Bryan from Rancho Cucamonga, CA:
I just don't get it, O-Man! Blackmon isn't signed yet? MJD is planning on holding out? Everything you say is not coming true like you said. I hope you're not telling us what we want to hear or what you have to tell us because you work for Jags.com. You said that there wouldn't be a problem signing Blackmon before camp (though you did say the DUI complicates things). Now, he is unsigned and about to miss camp. You said you couldn't see MJD holding out. Well, it seems like this is going to happen as well.
John: Deep breaths. Deep breaths. I wouldn't say that Blackmon is about to "miss camp," though I suppose it's possible he could miss a day or several at the beginning. That's not a tragedy, and considering the circumstances, it wouldn't be all that unusual. I also don't think it will be incredibly disruptive as long as he is in by early next week. As for Jones-Drew, that's trickier. In the spring I wrote that I couldn't see Jones-Drew holding out because he has a contract with two years remaining. Those two years are still remaining, and if it wasn't apparent before that the Jaguars weren't renegotiating, Owner Shad Khan made it beyond clear this week. That's why for all of the panic among the fan base and the endless speculation among the media, I still don't see Jones-Drew missing past August 5 or 6. There just doesn't seem to be much point. But we'll see.
Jason from Boulder, CO:
It has been well-documented that Jerry Sullivan is a transcendent receivers coach in the NFL, and widely regarded as one of the best in the league. My question to you is why? What does he do that makes him so much better than everybody else? Is it better drills? More film study? Just his own little secrets? I'm really just curious at this point, because he sounds like one of our more important offseason additions this year, players included.
John: Experience certainly comes into play, as does attention to detail. Sullivan not only knows what makes for effective route-running and pass-catching, he has the ability to communicate that to players. That sounds like basic coaching, and it is, but the good ones can do it a little better than the rest. Sullivan also has enough of a reputation that players might listen a touch better to him than others. That doesn't hurt.
Scott from Jacksonville:
Will MJD get fined every day he isn't in camp if he holds out?
John: Mike Mularkey hasn't discussed that publicly, but my guess is Jones-Drew will indeed get fined daily if he holds out. I'd be surprised if he doesn't.
Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
I think at this point Coach Mularkey needs to lay the wood to 32. 30G a day is a lot of cabbage. Let's see who blinks first.
John: I know who it won't be.
Mike from Houston, TX:
Best running back in the league – by far. MJD faced eight-to-10 men in the box and they couldn't stop him from getting yards. Pay the man, spread the field and those yards begin to translate into touchdowns. Wake up! Sign MJD, get him on the field and Jags become relevant.
John: He is already signed. That's pretty much the problem. And let's just say, "eight in the box." Not to be argumentative, but nine or 10? Come on.
Gary from Centerville, OH:
I'm sure you're getting a lot of questions regarding the Top 25, so I thought I would add to that stack with two. First, was there any consideration of non-players in your list (such as Coughlin or Weaver). Second, did James Stewart receive any votes?
John: We didn't include non-players. If we had, Coughlin and Weaver certainly could have been on it. And yes, Stewart received votes.
Drew from Buford, GA:
I am confused why so many people are concerned about the Jags' "tough" schedule. I look at it and see only a handful of games that I would consider to likely be out of reach – the games against the Packers, Pats and away Texans games are very tough. All the others are winnable with our defense. We should at least be competitive in them. It is not a cake schedule, but we do play a lot of average teams. If we get clicking on offense and repeat on defense, we could be a wild-card entry.
John: All NFL schedules are tough, and there is no such thing as unwinnable games. Good teams win games, and if the Jaguars are improved, a lot of the games that people are seeing as tough are very winnable. Don't stress the schedule, particularly in July. Go play the games. If you're good, victories will come.
Jim from Section 114 and Jacksonville:
So, if Maurice Jones-Drew is traded, what do you think we could get for him? Do you think the perception would be from fans and around the league that we aren't giving it our all this year? If MJD does not play, then the Jags don't receive any value for him this year anyways. Do you think MJD wants out of Jacksonville?
John: A lot of good questions. I'll take my swings. First, I don't see the Jaguars trading Jones-Drew for the very reason that they wouldn't get much for him – I'd guess a third-round selection, maybe a second. And as I read that last sentence, my gut is they'd be lucky to get that much for him. I guess the perception would be negative, but I wouldn't much care. As for whether Jones-Drew wants out of Jacksonville, I don't think so. I think he wants to get paid, and the truth is he probably wouldn't get paid any differently anywhere else.
Travis from Jacksonville:
Two quick questions. 1) Your title is senior writer, are there more, or are you just over 65? 2) J. Blackmon has already committed himself to not do what is ultimately in his best interest. Obviously he needs a positive change before something awful happens. If he was truly committed to that positive change, he would only have one requirement, that if he remained-incident free, and was injured beyond recovery to play, his salary would be paid in full. All other guarantees the Jaguars require would be readily accepted, as he would be committed to righting his wrong. What say you?
John: That phrase, "Quick questions?" I don't think it means what you think it means. Anyway, regarding your first question, I'm not 65, but I feel like it some days. Now, on to what I assume was what you really wanted to ask: I agree with you that Blackmon's best avenue right now is to get into camp as quickly as possible. If NFL contracts were easy, he would say to his agent, "You know what? I messed up. It's on me. I'm not going to mess up again, so word it however you want, as long as I'm incident-free, I'm signing." Unfortunately, it's not quite that simple when agents and wordings and contracts are involved. I think Blackmon's situation will be resolved in a few days, and as long as it doesn't take much longer than that, I don't know that it necessarily means he's being ridiculous about things.
Dane from Atlanta, GA:
Is there a very subtle inside joke going on between you and the new video coordinator, Patrick? I know Pat, and I thought his name was spelled "Cavanaugh." I've seen you spell it two different ways over the past couple of days, and I think I'm starting to catch on to something fishy here.
John: I'm a big fan of Patrick Cavanagh, our new Video Coordinator. And I couldn't be more serious when I say that. He's one of the best, and everyone around jaguars.com is excited about what he'll bring.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
Doesn't the senior writer need his own private yacht?
John: Me, I'd settle for a paddle boat with a Styrofoam cooler on the back and a boom box tied to the little cracked windshield.
John from St. Augustine, FL:
You explained to Johnny that winning attracts fans who want the I Was There factor, and enhancing the in-game experience (Jumbotron, concessions, good parking & stadium) makes attending more special than watching TV. What about the smell of the greasepaint and the roar of the crowd? Being there is half the fun. I can look where I want, and be distracted by T-shirt cannons, or a coordinator getting tangled in his headset, or a photog getting wiped out on the sideline, or defenders celebrating long after a turnover has happened. Feeling the thunder of a flyover in my chest, or the air leaving the stadium after a failed fourth-down try, or sharing jubilation with complete strangers at a dramatic win. In heat or rain, win or lose, giving back to my team and letting them feel the love. Not just to say, I was there & I go for ME. Go Jags!
John: Players report today. Sounds like you're ready. And although we haven't used this for a while, you have been heard.
Ready for some football
Bryan from Rancho Cucamonga, CA: