JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Sid from Pittsburgh, PA:
Should the Redskins change their name or stick to tradition?
John: This is a tricky one for me. For more than 20 years, the Redskins were a big part of my life and a huge part of my relationship with my father. I grew up on the 'Skins, and without them, there was a long time when my relationship with my father wouldn't have been the same. During that time, the idea of changing the name would have been difficult. I stopped being a big fan of professional sports teams along around the time I started covering college and professional sports, so it has been about 20 years since the Redskins meant much to me. For that reason, I see it more objectively, which is why it now wouldn't bother me if they changed the name. And if it's offensive to a group of people – which it seems to be – I don't know that there's much benefit to keeping it. So, yes, I'd favor a change, but I do understand people who are emotionally in favor of keeping it the same.
Scott from Jacksonville:
JP makes it sound like your name is pronounced Oh-zher while others I've heard pronounce it Oh-sher, which is it?
John: It's Oh-zher.
Steve from Jacksonville:
I realize I could "Google" this, but I thought it might be a question other fans would be interested in getting a refresher on – and maybe a bit of your own "take" on. What was Gus Bradley's early career in football generally? Did he ever play in the league? Did he start out as a college coach or was he a bottom of the barrel "quality-control" guy who worked his way up?
John: Bradley's bio is indeed Google-able, and it's also on this website, but hey – let's do a blow-by-blow anyway. Bradley never played in the NFL, but started his coaching career at his alma mater – North Dakota State – in 1990 and 1991. He spent four years at Fort Lewis College, then 10 more years at North Dakota State before joining Tampa Bay as quality control coach. He spent 2007 and 2008 as the Buccaneers' linebackers coach before becoming the Seattle Seahawks' defensive coordinator. Perhaps the most notable thing about Bradley's career is for the first 15 years that were spent at Fort Lewis and North Dakota State, he never particularly aspired to or obsessed over coaching in the NFL, instead focusing on the job at hand. Once he made it to the NFL, his approach and personality stood out enough that his ascension has been remarkably rapid.
Brian from Orange Park, FL:
O-man, I never disagree with you but you are wrong about the Colbert fiasco. To say it doesn't change what's going on at EverBank Field is to overlook the efforts of the marketing department. I had a number of friends on Facebook that had one, never heard of the cabanas; two, didn't know about the scoreboards and; three, had the mentality of "Same old Jags." It's easy to discount them and call them idiots, but they've been to games in the past. If the goal is to drive ticket sales and reach new revenue streams, then Colbert's comments only furthered their mistaken belief and provided them confidence that they were right: "Same old Jags." When things are incorrectly misrepresented by the media; print, radio, television, it needs to be corrected, and quickly. If those errors aren't addressed we'll never get new rears in the seats.
John: This may be one where we agree to disagree, mainly because we seem to be coming at this from entirely different perspectives. First, the "Colbert" fiasco doesn't change what's going on at EverBank Field in the least. The Jaguars aren't going to tear out the cabanas or pave over the pools, nor are they going to stop trying to upgrade the team on the field or the facilities. That's the thrust of what's going on at EverBank: a genuine daily ongoing effort to try to make the fan experience and the team the best in the NFL. The marketing department and others in the building are constantly pushing that message, and they will continue to do so with the idea that in time more and more people will grasp that these are indeed not the "Same Old Jags." Certainly no one is discounting or calling anyone idiots, but the Jaguars can't control things like the "Colbert fiasco." What they can control is improving each day on and off the field. That's the way to change perceptions and put rears in the seats long term, not getting worked up about a bit or two on Comedy Central.
Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL:
When you talk about fixing slow releases, I can't help but to think of one No. 7 in teal that couldn't remedy the situation. Here's one fer hoping Bortles doesn't go down the same road as the last two. The Jags are long overdue for some good (not even great, just good) quarterback play.
John: I don't see Bortles' release being a huge issue. From watching him in the offseason, it could probably be quicker, but it certainly isn't laborious or something that stands out. It also doesn't appear to be something that needs a fundamental overhaul. Could it be better? Probably. Is it a major storyline? It doesn't appear so.
Eric from Boston, MA:
What is the realistic expectation for Ziggy Hood this season? Any chance he supersedes Tyson Alualu as a starter?
John: I'm curious about the wording of the email, because it seems to imply that if Hood doesn't start he's not meeting expectations. That's not the case, but we need to start at the beginning. First, Hood isn't playing Alualu's spot. He's playing defensive tackle, where the Jaguars expect him to add significant depth behind Sen'Derrick Marks. Alualu is playing defensive end, where he appears likely to backup Red Bryant. But remember this: just because a player such as Hood or Alualu or Jason Babin or Andre Branch at the Leo spot isn't starting doesn't mean he isn't contributing or living up to expectations. The Jaguars signed Bryant, Chris Clemons and Hood and re-signed Babin in the offseason because they very much wanted to add depth and allow their starting defensive linemen to not have to play as many plays as last season.
Charles from Bangalore, India:
I read that the 4-3 defense is all about gaps and that the 3-4 is more about the linemen controlling their man or men. Can I assume that is why our 4-3 is called an attacking defense? Or, is our "attacking" moniker due more to the Leo? Would you call that a 5-3?
John: When it comes to the role of defensive linemen, the four-three generally speaking is more about gaps and penetrating the backfield. In the Jaguars' defense, that's particularly true of the Leo pass-rushing end position, and the three-technique played by Marks. The nose tackle position of Roy Miller and the five-technique end position played by Alualu and Bryant are a bit more gap control in the way a traditional 3-4 end would be. Linemen in a 3-4 defense, as you indicate, typically are asked to control gaps and allow linebackers to make plays. As far as why the Jaguars' defense – which is probably most accurately called a hybrid 4-3 – is called "attacking," perhaps the Leo has something to do with that. But mostly it's because Bradley wants it to be aggressive with a lot of man, press coverage and attacking up front.
Richard from Woonsocket, RI:
I had jerseys of Brunell, Taylor, Jones-Drew, Garrard, Gabbert and Blackmon. Almost all are now obsolete. Tell Austin from CT to get one with his own name on it. As long as he keeps the same name, that jersey will last forever!
John: Yeah, but what if he gets married?
Emil from Tallahassee, FL:
So, how many Brandon Flowers emails did you get?
John: Two, and actually that sort of reflected the buzz among Jaguars fans this week about Brandon Flowers after his release from Kansas City. Most seemed to grasp that the Jaguars weren't likely to target Flowers. He's a talented player, so he's going to command more than minimum money on the open market, but more than that, the Jaguars tend to favor bigger, more physical corners. Flowers is 5-feet-9, 187 pounds, so he wouldn't seem a logical free-agency target.
Justin from Hampton, VA:
Do you think we should go after Brandon Flowers?
John: OK, three.
Zoltan from Budapest, Hungary:
Hi John! Since organized team activities have closed, who for you stood out among the players?
John: The Jaguars' three-day minicamp this week will mark the end of the offseason, so we're not quite ready put a bow on things. And actually, with two of the minicamp days open to the public, the media can report on more this week than it has the first three weeks of OTAs. That said, quarterback Chad Henne has drawn a lot of praise, as have wide receiver Cecil Shorts III and tight end Marcedes Lewis. It's difficult to get a feel for linemen, but coaches like what they have seen from guard Zane Beadles and offensive tackle Luke Joeckel, as well as center Mike Brewster. Rookies who appear to be standing out include wide receiver Allen Hurns, defensive tackle DeAndre Coleman, linebacker Telvin Smith, wide receiver Damian Copeland, tight end Marcel Jensen and offensive tackle Josh Wells.
Robert from Bartram Springs, FL:
Am I too old for a mohawk?
John: Absolutely not.
O-Zone: Young enough to style
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Sid from Pittsburgh, PA: