JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …
Bill from Jacksonville
True or false: Assuming all quarterbacks stay healthy, the AFC South has the best four – top to bottom – in the league.
False. This is tricky, and I do see your argument. But while the AFC South’s four starting quarterbacks are good with potential to be very good, I can’t rate the group better than that yet. The South’s four starters – Blake Bortles of the Jaguars, Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts, Marcus Mariota of the Tennessee Titans and Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans – are all established starters. And it’s hard to imagine any of the four switching quarterbacks next offseason, so the division has solidity at the spot. Still, Watson has played just a few NFL games, and Mariota and Bortles have yet to be consistent for an extended period. And Luck must prove he can stay healthy. Until the group further proves itself, there’s too much uncertainty to put them at the top.
Tom from Section 141 and the Mean Streets of Nocatee
When I was teenager, my friends and I used to go for Dawn Patrols at the old Jax Beach Pier (aka the Best Jax Beach Pier.) Occasionally we would drift too close to the pier and the fishermen would throw lead weights at us to encourage us to move further away. I believe that was my first encounter with Gene Frenette.
Travis from High Springs, FL
What is the supplemental draft? And why were those players not available in the regular draft?
The NFL holds a supplemental draft each offseason for prospects who did not enter the April draft, and it usually is made up of players who became ineligible for the ensuing college season following the regular draft. Teams are placed in three groups – teams with six or fewer victories the previous season, non-postseason teams with more than six victories the previous season and playoff teams the previous season. The order within those groups is decided by weighted lottery, then teams submit bids for the round they would select a player. The team submitting the earliest bid in for a player is awarded that player, with the team then forfeiting its corresponding selection in the ensuing year’s NFL Draft. The 2018 supplemental draft will be held Wednesday at 1 p.m. Whereas many supplemental NFL drafts pass without any selections, speculation is that several players could be selected this year including Virginia Tech cornerback Adonis Alexander, Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal and Mississippi State safety Brandon Bryant.
Matt from Section 133
Say it ain't so, John! I mean, I get why it's happening - but receiving my season tickets in the mail every summer was like getting a brand new puppy on Christmas morning! Getting them on your phone is like getting a box containing nothing but a picture of a hairless cat.
It’s so, apparently.
Scott from Jacksonville
Maybe I missed the best part of his career because I was so young, but I don't ever recall thinking Riggins was fast.
John Riggins was a high school sprint state champion and speed was an element of his game early in his NFL career. He wasn’t as fast as Leonard Fournette, but he was fast in his prime.
Bob from Jacksonville
Hey O-Man, since I am the one who started all this ROOSTER mess, I have a new question for you. This is obviously the dead season what with all the talk about Gene's accomplishments, so I thought I would ask a football question. Do you think we have enough space to keep all three quarterbacks on the "ROOSTER?” If not, who is leading in the race for backup quarterback?
Teams can make room to keep who they want to keep – and the Jaguars certainly could keep three quarterbacks if they so desired. I would project Bortles starting this season with Cody Kessler the backup and Tanner Lee on the practice squad. That’s based on a very small sample size in organized team activities and minicamp. We’ll see if that changes in training camp and preseason.
Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire, UK
Oh Mighty ‘O’ / King of Funk, I can’t believe some people are calling this the worst Dead Zone ever! We had debates over the best movie sequels, guessed the song lyrics, discovered some amazing facts about pyramids, learned that you (whisper it) don’t like Star Wars (eeeek!!!) and who knew of the secret musical career of Eugene “Gene” P. "Fingers" Frenette! And there’s nearly two weeks left before the players report, so I might even get around to asking a sensible football question. However, I am not that clever, so I am going to go with best debut album? I’ll go for Black Sabbath’s. Not only a cracking album in its own right, but it also invented a whole new musical genre. So, your choice would be?
My Aim Is True, Elvis Costello.
Big from Blake from Philly
There are obvious signs that show Bortles will improve this season, the most important of which is his support from the defense. Throughout the offseason cornerback Jalen Ramsey had no problem lobbying the front office to obtain/retain big-time free agents (ARob, Colvin, Dez), but while the quarterback market seemed wide open, there was no clamoring to replace No. 5. Having the support of an elite defense full of larger-than-life characters and attitude shows Blake is there and getting better. Secondly, how Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell is rebuilding this roster shows he's all in on No. 5. DC gave the offense tools to score points, pivoted back to constructing a monster defense of the ages and now back to bringing the offense to a championship level. Going forward, Blake must be the centerpiece. Fournette runs hard, but there's a shelf life. The defense is amazing, but that's good for about two years. Once the dust settles, Bortles has the makings of being the constant on this team. Through five years, he has experienced more adversity than most from national scrutiny, criticism and skepticism, but he's now poised to rise above statistically and in championship-level play. All that said, how excited are you to see this team become Blake's team? Go Jags!
I’ve got a few more weeks before I have to get excited about football season, and even then I anticipate being able to control my giddiness. But I do think Bortles will continue to increasingly be a focus for this team. One area you may have overlooked in your list of strengths that will define this team: the offensive line. You’re correct that the talent level on defense could dip somewhat following the 2018 season because of the departure of a few high-profile veterans. But the core of the line – left tackle Cam Robinson, left guard Andrew Norwell and center Brandon Linder – should be together for the next two or three seasons. Add in a young player or two in the draft and you could have a powerful line that could be the team’s primary strength over the next few seasons.
Paul from My Hood in Ponte Vedra, FL
Big O Mega … elite? With all the buzz around our defensive line (very much earned) – and our power running game – it got me to wondering … what all time player of this team would you consider most ELITE? For me I always end up with Jimmy Smith and/or Freddy T. This is pure football – not any off-field takeaways, just football dominance. I have to go with Jimmy. In his prime ANYONE that played would tell you he was unstoppable one-on-one, and game after game would draw double – if not triple coverage – and still get 10 catches!! That's my thoughts … gotta go with Fred as favorite to watch and Jimmy as an all-time elite!
Smith and Taylor were Hall of Fame-level players, with Smith as good as any wide receiver when he played outside of Jerry Rice and Taylor as good as any back of his era with the possible exception of LaDainian Tomlinson. But the best player I’ve seen play for the Jaguars is left tackle Tony Boselli, with Smith and Taylor very much in the same conversation. Those are the players I put at the top because their careers have completed. There are multiple players on the current team, with cornerback Jalen Ramsey being the most obvious, who absolutely could join the conversation soon.
Brian from I Like to Poke the Bear
This is always a good time of the year to bring up this battle. We say “Fan Since Day One” like it’s a badge of honor. It’s not. It’s silly and no other fan base in the country distinguishes themselves by the length of fandom. They just fan. We need to stop being a first generation, expansion team and start being fans.
OK (signed, John Who Covered the Team on Day One).