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Thinking of my readers

Let's get to it . . . Sean from Jacksonville:
Do we have teal-colored glasses on or what? I have been very excited about our prospects this year and I don't care about national media disrespect or national pundits, but honestly EVERYONE is picking us to be horrible. Are we blinded by the Teal?
John: Sure. A little. And that's OK. Fans are supposed to be excited, and in this case there's reason for the excitement. I'm not picking 13-3 and a Super Bowl title. What I've been saying for a long time is I expect growth and I expect by December to feel very good about this being a long-term contender. I don't know what this season will bring, because it's hard to know what the team will have to fight through in the first year of a head coach. Sometimes starts are fast and heady and other times there are struggles as it comes together. Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers were the latter; Joe Gibbs and the Redskins and Tony Dungy and the Buccaneers were the former. What's key now is to see the long-term and know that finally, this is the beginning.
Matt from Orlando, FL:
Do you own a Buler Swiss watch?
John: No, I have a cell phone with a crack in it that works if I press the button enough.
Arthur from Orlando, FL:
This Sunday's matchup between Eugene Monroe and Jared Allen is going to be a huge battle. In fact, the winner of that battle may determine the winner of the game. To prepare Monroe, will the Jaguars have a defender mimic Allen's style during this week of practice? Or is there any other sort of specific training Monroe will go through to prepare for an end of Allen's talent?
John: Yes, it will be huge, but if the Jaguars had someone who could mimic Allen's style that player would have had 22 sacks last season. Monroe is a very good left tackle. I also expect the Jaguars to help him with backs and tight ends. Overall, that's the best approach against a potentially disruptive player.
Pete from Gainesville, VA:
Just wanted to say thanks to you and the rest of the staff for your great work. You keep far away fans like me informed and able to get all kinds of information we couldn't normally since we are far away. Keep up the great work :)
John: You had me at, "Great . . ."
Ken from Jacksonville:
Do you think the Texans are going to be as good as everyone thinks they are? Four out of eight columnists over at SI.COM have them making the Super Bowl.
John: I think the Texans will be very good and will be the team to beat in the AFC South. I think that's what makes that early game against them pretty critical for the Jaguars. If I had to pick right now, I'd say the teams to beat overall in the AFC are the Patriots and Ravens, though not necessarily in that order.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
Does Posluszny remind you of anyone, lookswise?
John: I'm told by the ladies he and I have similar physiques.
Caleb from Jacksonville:
I don't think there's a bad thing with Pot Roast being behind someone on the depth chart. I never liked that way of thinking, for the D-line at least, because what you do with a D-line is a rotation to keep everyone fresh. Who cares who gets out on the field first? I want everyone who goes out on the field to be good.
John: Who starts matters less to the team on the defensive line than perhaps any other position. I expect the Jaguars to play 6-to-7 defensive linemen most weeks, and Knighton and all others will get ample opportunities.
Bobby from Jacksonville and Section 245:
Just listened to the Mike Mularkey show and wanted to comment on the patches they are wearing for military squadron they are representing. Not much to add…that's just pretty cool.
John: Yes, it is.
Jake from Spokane, WA:
I turned on the NFL Network and Charley Casserly says Blaine Gabbert earns the Most Improved award this year? I am beginning to think the NFL is rigged, and apparently Jacksonville is going to have an amazing season. I am speechless, except for all that other stuff.
John: That word, speechless – I don't think it means what you think it means. But I'm not surprised Casserly likes Gabbert to have a good season. Casserly watches film and listens to people who know football. That's a good combination for expecting good things from Gabbert.
David from Durban, South Africa:
Has Will Rackley been placed on IR under the new designation where the team can activate him after eight weeks (and 6 weeks away from practice)?
John: No. He cannot return this season.
Ronnie from Section 123 by way of Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Has Jones-Drew been told about Mularkey's "Hand-Off to the Ref TD Celebration"? Does he plan on joining "all-in"?
John: Jones-Drew knows about Mularkey's approach, but Mularkey never said players can't celebrate; he simply has put a plan in place to make it a positive not to do so. Put it this way: If Jones-Drew scores 15 touchdowns and does 15 different dances, I think Mularkey will be pretty happy at the end of the season.
Casey from Section 143:
John, do you feel MJD's new homeless look with the hair and beard is symbolic to how he needs more money?
John: No, I think he thinks it looks good. I'd rather just leave it at that.
Strnbiker from Dothan, AL:
Has something been overlooked regarding Gabbert? Well documented, by you and others, how quickly he responds to new material, reading defenses, work ethic including game knowledge and mental maturity. I think his intelligence has afforded him an advantage to correct things he was not aware of. For what it is worth, his wonderlic score is in the Top 5 of all time.
John: Yes, it has been overlooked. Gabbert has many strengths, but his ability to see the field and to grasp the offense are very, very good. As he gets better, you'll see those strengths be more obvious during the games.
Dave from Jacksonville:
Glad we didn't trade Blackmon when he had his DUI like some of these people on here wanted!!
John: The Jaguars are, too.
Ralph from Wise, VA:
Your answer to Phil from Fort Collins, CO, was bad in my opinion. It had nothing to say about other players who outperform their contract. The Jags took a risk on MJD and his contract. Did they expect him to be a three time Pro-Bowl player? They could only wish for that. Did they expect him to lead the NFL in rushing? They hoped that would happen. Did they expect him to have close to 48 percent of the total offensive production from one player? Not in their wildest imagination. To read, from you every day, for nearly two weeks, that he "wanted more money" was sort of sickening. I don't blame him for holding out. The problem I have with you is you can answer me with a straight answer and tell me that you don't think he out played his current contract, and I don't want to hear the company line from you that he has signed a contract, then you can carry on with you answering other questions.
John: I'm sorry I made you sick – just answering by stating facts. Jones-Drew indeed wanted more money. He said so himself upon reporting. Also, I never said I blamed him for holding out. Not that I remember, anyway. Players have every right to hold out. Now, I did write quite often that I didn't believe holding out was going to change the Jaguars' stance, which I believe in the end turned out to be correct. As far as whether he outplayed his contract or not, I guess I've never been sure what that meant. There is a widespread belief in the NFL that the contracts of Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson were too big. If you believe that, then had the Jaguars renegotiated with Jones-Drew, they actually would have been forced to overpay him according to conventional NFL wisdom. Besides, I have known a lot of people who outperform their salaries and contracts. The truth? Most don't get compensated.
Nathan from St. Augustine, FL:
How fair is it to say the key to winning against the Vikings will be the Jaguars' pass rush? MJD has been the story this week but I'm not worried about the running back depth. It's the injuries in the secondary I'm concerned with. If Ponder has time to throw, I'm not sure how our coverage will hold up.
John: The Jaguars' pass rush will be critical in many games this season. That will likely be particularly true until Derek Cox and Rashean Mathis get healthy. The Vikings' passing game doesn't seem to pose the threat the Jaguars will face later in the season, but yes, getting a pass rush is key.
Jim from Chulouta, FL:
Nice "Thousand Mile Stare" during the Blaine Gabbert talks about Vikings game video. I think you need some time off.
John: I was actually thinking about how much I love my readers.

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