JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Scott from Aurora, IL:
My biggest concern with this offseason is that despite the numerous opportunities that seem to be ahead of the Jags, they will not be able to substantively improve either of the lines. Thoughts?
John: My thoughts are you may be suffering from pre-draft, pre free-agency anxiety. That's understandable considering the results of the past few seasons – not to mention that there has been a lot of buildup in advance of the upcoming offseason. There almost certainly will be more buildup, but I wouldn't stress too much. In particular, I would also keep the coming weeks/months – the free-agency period – in perspective. Free agency for the Jaguars almost is going to be productive, but it's probably not realistic to think they are going to sign every player fans are coveting. First, you can't get EVERY free agent. Second, teams are going to re-sign many of their own players. Three, other teams are out there trying to sign players, too. And finally, the Jaguars may not want every player fans are coveting. The Jaguars will get better in free agency. They will increase the talent base. This will be a bigger deal than the past two free-agency periods, but it's still just a piece of the overall picture. The draft and player development still will be the biggest piece in this franchise's foundation. And by the end of the offseason, I think the Jaguars will be better on both lines. So, yeah … relax and enjoy the offseason.
Jerry from Tamarac, FL:
Enough about the coaches; it's all about the players! Give me your crystal ball, John. How far can you see and what is happening?
John: Not far. Not much.
Christian from Orlando, FL:
In my opinion, what makes a great coach is the ability to adapt. Adapt to the personnel you're given, in practice to the opponent you're facing, and during the game to situations you find yourself in. To me, Bill Belichick exemplifies those qualities. While I don't like him very much, there is no denying he is one of the best to ever coach. I'm worried Gus is a little too one-dimensional. I've read he is willing to change according to his personnel, but would you say he is too stuck to one way of playing football?
John: No. First, there's a lot more to great head coaching – establishing a culture, leading an organization, seeing the big picture – but certainly adaptability is important. Defensively, I think we have seen the Jaguars improve and grow in two seasons – and some of that has been learning the personnel and adjusting to it. Offensively, I don't think we know the entirety of Bradley's style yet. I know he wants to better adapt to the personnel, and that unquestionably was a reason for a parting of the ways with offensive coordinator Jeff Fisch. Let's wait until there's a little more to work with offensively – on both sides of the ball, actually – before we ultimately judge Bradley in this area.
Lee from Neptune Beach, FL:
I understand that there is no state tax in Florida, which is a big draw for players and coaches, but do they get taxed when they play out-of-state games? What about the London game? And is it that significant in the overall picture?
John: Yes, players get taxed for playing out-of-state games. Yes, they get taxed for the London game. The significance depends on salary. It's not significant enough in the sense of being the biggest part of a paycheck, but it ain't cheap. But overall, the fact that there's no state tax in Florida remains a significant advantage for teams that play there.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
Everyone keeps talking about the "zone-blocking scheme." How did you, Mr. Zone, invent this scheme which you humbly named after yourself?
John: The zone-blocking scheme actually wasn't named after me, and its origins are difficult to trace. It grew in popularity in the mid-1990s, after the Denver Broncos and Terrell Davis had success with it with an offensive line coached by Alex Gibbs. There were then … oh, wait … you were kidding.
Thomas from Jacksonville:
Why can't we have nice things? Sometimes I wish I would hear about a Jaguars scandal so I could reassure myself that at least we are trying to win.
John: I understand frustration, but perhaps I spend too much time around EverBank Field and see too many people working too hard to grasp your question. Not trying to win? That's about as silly a concept as I can imagine. The Jaguars are trying. And they are doing the things necessary to build a winner. It seems to some it's taking a long time, but there was a long way to go when this current regime arrived. What will be the end game? When will winning happen? A lot of that depends on the development of young players, but to think the effort and commitment aren't being made … well, nothing could be further from reality.
Greg from Hendersonville:
Should we go and get DeMarco Murray?
John: The Jaguars will be active in free agency. I think they'll pursue free safety, right tackle most heavily and there aren't actually many positions I'd rule out. As far as pursuing running back, I'd put that relatively low on the free-agent priority list. My guess is that comes through the draft. We'll see.
Chad from Jacksonville:
Please explain, "I believe they'll be improved enough that .500 will be a much less lofty goal and it even may be attainable." Are you skeptical to believe we can be .500 because you want to see what we do in free agency and the draft, or do you think our players, while improved, are still that much inferior than other NFL squads that to believe we have a 50/50 chance of winning a game is concerning?
John: I think the Jaguars have a much better chance of being a .500 team next year than I thought they had at this time last year. I still think it will be difficult, but I think the chances are far greater.
Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
I like Chris' idea of letting Wilson walk and signing the rest of the team. Personally I feel like his success is a byproduct of the team he plays for, and not the other way around. I think Seattle has a better chance of sustained success if they maintain their team and replace the quarterback as opposed to overpaying Wilson and having to trash half the roster to do it. Wilson is only as good as his team allows him to be.
John: I'm not the biggest Russell Wilson guy either, but I stop short of saying he's a by-product. Seattle is going to be a fascinating case study because the Seahawks are almost certainly going to re-sign Wilson and that almost will certainly mean weakening the roster in other areas. Can he develop into a carry-the-team quarterback? We'll find out.
James from Jacksonville:
In the last several mocks I viewed, many have the Jags taking Randy Gregory at No. 3 However, in many scouting reports I see, Shane Ray is often graded higher than Gregory. What are your thoughts on both players and which player do you think would best fit the Jags?
John: It's February 8, which means we're more than two-and-a-half months away from the NFL Draft. As such, we're a lo-o-ong way from really knowing how this is going to play out. I, too, have seen Gregory mocked to the Jaguars more than Ray – and most of the draft analysis I have seen ranks Gregory a slot or two higher than Ray. What does that mean? It means right now a few people have one player slightly over the other. That doesn't mean the Jaguars feel that way? I have watched a little of both players, and what I have watched is mostly highlight-reel type stuff. When it comes to most college players, that's what I have time to watch. I don't see much difference and am perhaps slightly more impressed with Ray's physicality and ability to close – and he might be a better fit. But both look like Top 10 talents, and that sort of talent would fit well with the Jaguars right now.
Ryan from Durham, NC:
FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY....PLEASE GET AN ACTUAL ROUND TABLE!! I CANT TAKE IT ANYMORE !! Signed eager fan with nothing else to complain about.
John: I get the joke, but I think you'll find most of my readers have no problem finding things to complain about.
Dave from Oviedo, FL:
O-man, I have a theory. Fans that do nothing but complain when their favorite team loses are the same people that yell at their kids when they miss a shot or leave their wives when they gain a few pounds. A real fan loves the team not only in good times, but in bad. You say fans gonna fan, but I think some fans need to seek treatment for their personality disorder.
John: Fans can fan however they want to fan. That's what makes them fans.
Lee from Jacksonville:
Your reasonableness is really off-putting. Please say something ridiculous.
John: I'm ecstatic right now.
O-Zone: Speaking reasonably
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Scott from Aurora, IL: