JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Scott from New York, NY:
If Marcell Dareus is going to start or even get a significant amount of snaps, who is getting less playing time?
John: Dareus, acquired by the Jaguars in a trade from the Bills late last week, can play either nose or three-technique tackle. That means he can play a run-stuffing role (nose) or a make an impact as a penetrator/pass rusher (three-technique). Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone this week also said that Dareus while playing for Marrone in Buffalo in 2013 and 2014 at times played a role similar to the one Calais Campbell now plays for the Jaguars – i.e., strong-side end in rushing situations and interior pass-rusher in passing situations. That's significant versatility, but that's why Dareus was a No. 3 overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft and a franchise-level player. As far as his role in Jacksonville, it seems most likely Dareus will play tackle, rotating with both nose tackle Abry Jones and three-technique Malik Jackson. My guess is he will start soon enough, most likely ahead of Jones.
Neal from Gloucester, UK:
Dear Mr. O: I saw the headline Garappolo Traded and got all excited! Then saw it was the 49ers! In your opinion, why not the Jags? Thank you.
John: This turned into the hottest of hot-button Jaguars issues Tuesday in the wake of Monday's announcement that the San Francisco 49ers had traded a second-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft to the New England Patriots for backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. First, we may never know whether or not the Jaguars contacted the Patriots about Garoppolo – and we may never know whether or not they had a sniff of interest. It's not the sort of thing that's likely to be discussed much after the fact – and teams commonly sniff around about trades without them becoming headline stories. Remember, too: while the buzz around Garoppolo has caused many to consider him a can't-miss starter, he in reality is very much an unknown entity. The performances of quarterbacks with minimal playing time in one locale don't always translate to their next team. Still, let's say the Jaguars indeed were interested. If so, it's possible the Jaguars didn't want to give up a first-round selection – and considering the 49ers' second-round selection (now belonging to the Patriots) likely will be at the top of that round, it would have taken a first-rounder to beat what the 49ers were offering. It's also possible the Jaguars showed interest, but given that they could be picking between Nos. 20 and 25 the Patriots opted against dealing Garoppolo to an AFC team with playoff hopes – and instead sent him to an NFC team out of the postseason picture. This last thought is purely speculation, but it wouldn't be absurd to think that the Patriots could want to avoid helping an AFC team if the difference in draft compensation was only six or seven spots. Or maybe the Jaguars simply didn't want Garoppolo, or didn't want to disrupt the offense midseason. I don't know that we'll ever know.
Jon from Brentwood, UK:
John, do you think the trade of Garoppolo to the 49ers will impact the potential record for the Jags?
Ron from Orlando, FL:
Wow, please let it be known that a franchise quarterback was just traded for a second-rounder and the Jags missed an incredible opportunity to address the obvious deficiency for a draft pick that will be used on an unproven product anyways. Shameful!
John: Wow! Thanks for the update. Garoppolo is not a franchise quarterback. If he were a franchise quarterback, he would have drawn multiple first-round selections and not a second-round selection. What Garoppolo is is an unproven product. Shameful? OK, Ron. OK.
Jessie from Orlando, FL:
John, all they had to do was give up a second-round pick.
John: That is categorically incorrect.
David from Orlando, FL:
Could someone give Marcell Dareus a hug? In his interview, he seriously looked like Buffalo Bills organization broke his heart.
John: Dareus did appear sad and shocked Monday while making his first public comments since the trade. And why wouldn't someone in his position feel that way? He had just been traded from the only professional home he ever had known, a place where he spent the past six-plus years. Human nature would dictate that there would be some emotion involved. It's sometimes easy to forget that NFL players are human beings who go through emotions. Same as "normal folks."
Geno from Cincinnati, OH:
Mr. Trioxygen, We are fifth in total yards per game given up; you are sixth. You are first in passing yards per game given up; we are fourth. You are first in the league in rushing yards per game with about 160 per; we give up about 110. You hold a rushing edge over us, but we feel we have one of the better defensive fronts in football. Points are going to be at a premium. We have won three of our last four and are fighting for Coach Lewis and our playoff lives. We feel very comfortable coming to Jacksonville. We plan on robbing The 'Bank. You finally feel as a team this is a game you should win. What is going to give?
John: Geno! 'Sup!? For all of the reasons you cite, I see this is a very tough game for the Jaguars. The Bengals are very close – if not equal – to the Jaguars' defensively, and the Bengals are absolutely fighting for their postseason lives. Any NFL team in that position is by definition a "tough out." The Jaguars' edge would seem to be that the Bengals' offensive line has struggled this season; the Jaguars' defensive line typically has overwhelmed struggling offensive lines. The question for the Jaguars: can they move effectively enough on the Bengals' defense to get an early lead? On that question, Geno, could this game turn.
David from Oviedo, FL:
Alex Smith is running the offense in Kansas City that I wish we could run here: a lot of misdirection and options. In the Monday night game, every time a Broncos defender closed in on the ball, it wasn't there. Smith was moving the ball around like Meadowlark Lemon, at times, making Denver's defense look silly and confused. Next year, do you think the Chiefs stick with Alex Smith or do they move forward with Patrick Mahomes II (sp)?
John: I expect the Chiefs to make the playoffs this season and have a chance to make a deep run. That would indicate they will have Super Bowl aspirations next season. Considering Smith has a year remaining on his contract after this season, I don't know why the Chiefs would move on from a quarterback playing as well as Smith to unknown entity at the game's most important position.
Renee from Duval:
John! What the heck! Pats trade Garoppolo? My first reaction was "Dang it we have to play the Niners!" Then my second thought was "Doesn't the Pats know they are one play away from Brady being hurt?!" I know Tom Brady is in phenomenal shape, but he is 40. They already gave up Jacoby Brissett. Wait. Belichick isn't that arrogant to think he can plug anybody in for quarterback, right? You know this is fun. Why is it fun, you ask? Because our Jags have an opportunity to go to the postseason and who gets traded and who's injured, etc., impacts the Jags' opportunities. John, I hope the Jags get it. I hope they get that as a team they have the opportunity to be special. You feel it, John? I do. I hope the Jags feel it, too. These are exciting times. Go Jaguars. Don't waste your opportunities because you may not get them again. GO JAGS!
Max from Kentucky:
Seems to me the worst player loss this year isn't Allen Robinson. I believe it is Roy Miller. Our run defense hasn't been great at all. I believe this is the reason we traded for Marcell Dareus. What are your thoughts, Mr. O?
John: I believe the Jaguars do miss Roy Miller to a degree, and I believe the Jaguars traded for Dareus in part to make up for what they were missing with the loss of Miller. I don't believe the degree the Jaguars miss Miller is close to the degree they miss Allen Robinson.
O-Zone: Third degree
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Scott from New York, NY: