We're taking a little break after two days of Jaguars 2012 Training Camp, and we'll get back to it at 8:30 Monday morning. We've got a long week ahead of us and we're looking forward to it.
Let's get to it . . .
Jeff from Jacksonville:
The new locker room will not make premium players want to play here in Jacksonville. Winning will. And of course, being offered a nice paycheck would help, too. I think the Jags are headed in the right direction and the locker room will be just a nice extra.
John: I don't think anyone involved believes the locker room alone will lure free agents. Here's what the locker room is: the most visible example of the franchise moving into a new era, and trying to move there in first-class fashion. Over time, there will be more changes implemented around the Jaguars. Some will be very, very visible; others, not so much. So far, it seems Shad Khan wants to be as first-class as he can with most of the changes. In time, that will help shape the culture and the perception of the team. Will that happen overnight? No, that's why I said, "in time," but it does feel as if it's happening.
Logan from Big Bear City, CA:
I was reading a post on Bleacher Report that said the reason the Jaguars are not paying MoJo is because they don't want to send a message to their players by paying them just because they miss a few practices. I can understand this theory with maybe a backup tight end or a player not used as much as starters, but I'm starting to get the feeling that Khan and Gene don't understand that this is MAURICE JONES DREW! NFL leading rusher. Top three running backs in the league. I'm sure Khan, Gene and the rest of the team want to win, but by not at least "renegotiating" his contract, this shows us that he is not doing what it takes to win. I recall Shahid said he will do whatever it takes to make this a successful team. If it takes you giving your best player — a.k.a., 52 percent of your offense – a contract, that's what needs to be done. Your thoughts.
John: I'm sorry. I stopped reading after the first eight words.
Jesse from Jacksonville:
Is it time for Clint Session to hang it up? I read he re-entered a game last season after sustaining a concussion, and caused himself to get another one. He is also still experiencing concussion- like symptoms. I know these guys love the game, but when do you say...."it's time to hang the cleats up?"
John: That's a question only Session can answer. He still very much wants to play this season, and is working toward that. It's a very difficult situation, and an unfortunate one. On a story like this, there is often a clamoring among fans to want a quick answer, and it's sometimes hard for observers to remember that these players are people who are dealing with their livelihoods, lifelong dreams and their financial futures. There will be a decision made about this, and until then, it's OK to give the Jaguars and Session time to figure out what that answer is.
Shay from Jacksonville:
Do you think the Jags might "punish" MJD when he finally returns by not allowing him to "start" and collect stats like Belichick did to Welker?
John: I think when MJD shows up the Jaguars will start the best players.
Kathy from Section 105:
What does it mean now that MJD is on the reserve/did not report list? Is there a time limit for how long a player can be on this list? What if the unfathomable happens and MJD not only doesn't show up for training camp, but doesn't show up for preseason games?
John: Him going onto the reserve/did not report list doesn't change much except it allowed the Jaguars to sign another player for the roster spot. He can come off the list whenever he decides to report, and that can technically be at any time. As far as your final question, if Jones-Drew doesn't show up for preseason games, Rashad Jennings will start at running back in those games.
Nick from Annapolis, MD:
It's hard to justify spending millions of dollars on a locker room that gets used 10 or so times a year.
John: Yes, it would be. That's the neat thing about the Jaguars' locker room. It's used every day. It also occurs to me, perhaps naively, that because they're Shad Khan's millions to do with what he wants, he really doesn't have to justify it to anyone.
Scott from Jacksonville:
Could you discuss your days as a Beat Writer in the NFL? What is that like?
John: Oh, it's just a little piece o' heaven.
Ryan from Manteno, IL:
I've always seen MJD as an "All In" kind of guy who would never hold out for more money. Is it possible that this holdout is all his agent's idea and that MJD is just trusting that his agent knows what he is doing, or does it not work that way?
John: I wouldn't insult Jones-Drew by saying it's all his agent's idea. He's a veteran, and one who is very, very aware of how the NFL works. He also is old enough to be responsible for his own decisions, and always has struck me as a guy who walks his own path. He is surely listening to his agent, but Jones-Drew is too savvy and too experienced to need to blindly listen to advisors.
Joshua from Franklin, IN:
Is it just me or are we starting to have more interviews with varying starters instead of just star players? I think that's a step that should be taken. Every player should feel that they matter to the team, and for some, that may come with media recognition.
John: I think you may be a bit guilty of overthinking this one.
Jeremy from Navarre, FL:
MJD is an old story. If he shows up, great; if not, who cares! Tell us more about how our TEAM is doing in training camp. Let's spend more time on the players who are dedicated and are actually at work. Also, Blackmon is a more significant absence from training camp than MJD. These guys not showing up for camp is really getting annoying!
John: Well, we ran one story at the beginning of camp about Jones-Drew's absence, and since then we've scarcely mentioned it in either the news stories or our Inside the Jaguars segments. In those segments, we've discussed players who are here, so . . . well, OK, then.
Steve from Jacksonville:
In response to Craig's question, if that clause included that the player would forfeit the signing bonus, that would get their attention. I can't remember what happened with Ricky Williams but didn't the Dolphins threaten to take legal action about the millions they gave him for signing?
John: Why would a player sign a contract with that clause in it?
Trey from Jacksonville:
Let's remember this about the Blackmon holdout. He was drafted in the Top 5 with a slotted salary. I hold this on Gene Smith. Nowhere does it say since you got a DUI you have to get less guaranteed money or whatever the case is. You traded up to get the man, pay him and get on with it.
John: I often tell people they would be amazed at the emails I receive. Some say, "Really, what do you mean?" Now, I can point to this one email as an example of exactly what I mean. You're holding this on Gene Smith? You have a player who had a DUI and you're willing to give the player exactly what he would have gotten so long as he stays out of trouble, and what you're wanting are assurances that if he missteps again you're not on the hook for millions. The player has yet to agree to that and you're saying that, and you're saying this is Gene Smith's fault? The funny thing about people making this argument is they're likely the same ones who would blame Smith if the Jaguars were to guarantee Blackmon the normal amount and have it backfire in a few years. I'm done answering this question. I have to go find a corner and cry for a while. I'm really tired.
Randall from Jacksonville:
Do you think Blaine can be a Top 15 quarterback?
Steve from Denver, CO:
What do the offensive coaches in the press box work on when the defense is on the field?
John: This is critical for a championship team. They work on making adjustments based on what's going on. This is very complex, and requires communication with the coaches on field and with players who have come from the field to the sidelines. They are often reviewing Polaroids, and having heated, intense discussions about what to do next. These discussions often change the fate of the game, the season and careers. Either that, or they're having a snack.