JACKSONVILLE – Training Camp 2016, Day One. It's here.
Let's get to it … Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Lot of hype for a team that has done nothing in a long time. I love 'em, but I'm still not getting excited until they're over .500. I feel bad for the fans with expectations; I used to have those. But too many losing seasons has beaten that out of me. Which is worse: no hope or disappointment?
John: Wow! Nothing like a giddy, Super-Bowl-bound, over-the-top email to kick off Jaguars 2016 Training Camp!!! … but yeah … you're right, Scott. This team has done nothing on the field in recent seasons to merit excitement. And all of the hype and excitement entering this season? It's indeed about potential – and about players who are unproven, new to the Jaguars and/or who still must grow to reach that potential. But there unquestionably is more reason for hope than there has been in a long, long time. The young defensive talent is unproven, but it is real. The young offensive players indeed must continue to improve, but there's no reason they can't do that. The Jaguars may need to do a lot of things to fulfill hope and avoid disappointment, but the talent absolutely is there to do that. That hasn't been the case in a long time – and that makes this year's hope much different than what has been felt in the past.
Cathy from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Hi, John. Just one more memory, if that's OK. I was on a business trip to New York City and taking a taxi to my hotel when the cabdriver's radio station announced: "The Jacksonville Jaguars!" I screamed in the back seat, and the taxi driver almost caused an accident! I had to explain to the fellow that I was from Jacksonville, and our city had been hoping to get an NFL team.
Sunil from Jacksonville:
I am very happy Jimmy Smith will be inducted into the Pride of the Jaguars. I was a young medical resident at a local hospital when Jimmy was dealing with one of his medical issues. Many of his coaches (especially Coach Coughlin) and teammates visited him. I was there in middle of the night when he was admitted and will never forget how respectful he, his wife and parents were during his stay. I had many private conversations with him and those moments remain the most memorable of my career. A few years ago, Jimmy attended an American Lung Association event. I saw him at a distance. I was sure he had forgotten me, but to my surprise, he came up to me and said "Hey Doc: It's been a long time. How are you doing?" I cannot begin to tell you how much that meant to me. I know many question whether Jimmy should be in The Pride, but I for one know he deserves it. I am looking forward to December 11 and will be very proud to see his name where it belongs! #DTWD
John: I actually don't get the idea many Jaguars fans question whether Smith should be in the Pride. His off-field issues and post-career troubles are well-documented. As Smith said Tuesday, he likely would have been inducted into the Pride years ago had it not been for those issues. But listening to Smith on Tuesday it seems he is at a better place in his life than he has been in a long time and it felt like the time is right for him to be honored – and without question he should be in the Pride of the Jaguars. He's one of the best two or three players in this franchise's history and you can't write the history of this team without him.
Brian from Staten Island, NY:
I understand we are gearing up for Jags football but I wanted to share my story of becoming a Jags fan. I too, loved the jerseys, and when I was 8 in 1997 I wanted a Fred Taylor jersey. The Modells where I lived didn't carry any Jaguars jerseys (only Giants and Jets). So my mom called up every Modells in the area until we found out the one in Manhattan carried the LAST Taylor jersey. When I think of the Jaguars, I think of how my parents went above and beyond for me. Those are the memories I cherish. #JagsfaninNY
John: Gotta go to Mo's.
Chris from Jac:
What do you think will happen first? Fowler gets a sack? Ramsey gets a pick? Jack creates a fumble?
John: The obvious answer is I have no idea – and that game circumstances will dictate the answer. Dante Fowler Jr. has a better percentage chance of getting a sack first than Jalen Ramsey has of getting an interception or Jack has of creating a fumble, because statistically sacks happen far more often than interceptions or fumbles. So, in the spirit of trying to answer your question, let's go with Fowler getting a sack.
Lyle from Kingsland, GA:
Don't worry, O-man: My dad is still using AOL, not only for his mail but for his primary search engine, too. And no, he upgraded from the TRS80 a few years ago.
John: Hey, one fer Dad!
Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
John, I have read that the Miami Dolphins are constructing a 360-degree awning-type structure on their stadium to give shade to over 90 percent of the seats. With all the construction going on at EverBank, have you heard any rumblings about us doing something similar?
John: Such a structure is not in the immediate plans. That's because the priority is on the US Assure Clubs that are scheduled to be complete before this season – and on the amphitheater-flex field project that is expected to be complete before the 2017 season. I don't in any way expect the stadium improvements to stop after that; Jaguars Owner Shad Khan has been consistent in his desire/effort to upgrade the stadium and fan experience. With that in mind, and I'd be surprised if some sort of covering to provide shade isn't eventually part of Khan's plans.
Josh from Jacksonville:
Make the prediction for fantasy points for who has a better year ... Allen Hurns vs. Allen Robinson and T.J. Yeldon vs. Chris Ivory.
Rob from Duuuu:
John, I believe I've read that Kelvin Beachum is a great body type for guard and has probably had it suggested to him in the past that he should try this position. Do you think it is at all possible that this has been the Jags plan for him all along? Joeckel is a little tall and skinny-legged to be a guard is he not? Thanks.
John: Beachum indeed has the body type for guard and Joeckel indeed looks more like a prototypical left tackle. But Beachum has played well at tackle in the NFL and strongly considers himself a left tackle; he'll compete for the position in camp and I'd be surprised if he doesn't win the job. Joeckel has run-blocked well here in the past and the belief within the organization is that if he doesn't win the tackle job he can transition to guard. Still, Joeckel winning the job isn't remotely out of the question and if that happens, then Beachum at guard and Joeckel at tackle would be the scenario.
Chris from Houston, TX:
Since pass rush continues to be a concern (at least enough of one to kick the tires on Greg Hardy (YUCK)), I have a hypothetical: Dion Jordan is reinstated and the Dolphins call Caldwell. They ask Caldwell what, if anything, in terms of draft picks would the Jags be willing to part with for Jordan. If you were Caldwell, what would you say?
Jerry from Tamarac, FL:
Kelvin Beachum's deal is very unique. Why is it teams don't use these type of contracts more often? Is it because players normally spurn them? It seems it would benefit players coming off of injuries or players that have not had a starting chance in the right type of system. I must credit Dave Caldwell with not only procuring talent but of some imaginative things he has done since he got here.
John: Beachum's deal is indeed unique in that it essentially is a prove-it deal that allows him to make starting left-tackle money for the long haul if he proves this season he indeed is a starting-level left tackle. The reason you don't see more of these types of contracts is simple: players prefer guaranteed, long-term contracts because of the financial security they provide; if they are in a position to demand them that's what they do. Beachum because he was coming off a torn anterior cruciate ligament last season was not in such a position.
Mark from College Park, MD:
What is the ratio a NFL head coach attempts to gauge when looking at his volume and intensity per practice with a conceptual notion of injury prevention in training camp?