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Jaguars mailbag: Justin Blackmon, James Sample and the starting RB

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Got questions about the Jacksonville Jaguars? I’ll try to answer a representative selection of them every week. Submit your questions via Twitter to @ESPNdirocco.

On Sunday, I’ll answer the question of the week.

@ESPNdirocco: Well, I think the offense will be better than it was a year ago (31st overall, 21st rush, 31st pass), but reasonable expectations would be for it to climb into the average range. There still are only two proven playmakers on the offense in tight ends Marcedes Lewis and Julius Thomas, and Thomas is going to miss at least three games as he recovers from hand surgery. The pass rush is a huge concern with the injuries to Dante Fowler Jr. and Andre Branch. Another big issue for me is the fact that the defense didn’t force a single turnover in the preseason. If I have to pick, then I’d still take the defense. But not by much.

@ESPNdirocco: Absolutely, because this story got blown completely out of proportion. The only thing that happened is the Toronto Argonauts secured Justin Blackmon's rights, which means they have first crack at signing him if he were to ever play in the CFL. That’s it. Blackmon did not ask the Jaguars to release him so he could play in the CFL. As far as the Jaguars not releasing Blackmon from his contract, that’s not new information, either. GM David Caldwell has said numerous times -- on the record -- that the team isn’t going to cut him because they don’t have to pay his salary while he’s suspended and he doesn’t count against the roster limit, either. The Jaguars want to retain his rights so that if he ever does play in the NFL, it will be for them.

@ESPNdirocco: I thought James Sample looked solid. You can see why the Jaguars like him: he has good size (6-foot-2, 209 pounds) and moves well. He may have been the starter by now had he not gotten hurt in OTAs. It’ll be a while for him to make up that time, but the Jaguars drafted him to eventually be the starter there.

@ESPNdirocco: I’d be looking at linebackers, defensive ends and safeties. Possibly receiver too, but only if I could find a very good special teams player because that’s what you want out of your fifth receiver.

@ESPNdirocco: It’s really a moot point because both will get plenty of work, although I do believe at this point that Denard Robinson is a slightly better option because of his experience, limited as it may be. T.J. Yeldon is more talented and there’s no question the Jaguars drafted him to be the team’s feature back, but coach Gus Bradley also has said he doesn’t want to overload Yeldon. He’ll split carries with Robinson, Toby Gerhart and Bernard Pierce early in the season, but I expect him to be the main back by season’s end.

@ESPNdirocco: They’re going to have to be creative with blitzes and stunts and personnel packages. There just isn’t a healthy edge rusher on the roster right now that scares offenses. Heck, there isn’t even one that needs to be handled by more than just an offensive tackle.

@ESPNdirocco: I know that the Jaguars wouldn’t have traded Josh Scobee if they didn’t think Jason Myers could get the job done. The thing that’s encouraging is the fact that he’s laid back, calm and even-tempered all the time. That’s a good quality.

@ESPNdirocco: I’m still taking the under. Remember, the fans are a large part of the Pro Bowl voting and that’s another area in which playing in a small-market team hurts. DT Sen’Derrick Marks should have made the Pro Bowl as a starter last season but he didn’t even finish in the top 10 in fan voting at his position.