Thrill from Section 236:
I'm looking forward to the NFL's new Game Rewind package with the "All-22" view. Do you see a day when fans will be able to select their own camera angle for live games? I prefer to watch from behind the QB on offensive plays and behind the middle linebacker on defensive plays.
John: I've been struck by the number of people excited about the All-22 view. It speaks volumes about the NFL's popularity that fans are excited about the chance to watch replays. Like the NFL Draft, it's a market that decades ago the NFL couldn't have imagined. And yeah, I see the day when fans can choose their angles on live games, although I don't know that watching the game live from the All-22 angle will be overly popular. It generally works best as an analytical tool when looking for something specific rather than as a way to follow the live action.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
I love MJD, and love that you are more than willing to discuss him. But I am also getting worn out on the subject. One can only analyze and speculate so much. If there was one final word you could give until there is an actual update on his situation, what would it be?
Dennis from Duval and Section 132:
Utah, gimme two! I recently ran into Joe Theismann in LAX on my way to a much-needed vacation. While the intro was brief, Joe seemed like a very approachable guy. Being a big Skins' fan, what is your fondest memory of Joe?
John: Theismann was the quarterback when the 'Skins won their first Super Bowl, so his play that season and the next – in 1983, when he was the NFL Most Valuable Player – I always will remember fondly. A lot of people aren't fans of Theismann as a television commentator, but I've never minded him, and in terms of being accommodating to the media and approachable to fans, he always has been one of the best. Theismann loves his own opinion and loves sharing it, and on the occasions on which I've worked with him, that's been a very enjoyable combination.
Joshua from St. Johns, FL:
You have alluded to "improved coaching" this year several times. I agree the current regime is an improvement over the previous installation, but I want to know if you think Jack Del Rio was just not a good head coach, or if he just didn't have the right staff, etc.
John: I think it was a combination. As I've said before, I didn't cover Del Rio's first eight years, so I don't know much about that time. There was some success and my understanding is he had an uncanny ability to get the team up for big games and big moments. I don't know how many teams would have won a whole lot of division titles during that era with Peyton Manning in his prime in the same division. By last season, I think there were just a lot of factors working against the Jaguars' coaching staff. Del Rio was in his ninth season with a feeling that he wouldn't be around for a 10th, and that's a tough situation for any coach. Having so many assistants on one-year contracts didn't help, either. The staff is more stable now, and has more experience at the wide receiver and quarterback positions, and I think that will make the Jaguars a better-coached team this season.
Jimmy from Jacksonville:
Do you believe they actually found the Higgs boson particle, the final piece of the Standard Model of Particle Physics, or do you think this is all a hoax generated by the Swiss media to create a groundswell of publicity and funding in the name of "science." I personally prefer tearing up the Standard Model and going back to the drawing board. What say ye?
John: Green . . . no, blue.
Mark from Jacksonville:
Joining the discussion of players wanting new contracts, look at the history of the Steelers and contracts with players. Now look at the Steelers' record. They don't overpay nor do they underpay, they pay to win. It is a system the Jags are following and it will work. Time will tell.
John: It is the proper system, and it's one that has been tested over time around the league. Offseasons aren't always easy when you stick to that system because fans and outside pressures can push you to break with the plan.
Doug from Jacksonville:
Taking what I think to be obvious choices Gabbert and Blackmon out of the equation, what player are you most excited to see this upcoming season?
John: I'm interested to see how Tyslon Alualu and Eben Britton will play considering their health situations. If they're able to take a step forward, that will help the Jaguars' lines and solidify the roster significantly.
Greg from Orlando, FL:
Shaun Alexander had a career year in 2005. Re-signed for eight-years, $62 million in early March of 2006. Played three more years only starting in 20 games and was done. Jamal Anderson had a career year in 1998. Got a new five-year, $32 million dollar contract in 1999. Played just three more years starting in only 21 games. I know it's hard for some fans to let go of players and it is really easy to romanticize players, but Gene is doing the job that needs to be done. He's a silent guardian. A watchful protector. Personally, I think it would be a fine time to trade MJD, but that's just me.
John: It's the fans' job to love players and believe they will play forever at a high level. It's the general managers' job to know that doesn't happen. As far as trading Jones-Drew, I don't see that as the right move. He's very valuable to the Jaguars' offense, and that value is greater than that which he would draw in a trade.
Austin from San Antonio, TX:
Is signing Plaxico Burress or Braylon Edwards this off-season completely out the window at this point?
John: I'd be shocked if either happens.
Jason from Orange Park, FL:
With the advent of communication outlet such as blogs and twitter and the amount of misinformation out there, have you taken to watching the new HBO series "The Newsroom"? If so, what did you think of it?
John: I've watched it and probably will continue to do so. Like many, I find Aaron Sorkin's quick-fire dialogue a bit much at times, but he does have a knack for creating drama and holding a compelling storyline through a series of episodes. I don't think I'll like it as much as West Wing, but it's very watchable. It probably overhypes the drama of a newsroom a bit, but it's television. That's what you must do.
Josh from Jacksonville Beach, FL and Section 106:
A couple of kickers signed contracts recently and the T-U is reporting renewed talks between the Jags and Josh Scobee. Do you believe the two sides come to an agreement before camp?
John: I do.
Hogfish from Mayport, FL and Section 441:
Right now, no news is good news, because all the news you would see would be arrests and injuries. My question is: When is the last time you went to a game as a fan? Do you miss being able to view a football game without looking for a story? What part of the game-day experience would you most like to be able to participate in?
John: I think the last time I went to an NFL game as a fan was one of the preseason games at the Gator Bowl in the early 1990s, the game designed to show the league the city deserved a team. I've been to a few college football games and other sporting events over the years as a fan, and honestly, I don't enjoy it that much. I find myself not really feeling a part of it. I have a 15-year-old son, and obviously it would be nice to take him to games and share that, but I've been covering games so long that I don't miss much about the game-day experience as a fan.
Franklyn from Orange Park, FL:
Have any of the players talked about the new CBA's restrictions on practice time; specifically that the footballs have to be locked up? I understand the players' union put that in and I am wondering how many of the players find it objectionable?
John: I don't get the idea most players mind the rules now – i.e., in the dead period between the end of minicamp and training camp. They've put their work in for the off-season, and they're getting some downtime to be ready mentally for the season. I did get the idea that a lot of the more-focused players didn't much like the rules before mid-April. I don't know that they minded not being able to use the footballs – i.e., being able to get on the field – but not being able to talk football with the coaches struck a lot of the players as a little silly.
Sort of silly
Thrill from Section 236: