JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …
Brett from Green Bay, WI:
John, as a Michigan fan I think Chad Henne
is a good quarterback and deserves a starting job. What do you think?
John: I never know what deserved means when it comes to sports. Circumstance and fortune play a large part in athletics; athletes quite often get things they don’t deserve and vice-versa. I think Chad Henne is one of the best, say, 25-35, quarterbacks in the world right now, which means in the right circumstance he can be an NFL starter. One of those circumstances is with the Jaguars right now, so in that sense, I suppose he deserves it.
Tommy from Cusick:
I personally like the theme of the round table. It reminds me of the Masters, very classy.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
Starting with your ‘87 Redskins, can you think of a Super Bowl winner since then that was a complete surprise to all the experts thinking about that team's chances at the beginning of the season?
John: I wouldn’t put that ’87 Redskins team in the surprise list. They lost to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship Game following a 12-4 season the season before. In fact, while it’s not rare in the NFL for a team to rise from a poor record to the playoffs in one season, it’s relatively rare for a team to be a “complete surprise” and win a Super Bowl. The 1981 San Francisco 49ers would qualify, and the 1982 Redskins would fall into the category. Since then, the biggest surprises would have to be the 1999 St. Louis Rams, 2000 Baltimore Ravens and the 2001 New England Patriots. The Rams went 4-12 in 1998, the Ravens went 8-8 in 1999 and the Patriots went 5-11 in 2000.
Jim from the Caribbean:
Some people claim that there's a woman to blame...
John: Those people are pretty much right.
Jeff from Orlando, FL:
How is Kenny Shaw
looking and fitting into the team?
John: He’s looking like a player who has been around a few days and is trying to get up to speed to play a preseason game. That’s not a knock on Shaw. His reality is he needs to take advantage of opportunities in the next few weeks and do something to stand out. The time to do that probably will be late in preseason games. The odds don’t favor Shaw making the roster, just as they don’t favor most free-agent rookies and players who sign during the summer. It can be done, but he’ll have to earn it.
Noel from Manila the Philippines:
First game of the preseason is almost here. I'm excited to see how this team will be. Lots of changes, on the offense and defense. I signed up for NFL Game Pass, so I'll be able to see all the games plus the coaches tape!! My question is, what should I focus on?
John: Focus on the offensive and defensive line. That’s where a lot of the coaches’ focus will be.
Joe from Ponte Vedra, FL:
I attended my first training camp practice since 2010. I was struck by the amount of teaching and instruction going on. I do not remember that from the past practices I've attended. From what you have seen, does this staff conduct more teaching than other staffs?
John: I was really only around former Jaguars Head Coach Jack Del Rio’s staff for one year, 2011. That was a crazy year coming off the lockout, so I didn’t get a good feel for how much teaching was or wasn’t being done. The other staffs I’ve covered have been Tom Coughlin’s staff in Jacksonville in the 1990s, Jim Mora’s staff in Indianapolis in 2001, Tony Dungy’s staff and Jim Caldwell’s staff in Indianapolis from 2002-2010 and Mike Mularkey’s staff in Jacksonville in 2012. All of those staffs emphasized teaching a great deal. So, I don’t want to say this staff teaches more than those, but this one does place a great deal of emphasis on teaching. And they seem to be very good at it.
Shannon from Brunswick, GA:
Poor, John. You have to be getting tired of answering questions about when Bortles will play. I feel for you, man.
John: That’s not why you should feel sorry for me.
Mike from Mandarin:
I know injuries occur throughout the year; that's just what it is when it comes to football. But the injuries mounting up at the wide receiver position have now become disconcerting. I know it's only Week 1 of preseason, but this is not a good sign. What is the deal with the conditioning over there? Do we not have a conditioning and strength coach? I have literally went through all the other 32 teams, and no one has a situation like we do at the receiver position.
Yes, there is a strength and conditioning coach, and no, he cannot magically control all that happens to the human body in football. No strength and conditioning coach can. As frustrating and baffling as this concept is to people, it’s just the truth. But let’s keep this in perspective before we call out the strength-and-conditioning staff. Cecil Shorts III
and Allen Robinson
have hamstring injuries. Ace Sanders
is out dealing with personal issues, so that’s not an injury. Tandon Doss
sustained an ankle sprain; hardly a conditioning issue. But after Doss went out, the team suddenly was without Sanders, Shorts, Robinson and Doss. One of the universal concerns within the NFL is how position group responds once injuries hit. That’s because a rash of injuries at a position that runs a lot – say, wide receiver or defensive back – can lead to more injuries because suddenly players are taking more reps. It may not be complete coincidence that Allen Hurns
and Mike Brown
had hip and hamstring injuries this week considering the injuries in front of them at the position. With players such as Hurns and Brown, young players who need repetitions, balancing needed reps and needed rest is a difficult task.
April from Pooler, GA:
Watching the Hall-of-Fame stuff, they made a point of emphasis that Derrick Brooks never missed a game in 14 seasons. Incredible. Why do you think there are super durable players like him and Walter Payton, and some (I like, well, a lot of Jaguar wide receivers, for example) that can't stay on the field?
John: Because not every human body is built the same. We can start there.
John from Albany, NY:
Who is faster? Marquise Lee or Jimmy Smith in his prime? I don't mean 40 time; I mean game speed.
John: I saw Jimmy Smith play a lot of games between 1995 and 2000. I haven’t seen Lee play a live game yet. I do know Lee is fast. If he’s faster than Smith, then he’s going to be really, really special.
Don from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Is there a line from Vegas or at least a pool on what injury Cecil Shorts III will have a year from today if he’s still on the team? Sarcastic, I know, but enough is enough. Shouldn’t there be some blame put on Mr. Shorts to keep in shape during the four or five weeks they have off before training camp? He needs to be on the practice field practicing.
John: Sure, blame him. *Bla-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-ame!* Do we feel better now? No Jaguars player wants to be on the field more than Shorts. He showed up to camp in great shape, maybe the best shape of his career. He injured a hamstring early. It’s unfortunate. It’s frustrating. It’s even angering to fans. All that’s fine. But to say Shorts wasn’t in shape, or that he wasn’t diligent during the offseason – he actually spent two weeks at Larry Fitzgerald’s receiving camp in Minnesota shortly before training camp began – is to be so off-base that I almost feel silly answering the question.
Steve from Jacksonville:
“The ability to put your team in a place to be able to compete for it every year will make them both first-ballot Hall of Famers".... the obvious logic of this statement hit me so hard I laughed out loud thinking that there were people seriously arguing against Jim Kelly getting inducted to the Hall of Fame. And I'm not even a Bills fan.
John: Logic sometimes isn’t applied when discussing emotional issues such as the Hall of Fame, but yeah, as far as I saw it, Jim Kelly was a lock.
Chet from Versailles, KY:
Do you feel this season may be a difficult one for the offense and thus the team overall if the wide receiver position remains snake-bitten by injury? I can't help think there may be an issue of not stretching properly with regards to a particular drill being run that day. Is there anything to this possible scenario?
John: The season without question will be difficult for the Jaguars if the top receivers continue to be unavailable. That probably can be said of most NFL teams. As for your second point, stretching is one of my areas of expertise. In fact, people are often heard to say, “There goes John Oehser … I didn’t realize how limber he was …” At any rate, I can tell you without fear of reproach the Jaguars stretch very, very well.