JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .
Alan from Jacksonville:
I went to Friday's practice and was disappointed most of the workout was on the far field, away from the fans who were sitting there sweltering, silent and looking incredibly bored. I know the point is to work out the players but would it kill them to do so where we could see it better? I think the reaction of the fans to plays (both good and bad) help create a more game-like environment and puts additional pressure on the young players to see who can hack it. If the Jags are trying to sell tickets by pumping up the fans, Friday's practice was a buzz kill.
John: I have heard this from more than one person, and it’s an understandable view. Remember, as you say, the priority in practice must be on football and preparation, and the fans’ proximity to the field to an extent has to be at least a little secondary to that process. Also, the Jaguars need to practice on those fields from now until at least early January, and it’s necessary to divide usage to maintain the quality of the field over that period. The Jaguars have multiple training camp practices open to the public, and practice time will be divided over the three fields.
Bo from Dresden, NC:
Not to jump ahead, but if Gabbert wins the starting job, does Henne become a cap casualty? If Kafka gets a grasp on the offense, is his cap number a lot lower than Henne?
John: Kafka’s cap number is lower than Henne’s whether he gets a grasp of the offense or not. I’ve gone back and forth on how many quarterbacks the Jaguars will keep and who those quarterbacks will be. Right now, I’m of the mind that Gabbert and Henne each will be on the roster, because I don’t know that there’s going to be a wide gap during this competition. The coaches also might be far more comfortable with a backup with NFL starting experience considering the relative uncertainty around the starter. Kafka is just learning this system and probably has a lot of catching up to do before he pushes either player, but it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility that he could play well enough to make coaches comfortable with the idea of him as a backup. Stay tuned.
Paul from St. Johns, FL:
OK, I gotta ask: who is Mike Gordon, and was he dashing?
John: No, he was not dashing. But once, while leaving Calico Jacks’ quarter-beer Tuesday at closing, he found himself behind a large, lingering, door-blocking crowd. “Will you people get out of my way?” he shouted. “I have to be in bed in the morning.” We stopped speaking after an unrelated incident shortly thereafter. I’d rather not talk about it.
Adam from Leicester, UK:
Keep it up sir! #moodachay
Paul from Jacksonville:
I've been thinking about the things we know Khan has done for this franchise so far: the facility upgrades, the coach and GM search, London, policy changes at the stadium. I think it's quite possible that he may be writing the definitive book on how to save/build a professional sports franchise in a smaller market. Your thoughts? (Moodachay)
John: I think there’s some truth to that. I’ve said often that the perspective of national media and observers differs dramatically from that of local people on the Jaguars’ situation in Jacksonville. That’s because national observers draw conclusions based on their own thoughts on what they believe about Jacksonville and the Jaguars whereas local people can see the reality of what’s going on at the stadium and in town. That’s particularly true of local people who have seen EverBank Field lately and who have listened to Khan. The moves Khan has made, and the way he has grown as an owner in a year and a half, have been staggering and impressive to anyone who is bothering to pay attention. In time, as you say, there is a very real chance that what he’s doing here will be seen nationally as a remarkable, surprising success story.
Cornelius from Jacksonville:
Never understood "bromance" until I read your last answer on Friday's column. ONE-SIDED BROMANCE ALERT!!!! You're the man. Keep 'em in their place, Johhny-O!! Oh, and of course... #Moodachay.
John: I feel very strongly about you, too, Julius.
Earl from Las Cruces, NM:
Really loved your composite coverage of practice Friday. If I were sitting there as I wish I were, I would only see parts of the practice. This allows a true play-by-play of the entire field. Thank you so much!
Here’s a link
to the coverage on jaguars.com. JP Shadrick and I did a nice job on this. We spent a lot of time all week building out the platforms on the website, and making sure the technology stuff was good to go, technology-wise. Yes, me and J.P. -- we’re pretty versed in this inter-web thing. I’m glad you enjoyed it and hope people will join us live each day.
Manuel from Jacksonville:
I know you don't know the answer, but I'll ask anyway. What do the Jags see in a player such as Ray Polk
, when as a freshman in Colorado he missed games due to injuries with shoulder, sternum, wrist, and ankle issues; as a junior, he missed games with concussion symptoms; and as a senior, he missed five games with high-ankle problems. He was not drafted by any NFL team and was signed as free rookie agent but released. Doesn't his football history suggest he’s not that good and prone to injuries? Speed means nothing if he can't make plays and/or is injured, right?
John: You are correct that speed means nothing if he can’t play, and you are just as correct that injuries have severely limited Polk’s career. Remember, though, how the Jaguars see this. He is one of 90 players on the roster, and they claimed him off waivers from Seattle. That means he cost almost nothing except some travel expenses, per diem and lodging costs. There are a limited number of people on this planet with the physical attributes to play in the NFL, and there are even fewer with elite-level speed. If there is a player with that sort of speed and those attributes available, especially if it is a matter of releasing a player you already have determined probably doesn’t fit, then there’s not a lot of risk involved. Remember, too, this is what the Jaguars’ season is going to be about: competition at the bottom of the roster. That might mean a revolving door at times. A player who can run like Polk who is available is going to look very appealing to Gus Bradley and David Caldwell.
Andy from St. Johns, FL:
How many autographs did you sign for your fans at the first day of Training Camp?
John: I signed one autograph for a very polite, though misguided fan.
Dane from Jacksonville:
While I feel good about our group of wide receivers, it seems like they all fit a similar mold. Most seem to be smaller, speedier guys, with the exception of Blackmon, who is more of a possession receiver. Do you think that the lack of bigger, jump ball, power receiver limits the versatility of our receiving corps? Or can a guy like Marcedes Lewis
fill that role in our offense?
In the ideal world, yes, you would probably love to have a 6-feet-4, 220-pound monster who could run a 4.34 and catch everything. I know the Jaguars would. Shoot, they’d love two; three, even. There are only so many big receivers who can play at a high level. You’d rather have a little guy who can play, though, than a big guy who can’t. In the future, the Jaguars certainly would like the receiving corps to be a little bigger. For now, they’re pretty happy to have a player such as Cecil Shorts III
, who may not be Megatron in terms of size, but who appears to have a chance to be very, very productive this season.
Adam from Key West, FL:
I'd like to massage you and give you a teddy bear. (*Excited, drunken blubbering).
John: I already have a teddy bear.
Tim from Atlantic Beach, FL:
I’m getting quite discouraged with the lack of Jaguars coverage on the NFL.com site as well the NFL Network. Are there really 32 teams in this league? Even though the ROAR article on NFL.com/Network (ie: cheerleader nutrition tips for MJD) was somewhat cute, the reiteration of Gus Bradley’s open competition article was hardly something new. NFL Network did a fine piece on the podium that Bill Belichick will be speaking from. Also, did you know that Warren Sapp was going to be inducted into the Hall of Fame? They only mention it very five minutes on the NFL Network. I don’t wish anyone to bite any hand that may feed them, and I’m by far no journalist, but this is far below news standards. I want to thank you for having a site where we can find out what’s really going on in the #Jag-World. Moodachay.
John: We spent some time reiterating Friday morning, so we’ll spend less time today in reiteration mode except to say, “Don’t worry about the national media. Read jaguars.com. Watch the videos. Watch local television. Shoot, even read Gene Frenette (goodness knows, I do). The Jaguars are well-covered. When the team wins, the national coverage will come.
David from Maplewood, NJ:
I brought my six-year-old to the first practice Friday. I saw you walking in and threw a "Hey, O" (appreciate the wave). Later at practice I got an autograph from Boselli and I found him to be generous and extremely nice - nothing like how you describe him. What gives?
John: Are you sure that was Boselli?