Let's get to it . . . Jack, Deployed, Afghanistan:
With how sharp Jennings has looked, do you think it's more likely that he will be splitting touches with MJD when he comes back?
John: I think it's likely Jennings will continue to start when Jones-Drew returns until Jones-Drew is in football shape. After that, I think the two will split carries quite a bit. Jennings has done enough in the preseason that he needs to touch the ball no matter who is on the roster.
Scott from Chelsea, NY:
I read that players with more than four years are not subject to the waiver wire. If one of them gets cut by a team, how is it determined which team he plays for if multiple have interest?
John: Whatever team gives the player the most money.
Drew from Jacksonville:
I think Slip from Mayport has a point. The three names you mentioned haven't had consistent injury problems besides Smith and his were major injuries that led to IR. Let's not forget the season hasn't even started yet. I'm not saying the guys on injured reserve aren't worth a damn. It's the guys who constantly get soft-tissue injuries and miss three-to-four games to every 10 games. Guys like Cox and especially Zach Miller are always banged up. I get it's a violent sport, but isn't having the body, toughness and resiliency to fight through some injuries a huge attribute to the sport?
John: I wouldn't say Cox always is banged up. He missed the end of last season, but before that he actually was pretty reliable. And yes, Miller clearly has been injured too much. My point to Slip wasn't that there aren't players on the roster who have had a history of injuries. My point was for every player such as Miller that fans want the team to give up on there are players such as Britton and Smith who have had injuries and return to contribute. Is there a chance those players never contribute? Yes. But in the NFL, players who can make plays are a commodity and you hold on to commodities until you absolutely are sure they can't contribute. As far as your final question, yes, having the body and resiliency to fight through some injuries is an attribute, but players get hurt and it's difficult sometimes to discern between a player who simply doesn't have the body and one who has had a difficult stretch of injuries.
Carter from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Give Bianchi a noogie for me!
John: Will do.
Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL:
I understand the GM job is difficult and perfection isn't a realistic expectation. That said, why do you think Gene redid Mike Thomas' contract before it was up? In hindsight, it seems like it was not a very good decision and premature.
John: Part of a general manager's job in the salary cap era is targeting young, up-and-coming players during their first contract and signing them to long-term deals. The idea is to secure your core group of players at prices that help you maintain your salary cap, and ensuring those players are with your team in the prime of their careers. This is different than the Maurice Jones-Drew issue because Jones-Drew is in his second contract, and not expected to be in the prime of his career through another long-term deal. Whether or not Thomas was a wise decision on Smith's part remains to be seen, but I would think you'll know a lot more by the end of this season.
Joshua from Nashville, TN:
I miss the Jeff Fisher/Tom Coughlin era. There was a three- maybe four-year period in which both the Titans and Jaguars were pretty good football teams at the same time. What is your take on the Titans/Jaguars rivalry now compared to what it used to be?
John: My take is it's not the rivalry it was when both teams were good. Very few rivalries seem like rivalries when the teams are under .500. Disinterest has a dampening effect.
Chris from Virginia Beach, VA:
Please tell me that guy's name is not really Biff.
John: He'll always be Biff to me.
Tommy from Jacksonville:
Can you explain how the practice squad works? Are players signed to the practice squad eligible to sign with another team on their active roster? Or is it used as type of "farm-league" for developing in-house talent? Finally, how are these players compensated for their time?
John: Practice squad players are essentially free agents and can sign with any team. The caveat is that a team must keep a player on the active roster if it signs a player from another team's practice squad. The players are paid $5,200 a week.
Marlin from Middleburg, PA:
A wise man once told me, "You have to be smart to be lazy." I guess this puts the O-Man on par with Steven Hawkins.
John: I once heard a wise man sing, "When you greet a stranger, look at his shoes." That man was Michael Stipe.
Dane from Jacksonville:
When we see a guy such as Jeris Pendleton on the bubble, should we, as rational, non-emotional and logical fans be disappointed that a late-round draft pick didn't pan out? Or should we be optimists and view it as a sign that the roster has some quality depth to it?
John: Both, but I don't know that Pendleton being on the bubble is unusual. He is playing at a very deep position, maybe the deepest on the team. He also has every chance to make the team, and I think he will. He is mentioned as on the bubble this week because Mike Mularkey mentioned him as a player that the coaching staff will be watching Thursday and who will get a lot of playing time. Remember this about seventh-round draft selections: there's not a tremendous difference between them and undrafted free agents. Often the only difference is that a seventh-round selection is someone that you are worried you can't sign in free agency after the draft. In terms of their grades or their chance to make rosters, there is little difference. Often, in fact, the only difference is one has a No. 7 next to their name as opposed to an "FA."
Andre from Ocala, FL:
When you are on the road with the Jags, how many times do you call the wife? My wife gets on me that I only call once a day when away on business.
John: I've been married 20 years. I call once. Usually, that's met with a deep sigh and, "What do you what?" after which I watch television until it's time to hit the hotel bar.
Laurie from Neptune Beach, FL:
If Britton gets beaten out by Rackley, I don't understand why people would be bothered by that. So what if Britton was drafted higher? Do you think the people in Houston are upset that third-round selection Steve Slaton was beaten out by undrafted Arian Foster or that Foster is currently being backed up by Ben Tate, a second round selection? I'd wager the deed to my condo that they're happy Foster turned out to be so good.
John: I couldn't agree more. As I've said often, the job of a general manager and a team is to find the best players and put those players on the field to form a good team. Talent acquisition is a game of percentages and your percentages of finding good players certainly goes up the earlier you draft them, but that doesn't mean you stay stubborn if an undrafted player is really, really good and happens to be better than a player selected higher.
Christian from Titusville, FL:
I watched an interview with Joe Montana where he was asked about advice for these young quarterbacks. This relates to Gabbert's "base" as you call it. In paraphrasing, he said, do what you are comfortable with and KNOW you can do, make completions, and get in a rhythm. The rest will come." I'd say that's pretty close to what you are saying.
John: Me and that Joe guy, we know our stuff.
Greg from St. Johns, FL:
Time for another round of "What if MJD..." If MJD doesn't return by the 53-man roster deadline, will he be considered one of the 53? If the holdout continues, at what point do the Jags actually put a playing player on the roster and what should then be MJD's status (IR, PUP...)?
John: Jones-Drew is on the reserve/did not report list and does not currently count against the roster. That won't change once the team reduces the roster to 53 Friday.
Glen from Lake City, FL:
It amazes me that so few people still don't get it. The NFL awards contracts for what they expect players will do, not for what they have done in the past.
John: You know what amazes me? That guy in Will to Power in the late '80s who put Baby I Love Your Way and Freebird together and made it sort of one song and people actually bought it. Now that, my friend, is amazing.
What amazes me
Let's get to it . . . Jack, Deployed, Afghanistan: