JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
TBoyone from Fruit Cove, FL:
John: Just watched Telvin in his press-room interview session. HOT DAMN, I'm happy he is on our side. Man talks like a man, and we have seen him play like a winner. Foretells a better "in-game" attitude if I read between the lines of his comments. Is he as real as he appears on camera?
John: You're referring to Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith's comments after organized team activities Tuesday. Smith said he was "heated" because the Jaguars weren't where he believed they should be as a team. Yes, Smith's as real as he appears on camera – and yes, he clearly was sending message to teammates. He's a leader. He has grown into that role and knows it's time for him to embrace it even more than he has in the past. He's also tired of losing, which he made clear Tuesday – and which he made clear earlier this offseason and late last season. Smith also made clear Tuesday he believes this is an important time if the Jaguars are going to improve next season – and finally, he made clear he believes what he and his teammates have done thus far in OTAs isn't good enough. This is a good sign for the Jaguars, as was Head Coach Doug Marrone last Friday saying the Jaguars still had a long way to go. Why is it a good sign? Because both men are right. The Jaguars went 3-13 last season. It's May. If they were talking about the playoffs, something would be wrong. And is it good that the Jaguars are being vocal in their displeasure? Sure, it doesn't hurt.
Rob from Brunswick, GA:
John, I know you have been asked this question a hundred times at least. So, I won't ask it again.
Bill from Jacksonville:
John, what's the "culture" Telvin Smith says the team is trying to break in the locker room? Wasn't Gus Bradley credited with creating a good culture for this young team? Heck, when all else failed for Bradley, the "culture" of the team was the area his defenders could still point to. Now a leader of the team says his culture needs to be broken. Thoughts? Thanks! Go Jags!
John: When NFL teams lose, all things involving culture, approach, philosophy, system, etc., etc., etc., are seen as wrong and therefore must change. The Jaguars liked their culture under Bradley for several seasons because it was seen as one in which young players could develop. Then they kept losing. That meant the culture had to change. So, what specifically is the culture Smith says the team is trying to break? The losing one.
Logan from Wichita, KS:
Sounds like Smith is making it painfully clear that Gus created a "who-cares-if-we-win" environment. That will be a hard cycle to get out of. Sounds to me like this season is already off to a bad start.
John: There will be those who take Smith's comments Tuesday as a knock on Bradley, though considering the respect Smith has for Bradley I hesitate to make that assumption. There will be others who see Smith's comments Tuesday as him making it painfully clear it doesn't matter who's coaching a team, and that in professional football it's up to players do the things necessary to win: "They [coaches] can only do so much. I like the analogy that they're just the wardens of the prison, but we're the officers in the prison that run the day-to-day. They just oversee what's going on. We have to take the things that we go through in the locker room and outside of this building and we have to grow and come together."
Glen from Orange Park, FL:
O, your description of Blake Bortles' performance last Friday was far from glowing. It was actually concerning. His ceiling seems to be fairly low as is his floor. In your opinion how long of a leash will he have this season? If he doesn't look good in camp will they stick with going Chad Henne/Brandon Allen? So much is riding on the quarterback position and not sure this fan base can endure another three-to-five-win season, especially with the same quarterback all year. Throw me a lifeline, John! Tell me there is a Plan B.
John: My description of Bortles last Friday wasn't glowing, but neither was it harsh. He looked OK. Not great. Not awful. OK. I would have said much the same if asked about Bortles in OTAs before 2015 and 2016. The point I was making is it doesn't matter too much how Bortles looks in OTAs so long as he doesn't look awful – and he didn't look awful. I don't expect him to be a classically beautiful quarterback in practice; many successful quarterbacks haven't looked classically beautiful in practice. If Bortles looks OK mechanically next season and improves his decision-making and pocket awareness then I think he and the Jaguars can be successful. As far as the length of Bortles' leash next season, I don't know that there's a hard, fast number. I don't think he can struggle as mightily as he did during the middle part of the season last season and continue to start. Whether or not Plan B would be Allen or Henne likely will depend on how well Allen plays during the preseason. I'd love to give a more specific answer, but Allen has played a few preseason series. The body of work isn't yet there for more specifics.
Aaron from Bethlehem, PA:
Why does everyone call Dante Fowler Jr. a great athlete? Sure, he ran a great 40-yard dash for an edge rusher, but did you know he was only in the 43rd percentile for vertical jump, 37th percentile for broad jump, and 23rd percentile for three-cone among the edge rushers in that class? So, he has below-average explosion according to the jumps. The three-cone drill is also a very important drill for a pass rusher indicating his quickness, ability to change direction, and bend ... and he did very poorly in that. Can we put an end to the myth that he is a great athlete? He can run fast in a straight line, that's about it.
John: I look at Fowler and see a better athlete than you (or the numbers) see, and we could probably have a healthy debate about combine numbers and what makes a player athletic. Bottom line: Fowler absolutely needs to get better fundamentally as a pass rusher, and if he's not successful in the NFL it won't be because he's not a good enough athlete.
Paul from Jacksonville:
Someone forgot to tell Dave from Orlando that the reason "most of us" don't value your opinion isn't because of your bias, dishonesty or inaccuracy, but rather because you keep printing "you won't print this" emails.
John: It's funny. I get a lot of emails from people who like me for my dishonesty.
Jeffrey from Milton, GA:
Can you explain the type of players that the Jaguars, including Dave, Tom, Doug and the coaches, are looking for to play strong-side and weak-side linebacker in the Jags' 2017 defensive scheme? Is there a comparison to be made from another team or teams in the league? Thanks.
John: Paul Poslusnzy will play strong-side linebacker in the Jaguars' defense and Smith will play weak-side linebacker. Though Smith is not as big as many NFL weak-side backers, he has other prototype traits of the position – quickness, suddenness, ability to pursue, ability to disrupt in the backfield. Posluszny's strength on the strong side would seem to be strength at the point of attack and ability to pursue and consistently in the running game. Neither Smith or Poslusnzy excel as pure edge rushers, but that trait is comparatively rare in 4-3 outside linebackers.
CC from Duval:
Watching the NFL Top 100, it just dawned on me that Jalen Ramsey isn't on this list. I'm questioning if A.J. Bouye will get snubbed as well. No worries: 2017 they'll get their minds right and remember the tandem. DTWD!
John: I have a tough time working myself into a lather for offseason lists, and I particularly have a tough time getting emotional when players from 3-13 teams don't get honored. I honestly don't know if either Bouye or Ramsey will make the NFL Network's Top 100 players list for 2017. Both probably deserve to be on it. It probably would qualify as a snub if they don't make it. So … yeah.
Todd from Jacksonville:
Continuing Tommy's wise words about what "we all know." We all know the earth is flat, and the sun revolves around us. And you can't deny the moon landing was faked. Above all else, you have to admit that we are all part of someone else's dream, and none of this is real! Just praying for the day you all wake up and admit it! (Except for the person whose dream we are all living in … then we'd all disappear!) We all know!
John: Well, what do you know?
O-Zone: Who knows?
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
TBoyone from Fruit Cove, FL: