Let's get to it . . . Steve from Woodbine, GA:
Pertaining to the new CBA rules, which remind me of prep and college rules, what happens if a player has contact with a coach during the time in which they are not allowed to have contact?
John: Contact is allowable. Players and coaches can speak if they see one another. What coaches can't do is coach a player or talk football strategy with a player. They can't make suggestions about what a player ought to be doing during the off-season, etc. The rules aren't designed to keep them from ever talking. They're designed to prevent coaches and teams from encouraging players to work during a time when the rules say they're supposed to be off. They went a little overboard with parts of it, but it's not as if there's going to be a fine for Mike Mularkey seeing Blaine Gabbert in the hallway at EverBank and inquiring about his family.
Todd from La Jolla, CA:
What's with this "It's-too-high-to-pick-x-player-at-No. 7" nonsense? The rookie wage scale is now in place, meaning that a general manager should be able to select whomever he wants. When the No. 7 pick meant a $50 million contract I can understand why certain positions, etc. wouldn't make sense there. But that's no longer the case. For a (likely at seven) $15 million contract, if I was owner, I would tell my general manager to pick the player he thinks is going to be best for the team, regardless of position or the outdated "not-worthy-of-the-seventh-pick" concept.
John: When I say No. 7 is too high for a certain position I don't consider money the reason. What I mean is when you have a Top 10 selection you need to get a player around which you can build and that you can't find in free agency. You can get guards, running backs and middle linebackers in free agency. Defensive tackles, ends and left tackles are much harder to find if you don't get them in the draft. They become your core and the Top 10 is for core players.
Dean from Rochester, NY:
Refresh my memory. I was looking for Fred T highlights on youtube for the home game where he ran over a Colts defender on the way to a touchdown. My memory is that it was the same defender he had a confrontation with in the away game earlier in the year. I didn't find the highlight, probably because I can't put my finger on the year or the player he ran over.
John: It was Mike Doss. Your memory is correct. Doss, then a rookie, talked some trash to Taylor in the RCA Dome during a Colts victory early in 2003. Later that season, the Jaguars upset the Colts in Jacksonville and Taylor ran through him on the way to the deciding touchdown. I recall thinking during the first game that season that Doss had messed with the wrong guy. It was not, it's safe to say, one of Doss' finest moments.
Stan from East Timor:
O-man, I was watching a video of the first five minutes of the infamous 62-7 playoff game and I'm not going to lie: it brought a tear to my eye. What is your favorite Jag's game memory?
John: My most memorable come from the first six seasons, the years I covered the Jaguars for the Florida Times-Union. I'd say my top two were the '96 playoff victory over Denver and Fred Taylor's late game-winning touchdown against Tampa Bay in 1998.
Stan from Jacksonville:
People get upset when they see their team ranked low because they believe the rankings are written by 'experts,' so automatically fans think, 'Well, it's this person's job to study football, which means they know more than me about this so he must be right.'
John: Why would people get upset if they thought the writer was right?
Michael from Port Orange, FL:
Why do you continue to champion Monroe as a good left tackle? At crunch time all year long he would get a crucial drive killing penalty or give up a sack. He played well most the year except at crunch time.
John: I don't "champion" Monroe. I answer questions as honestly I can based on what I see and the opinions of football people I respect inside and outside of the Jaguars. Did Monroe play perfectly last year? No. Was he elite? I wouldn't say that, either. Is he in the upper half of the NFL's starting left tackles? Yes, I would say that's true and that not only is he much better than many Jaguars fans believe, his career is still on the upswing.
Steve from Jacksonville:
We need more than 1-2 Pro Bowl-caliber guys. With our small market will we always be outside looking in?
John: You draft quality players, re-sign them and build a core. You can do that whatever your market size.
Andy from St. Johns, FL:
John, I need a break. I haven't been able to even think of a good (or stupid) question to ask you all week. Why don't you take this weekend off, take a break, and let us recharge our batteries (and brains) and come back on Monday with some new, fresh material?
John: I believe the time is approaching. Soon, Andy. Soon.
Lee from Duval County, FL:
Todd McShay said, "North Carolina DE Quinton Coples is the most talented player on the board at this point, but he's the kind of high-upside prospect who doesn't fit Smith's style." It sounds like he's doesn't think Gene knows what he's doing. Your take?
John: I didn't hear McShay say it, but from what I read in your questions it sounds like code for "Gene Smith doesn't like to take undue risk on players who might be good if they change their stripes from college." I'd say he's describing Smith and a lot of other good drafters pretty accurately. You can hit a home run on a player such as Coples – and by that I mean a player with a reputation for not playing to his potential in college – now and again, but you also get a lot of busts that way, too.
Kamal from Novi, MI:
You spelled my name wrong when answering my question in O-Zone! Now I'm going to cry myself to sleep.
John: My sincere apologies, Kamal.
Andrew from St. Augustine, FL:
Do you think that the acquisition of Ross decreases the need of a defensive end enough where we could pick a quality defensive end in the second round and go for wide receiver in the first?
John: I think the Jaguars will do what they can to acquire a quality defensive end in the draft. That has nothing to do with Ross' acquisition. The Jaguars want to strengthen the secondary, but no one doubts the need to find an impact rusher off the edge. Can that be found in this draft? We'll see.
Keith from Jacksonville:
When will this franchise realize that the reason they struggle to sell tickets and fill the stands is because this city is surrounded by winning programs (UF,FSU, GA, MIA, USF and now UCF). Until they put a continuous winning franchise on the field J-ville will not stand united to fill this stadium. Just insight for an organization that can't see things clearly from a Florida standpoint.
John: I'll address your thoughts point by point. First, I've been around the franchise again for more than a year and I've yet to speak with anyone who doesn't realize that winning is the way to build a fan base and consistently successful franchise. Now that I've been reasonable, I'll take a look at the unreasonable part of your questions. Until they put a continuously winning franchise on the field? You think there are any franchises in the NFL that win every year? It doesn't happen. Some teams have stretches, but eventually teams lose. The Jaguars, like most teams outside of a select few long-established franchises, need to win to put people in the stands. That's the goal whether you're in Florida, North Carolina, Minnesota or wherever.
Paul from Arlington, VA:
One thing I haven't seen mentioned regarding this year's draft is that, barring a trade, it will be the first draft in three years where the Jaguars will have a second-round pick. It's especially exciting when you consider the Jaguars history of second round picks: Brackens, Meester, Mathis, Daryl Smith, Greg Jones, and MJD. Those are some of the best players in franchise history.
John: Good point. You ought to be able to get a solid player in the second round. It's obviously no guarantee and you have to make the right pick, but done right it should bring in a second-year starter or maybe even a guy who can start as a rookie.
Jason from Murray, KY:
What's up with the UK hate? What are you some closet UL fan?
John: Nope. UNC fan. My mother is a diehard Kentucky fan, and it just never translated. Don't worry. I hate Duke much, much more.
Some things never translate
Let's get to it . . . Steve from Woodbine, GA: