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Rules are rules

Let's get to it . . . Thomas from Jacksonville:
I have heard people say if Gabbert and Henne perform about the same during training camp, Gabbert should sit behind Henne and learn. I think it's a bad idea. For one, experience is life's greatest teacher. Second, if Henne is only on par with Gabbert, what does he stand to gain by learning from him? No disrespect to Henne because he's shown flashes of being a decent quarterback, but that would be like a C student getting tutoring from another C student and everyone expects him to become an A student.
John: I think "what people say" about the Gabbert-Henne situation is going to matter very little when it comes to deciding what happens. This is truly one of those issues that is being discussed outside the organization with a far different tone than inside. Outside, there's this perception Henne was brought in because of a dissatisfaction with Gabbert and that there is uncertainty within the organization about quarterback. Inside, the idea is that Gabbert is the starter and Henne is a capable backup. Is he here to compete with Gabbert? Yes. Could he possibly start if he dramatically outplays him? Sure. But Cameron Bradfield could theoretically beat out Eugene Monroe at left tackle, too, and no one's thinking that's going to be the case. I'm not big right now on the sitting-and-learning scenario, either. Gabbert is the quarterback. Play him.
Fred from Jacksonville:
Shouldn't the Scobee negotiations be brought to an end? Anyone thinking they have a "plan" should watch the end of the Colts game again. Anyone on the management team win a game for us, let alone a 59-yard field goal? We have the opportunity to have a Pro Bowl level kicking game for the next several years. We pay big upfront money to second- and third-round draft picks that haven't made a meaningful contribution. We're under the cap. Let's do the deal.
John: Scobee is franchised. There's really no realistic risk he won't be kicking for the Jaguars next season. I like Scobee. I hope he makes as much money as he possibly can, but that doesn't mean the Jaguars have any reason from their perspective to be in any hurry to sign him. The players association as a group agreed to the franchise tag, and teams have every right to use it. The Jaguars are using it, and that means there's no reason to worry on this front.
Kyle from Palm Coast, FL:
There has been some talk that Mike Thomas has looked quite average in the OTAs. The talk is he may be cut if he is not one of the top three receivers on the team because of his higher salary. With so much cap room, would releasing him in such a case be salary-cap based, or 'status quo' (not upsetting other players when a backup makes so much)?
John: The "talk" that Thomas has looked average in OTAs likely had its genesis Wednesday with Mark Long of the Associated Press tweeting that after watching OTAs he was less certain than ever that Thomas would be on the roster next season. That's Long's opinion, and while I can't say Thomas has been spectacular in OTAs I can't say, either, that anything he has done in shorts and no pads would lead me to think he's in danger of losing a roster spot. Whatever happens with Thomas, money almost certainly won't play a role. As Tania Ganguli of the Florida Times-Union reported Wednesday, Thomas is guaranteed about $6 million more over the next two seasons. That would refute the theory that salary could cost him a roster spot. There's also the other theory that being guaranteed so much would ensure him a position. I don't see that, either. My thought on Thomas is if he's one of the Top 5 receivers – which it seems likely he will be – he will be on the team, but I don't think his guaranteed money is substantial enough that it's going to come up in cut-down day discussions come August or September.
James from Bossier City, LA:
Why would the rookie wage scale not be considered "collusion?" All owners banded together to set up fixed wages for rookies, and I agree it was a good thing to do. Legally, shouldn't that be considered collusion? If they can do it to rookies, why not to veterans, too? Give a pay scale, and pay that amount. If Brees, Brady, Manning, etc., want to play for whatever the owners want to pay them, great. If not, there are other players. While I get that owners might not be willing to do that, why would this be any different than the rookie wage scale, in a legal sense?
John: The rookie wage scale was collectively bargained, meaning players as a group agreed to it. Otherwise, you're right – it would be collusion. That's why you never saw it happen before the recent Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Jack from Mountain Home AFB:
If we do have another sub-par season, do you see us drafting a QB in the first round, say Barkley maybe?
John: We're pretty heavy into speculative mode, but that's where we are in the off-season. If the Jaguars have a season that puts them in position to pick in the Top 3? Well, sure a quarterback would be a possibility, because that would mean a season of pretty disastrous proportions. I think most franchises in that situation would at least consider quarterback, and in the Jaguars' case, it would stand to reason such a record meant that Blaine Gabbert probably struggled. That's a pretty big if, though. This team's roster is well-rounded and deep enough that I don't see a disastrous season as very likely.
Nick from Lebanon, PA:
I know the CBA doesn't allow any coaching on the field after the two hours, but wouldn't coaches be able to essentially do the same individual coaching inside where there's no camera that they were planning on doing outside?
John: In theory, yes, but Jaguars Head Coach Mike Mularkey is a stickler when it comes to the rules, and the benefits wouldn't be worth the punishment if caught. The topics certainly can be discussed in meetings off the field, though that's not quite the same as running the player through a live repetition on the field.
Andy from St. Johns, FL:
Man-O-Man, O-Man. Some people's children! I tell you, that one day when we finally win a Super Bowl in this city, your Inbox the next morning is still going to be filled with questions on why we didn't win by more points or some complaint about how we won the game.
John: Your question reminds me of something I used to tell Pete Prisco, now of CBS Sports, when we covered the Jaguars together. Pete was pretty well known for being a little overly critical at times and I used to joke if the Jaguars won the Super Bowl his lede the next day would read, "The Jaguars won the Super Bowl Sunday while rushing for 75 yards, again raising questions about the team's running game." But reminiscing aside, yeah, people would find a reason to complain, and far more likely, they'd start worrying about the following season within a day or two.
Cameron from Kansas City, MO:
I'm not from Jacksonville nor do I follow the Jaguars, but as a whole, how do you think the majority of Jaguars fans feel about Gene Smith? From what I've read, the city of Jacksonville is mortified they didn't get Tim Tebow and that a substantial number of season tickets were not renewed because of this. Is this true? Or is the media being lazy?
John: Jaguars fans seem split on Smith, which makes sense. Many see a roster that is young and improving and have faith that the results on the field will soon reflect that. Others see a team that went 5-11 last season and believe any team that is 5-11 is by definition a bad team bereft of talent and that anyone running that team should be fired. That's a split that seems logical under the circumstances. As for Tebow, the furor over that has died down a bit. There was a faction of people upset the Jaguars didn't acquire him, but Tebow in the end preferred to go to the Jets. My sense is that many Jaguars fans understand this, and that the damage done to the season-ticket base was infinitesimal.
Dave from Midlothian, VA:
I don't understand why according to the CBA rules the players are not able to be coached more than the allotted times. If a player needs extra work and is willing to undergo more coaching, then why isn't he allowed to? Are there other avenues available to him if not by the coaching staff? I'm just trying to understand the reasoning behind the rule, and coming up empty.
John: There isn't much reasoning behind the rule. When the NFLPA and NFL negotiated the CBA, these were the rules they put in. OTA practices can go two hours. Anything longer is a violation. The players can theoretically hire their own coaches, but that's not particularly realistic during the structured off-season program from April-June. It's an awkward setup that's not ideal. Coaches don't like it and a lot of players don't, either, but those are the rules.

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