JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Michael from Jacksonville:
O, does it matter who starts at left tackle? Last I checked this is a team sport, and with this left guard/left tackle battle going on, the only thing that matters is both Kelvin Beachum and Luke Joeckel will be on the same page this year – which Luke lacked horribly last year sitting next to Zane Beadles. That being said, it doesn't matter who wins the job right? As long as they're on the same page?
John: What matters more than anything regarding left tackle is that the Jaguars get more consistent play from the position than they did last season. While Luke Joeckel played better than many observers believed, he had too many moments of inconsistency – and inconsistency at left tackle is going to be noticed and damaging. More important than the left-tackle competition is that the left side of the offensive line overall is improved from last season. The Jaguars are confident that whoever starts where – Beachum/Joeckel at tackle/guard or Beachum/Joeckel at guard/tackle – the area is going to be better than Joeckel/Beadles at tackle/guard last season. The issue right now is Beachum: the quicker he is able to be full go in practice the sooner we can find out not only who starts where but how much the duo will improve the line. As of Wednesday, Beachum was still getting limited repetitions with no one-on-one pass rush works. That's not unexpected for a player returning from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, but at some point you must see him plant and block a dynamic pass rusher. At that point, some decisions can start getting made.
DreamWeaver from Section 214:
Ooooh. Did Brian from Gainesville just suggest that SEC players are of a higher conference than the ACC or others? Really, Brian? How do you feel about the strength of college conferences, Johnny O?
John: Yeah, he went there. Oh, yes, he did.
Robert from Jacksonville:
Should Tashaun Gipson be hurt do you think Jalen Ramsey would fill in at free safety?
John: No. I believe Peyton Thompson will make the team as the backup free safety, and I think he would be the first option to play in place of Gipson. I also think he would be fine in that role. Coaches believe Thompson has adapted well since moving to the spot.
David from Oveido, FL:
O-man – I don't think T.J. Yeldon was very good at pass blocking last year. The Jags pretended to be pleasantly surprised with his blocking skills, but the eye test doesn't lie. He blocked like he was on roller skates. The good news is Chris Ivory is an exceptional blocker in pass protection. In fact, Ivory was rated the third-best NFL running back in pass-blocking efficiency by Pro Football Focus. I don't think this fact was lost on Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell, and I'd expect to see Ivory on the field on definite passing downs. What are your thoughts?
John: The Jaguars didn't lie about Yeldon last season. They were pleasantly surprised with Ivory's pass blocking skills, at least in part because he was better than expected in an area that was said to be a weakness when coming out of college. I don't expect Ivory to be on the field in definite passing downs – certainly not exclusively. Yeldon's ability as a receiver out of the backfield is a strength the Jaguars don't want to leave on the bench.
Jared from O-Town:
Shouldn't it be more of a concern if Jalen Ramsey wasn't getting burned by Allen Robinson at this point in training camp? Correct me if I'm wrong, please, but wouldn't a rookie defensive back be spending all of his time working on positional drills, learning his defensive responsibilities, and strength and conditioning – and not watching tape and studying the formation route trees and player tendencies of his own team? At this point, Ramsey is having to guess where the ball is going. The advantage was well in Robinson's favor. Especially with him being an upper-echelon receiver.
John: Yes, you do want Robinson – a third-year Pro Bowl wide receiver who is showing signs of being an elite, No. 1 receiver – to be able to turn around a young, talented rookie early in training camp. You're also right that Ramsey isn't spending much time studying Robinson. Robinson won't beat Ramsey routinely forever. My guess is it won't happen for long. But it's perfectly understandable – and to be expected – for it to happen a few weeks into the rookie's career.
Trae from Jacksonville:
John, how well does Gus Bradley know the Jaguars' offense? Do you think he has the offensive playbook memorized or just a very good working knowledge of it? Thanks.
John: He has an outstanding working knowledge of it – not to the detailed, nuanced, down-to-the-last-detail knowledge of quarterback Blake Bortles and offensive coordinator Greg Olson, perhaps … but he knows it.
Robert from Jacksonville:
Everyone knows that John Elway got away with not being clutch for much of his career, just like Peyton Manning did, so my question is … wait …reality just called, and it wants me back. Gotta go.
John: Yeah, to be so unclutch …
Peyton from Indy:
Why does Greg think I'm not clutch? (Say it like - Nationwide is on my side)
John: I laughed at this.
James from Ohio:
I'm tired of people and radio talk shows saying how we are leaving and going to London – because we are not! Why can't people focus on the season and see what we are all about and see the fans in the stands and what Shad Khan has put into this team. Very frustrating! We are Duval.
John: The truth is what counts, and people who know this team and follow it know the truth. Try not to worry about the noise. That will diminish as the team improves. You can't control perception on this front, at least not in the short term. It will change – not as fast as you want it to, but it will change. #DTWD
Glen from Riverside and OP:
Can we stop hating on Marqise Lee at least until the second preseason game? Let's give him a chance to get fully healthy before rushing him back on the field just to avoid appearances from previous seasons. Am I wrong? Does he possess the talent worthy of patience? Will two-to-three weeks of preseason be enough for him to get on the same page with Blake Bortles and the guys?
John: No, people won't stop hating on Lee when he is out with hamstring injuries – because "hating" is what fans do and because fan frustration is understandable in this situation. But no, you're not wrong: Lee's talent is enough to merit patience if patience is what you want to show. And yes – two or three weeks is enough to get in sync with Bortles and the offense. But first, Lee has to get on the field to have a chance to get in sync. That hasn't been easy.
Adam from Saint Johns, FL:
The first day of camp Gus says, "We have to teach the players to be accountable." On Tuesday, he goes off on them about the intensity and being accountable. Many fans – including myself – said this last season and we were told that Gus has to stay true to what he is. Now, is he not being true to who he is? If he's a different coach today – one that we as fans thought he was when we hired him – than the coach the players loved last year, how is that going to work? I'm glad he's fired up. It gives me hope, but it flies in the face in what we were told last season. Which is it, O?
John: This week was not the first time Bradley has been angry after a practice. It's also not the first time he has talked to them about intensity and being accountable.
Keith from Jacksonville:
How do we know the players are better? We've heard for six years about players flashing in camp and making great plays and then the team sucks when the regular season starts. How do we know this won't happen again? It's hard to get excited when we've been burned year after year after year...
John: How do we know? We don't, Keith. That's because this is professional sports and not a scripted movie. That's why people love sports – because of the unknown. So, no – I don't know for certain how this team will fare this season. No one does. What I do know is this team is more talented than past versions – and I believe that talent is going to produce an improved team this season that has a chance to be really, really good in the not-so-distant future. If you want something where you know something more for sure than that, go watch "North Dallas Forty." That way you can watch it already knowing Nolte's character makes the catch, but the kicker misses the extra point. (What? Oh, sorry).
O-Zone: Spoiler alert
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Michael from Jacksonville: