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O-Zone: Addressing the issue(s)

Posted Sep 1, 2013

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .

Steve from Jacksonville:
Not to be flippant, but when I read, "But it’s safe to say pass-rushing defensive ends who get waived in the coming days will get at minimum a quick look from the Jaguars," I wonder, considering the massive premium placed on the position, do ANY teams release good or even "decent" pass rushing defensive linemen? Hard to imagine any team anywhere being just too darned deep at the position.
John: You’re not being flippant. Not even remotely. You’re being accurate. The Jaguars certainly will look at the waiver wire to address the pass rush, but it’s doubtful you find very good answers there. Teams don’t find cure-all pass-rushers on the waiver wire, and if you’re looking there, you’re a long way from set at the position. No doubt.
John from Elizabeth City, NC:
Not quite sure I understand cutting D’Anthony Smith in the offseason to get younger just to cut Brandon Marshall and keep veteran linebackers. Also I thought Ebert had a good enough preseason to hang around.
John: The Jaguars indeed traded Smith to Seattle and kept veteran linebackers such as Andy Studabaker and Kyle Knox over young players such as Julian Stanford and Brandon Marshall. It’s understandable that this confuses people, because the Jaguars have talked about getting younger, but that’s a guideline and not an absolute rule to be followed in every case. There’s more to picking a roster than simply doing things for one reason or the other. Smith didn’t fit well into what the Jaguars now want from defensive tackles – larger players who stuff the runs on early downs. The coaching staff liked him, but Smith being a smaller, quicker tackle was difficult to overcome. And the Jaguars just believed they needed better backup linebackers. Sometimes, it’s as simple as believing one player is better than another.
Nick from Jacksonville:
I really liked that we kept Kyle Knox, who may not be an every-downs defensive end but shows good pass-rushing ability and versatility. Your thoughts?
John: The Jaguars think that, too. As the regular season approached, the Jaguars clearly wanted to upgrade the backup linebackers, and did so by signing veterans such as Studabaker and Knox. The hope is that Knox can be exactly what you say – a pass-rusher who can play a role as a backup.
Bruce from Gotham:
How do we sleep while our beds are burning?
John: The time has come.
Moshe from Mexico City:
Hello John, if you would have been the Jags GM, would you have cut Pannel Egboh? Thanks.
John: He would have been on the bubble, because while Egboh did put up statistics in the preseason, he did it against the reserves and eventually fell victim to a numbers game Friday. Reserves who play well in preseason often become fan favorites only to be released, and that appears to have happened with Egboh. A lot of people were upset that the Jaguars released Egboh and kept Andre Branch, but the two play different roles and often players who show up statistically during the preseason are released. It’s confusing, but you see it every season.
Levin from Bloomington, IN:
I think I figured out what the J and the P stand for in JP Shadrick's name. Jus' Pimpin'. What do you guys call him around the office? JP Swagrick? Jay Pizzles? Bet its tough working with a true alpha-male, eh?
John: I call him Jimmy Po-Boy. He doesn’t understand why, and neither do I.
Darryl from Los Angeles, CA:
Wuz wong wif my mouf? I can't feel my mouf!
John: Breathe. BREATHE!
James from Socorro, NM:
Don't say it's about competition and then keep Andre Branch.
John: This has been an oh-so-common refrain in recent days. Branch struggled in the preseason, no question, but it’s tough to cut a second-round selection in his second season. Gus Bradley discussed Branch on Friday, and said he liked the direction the defensive end is heading. He seemed to mean it. Fans understandably have a tough time understanding this when Branch struggled to create pressure in the preseason. We’ll see if Branch improves. The pass-rush needs that to happen.
Al from Orange Park, FL:
If Gabbert plays, he'll be playing with some pain? OK, but what if he whacks that hand on a helmet? I'm more concerned with the rest of the season than with the first game. He has and we have been through enough weirdness and problems in his short career. Being lost for half the season in the first game would doom his career and our season. PLEASE tell me they wouldn't foolishly rush him back? Please?
John: They won’t. If he’s ready, Gabbert will play. If he’s not, he won’t. Gus Bradley said as much late in the week. The Jaguars have said or done nothing to indicate they’re rushing Gabbert back. There’s no reason to rush him back and they won’t.
Tim from Jacksonville:
Can you please explain how the waiver system reorders after the first three or four weeks and how that order is determined for teams with equal records?
John: The waiver claim system is based on the previous season until Week 3, after which it shifts to being based on the current season. Ties are broken based on opponents’ winning percentage, with the team whose opponents have the worse winning percentage having first right to claim.
Jerry from Section 205:
Hey, O – the great and powerful O! Coach talked about the 6-8 core special teamers, excluding the obvious, Scobee and Anger. Who are they and are they an improvement over last year or the preseason performance?
John: As with many things on this roster, it may take time to find an ideal core of special teams players. But it does appear the Jaguars made headway into this area. Antwon Blake definitely made the team based on special teams, and LaRoy Reynolds will play a role there, too. Alan Ball, Josh Evans and Chris Prosinski will be on a lot of teams and I’d imagine you’ll see Will Blackmon and Kyle Knox on multiple units, too.
John from Nowheresville:
Was it a peace sign? Hope so, got to keep the 'zone family oriented.....
John: It was not a peace sign.
Laurie from Neptune Beach, FL:
I wasn't tearing anything down, and I'm not caught up in anything. I merely made an observation that perhaps Clowney might not be the lock most of us had been assuming him to be.
John: Actually, Laurie, I didn’t mean you. I meant that with any player of Clowney’s stature who is ballyhooed and hyped during an offseason returns for a senior season it is going to be difficult if not impossible for the player to live up to that hype. Clowney is good. Very good. He will be an early selection in the draft. Maybe the earliest selection. But there’s going to be a lot of rise and fall and paralysis by analysis until the draft. As good as he is, many, many can’t-miss players have slid down draft boards for various reasons and various questions. It appears Clowney is now going to have to answer questions about stamina. That may or may not be fair, but it’s how it is when you’re the most-hyped player in a draft class.
Frank from St. Augustine:
I saw J.P. Shadrick coming out of the Red Rooster (or whatever it's called these days) in Bayard. Thought I'd let you know.
John: New thing: #shadricksightings
Jeff from Jacksonville:
I hope that Blackmon will learn from his suspension, and do a little soul searching during his four weeks of not playing. I would guess that sitting out 4 games and watching your teammates pull your share of the load while healthy might be a real eye opener for him. I don’t see this as any type of vacation for him at all. As a professional, this should really get his attention. Good luck Justin.
John: Yes, that’s what you would hope. That’s what the Jaguars need to happen. All we can do is watch, and all the Jaguars can do is work with him and hope. That’s where we are.
Micah from Springfield, MA:
I'm sure you have gotten an innumerable amount of emails concerning Tebow. But as a fan who has vehemently opposed him coming to JAX, I have to ask. He has played himself out of two backup QB competitions in high profile cities. With Denard struggling, is there any situation that David calls and offers a spot to him as a TE/OW only? Or am I asking too much of UoF fans in accepting that he will never be an NFL QB again?
John: This isn’t happening. And I’m not saying it like I can’t believe I’m getting questions, like, “Oh, no. THIS ISN’T HAPPENING!” I just mean that the Jaguars aren’t signing Tebow . . .
Garrison from Jacksonville:
Do you think it would be the right decision to maybe sign Tebow or Vince Young? They both provide a good case to make the team as a backup or starter and a chance to really implement the read-option offense since it seems Denard Robinson has a little trouble. Plus add a little mobility for those 3rd&6s that Blaine wouldn't be able to scramble for. Tebow is a homeboy here and can run the ball with amazing power Plus Vince young still has some wheels. Thoughts?
John: . . . or Vince Young.

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