JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Martin from Fernandina Beach, FL:
One key thing people seem to be forgetting about the Pride of the Jaguars is it is an exclusive club. It's not supposed to be a list of all of our favorite players and coaches. It's the best of the best for this franchise, as the Hall of Fame is for the league. If we start putting guys in because they were here for a while and had a couple good seasons, it becomes watered down – and it's not as special for those who are truly deserving.
John: I hear that argument, and I do understand it. At the same time, I have been to plenty of NFL stadiums with players honored on the walls who weren't "Hall-of-Fame type players" or even all that close to legendary. A "Pride" or "Ring of Honor" is what a team wants it to be – and it's also what it naturally becomes. Sometimes players are inducted into rings of honor who in retrospect may not be as good as players later inducted. But you know what? Honoring players who were pillars of the community/good players/fan favorites … I suppose as long as they're part of the legacy of the franchise and beloved by fans, I don't know that there's really any harm.
Tom from Orlando, FL:
O-man, can you give us a breakdown on what players are injured so far, and how much it is limiting/holding them out of practice? For example, I know Myles Jack is working in the backup middle linebacker role, but is that because he is still recovering and is being limited in practice? I would want him to be on the field learning one of the outside linebacker spots as well – since he will hopefully start there this season.
John: The only real injury of note thus far is the minor hamstring injury that has held wide receiver Marqise Lee out of the past three days of practice. Running back T.J. Yeldon was out with an ankle injury Friday and Saturday, but practiced Sunday. Jack is not limited whatsoever and is working at second-team linebacker because the Jaguars believe that's the best place for him to learn the defense. It has yet to be determined what Jack's role will be to start the season, and I expect that to play itself out soon enough.
Tony from Morrilton, AR:
Wow, Corey Grant is FAST … I mean, I knew he was fast, but watching him in practice opened my eyes even more to the next-level speed he has. I look forward to seeing more of him, especially during preseason.
John: Yes, Grant is fast. Really fast. We saw a glimpse of how the Jaguars might use that speed early last season after he made the team as an undrafted rookie free agent. He appears to have a real chance to win the kick returner/reserve running back role this season. We'll see.
J. Hooks from Orange Park, FL:
John, with all respect to the hard work, sweat and tears you pour into this free website, may I make the smallest of suggestions? Could you kindly notate the players' uniform numbers when mentioning them in articles? There are a lot of new faces and I want to know their respective digits so when the season starts I know who's who.
John: No. I'm not going to do that.
Tommy from Pensacola, FL:
John, every year a fan favorite seems to be cut during training camp. Which, if any, established players do you see competing for a roster spot this training camp?
John: There are a few familiar names in that situation, including running back Denard Robinson, cornerback Demetrius McCray, cornerback Dwayne Gratz and safety Josh Evans.
Scott from Aurora, IL:
The mathematics of having a 53-man team deem that contracts in the NFL will be smaller per star player than for star players in other sports. If the kickoff is eliminated, do you believe teams will eventually decrease in size and thus allow star players in the NFL to earn more for themselves – or see contracts become fully guaranteed?
John: No, I don't think eliminating kickoffs would have a tangible difference on either roster size, how rosters or how much star players earn. Most of the players who are on teams for kickoff return duties would be valuable enough to make the team on punt returns, and I don't see the NFL Players Association allowing a reduction in overall roster size.
Joe from Port Charlotte, FL:
O, I loved your answer to Marc about our rookies against third-year players. My question is about your take on Werner. He gets double teamed a lot and looks by designed play but when he is one-on-one he rushes hard to the quarterback. Your take?
John: I'm not sure your question, but I think Bjorn Werner needs to look better than he has early in camp to make the roster.
Frankie from London, England:
O-Zone, when Mr. Khan purchased Fulham in 2013, it gave birth to a Twitter phenomenon in the #FulhamJaguars. However, since relegation for Fulham in Khan's first season - the partnership potential between the pair has dimmed with television opportunities in the States for Fulham being more and more rare. How do you feel the Jaguars see Fulham FC and is it important? Khan buying my football club gave me a reason for the first time of my life to learn American Football and I've stuck with it and felt my knowledge of the game grow. I wonder if there's any lingering of that at all left over or did relegation abruptly kill momentum?
John: I don't pretend to be as well-versed in Fulham happenings as I am Jaguars happenings. I do know Fulham FC is very important to Khan and people on the business side of the Jaguars.
Charles from Midlothian, VA and Section 35:
Not questioning Luke's work ethic, but when you hear: "An interesting nugget: [Kelvin] Beachum has been the first player on the field every day since camp started, getting out and stretching/doing warm up offensive line drills almost 30 minutes early every practice." Early bird gets the tackle spot.. :) I already like the Beachum signing; seems Dave has a way of finding these kinds of players. That's why I have a great feeling about this team going forward. Is it just me?
John: Beachum's routine indeed is to be on the field early, and that appears to be what works for him. I wouldn't try to correlate when players arrive for practice with their level of dedication or how much they will help the team, though. I've seen a lot of early-arriving players who were so-so players – and a lot of players who arrive just before the start of practice who are very, very good. One really doesn't have all that much to do with the other.
Strnbiker from Dothan, AL:
Regarding Marqise Lee, would you prefer a potentially excellent player available sometime or a really good player available all the time?
John: The phrase "the best ability is availability" is a well-worn NFL cliché for a reason. You can't help the team if you can't play. That doesn't remotely mean it's time to part ways with Lee. His talent is real, and the progress he made physically this past offseason also was real. The Jaguars' wide receiver corps is good whether or not he plays, so there's not really a risk involved in letting this situation play out.
Ralph from Wise, VA:
I understand the concerns about Marqise Lee and his injuries. We also saw the concerns about a player, years ago, who was labeled fragile because he couldn't stay healthy. Not saying that Lee is going to have a career like Fred Taylor but he has talent and it's way too early to start writing him off. Let's let this play out and see where it goes. What say you?
John: I say I wish I'd said that.
Tim from Jacksonville:
Dave Caldwell said Blake Bortles had his best first day of any camp to open this year's training camp and that it was a good sign to see him practice at that level. How has he been the next few days? Has he reached a level of FULL CONSISTENCY in practice or fallen off some since his fast start?
John: Bortles has been consistent in practice over the first four days of camp. It indeed is a good sign. The Jaguars need Bortles to be more consistent and effective on easier, shorter throws this season than he was last season. He's making the fundamental, short throws look easier – and he appears to be doing the unspectacular things better more consistently during practice. If that translates to games, that's a really important step.
Jeff from Orange Park, FL:
No question John, just a comment. I want to thank the Jaguars organization for putting on the first open practice to season-ticket holders. It was great...and so were the smoothies and the Chick-fil- A lunch sandwiches. We really do have a great organization.
John: I feel safe that I speak on behalf of everyone at jaguars.com – particularly Shadrick – when I say, "Wait a minute … there were smoothies?"
O-Zone: Whoa, whoa, whoa
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Martin from Fernandina Beach, FL: