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The love of upfront money

Let's get to it . . . Trace from Jacksonville:
The replacement referees know they will be let go in a week or two. It will probably be their last time reffing an NFL game. What incentive do they have to do their jobs well? I mean, what's to stop them from making absolutely terrible calls, when there's not exactly a lot the NFL can do about it?
John: What's to make them want to make terrible calls? What would be the incentive in that? While these people are replacement officials, they are indeed officials and my experience with men and women in that profession is they take unbelievable pride in what they do. That's true whether or not they ever officiate another NFL game. They make mistakes. All people and all officials do. But the mistakes they make won't be because of a lack of effort or a desire to make bad calls.
Ron from Asheville, NC:
Mularkey mentioned on the long pass to Robinson that if he had not turned his head around so soon, he would have caught it. Everyone was blaming Gabbert for throwing a bad pass, and even claiming he can't throw the long ball with accuracy. Just goes to show, when you think you know you really don't.
John: It all goes back to Jim.
Bill from Westfield, MA:
Not everyone the fan knows of can make the team; there are only 53 jobs. While we may see some of these players play well in games the general managers and coaches see them every day in practice, too. The sooner we fans accept we don't have the knowledge of the full body of work the sooner we can sit back and enjoy the season.
John: Unlike Jim Mora, I'm never one to say fans and media never, ever are wrong, but when it comes to evaluating players, I've simply seen too many cases when players to the naked eye look very good in the preseason only to not make rosters and fade from view. I'll say this: the number of times a young player beloved by fans gets released and goes on to huge things is very, very low.
Fred from Jacksonville:
To Omar's question, the '72 Dolphins were 0-4 in the preseason.
John: And we're off . . .
Mike from Jacksonville:
Johann, don't you mean Bradfield? Moving Britton to guard is about getting the best five linemen on the field. The way Bradfield is playing he has proven worthy of a second-round selection and we got him undrafted like finding a needle in a haystack. Everyone should see this as a positive. Finding an undrafted guy that is capable of being a solid starter is great, not as a poor second-round pick who is gonna start and thrive at a different position than drafted. Now we have a stud guard and right tackle. Kudos to Gene.
Chris from Section 223:
Do you think Gene told the cut players of his practice-squad intentions? Do you think he told Rackley of any intentions with the IR exception?
John: I imagine the subject came up in each situation.
John from Section 213:
Is there a penalty for turning in your 53-man roster late?
John: The Jaguars didn't turn in their 53-man roster late. They waited a while to announce the cuts to the media and public. This may have been inconvenient to the media and fans hovering and waiting for the news, but it was not a finable offense. It actually wasn't an offense at all.
Kenny from Panama Rep:
Why we don't sign Chad Johnson?
John: Why?
Rusty from Yulee, FL:
I trust in the staff we have, but a few of the cuts I am a little surprised by. I thought Ryan Davis, Cloherty, Palmer, and Dennard played well enough for a spot. With DE being a kind of shallow position for the team, do you know why someone like Ryan Davis didn't make it?
John: Davis didn't make it because while the Jaguars believe he has long-term potential they didn't believe he was a better option than the other linemen they kept. The latter is why he got released; the long-term potential is why he'll be on the practice squad.
Zeleznoc from Jacksonville and Section 207:
Do you think Khan and Gene have the support of NFL and other owners/managers regarding the manner in which they're dealing with MJD? Seems like they're setting somewhat of a precedent with their hardline, no-nonsense, business-like approach. I applaud them for doing so & I think most fans concur.
John: I don't know that the other teams and owners are necessarily looking at this situation for precedent. I suppose teams would support them if asked, but that's not really a factor. The Jaguars and Khan are doing this because they believe this is how it should be done, and they believe this will be how they do things in the future. It doesn't go too much deeper than that.
Jesse from Panama City, FL:
Rackley...IR? Please explain and where are we going to get O-Line depth?
John: Rackley had a setback last week, and while not much was said about it, it obviously was severe enough that the team believed he wouldn't be able to play this season. There's not much more to say about it yet, though I imagine there may be more to say this week. With Rackley out for the season, the backups entering the season are tackle Guy Whimper, rookie center Mike Brewster, guard Josh Beekman and tackle Guy Whimper. There is going to be an outcry to sign veterans, but I don't know how active the Jaguars will be in that area. They really like Brewster and Mike Mularkey said he played like a veteran at times in the preseason. Fans love to dislike Whimper, but he was hurt pretty much all last season and I don't know that you're going to bring in better off the street. Beekman also played very well when he had the chance in preseason. The Jaguars won't bring in guys for the sake of bringing in guys, and what's available may not be better than what's here; in fact, there's a good chance it's not.
Travis from the Bank and Section 116:
Just admit it your time here is way more fun and exciting than working for Indy!
John: When did I imply it wasn't?
Sal from New Jersey and Section Couch:
I thought Jordan Palmer had a really good preseason. You say players are cut because the team believes they no longer can contribute. I understand from a contract perspective you keep Henne but other than that it boggles my mind why they release a guy who showed some spunk when it counted. Please elaborate.
John: It's time for the regular season, so it's about time to wrap up this topic. I've been asked essentially the same question about Colin Cloherty and Antonio Dennard and a few other players this preseason. Statistical performances late in preseason games do not always equate to a player being better than starters or backups. This was the case with Palmer, Cloherty and Dennard.
Johnny from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Pretty good article by Jeffri Chadiha arguing to not blame the holdout, blame the system. MJD got to see first-hand that teams don't have much reason to honor contracts when they cut Garrard days before the regular season. Do you think there will at some point be some modification to the system we have in place that would allow more leverage to be given to the player? As long as their only option is to hold out we'll be left with ugly inefficient messes like this.
John: I actually think the system is fine for this reason: players get signing bonuses up front. This seems to be a hard thing for fans to grasp, probably because agents and players continually chime in with, "Well, teams don't have to honor contracts; why should players?" This is misrepresenting reality. The signing bonus is the players' guarantee. In the NFL, the signing bonus is pretty much everything. That's why when contracts are reported these days, they're reported in terms of guaranteed money. Free agents receive a lot of signing bonus and a lot of early-contract salary and you know why they get that money up front? Because more likely than not they won't see the end of the contract. All players and agents understand that this is the system going into the process. The "getting-cut-without-notice-part" goes hand in hand with the signing bonus. That's why it's there. There's a reason the system won't change: the players don't want to change. They like signing bonuses. They like up front money. They won't negotiate it away anytime soon.

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