JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . .
Kevin from Charlotte, NC:
I feel sorry for you today. Maybe the Patriots just wanted to give you something to (not) talk about. Keep up the good work.
John: I got many emails from people “feeling sorry” for me Tuesday. This may be tough to grasp, but Tim Tebow signing in New England Monday caused nary a ripple on the waters of the O-Zone. That story passed months ago. We had our fun with it – “Even if he’s released” – and we weathered the sometimes-amusing, sometimes-disturbing anger when the Jaguars didn’t sign him when he indeed was released by the Jets. I guess what’s tough for people to understand is that when Dave Caldwell said Tebow wasn’t going to sign here that ended the possibility. All of the debate, the hand-wringing and the commercials were things outside the team that were fodder for discussion, but didn’t change the reality. We mostly cover the Jaguars here, and this honestly long had ceased to be a Jaguars story by the time Tebow signed this week. While there are a multitude of reasons to pity me, Tebow wasn’t among them. At least not this week.
Ian from Boston and Section 140:
What if he signs with another team??
John: Yes, even then.
Sean from Fleming Island, FL:
Is there a league penalty for being so far under the salary cap?
John: Teams must spend what is termed a Minimum Team Cash of 89 percent of the salary cap for the four-year period from 2013-2016. As it is explained in the 2011 Collective Bargaining agreement, if the salary caps for 2013-2016 are $100, 120, 130, and 150 million, respectively, a team must spend $445 million during that span. This is what confused people last season when Shad Khan said the Jaguars had spent over the cap. Although they were technically under the cap, they actually had spent more than most teams – and more than the cap – in terms of real cash in signing bonuses and salary. So, to answer your question, while the Jaguars are $27 million under the cap, they are in no danger of being fined or otherwise penalized by the league.
Gene from Jacksonville and Section 411:
What’s different about MoJo training in Miami when Fred Taylor did the same every year? Matter of fact, wasn't it Fred who introduced MoJo to the trainer there?
John: Nothing. Yes.
Matthew from Holbrook, NY:
I don't want to go all "Court TV" on you, but don't you find it odd that charges haven't been filed or the case dropped in the MJD incident? It seems like if the case was as serious as everybody makes it out to be, there would be enough evidence for charges to be brought forward. It was a bar fight, not something more serious.
John: I have been covering college or pro sports in some capacity for more than 20 years. I find very little very odd anymore.
John from Jacksonville:
MJD is the least of the Jaguars’ problems. As usual, the Jaguars missed out again on an available free agent. You can have the best offensive and defensive personnel, but if you don't have A Man, or The Man, playing quarterback you are just going to appear average. The Jaguars give Bennie a look and are still not going to take care of the quarterback issue. What are they thinking?
John: Oh, John. Oh, John, John, John, John, John . . .
John from Section 105:
I am ready for the Jaguars to be a good team again.
John: You are not alone. That’s the plan, and there are real, fundamental reasons to be optimistic about that. The team seems to be building a foundation, and there seems to be a good start in place. Where that takes us, we shall see.
Daniel from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Why are you wearing a Hawaii visor during the Jags practice Tuesday? Does your employer not give you enough free Jags swag? Or do you wear it all the time that you don't want to wear it anymore and you want to send some my way?
John: I wore the Hawaii visor Tuesday because it was the thing my hand reached first when I reached toward the place where I keep my visors. I wish I could offer some other backstory for what I wear to practice, but it’s no more complicated than that. Now, as for what I wear when I go clubbing, that’s a different matter altogether. And a topic for another day.
Redmond from Jacksonville:
What type of performance would Gabbert have to have this season to prevent the Jags from drafting a QB in the first or second rounds to replace him?
John: He will have to play well enough to have the team believe he can be a quality starter moving forward. I’ve been asked to put a number on that, and I don’t know how to do that. If the Jaguars win four games and it’s clear Gabbert has command of the offense and is improving, then that could be enough. If he statistically struggles and the team wins eight games, maybe that’s enough. My guess is by the latter part of the season we won’t be guessing about this, and it will probably seem pretty obvious.
Randy from Fernandina Beach:
You mentioned the fact that at one point we were No. 2 in local revenue. I imagine that was during the late 90s while we were competitive. If you watch the tape from those games back then we were as electric as any fan base in the league. So to me, the concern whether or not our fans will support the team should be a non-issue. No doubt in my mind if the Jags start winning, the seats will start filling. History suggests that much.
John: The Jaguars were actually No. 2 very early in the existence, and have dropped steadily since. Part of the reason was that many cities have built more state-of-the-art, revenue-producing stadiums. That helped those teams eventually catch up and pass the Jaguars. Now, the idea is for the Jaguars to gradually adjust ticket prices and find other ways to increase local revenue. London is a part of that. Some changes earlier this offseason in ticket prices also were a part of that. Over time, there will be more things that are a part of that. The need to produce local revenue is a reality, and will be a focus. It’s far from insurmountable and Jaguars President Mark Lamping said as much earlier this offseason, but to ignore it is to ignore the reality of the NFL. But yes, there’s little question that if the Jaguars win this fan base will support to a level on par with any team in the NFL.
Joseph from Statesboro, GA:
Why doesn't Shad want the team to move to London? Because it would mean somewhere along the line, we failed. The local market failed to keep the seats full or new stadium funding wasn't approved or the team wasn't winning enough to sell tickets. In any case, multi-billion dollar businessmen don't like to fail. He's not sitting in his office saying, "Gee, I hope this whole multi-million dollar investment fails so I have to pick up the pieces and move it somewhere else, and start this whole process from scratch again."
John: There’s that, and there’s also no evidence to suggest that he is spending hours trying to come up with a sinister plot to move the team. So far, he has invested in a new locker room and a new athletic training facility. He also has proposed new video boards. He has done all of this while also making moves to show commitment to the Jacksonville business community. It stretches logic to think he is doing all of this in an effort to move.
Josiah from Jacksonville:
You keep saying that Alan Ball
is going to start at corner and everyone else will compete for second and third cornerbacks. What has Alan Ball ever done to be awarded dibs? Wasn't he a backup? Is he really better than Gratz?
John: I haven’t said that at all. I didn’t say it once; I most certainly have not kept saying it. I have said many times that Gratz is starting and I believe he will start. I have also said that while it wouldn’t surprise me if Ball starts, it also wouldn’t be shocking if that’s a position where the Jaguars sign a player off waivers in training camp. I believe I’ve said this a few more times than once, too, but I could be wrong.
Tom from Jacksonville:
The worst part of the game-day experience is the numerous commercial breaks. Any chance the NFL reduces the number? That would do more than a larger video board.
John: The NFL likes television money a lot. It would be very out of character for the people in the league office to do something to reduce something they like so much.
Guy from Orlando, FL:
Are you considered famous, or just well-known?
John: I’m surprised I’m even considered.