed.
Levi from Jacksonville:
John, we want more! Just sayin.
John: Sometimes less is more.
O-Zone: Seen another way...
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Mike from Jacksonville: