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Significant similarities

Let's get to it . . . Scott from Chelsea, NY:
I, like many fans, was very sad to see Aaron Kampman released. Hopefully he has a chance to catch on someplace else and finish out his career in a dignified way. My question is who is taking his roster spot? Usually the disappointment of seeing someone cut is offset by the hope that comes with someone else being added to the Jaguars family.
John: It's hard to say who will take the roster spot. Roster additions at this time of the off-season aren't typically high-profile, headline-making signings, but more along the lines of adding a free agent who looked good in the rookie mini-camp. As for Kampman, anyone who has met him would agree it would be great to see him get a chance to finish his career on his terms. Kampman likely will make an effort to do this, but he also understands enough about the league and has enough going on in his life that if he doesn't get another chance he will have little trouble making what is sometimes a difficult transition.
Richard from Jacksonville Beach and Section 121:
What a shame about Aaron Kampman, but not unexpected. He was certainly a force at defensive end when healthy and a true team leader. In your opinion, would Kampman be a good fit for defensive coach at some level? Perhaps the same route as Paul Spicer?
John: Kampman absolutely would be an outstanding coach. He has the ability to communicate ideas and concepts, and when he speaks, he does so with the knowledge of a guy who taught himself the ins and outs of the NFL and carved out a productive career. That's a voice players respect. The question would be whether Kampman wants to coach. Many players who are set up financially aren't enthralled with the idea of coaching. It's a ton of hours away from family – sometimes too many.
Bernie from Section 105 from Orange Park, FL:
Great day for the Jags putting Fred Taylor in the Pride of the Jaguars. My sons grew up watching him play. I really appreciate all the great memories. As glad as I was with the news about Fred I admit I was disappointed about the team cutting Aaron Kampman. Since he got here I have heard players mention the positive influence he has had on them and the experience he has communicated about playing the game and life. He is the type of person that makes the people around him better. I believe we will miss him as a voice of maturity and experience. I don't believe you can place a value on such a person.
John: The announcement that Taylor will go into the Pride was indeed a high point of an otherwise long week. As for Kampman, we'll close this series of questions about him today with something I touched on in the Fabulous Four on Friday – that Kampman's impact on the Jaguars likely will remain long after he is gone from the locker room. He played 11 games for the Jaguars, so there's no way it can he argued he fulfilled his expectations in Jacksonville on the field. To a lesser degree, he was brought in to provide leadership for a young team, line and defense that had a lot of players learning to be professionals. At the time, there were players who needed veterans around who knew how to work, study and approach the game in the regular season and off-season. On that front, many players will tell you Kampman absolutely did his job. Now, that doesn't make it a productive signing overall, but for that, he long should be remembered.
Nathan from Springville, UT:
Just for Phil, from Woodmere. John, could you please tell us which of the following compounds are soluble in water? Cu(OH)2, LiNO3, NH4Br, K2S.
John: I . . . I . . . Peanut butter jelly time!!
Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL:
I read that Blackmon's lack of good judgment will affect his contract negotiation. I'm assuming that means monetary and I hope it does. Please tell me again what happens if they don't agree?
John: Mostly likely it will mean Blackmon signing a contract with less guaranteed money than he would have otherwise, but it won't likely reduce the value of the contract. Translation: if he stays out of trouble he probably won't make much less than he would have had the incident never happened. If the sides can't agree on a contract, Blackmon would sit out this season and re-enter the draft. I wouldn't stress about that.
Dave from Ada, OK:
Thunder, Celtics or Heat?
John: I want to like the Thunder. I grew up a huge Sonics fan and followed them from the days of Spencer Haywood and Lenny Wilkens through Fred Brown, DJ, Sikma and Lonnie Shelton through The Glove and Rainman. Part of me sort of likes Oklahoma City because they're sort of the Sonics, but man, I miss the green and gold.
Nicholas from New York, NY:
If the Jaguars sign Chad Ochocinco, that will basically be definitive proof that Shad Khan calls the shots as to personnel decisions at least in certain instances.
John: I . . . I . . . well.
Daniel from Jacksonville:
What dates and times are the OTA practices next week and are they open to the public?
John: The mini-camp practices are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, with Wednesday and Thursday open to the public. Practice is at 3:30 Wednesday and 11:15 Thursday.
Bill from Jacksonville:
I like Mike Mularkey.
John: The players do, too. As importantly, they respect him.
Glenn from Jacksonville:
How is Greg Jones looking? Any chance he gets more carries next season?
John: Jones is looking physically fit to a point he could break me in half with his two weakest fingers and his thumb. So, pretty much usual. I don't know that he'll get more carries next season, but in Mularkey's offensive system, the fullback is going to play a significant role.
Limo Bob from Neptune Beach, FL:
The question is, was Blackmon asked to come here for a visit before draft? He looks and sounds like a player who would rather be somewhere else. I would try to move him ASAP.
John: It may be the question, but it's not a good question. Blackmon was not asked to come to Jacksonville for a visit, which – again – is not uncommon. Many teams, the Jaguars included, do not contact players they plan to draft for visits because they don't want to provide hints to what they might be thinking. I would disagree that he looks and sounds like a guy wanting to be somewhere else. I see him as a kid who needs to grow up quickly and needs to start making better decisions. As for moving him, no. Just no.
Mary from Jagsonville:
So anxious for the season...Can you please break down the DB and RB position battles we will see come training camp?
John: I'm not sure there will be a huge competition for running back. Maurice Jones-Drew will start, and Rashad Jennings will be the backup. I expect DuJuan Harris to be the third-team running back, with Greg Jones and Montell Owens at fullback. At defensive back, I'd say the primary position battle will be at cornerback between Rashean Mathis and Aaron Ross. If Mathis is healthy, I'd expect him to start with Ross playing the nickel. If Mathis is slow to come back from the ACL once pads are on, then Ross could start with Mathis working his way at the nickel.
Rock Star Chef from Atlanta, GA:
It was said teams were skeptical of Andre Branch because he was a one-hit wonder. I remember hearing the same about Jason Pierre-Paul. One did not take football serious until senior year; the other started playing "late in life." Do you see a lot of similarities in the stories and should we expect the same type of payout.
John: I wouldn't put pressure on Andre Branch by comparing him to Pierre-Paul. The Jaguars like Branch and see him as a guy who seems to be willing to put in the work to be a productive player. That's the feeling after about five or six weeks of being around him. How will that play out in the regular season, or the first two or three years of his career? We'll see.
Joseph from Statesboro, GA:
I liked your response about Mike Mularkey and how he doesn't use much Coachspeak or hyperbole. That kind of reminds me of Tony Dungy; is that a fair comparison?
John: In terms of approach, I would say the two are similar. That makes a lot of sense, because they both are heavily influenced by Chuck Noll. Each played for Noll and each considers the former Pittsburgh Steelers coach a model. I wouldn't say they are identical and it's not fair to compare Mularkey to one of the best coaches of the last few decades, but in terms of laying out a plan in a calm, professional manner and expecting players to be as professional, they are similar.

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