Let's get to it . . .
Greg from Asheville, NC:
About Blaine hiring a quarterback coach before the off-season program: in addition to the points that you made, wouldn't that possibly be counterproductive anyway, as this "personal" quarterback coach's philosophies may be different than Greg Olson's and Bob Bratkowski's? I believe Blaine is going to have plenty of time to work on his craft.
John: I believe so, too. I don't want to say Blaine won't or shouldn't hire someone to work with him. If he is so inclined he can do what he wants. But generally, I agree with you and have said as much – that if Gabbert enters the off-season program in April in the right frame of mind he will have plenty of time and the right environment to begin making the progress he needs to make.
Aaron from Warner Robins, GA:
Nike? I thought all NFL apparel had to be Reebok?
John: Nike has the NFL contract beginning in 2012.
Adam from Jacksonville:
Can teams begin talking to UFA's and or their agents prior to the start of free agency? If so, what can and can't they discuss?
John: Teams can talk to their own players and they can talk to agents of their own players about their own players. Teams cannot talk to players from other teams until the start of free agency.
Eric from Jacksonville:
It's a pretty bold statement to say that Boselli is the franchise's best player of all-time. I'm not arguing with it, but for someone like me who is relatively new in town and has never seen him play, can you give a few supporting details to that statement? It's hard to really assess offensive tackles because unlike other positions, there are no hard and objective facts to refer to.
John: I wasn't really planning on making this a two-or-three-day topic, but I never mind discussing Boselli as a player. You say there aren't facts. I would say there are facts, but not statistics. The fact is anyone you talked to in the 1990s who knew football would tell you Boselli belonged in the conversation of the league's elite players. I covered him from 1995-2000, and during that stretch he played at a level of consistent, sustained excellence. It's my opinion that through 17 seasons he is the best player in franchise history because he is the only player thus far who for a four-or-five-year period was generally considered one of the best two or three players at his position in the NFL. Boselli was one of the dominant left tackles in the league during a period when the NFL featured several Hall of Fame-level talents at the spot. Had his career not been cut short, there is little doubt he would have been a Hall of Fame selection. Thus far, he is the only player in franchise history who has played at a Hall of Fame level for such a sustained stretch. Arguments can be made for Jimmy Smith and Fred Taylor – and Maurice Jones-Drew seems in the process of building an argument. I understand all of those arguments, but for now, it's my opinion that Boselli is the franchise's best player ever.
Norm from Dothan, AL:
Getting nervous now and wondering your take. In a recent article by Vito Stellino talking with Bob Bratkowski, regarding Gabbert, Bratkowski stated they may need a veteran QB to mentor Gabbert. The article also mentioned an example where the rookie sat out a year. This comes on top of him saying that it may take up to a year or longer to develop Gabbert. Sounds to me like it has been decided that Gabbert may indeed be a bust. If indeed this is the potential, would it not be wise to go after another quarterback in the draft versus potentially wasting another year?
John: Take a breath, Norm. Now, take another. I was at the same press availability as Vito, and all Bratkowski was doing was answering questions as honestly as possible. Remember, Bratkowski, Mularkey and Greg Olson have yet to step on a practice field with Gabbert or even sit in a meeting room with him for an extended time. Bratkowski's message was pretty straightforward and measured – that it's going to take time for Gabbert to develop into the player he wants to become, that it won't be a process that happens in a week or a month, and that there have been cases when a veteran quarterback has helped with a young quarterback. He cited the example he knew best – that of Jon Kitna playing one season while Carson Palmer sat in Cincinnati as a rookie. I never got the impression from listening to Bratkowski that he was either high or low on Gabbert. I got the impression he is looking forward to starting the process, and that be believes Gabbert has the potential to develop into a big-time player. Bratkowski's main message was that the biggest factor in deciding Gabbert's success will be Gabbert – his willingness to work and ability to grasp coaching and apply it on the field. That much, we already knew.
Larry from Section 101:
Ok, GM John, what would it take for you to part with MJD? There is a price (value) for everyone in this league. I wouldn't want to see it happen, just curious what it would take.
John: Interesting question. I wouldn't trade Jones-Drew because I don't believe you can get enough value in exchange for him. You would need to get at least a first-round selection and you're not going to get that for a veteran running back – even one who may be the best in the NFL right now.
Parks from Section 412 and Port Orange, FL:
Since you have advocated Harry Douglas as a "logical target," would you also advocate Chris Redman to be picked up as our backup QB for some of the same reasons? Both he and Luke McCown are free agents this year, correct?
John: I never advocated anyone. I simply said he would be a logical target. Advocate is to speak in favor of and I never said the Jaguars "should" pursue Douglas. I said that because of the familiarity with Mike Mularkey and Bob Bratkowski it would seem logical if they did. Sure, Redman would be logical for the same reasons, but I don't know enough yet about the attributes the Jaguars are looking for in a backup for Gabbert to know how much sense it would make.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
With all of the injuries last season, I would guess that the hiring of a physical trainer will be a cautious one. Trying to find the right trainer who can work with the players to help keep the injuries at a minimum must be the hardest coach to find.
John: This is a question I get a lot, and it's just not a premise with which I agree. The strength-and-conditioning people I know in the league generally me there's very little in reality that even the best in their business can do to predict or prevent many, many types injuries. Injuries such as ACL tears, concussions, ankle sprains, etc., have little to do with who's training them and much to do with on-field circumstances. There also are factors strength-and-conditioning coaches and trainers can't control such as a player's predisposition to injuries. The best trainers and strength-and-conditioning people get the players in as good a shape and as strong as possible, and should be judged on that. Football is a violent, physical game and really, most human bodies aren't meant to play it on a professional level. As such, injuries are a part of it. To look at the trainer and strength-and-conditioning coach hired by the Jaguars and expect him to have a dramatic effect on injuries is to set yourself up unreasonably for disappointment.
Tal from Jacksonville:
With the hiring of special teams coordinator and receivers coach, are Zook and McCardell out of the picture? Or could they come on in a similar role as Spicer?
John: Zook certainly is out of the picture. I'd guess McCardell is, too.
Fabian from Jacksonville:
Who do you think is this year's draft best defensive player? And where's the mock draft you promised me!
John: I'll start getting a better idea about draft-eligible players this week at the Senior Bowl. As for the mock draft, we're a long way from that. I wouldn't look for the first until at least after the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in late February.
Spence from Jacksonville:
I spent my life going to quarterbacks camps and playing the position through high school (at Deji Karim and Sam Bradford's school, btw). The volume of fans that know NOTHING of what a QB skill set is but yet still think they can accurately critique Blaine is not only astounding, but it takes some of the fun out of being a fan. I want to come to Ozone and go to games to enjoy my time, but the volume of the ignorant masses is becoming too loud to do so. What do I do?
John: If only I knew.
Welcome to my world
Let's get to it . . .
Greg from Asheville, NC: