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O-Zone: Don't cross me

Posted May 17, 2013

JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . .

Vince from Charleston, SC:
I'd love to see David Garrard retire as a Jaguar. He poured his heart and soul into this team. The magic that happened in the 2007 season, nobody can take that from him. I know that was only one season, but in 2010 we were one win away from the playoffs again. He was a very solid player, and a great human being. Hopefully, the front office will let him retire as a Jag.
John: David Garrard meant a lot to the fans of the organization during the era in which he played. I don’t know that the timing will be right, however, for him to formally retire with the team. The roster is currently full at 90 players, and in order to do the “Retiring With a Team” thing, a team must have a roster spot available.
Joel from Atlanta, GA:
I really enjoyed reading your response to John regarding the Jaguars' handling of the Blackmon situation. Careful, if you continually put out quality material like that, people will start doubting your commitment to nap time.
John: Every once in a while I like to do Shad Khan “a solid” and put in the time to give a thoughtful, reasonable answer. Worry not. It’s a blip, not a trend. “Overdoing it” is not something about which I worry.
Lee from Duval:
NFL Network commented that the poor quarterback play in Jaguars camp was the reason for Denard Robinson taking snaps at quarterback. I'm not buying it, but could you clarify?
John: Sure. Quarterback play had nothing to do with Robinson taking snaps. While the Jaguars have said since drafting Robinson they will try to get him many touches in various situations, they did not draft him to be the primary quarterback. Let’s hope for everyone’s sake that’s clear.
Jody from Fort Pierce, FL:
Sad to see Montell Owens go, but it is hard to stick around for long when you’re just a special teams guy. Does this mean we will get to see Lonnie Pryor at FB this year?
John: At this point, it would be surprising if Pryor isn’t on the roster as a fullback. Gus Bradley has said the team is interested in working him some as a one-back, but with the release of Owens, it would appear likely Pryor will have a chance to play extensively on special teams and as a blocking back, too.
Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
Montell Owens? Really?! There cannot possibly be a valid reason for this.
John: Really?
Eddie from Jacksonville:
Big thank you to Montell Owens for everything he gave this franchise. He will be missed.
John: Indeed he will. Owens was rightfully a popular, respected player in the locker room and among fans. For the present, he wasn’t likely to be playing much on offense, and keeping an eight-year veteran for special teams is a difficult fit for a team in a building process. David Caldwell could have kept Owens around for insurance at the running back position with no guarantee he would make the roster, but opted to give him time to find another team if possible.
Jason from North Pole, AK:
In reference to rookie contracts, "there's no advantage or disadvantage to signing it now." I respectfully disagree. If your first-round pick gets a DUI, the team would prefer to have waited to do a contract so they could protect themselves. I see it as a disadvantage to sign the contracts early, and then give 22-year olds an entire offseason to go play with their riches for the first time. Do you think the Jaguars are waiting a while because they have already been on the better end of this lesson?
John: No. I suppose there could be an advantage in that sense, but I don’t know that you run a franchise making every decision based on fear, either. You scouted these players, and invested significant faith and energy into picking a draft class. At some point, you have to trust your work and believe in these guys enough to sign them to contracts. If you liked these guys enough to draft them, go ahead and sign them to their contracts whenever the time is right.
Robert from Arlington, VA:
I like the approach Bradley and the Jags are taking with Justin Blackmon. Too many folks are far too quick to declare him a lost cause, citing other current and former players with substance-abuse issues. Look at Jared Allen: pre-draft DUI, then two more within a year. Also suspended four games at one point, but look at him now. Who thinks about him as having off-field issues at this point? I hope Blackmon has a chance to get past these things in the same way and perform similarly on the field and off.
John: I was heartened by how many emails along these lines I received Thursday. While most people understand Blackmon made a mistake, and while there is disappointment in his action and frustration with the potential on-field ramifications, there also seem to be many people who understand that players aren’t perfect. Many people also seem to realized it’s OK to have enough tolerance to allow people to make up for their mistakes. What is the harm in giving someone a chance to redeem themselves? Within reason, people should be allowed to make amends and get things right, particularly young people.
Cornel from Santa Maria, CA:
There has been a lot of talk about offense, defensive line and defensive backs but not much about our linebacking corps. How is that group looking?
John: Good. Paul Posluszny almost certainly will start in the middle with Russell Allen and Geno Hayes on the outside. I wouldn’t be shocked to see a veteran signed before training camp or perhaps when players are released before the season, but as it stands this group could start the season.
Alex from Raleigh, NC:
Will the Jags be playing a 3-4 or 4-3 next season?
John: The plan right now calls for the Jaguars to play a 4-3 next season. Ideally, Gus Bradley’s defense uses enough different packages in different situations that it’s hard to pigeonhole it as either a 3-4 or 4-3.
George from Jacksonville:
I hope the team is as fast as you are quick-witted. Then we will make the Super Bowl.
John: I, uh . . .
Scott from Chelsea, NY:
I saw a few pictures from practice and the new helmets look sharp. I still think they look silly on their own, but on the field they look good.
John: There’s no doubt the helmets take some getting used to. I’m one who fundamentally believes change is evil, so it took me a while to get used to them, too. But when you see them on the field, especially when a group is close together facing the same direction, that’s when you see the full effect. And the full effect really looks pretty cool.
Steve from Jacksonville:
Gosh, John, I'm heartbroken. I know that I'VE always looked to you as MY moral compass. I'm like a ship without a rudder now, adrift and alone... sigh...
John: Stay strong.
Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Hate to sound pessimistic and sarcastic. Is there truly a "competition" between Henne and Gabbert? Give me a break - Gabbert needs to be the No. 1 and Henne No. 2. If we lose the first six games then bring in No. 2.
John: You speak of pessimism and sarcasm as if they’re bad things. Do what I do: embrace them, accept them . . . be one with them. You won’t have many friends, and happiness may come in fleeting, meaningless bursts, but hey, you’ll get a cheap laugh now and then. That counts for something.
Louie from Palm Coast, FL:
I have noticed a couple of dismissive comments about your relationship with Tony Boselli of late – is this legitimate, or an example of your warped humor?
John: My dislike of Boselli is as legitimate as my sense of humor is warped. The man has crossed me for the last time.

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