JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …
David from Oviedo, FL
Zone: The Jags have added a few new wrinkles this preseason, which includes much success with the two-back set on offense. I’ve noticed another difference that isn’t getting much attention, and that’s an increase in defensive blitzes. Should we expect the defense to blitz more this season?
This is a good question – and I don’t expect an answer until a few weeks into the season. The Jaguars indeed have seemed to bring more extra rushers this preseason than in the past couple of preseasons. This runs a bit counter to their usual approach under defensive coordinator Todd Wash of rushing mostly with four down-linemen and playing coverage behind that rush. The blitz, while popular with fans, is not the cure-all for all defensive ills; were that the case, defenses would blitz every play. Still, considering the athleticism of the Jaguars’ secondary – and of linebackers Myles Jack and Telvin Smith – having multiple blitz looks makes sense. It also makes sense we would see a lot of it in the preseason because coaches want to test schemes – and because it gives opposing offensive coordinators more to worry about while preparing for the regular season. I would expect the Jaguars to blitz more this season than last season. That’s a benefit of returning most starters from last season because there’s a greater understanding of the scheme. But I still expect them to lean toward rushing with four down-linemen. If you can do so effectively – and the Jaguars’ front often can – that’s still the best approach.
Steve from Nashville, TN
Why is it important that you report on the over 64,000 tickets "distributed" versus reporting on how many fans attended the game in person?
I don’t know that I consider it important. I consider it what teams often release, so that’s what’s written in the story.
Rick from Why Does this Matter
O, when discussing Donte Fowler Doug Marine told everyone (with a straight face) "I've had no issues with him." Why didn't a single media person in the room ask, "Then why did you suspend him for a week?"
I don’t know who Donte Fowler or Doug Marine are, but not every press conference is about trapping the subject with his own words, nor is every press conference about confrontation. Marrone in the media availability you cite was talking about the way Fowler has practiced and his effort level during training camp. Yes, Fowler made a mistake in training camp that got him suspended. Does that mean Marrone can’t like his overall approach during training camp and preseason?
Tyler from Jacksonville
I would like to make a call to all Jaguar fans to become accustomed to and more familiar with the "Bro Hymn" by Pennywise. It is the song played after touchdowns in the stadium. Right now, we are at about 50 percent of that we need for the hymn to strike fear in the hearts of opponents as they have to hear 65,000 strong chant in unison as they jump around searching for a hand to five up. Add it to your playlists, play it on your phones after touchdowns at away games, and embrace the chant. It is BY FAR the best stadium tradition that we have going that is completely unique to the Jaguars #RIPmoodachay
Matthew from Huntington Beach, FL
Dez Bryant could fill a spot for a decent salary. Browns coming in at $5 million rumored or less has not excited the wide receiver. The only issue is the conflict of leadership he might have with Lee on the sidelines and longevity. Thoughts?
I’m not smart enough to know what “conflict of leadership” means. I am smart enough to know if an uninjured player is available a week before the regular season, then there’s usually a reason due to that player’s current level of ability.
Jason from Da ‘Hass
John, I just read a stat that the Jaguars have allowed 17 sacks so far during the preseason, which is tied for most in the league. I’m not sweating it at all, remembering last year’s fan freak out over what was thought to be a dismal line. My question is, why so many? Experimenting with new techniques or perfecting them? Quarterbacks holding the ball too long? Are most sacks given up by second-and-third-string guys? Just seems counterintuitive thinking that the protection will be cleaned up and solid for week one like flipping a switch or something.
Second-team quarterback Cody Kessler has been sacked eight times this preseason and third-team quarterback Tanner Lee has been sacked five.
Nick from Milton, Canada
Hey John, do you have any insight as to how serious Linder’s knee injury is and if there is a chance he will miss the opener because of it?
I don’t think Jaguars center Brandon Linder will miss the regular-season opener.
Robert from Orange Park, FL
What exactly does the two-back formation accomplish? I realize the success the Jaguars have had in the preseason with it but why is so tricky to defend? Also, will the Jaguars be wearing the teal jerseys as their primary hike?
I have no idea what primary hikes are, but I can’t wait to learn – or to see them. As for the two-back formation, it deceives the defense and allows the Jaguars to strain the edges of the defense. It’s difficult to defend running back Corey Grant’s speed. It’s difficult to defend running back Leonard Fournette’s speed. If used correctly, it’s particularly difficult to defend when the defense isn’t sure which one is getting the ball or which direction they’re running.
Rob from Section 114 at the ‘Bank
Let’s focus on Game 1 versus New York. I think it will be a blowout. What say you?
I do not.
Mark from Archer, FL
John, while the loss of Marqise Lee is horrible, I am not worried about the Jags. We lost Allen Robinson – our top wide receiver – last season; our receivers stepped up and they will do so again. I would rather have Lee playing, of course, but again my point is that this in no way means total doom and gloom everyone needs to relax.
I haven’t sensed a great deal of panic over this. I think the Jaguars will miss Lee, particularly on third downs and as a downfield blocker. But you must overcome injuries in the NFL. And this is an injury the Jaguars can overcome.
Ed from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
Except for a couple, Tuesday must be the day you like to post "the idiots" remarks.
Oh … Tuesday’s not all that special.
Tom from Loughborough
Don't get me wrong. Blake Bortles is the Week 1 starter, but Cody Kessler looks better every time I see him play. It is good to know that if Blake isn't firing or gets injured that we have a backup who can make plays. He is another reason why I listen to all these analysts talking about Teddy Bridgewater to Duval and don't agree.
I doubt you’ll see Bortles misfiring enough to see Kessler. Removing an uninjured starting quarterback is a watershed moment, and I don’t think Bortles will play poorly enough to merit it. It’s also important to remember that while Kessler has played well, he has done so largely against opposing backups. And preseason is a different beast than regular season. But what you want from your backup is to feel like he could get you through a few series or a few games – i.e., keep you close enough in those games to have a chance to win. Kessler has given every appearance this preseason of being able to do that.
Renee from Duval
John, the NFL IT department are buffoons! And yes, hopefully the situation will soon be remedied soon. GO JAGS!
We remain hopeful the situation will improve.
Mason from Palm Bay, FL
There seem to be articles written after every preseason game that defend Blake Bortles/make it seem like he was better than he was. There are also a lot of fans that write in to this column, doing much of the same. Why don't people feel the need to come out and say Jalen Ramsey played well every week?
One reason is because a slew of fans don’t write in that Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey be benched every time he allows a reception. Another reason is because… quarterback.
Chris from Mandarin
How come the league doesn't care if any ball carrier besides the quarterback gets landed on by a tackler with the full weight of their body? Are they arguing that since quarterbacks are moving around less, and being run at full speed by a defender, that somehow their tackles have more force? If that is a case, it's a pretty weak argument because there are all types of instances where another ball carrier can get tackled from a dead-stop position and driven into the ground by a defender ... bubble screens, punt returns that are not called for fair catch and comeback/curl routes by receivers immediately come to mind.