Let's get to it . . . Bill from Jacksonville:
Last year we got this, "By the end of the year Cecil Shorts just might be the best wide receiver on the team." Now we get this: "Shorts might not realistically play a lot unless one of the top three receivers is hurt, but he has shown he can contribute if needed." Do I have it right, John?
John: You do have it right. Precisely, in fact. It's funny how things can change when a team drafts a wide receiver in the Top 5, signs another in free agency and has another play very well in training camp and preseason. Whereas last year the Jaguars were in a situation where a rookie might be the best receiver because of a general lack of talent, now that same player is fourth on the team and valuable depth. You're exactly right. And to answer your next question, you're right there, too – it is indeed a good situation.
John from Section 204:
Why cut Colin Cloherty? He played well during the preseason, has good hands and good heart, is a solid blocker and shows great potential. Not to mention the question mark concerning Zach Miller's health. I understand tough decisions have to be made, and so far I've agreed with a lot of the cuts so far. I don't understand the Cloherty cut, though. He seemed like a solid roster pick.
John: The preseason can be deceiving. Apparently this was such a case.
Omar from Jacksonville:
I am happy the Jaguars are doing well in the preseason. I have been watching every game. Is there a statistical correlation between the number of preseason games won and the number of regular-season games won? Or is there no relationship?
John: This answer will surely spawn any number of emails the rest of the week throwing out statistics that show a correlation, and that's all good. There is no correlation.
Jason from Section 232:
Whoa there! Why must Eben's move to guard be about a second-round selection losing a right tackle job as opposed to an undrafted free agent winning one?
John: I have no idea.
Brandon from Orlando, FL:
I know the holdout talk is getting old but I believe Jones-Drew is in a horrible spot for holding out. Not only is he against a new coaching staff that will make the transition hard for the regular season, but he is facing a new owner who is establishing a business model for his team. If Khan wanted a test of his business values, here it is in the first year.
John: I agree with the latter part, but not really the part about the coaching staff. The staff will do whatever it takes to make the transition as easy as possible for the regular season. The staff has no motivation to do otherwise. And while this is perceived as Jones-Drew against Khan, I just don't think that's right. Shad Khan has nothing against Jones-Drew. He barely knows Jones-Drew. And as much as has been made about Khan's comments "angering" Jones-Drew, all Khan really has done is state more than once that the team has no plans to negotiate. Khan also has discussed the fact that the Jaguars aren't built around one player, and that that won't be the model going forward. As much as has been made of his statements, that's really all he ever said. Here's the reality: this has very little to do with Jones-Drew and a lot to do with this being how the Jaguars are going to do business now. The mode of operation is not going to be to renegotiate with players who are in their second contracts before those contracts have expired. Insert whatever name you want, but that's what's up.
Brian from Jacksonville and Section 230:
As the roster gets cut down to 53 players with MJD still holding out and on the "did not report" list, how bad does the guy who makes the team feel when he gets released after MJD comes back? It's a cruel world sometimes.
John: He feels as bad as anyone else who gets cut. All players know this is a business in which a career can end or change paths any time. Players who are at the bottom of the roster know this and live it every day. That doesn't make it easy, but they get it.
Tom from Green Cove Springs, FL:
What'a the latest on MJ?
John: Michael Jordan is a'still retired from the NBA.
George from Savannah, GA:
Much better preseason than I anticipated! Having said that, when Coach Mularkey implied that Gabbert needs to make the long throws on the miss to Robinson because they had not practiced that- what are they thinking? Remember that Gil Brandt said that Gabbert had problems with the long passes in college. I hope this is not a sign of things to come.
John: That's not what he implied and in fact, it's not close. Mularkey was asked essentially if Gabbert needed to complete that long pass to Robinson in that situation. Mularkey said yes, the throw needed to be completed, but he emphasized that he was pleased with Gabbert for throwing the pass because it was one he hadn't thrown in a similar situation in practice that week. In practice, Robinson had been running step-in-step with a defender and the coverage had caused Gabbert not to throw the pass. Mularkey in telling the story emphasized that in the Jaguars' offense a quarterback must throw the ball if a receiver is running side-by-side with a defender. The Jaguars consider that to be an open receiver. On Thursday, Gabbert threw the pass and the play missed by inches. So, in fact, you could make a pretty strong argument that the Jaguars DID practice the play, and because of that practice, Gabbert threw the pass in the correct situation. Now, of course, the next step is completing it.
Dane from Jacksonville:
I just moved up to Atlanta and last night I got my first taste of Falcons coverage on TV. I must say, we are spoiled in Jacksonville by how open and transparent our NFL team is. The majority of the reporting and coverage was little more than speculation and vague, generic commentary by the hosts. Thanks for providing us fans with the absolute best overage possible!
John: That's appreciated, and I often have said the Jaguars are among the league's best at being transparent and giving fans as much information as possible. That has nothing to do with your humble senior writer and everything to do with the organization's philosophy of connecting with its fans. Are there times when the team can't be entirely forthcoming about roster moves and other situations? Certainly, but having worked with a team that took the opposite approach, I can tell you the Jaguars do as much as possible to keep the fans informed of what's going on.
Bryan from Jacksonville:
Can a team change a player's position in order to avoid cutting them? As a hypothetical, could Elliott be moved to tight end rather than wide receiver? I am not speculating that this would be the case, but is it allowed under the CBA?
John: The CBA has nothing to do with a player's position. A team theoretically could keep 53 quarterbacks, though that would be silly.
Scott from Wichita, KS:
If you couldn't get good talent in the later rounds of the draft then the draft would be over after round three. Just saying.
John: And you would never bother signing free agent rookies. Saying that, too.
Johann from Jacksonville:
Do you think that Baldridge's move to RT is more on his improvement or on Britton's decline? Thanks for all your work.
John: I think Bradfield's move to right tackle is about his potential and talent. And thanks for all of your reading.
Jack from Jacksonville:
If MJD showed up tomorrow and suffered a career ending injury watching film would the haters still be faulting him for holding out for more money? Last time I checked GM Gene can still cut a player for little or no reason before the start of a season i.e., David Garrard last season.
John: If Jones-Drew showed up tomorrow and sustained a career-ending injury watching film I'd want to know just what the heck is going on down at that end of the hall. And general managers don't cut players for little or no reason. They cut them because the team believes they no longer can contribute. Fans love to point out the "irony" of this, but can you imagine if teams weren't allowed to cut players? How angry would fans be then?
Steve from Nashville, TN:
I see Blackmon as a guy who when it is 3rd and 10 and the defense is keeping everyone in front of them - will get you 12 yards after the catching the ball 7 yards out.
John: Sounds like you're watching the same guy I am.
Chris from Columbia, MO:
Just hearing what the players were saying at the luncheon gets me excited! Talking about being the "nastiest, most physical o-line" in the NFL... Gonna be a great year. Let's play some football!!
John: I liked it when the guy said, "Ladies and Gentlemen . . . Key Lime Pie . . ." It wasn't a player who said it, but Tony Boselli got pretty darned excited.
Words Boselli loves
Let's get to it . . . Bill from Jacksonville: