Let's get to it . . . Mike from Section 238:
Are pads or contact allowed at minicamp?
John: The short answer is no. Players do bump into each other, of course, and there are times when defenders will put their hands on offensive players, but in terms of anything you think of as traditional football contact, it's not allowed at any time in the offseason. The first time there can be contact in practice is during training camp, when it can occur in one practice a day.
Jamie from Valdosta, GA:
I attended the Caravan Saturday here in Valdosta. It was a great time. I have been a season-ticket holder since 1995, and this was the first time I have had my picture taken with any player. My question: How will the caravan success be measured? TV, merchandise, season tickets? I hope this is a trend Mr. Khan continues. Is it too early to measure the success? Thanks.
John: An event such as the Caravan isn't measured in the days, weeks or even months after it is held. In fact, an event such as the Caravan isn't really measured at all in any specific sense. It is part of a long-term initiative to expand the franchise's market, and as such, it will be viewed as successful in future years when it is apparent that the Jaguars have increased a foothold in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia. I believe it will be a trend, because Shad Khan has said he's committed to the initiative long term.
Patrick from Yulee, FL:
What's going on with MJD and his contract holdout? Matt Millen and Willie McGinest both say he is the best running back in the league. Shad said he would spend to the cap? Pay the man.
John: There is a great coaching staff in place and great players on this team. Yes, there are great coaches and players on the Jaguars' roster. Yes, Khan is willing to spend. Yes, Jones-Drew is really good. He also has two years remaining on his current contract, and the Jaguars are far from alone as a franchise that doesn't want to – and shouldn't – get into the habit of re-upping veterans with two years remaining on their deals. Jones-Drew has a contract. So far, he has not said he won't play under it. Until he says otherwise, let's not be so uptight about this issue.
Jeff from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
How in there world did you end up a Sonics fan? I grew up in Tacoma and have rooted for them my whole life. But after Thunder won against Spurs for some reason I felt depressed, it was like they had just lost to Nuggets in playoffs. I guess I just missed them too.
John: I lived in Seattle from 1971-73. Lenny Wilkens was playing, and Fred Brown was just starting out. I was in first or second grade so I didn't follow them too much, but I picked them up during the '78 run to the NBA Finals and stuck with them through their departure to Oklahoma City. I remember staying up to watch the double overtime victory over Houston in the conference semi in '87 with X, Dale Ellis and Tom Chambers. Yeah, it was depressing when they beat the Spurs. You can say it's the same team, but it just wasn't.
Tom from Melbourne, FL:
Just saw video on NFL.com of "Jaguaring." Can we never speak of this again?
John: I ain't talkin'.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
I asked about sending players to the CFL. You replied, 'Again?' I thought that the NFL had a developmental league with the CFL a couple of years ago and then the NFL stopped sending players there. I did not know that they were still sending our developmental players to Canada. Just confused.
John: Actually, your question probably deserved a better answer Sunday. The NFL doesn't use the CFL as a developmental league. The league did at one time use NFL Europe as a developmental league, but not nearly as many players developed there as was hoped, and the league ceased the initiative. The CFL is pretty much its own entity and is not a developmental league.
Anthony from Madison, WI:
You stopped reading at Chad? What if the next word had been Henne? Do you just ignore all backup QB questions now?
John: The question started off saying, "Not being sarcastic," so I assumed the next word was "Ochocinco." So far there hasn't been a lot of sarcasm around Henne.
Josh from Jacksonville:
Ok so let's avoid the common questions in favor of some more upbeat ones. Who has a faster 40 -- Aaron Ross or his wife?
John: Ross said earlier this offseason that his wife, Sanya Richards, has a better 40-yard dash time. That makes sense, of course, considering she's the world's No. 1-ranked woman in the 400-meter dash.
Malosi from Santa Clarita, CA:
How many consecutive O-Zones have you done? I've read every one of them, so I guess I'm curious where WE are at. Thanks for the column.
John: WE are at three-hundred eight.
Spencer from Jacksonville:
I think Chad could use what's left in the tank with our wide receivers coach, plus Chad may be a goof but I always have remembered him as a true pro. Maybe Blackmon could learn his confidence from Ocho, because that's what we need -- confident receivers.
John: I . . . I . . . this.
Billy from East Northport, NY:
Based on the talent on the Jaguars' roster currently, and the fact that you can only have five skill position players (not including the QB) on the field at the same time, what lineup of the Jaguars personnel would give the opponent the most matchup problems? What variation of the Jaguars' skill position players in a given set do you think will give opposing defensive coordinators nightmares? I think an extra OT on one side of the line, Marcedes Lewis on the other, Greg Jones and MJD in the backfield, with Laurent Robinson or Justin Blackmon out wide could be dangerous off of play action!
John: I think what's going to be intriguing about the Mularkey/Bratkowski system is I expect you'll see many different combinations. I think you'll see some two tight-end sets, and you'll also see the fullback utilized. I don't know that you'll see an abundance of four-receiver sets, because Mularkey seems to favor having a very strong run option, but I think a formation with Jones-Drew, Robinson, Evans/Shorts, Blackmon and Lewis would get the team's best skill positions players on the field.
Dane from Atlanta, GA:
I like the idea of getting back to football talk. What is the difference between a "stretch" play and a "sweep" play?
John: The most noted users of the stretch play in recent seasons were the Colts, and the play was at its best when Peyton Manning was under center, then handing off to Edgerrin James in the mid-2000s. The play was designed to stretch the defense out and get the running back to the inside of the offensive tackle. The Colts loved the stretch play because it got linebackers and even defensive backs moving one way and coming up to support the run, and the Colts' offense was particularly effective when the stretch play was working and Manning was throwing play-action passes off of it. The stretch also typically is used by teams that employ zone-blocking principles. The sweep is a more traditional run play, and in its purest sense it features the running back running toward the sideline and waiting for linemen to pull in front of him before following his blocker down the sidelines. The sweep can take a little more time to develop and sometimes develops closer to the sideline, though the stretch can sometimes stretch toward the sideline as well. Another difference is the sweep sometimes features a pitch from quarterback to running back while the stretch play is typically a handoff.
Andrew from Toledo:
Fred Taylor should be in the Hall of Fame automatically. He is Top 5 all-time in YPC and Top 20 all-time in rushing yards. It's a joke if he doesn't make it. Without injuries he might have gone all the way to the top of the leader boards and even with the injuries he still put up good enough numbers.
John: Yes, he should be in. I believe Tony Boselli should be, too, and I believe a strong argument can be made for Jimmy Smith. I won't say the Hall of Fame is a joke if they're not in, because I can see arguments for other players before them, but they're deserving. And yes, if they had played in a bigger market or in a Super Bowl, their chances would be better. My guess is at least Taylor and Boselli are going to get consideration at some point in the next decade. At that point, it's about the voters getting convinced and each of those players has arguments that will be pretty convincing.
Two convincing arguments
Let's get to it . . . Mike from Section 238: