Let's get to it . . . Cliff from Las Vegas, NV:
How do you respond to the report that Josh Scobee hasn't heard from the Jaguars in "months?" Is this not a priority since he is under the franchise tag?
John: I don't really "respond" to it at all, and it's not all that surprising. The Jaguars franchised Scobee to ensure he will be with the team next season. That's what teams do when they apply the franchise label. They offered him what they believe is a fair contract and believed that what he was wanting was more than they were willing to pay. At that point, I'm not sure what there was to be gained from the Jaguars' end by making a whole lot of contact. I guess we can always go back to Gene Hackman in Hoosiers.
Kevin from Section 106:
How do players get paid if their team makes it to the postseason? Is it a standard rate built into contracts that pays per game? Is there a bonus for making it to the Divisional Championship game or the Super Bowl?
John: There is a per-game bonus that increases with each round and game won, as defined in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Each player on the New York Giants earned about $188,000 for winning the Super Bowl last season.
Mark from High Springs, FL:
I was washing, by hand, my old 'Rick' coffee mug and was still able to make out, "The quarterback must go down, and he must go down hard." It wasn't that long ago, but in 2012, is this still the case?
John: More so than ever. The NFL is about having a quarterback who can make plays in big situations and about being able to keep the opponent's quarterback from doing the same. If you can knock the quarterback down and knock him down hard legally, you have a chance to be good.
Julian from Fernandina Beach, FL:
In baseball, I have heard of arbitrators getting involved when the team and the player are close on a deal, but can't get the final kinks ironed out. It makes sense to me that when both sides are calling their offers "fair" but nothing gets finalized then that's the time the arbitrator comes in and gets them over that last hump. Is there an arbitration process in football similar to that of baseball?
John: There's really not. The arbitration process in baseball is just that – a process built into the free-agency system. There's nothing like that in football. It's up to the teams and players to work out the contracts.
Brian from Jacksonville and Section 230:
When I was a kid my mom used to tell me to get off of the computer and do some work. Now, I get paid to work on computers all day. Is there anything your parents told you not to do as a kid that ended up being a daily activity for you?
John: My parents used to tell me not to eat paste when it was dried on my fingers. I pretty much do that each day after "morning arts and crafts time" here at the Jaguars.
Phil from Fort Collins, CO:
I recently read an article on NFL Stadium rankings. The ranking was based on affordability and food, tailgating, team quality, atmosphere, and accessibility. EverBank was ranked at No. 5. How long is an NFL stadium viable in the modern-day era? Why have teams such Oakland, Buffalo, San Francisco and Minnesota had such a difficult time getting a new stadium? In this modern-day era of the NFL, no teams should play in the dumps that they have to play in.
John: How long a stadium is viable typically depends on how many luxury suites and revenue-producing elements it features, as well as how team-friendly it is in terms of producing revenue for the franchise. On this front, EverBank is very viable. I'm not surprised EverBank ranked high on such a list. This franchise has been focused for a long time on making the game-day experience affordable for fans, and with the changes going on around the organization, I'd expect the experience to get more and more fan-friendly. As far as teams having trouble getting a new stadium, that's usually a matter of the city and the franchise trying to find a formula for building a new stadium that works. In California that historically has been very difficult, which is why most of the NFL stadiums in that state are older. But with the current economy, any team looking to have its stadium funded largely by taxpayers is going to find itself in a more difficult process than before. It's simply a more difficult climate for that than it was 10 years ago.
Keith from Palatka, FL and Section 214:
Regarding your response to "10 Greatest Pass Rushers of All Time," you must not have been around to see Deacon Jones play. While Lawrence Taylor and Reggie White were great, nobody could rush the passer like Deacon Jones. His head slap, to be sure, was an advantage now illegal, but Jones was unblockable at times. He put the "fear" in the "Fearsome Foursome."
John: You're right. I did not see Deacon Jones play.
Blake from Carbondale, IL:
You have mentioned before that you were a Redskins fan in your youth. Then you covered the Jags for awhile before becoming a writer for the Colts, and now you are the Jaguars' senior writer. So if the Jags play the Skins, who do you want to win? Do you have any loyalty to the Colts? When you wrote for the Colts, did you remain loyal to the Jags to any extent? What if another random team like the Texans offered to double your salary? Would you just throw out all of your Jags stuff?
John: This is a question I get every now and then, so I guess people are interested in how it works. Yes, I was a Redskins fan growing up. I remained that way until the mid-1990s, when I began covering the NFL. Although it's hard for fans to grasp this, it's just difficult to retain any "fan loyalty" when covering the league. It's not necessarily better or worse, it's just different when you work around NFL players every day and get to know them as people. If the Jaguars and Redskins play, obviously I prefer the Jaguars win. As far as the Colts, I worked for them for a long time and now I don't. Do I have relationships with people I worked with there? Of course. Do I have loyalty? Would the guy delivering pizzas for Pizza Hut have loyalty to Dominoes if he left? Now, as far as what I would do if someone doubled my salary . . . oh, to have that problem.
Jonathan from Jacksonville:
There seems to be a lot of talent on paper, so if we end up having to cut good and familiar players that is considered a good problem to have for the team, right?
John: It's a very good problem. It shows your roster is developing depth, and it shows that the players on your team are better than the players on other teams.
Andrew from St. Augustine, FL:
Who is the most intimidating Jaguar, in your opinion?
John: Ryan Robinson.
Redmond from Jacksonville:
I just looked at a list of the Top 10 pass-rushing defensive tackles from last year and Geno Atkins was No. 1 and Derek Landri was at No. 6. Where would you say Tyson Alualu is? Probably 22?
John: I have no idea and don't much care. First, lists are just that – lists. Second, Alualu's value to the Jaguars is not based solely or even mostly on his ability as a pass rusher.
Joey from Yukon, OK:
I was wondering why the fans can't track ticket sales any more. There used to be a bar graph to show sales. I would love to know how much more we need to sell.
John: The Jaguars' policy is no longer to keep a play-by-play, day-by-day, ticket-by-ticket accounting on the website. The focus around here is to not be as worried about "avoiding blackouts" as to build a long-term regional fan base.
Nick from Eastbourne, England and Section 412:
"The games did seem magical and I wonder if that's as true anymore." In my case, the wealth of information enhances the game experience. There are storylines that I would not otherwise know about - watching a player fight through a nagging injury and still be effective, seeing a UDFA work his way up the ladder, knowing that an opposing team's player has tweeted trash talk for the world to see (not to mention trash talking with rival teams on message boards only fuels passion for one's team). This knowledge makes the game a culmination of all of the news that has dominated the weeks and months leading up to the match. For me, having lived in both eras...this, for me, is the better experience.
John: There are certainly those who feel that way. I vividly remember the days when most of the information I knew about teams came from the guys doing the broadcast, and there indeed was a generation of football fans who learned the game from John Madden. In that time, before DirectTV and sports bars, the excitement of turning on the television and seeing that your team was indeed one of the two games in the 1 o'clock start pretty much made your Sunday.
The ideal Sunday
Let's get to it . . . Cliff from Las Vegas, NV: