Let's get to it . . . Keith from Deleon Springs, FL:
I thought the last year Tom Coughlin was here was the best coaching he did here. That team got old fast, was running on fumes but somehow they won some games.
John: You're not alone. The Jaguars played the Colts in the regular-season finale that season (2002), and several Colts officials told me at the time they thought the Jaguars were perhaps the best-coached team they faced that season because of the exact circumstances you cited. Coughlin certainly had his quirks while coaching the Jaguars, and you can certainly see mistakes made with the salary cap under his watch. Still, when it came to the duties of a head coach he was and obviously remains one of the best. His strongest attribute perhaps was the ability to continue coaching and preparing the same way whatever the circumstance. His teams were as prepared in 1995 as they were in 1999 as they were in 2002. He obviously has maintained that level of consistency in New York. It's a big reason the Giants have been able to make it to two Super Bowls even while many outsiders have called for his firing throughout much of his tenure.
Gabe from Section 124:
Heard Buffalo is going back to a 4-3. For the love of Poz, thank goodness they waited a year to make that call. Do you know whether Poz left Buffalo for money or because of their scheme change to the 3-4?
John: Both. Posluszny didn't fit well with the 3-4 in 2010 and therefore didn't play as well as he had in the 4-3. Had the Bills not changed schemes there seems a relatively good chance he would have played better his final season and therefore, a good chance they would have re-signed him for enough money that he wouldn't have hit the open market. And yes, that absolutely has been good for the Jaguars. He may be as good a free-agent signing as there was in the NFL this past season.
Chris from New York, NY:
Why is there so much talk about Pot Roast needing to lose weight? Vince Wilfork is twice the size of Pot Roast and he's a monster. Why not tell Pot Roast to just keep getting bigger?
John: Different players play different styles and need to approach the game in different ways. Knighton through three seasons in Jacksonville consistently has played better when he is at the lower weight. He knows this and the Jaguars know this. When at his ideal weight he is one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL, and along with Tyson Alualu is the strength of the Jaguars' defensive front. When he is heavier, he doesn't move as well and his effectiveness is therefore significantly diminished.
Joe from Wherever the Most Desperate Scalper Is:
You may have answered this question, but what is your opinion of Mularkey's delegatory style and how do you feel it will work? Did Dungy employ a similar management model?
John: The style works if the coaching staff is strong, and there's every indication that is the case with the Jaguars' staff. Dungy did employ a relatively similar approach. Dungy talked a lot about the skills of a head coach being vastly different than that of a coordinator in today's NFL, and that's what he meant – that as a coordinator, he was responsible for the daily ins and outs, strategies and play-calling of the defense whereas as a head coach he was responsible for establishing the overall tone, structure and operating philosophy of the team on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. They're drastically different skill sets, and there's a growing school of thought that the best structure is the head coach overseeing coordinators with significant responsibilities.
Stam from East Timor:
What kind of business models do NFL franchises fall under? I know GB is a corporation owned by the fans, but what about the rest of the teams?
John: Aside from Green Bay, the basic model is for each of the NFL teams to have one person owning the franchise. In many cases, there are minority owners, but the league's ideal template is to have an owner for each team that is strong enough financially to be the face, voice and foundation of the franchise.
Daniel from Summit, NJ:
I, and all the NFL fans I know, respectfully disagree that the Pro Bowl has any worth. If the players aren't going to play (and I can't blame them for not really playing), the respectable thing to do would be to select the players of Pro Bowl status, and spend the time highlighting what they accomplished with highlights of what they did in games that actually mattered. It's an embarrassment to football-loving fans to watch our best players play their worst football every year. Put them in an awards-like ceremony and show us the highlights of their best. They still can enjoy the camaraderie, and NFL fans won't have to be disappointed in awful play, but rather celebrate the accomplishments that allowed them to be recognized in the first place.
John: We've probably about exhausted the Pro Bowl topic, but your email raised a couple of thoughts. First, I think most astute fans know what the Pro Bowl is, and therefore, I always wonder why people get upset when they tune in to a game that lacks hitting, effort and intensity. This game means nothing, and it costs fans nothing to watch it, so why should they be disappointed? As for changing the format, the Pro Bowl for all of its flaws drew an average of 12.5 million fans Sunday compared to 11 million for the Major League Baseball All-Star game last summer. I don't see a format change unless viewers stop viewing, and that doesn't seem anywhere in sight.
Jared from Pensacola, FL:
Hey O-Man, just bought my first set of season tickets. I will be driving five-six hours every home game and if that isn't a TRUE fan I don't know what is.
John: Me, neither.
Jonathon from Jacksonville Section 409 or Upper Concourse:
Common nickname for the guy who goes and asks for the player to see the coach to be released is called the "Turk." In other news Mr. Khan stated he wanted to start playing one game internationally and that would lower season ticket prices because we could have one less home game a year. As a season-ticket holder, I am fine with that. It sort of allows for the best of both worlds. We get a lower-priced season ticket and still get to sit in front of our HDTV's with a couple friends for a good amount of Sundays.
John: Glad you approve, and thanks for the help with the Turk thing. I'll write it down.
Adam from New York, NY:
Hey John, this is in response to your answer to Troy. While I'm not here to critique you (lots of respect O-Man), but judging by your answer I'm not sure you've fully grasped the concept of BAP yet. BAP means free agency doesn't matter. BAP means the player's position does not matter. For instance, we have MJD but if Richardson is the highest-rated player on the Jags board come picking time... you take him. THAT is BAP. Not BAWR, BADE, or BACB. Now of course in such a scenario you can look to trade down and get in a position to recoup value and hit a need; that's ideal. But, as your answer suggested, there should be no conversation about positions or team needs unless the two players at the top of your board have the exact same rating. Ask your predecessor, he'll tell you. I'd imagine Mr. Smith would as well.
John: I never mind a critique, and I am far from perfect, but I understand BAP perfectly fine. My point was that you use free agency and trades to fill needs so that you are able to use Best Available Player during the draft. You absolutely don't want to draft for needs, so to keep from doing that, you need to make sure your needs are filled through other avenues.
Al from Orange Park and Section 214:
"It just seems more and more that regular-season success and the accompanying home-field advantage means a bit less these days." Or is it that the week off, and the resulting loss of momentum isn't always a good thing?
John: The age-old question is whether the first-round playoff bye is a good thing or not. I'm of the belief that it is better to have the bye and home-field advantage – and if possible, to rest key, injured players late in the season – to be as healthy as possible in the playoffs. There are those who disagree. I don't know that momentum is lost with a week off as much as the teams in the playoffs are good and some are healthier and playing better than others.
Mike from St. Augustine, FL:
Bold Prediction: When many of the FA wide receivers are resigned by their current teams, some Jag fans will blame Gene Smith (surely there's something he could have done) and Shad Khan (for being too cheap). We've seen it before.
John: And we'll see it again. When you're the general manager or an owner of an NFL team you get incorrectly blamed for things you can't control and correctly blamed for things you can. When you're the senior writer, people miss your admittedly weak – and perhaps a bit too dry – attempt at a "Turk joke" and chastise you for supposedly not knowing the game's basic terminology. That's how things work.
Perhaps a bit too dry
Let's get to it . . . Keith from Deleon Springs, FL: