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Big Cat Country Q&A: Who gets the next extension?

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Jacksonville Jaguars football is back, baby. Let’s answer some questions about training camp, extensions, and Brandon Allen.

Tennessee Titans v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images

It’s the least-anticipated reunion tour of 2017 — Hank, Ryan, and Cole are back to answer your piping hot Jacksonville Jaguars questions. Let’s get to it.

Heather from College Station, TX

Q: What are some realistic expectations regarding Blake Bortles’ improvement this season? If he completely bombs this year (let's hope he doesn't) who do you see the team potentially bringing in next year?

A: If Bortles bombs this year, I fully expect a quarterback in the first round. Everything just points to it — they built up their run game and offensive line this past draft, they just signed Brandon Linder to the richest contract for a center in NFL history, and they’re about to do the same with Allen Robinson. Doug Marrone got a first-round quarterback in a short-lived tenure with the Buffalo Bills, he’ll likely get another one in 2018 if Bortles fails.

Chris from Jacksonville, FL

Q: With Leonard Fournette coming in, what roles do y'all see T.J. Yeldon and/or Chris Ivory occupying by the end of the season?

A: I think we’ll see Chris Ivory get a higher percentage of snaps (especially on first and second down) in the beginning of the season, but look for Fournette to really take over as the season progresses. As far as Yeldon, he’s their third-down back — but there’s a small chance he could be cut if he does poorly in camp and/or Corey Grant shines.

Scott from Jacksonville, FL

Q: Is there an estimated timeline on when Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Colvin will be able to practice?

A: There’s no official timetable, but they can return as soon as the team says they’re cleared. There’s no minimum for their designation.

Trav from Jacksonville, FL

Q: Seeing that Brandon Linder just got paid, do you think anyone else gets an extension during training camp?

A: Allen Robinson. I think the Jaguars pony up and try to maximize his value this offseason on a down year and sign him to a five-year extension that is structured much like Linder’s contract. Look for him to make top-five receiver money — somewhere in the $14-$16 million per year range.

Chris from Waycross, GA

Q: With the addition of Leonard Fournette and his ability to catch the ball, do you see the team using the screen pass more than they have in the past?

A: Realistically, you’d prefer to see the screen pass utilized less in 2017 than in recent seasons. The last few years, the Jaguars have relied on several versions of the screen pass to supplement their lackluster rushing efforts. In 2017, alongside a (hopefully) reformed running game, the screen pass should be more of a compliment to this rushing attack. Less (but more effective) screen plays should be the goal, and it all starts with handing the ball off.

Nick from Duval, FL

Q: Do you think Brandon Allen will have a legitimate shot at becoming the starter if Bortles struggles?

A: I think Allen will be the first quarterback they go to if Bortles struggles. Chad Henne may be No. 2 on the depth chart, but you know what you have in Henne and I don’t think Doug Marrone or Tom Coughlin are interested in not using an opportunity to see what they have in Allen. Both of them seem like they’ll want to use the opportunity to chart out what they should do during the 2018 offseason at quarterback. If Bortles struggles, the season is over, so why try and salvage it with a guy like Henne?

Melvin from Ventura, CA

Q: Will James Sample make the 53-man roster?

A: I don’t think so. We have Jarrod Wilson getting the backup strong safety spot behind Barry Church in our latest 53-man roster prediction (which is Sample’s natural position) and I don’t see that changing any time soon. Wilson was given the reps in mini-camp when Church was injured, not Sample, and I think Sample’s injury history has hurt his development.

Twatkins from Lubbock, TX

Q: John Oesher, Brian Sexton, and J.P. Shadrick are thrown into ring and only one comes out alive. Who is it?

A: I say Oehser, but only because I believe he’d stay out of the way while Sexton and Shadrick rip each other to shreds.