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Too early to reveal

Let's get to it . . . John from Jacksonville:
You have written on multiple occasions your expectation is for the Jaguars to have a slower start and to trend toward a strong finish. Our schedule fits very well with this scenario (in my opinion). Our first five games through the bye week in mid-October offer two NFC teams (those games don't matter much for tiebreakers if we get to that point), the Colts in Indy (a doable win), and the Bengals and Texans at home, which will be the most challenging AFC games in this set of games. In those last two games, we will have home-field advantage. I'm thinking we can start 2-3 coming out of the bye week and be better prepared to tackle the more difficult and important schedule as the season progresses. Do you agree?
John: I've written that the Jaguars could indeed start slower than they finish, and that's based on two thoughts. One is that teams with new coaching staffs sometimes need a few games for everything to start running smoothly. The second is that Mike Mularkey's offense started slow when he was the head coach in Buffalo, then became very, very productive by season's end. It wouldn't be surprising, particularly with a young quarterback and new receivers, if that happened for the Jaguars this season. All of that said, I don't think that has to happen and every season is different. With the Jaguars' early schedule, a quick start certainly isn't out of the question. The big picture for me is I think if the Jaguars can stay in it early, get their feet under them and gain some momentum, then the second half should be better than the first.
Jordan from Muncie, IN:
In response to Anthony from Jacksonville, preseason win/loss column means nothing. The '08 Lions went 4-0 in the preseason – the Winless 0-16 Detroit Lions....
John: And the Colts in 2005 started 13-0 after an 0-5 preseason. The '72 Dolphins, as another reader noted, went 17-0 after a 3-3 preseason. Preseason record means nothing. Never has. Doubt it ever will.
Andre from Ocala, FL:
Don't fret about the Body Issue. I'm sure your wife still loves you! You keep the streak up and you'll make ESPN for sure.
John: As far as my absence from the Body Issue, I'm a little better today. One day at a time, as they say.
Christina from Section 123:
I read a blog. The scoop is that ESPN didn't use your photo because they were afraid that the female fan base would short-circuit their keyboards by drooling too much. They didn't want to risk losing readership or possible lawsuits.
John: Indeed, such is the burden on We, The Beautiful People.
Kenny from Jacksonville:
Why is the consensus that the Colts will be terrible? A team's play obviously largely depends on its quarterback and isn't Luck considered to be one of the most NFL-ready rookie QB's ever? Last year's rookie quarterbacks overall played very well, and Luck was considered to be better than them.
John: Yes, a team's play depends on the quarterback, but there still must be a solid base around that player. The Bengals had a pretty strong roster around Andy Dalton that helped him play well last season, and while Cam Newton played very well as a passer, he also was helped by being able to make plays with his legs. While Luck is very, very mobile, I don't know that he is quite as effective as Newton when things break down around him, and the assumption is that with such a young, newly constructed roster around him, things may break down around Luck a lot. I believe that Luck will be very, very good, but I believe Indianapolis will struggle this season while things get solidified around him.
Nick from Annapolis, MD:
I was doing some research on MJD's contract. It appears he truly is underpaid compared to other top running backs in the league. That being said, he did this to himself. He signed a five-year deal before he even played one season as a full-time starter. It appears he sacrificed money on the back end of his career for some financial security in case he got injured. Had he signed a four-year deal with less security he would be negotiating a new contract and be demanding much more money. I feel for both sides on this issue, especially since he could be headed for a year or two on the franchise tag instead of getting a new contract next year.
John: We've gone over and over this, so I won't reset the whole conversation here. Instead, I'll try to note a couple of things. One is while Jones-Drew indeed is underpaid compared to the top backs, there is a school of thought that those top backs are very overpaid and that there's no reason to overpay a player just because others at his position are overpaid. Also, I don't know that the franchise tag necessarily has to come into play for Jones-Drew. He wouldn't be franchised until 2014, when he is entering his ninth season. By then, the dynamics of his situation could change drastically in any number of directions.
Bobby from Jacksonville:
With all the talk about the receiving corps for the upcoming year, I can't help but notice there has not been much mention of Marcedes Lewis. How has his offseason been? Do you like what you have seen from him thus far? Do you believe he will be a factor this year?
John: I thought Lewis had a very good offseason, and I absolutely believe he will be a factor. People get tired of hearing this, but Lewis would still be a factor if he caught no passes because he is perhaps the best blocking tight end in the NFL. And just because the NFL has turned into a passing league doesn't mean being a good blocking tight end is meaningless. That said, I expect Lewis to have a better year receiving this season, and I do know this: Mularkey likes to use the tight end extensively in the offense, and he's excited about Lewis' role in the system.
Ryan from Pontiac, IL:
I'd say the Jaguars' linebacker corps is the strongest group on the team. My question is, how high would you rank the Jaguars' linebackers compared to the rest of the league? I know the 3-4 is a different style, but I would imagine they are still up there with the best of them. Also, thank you for the streak sir. It's been great in the dog days.
John: I'd put the Jaguars' linebackers among the best, certainly among the teams that run a four-three defense. That's a biased opinion, because I know the strengths of this group more than I know other teams, but the presence of Paul Posluszny and Daryl Smith alone gives the team two players who are legitimate Pro Bowl candidates. Add to that a healthy Clint Session and a solid backup starter in Russell Allen and it's hard to imagine a group in the league significantly better.
Mike from Kissimmee, FL:
Bleacher Report has the Jaguars coaching staff listed second-to-last. Main reason they gave is because Mularkey did not do so well with the Bills. Well, I guess the proof is in the pudding, John. I can sleep at ease now knowing that's the reason why the Jaguars have a bad coaching staff.
John: It's summer. That means it's a slow time. In slow times, people make lists and other people read them. I put as much stock into this list as I do so many others, which is to say none at all.
Blake from Orange Park, FL:
Watch the ESPYS? I thought Riggle did alright. Loved the 'good luck' to Sanchez with Tebow. We've kicked the 'what players are worth later in their career' subject around recently. I know that their situations differ in that one has an additional year on his current (yet to sign/already agreed upon) deal, but do you think that the Saints have similar sentiments towards Brees as the Jaguars do Drew?
John: Were the ESPYs on? I hadn't realized. As far as how the Saints feel about Brees, I don't know that you can compare. One is for the reason you cite – that Brees is indeed a free agent while Jones-Drew has two years remaining on his deal. A quarterback can be expected to play far longer at a far higher level than a running back. That makes any franchise quarterback's situation far different than that of even the best running back.
Ryan from Boynton Beach, FL:
Since the offseason is all about lists, here is one that might actually be interesting. Bleacher Report did a Top 10 Jaguars of All time. I find it interesting they put Jimmy at No. 1. He is my favorite player but don't normally see him at the top of that list. Here is the link. What is your top 10?
John: Smith's not my No. 1. I won't reveal it, but will during the next few weeks when we run our own Jaguars Top 25. Stay tuned.

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