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O-Zone: Good advices

Posted Aug 20, 2013

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .

Brad from Duval, FL:
Why do you think our OW, Denard Robinson, is only getting reps at the running back position and not some of the other positions where he is listed on the depth chart?
John: Robinson struggled early in training camp, which in retrospect was probably expected. Asking a rookie to learn the responsibilities of wide receiver, running back, kick returner, punt returner and quarterback is a lot to expect. That’s five responsibilities. The Jaguars ask me to write a mailbag and eat lunch every day. That’s two responsibilities, and if there’s gravy involved, I struggle with lunch. The Jaguars cut back the responsibilities of Robinson early in camp, and he improved. I suspect over time they’ll give him more and he’ll get more involved in various areas.
Brosnan from Duval County:
Here comes Vick! Your thoughts?
John: I think I really get sick of people talking about my predecessor. Get over it.
Tommy from Jacksonville and Section 122:
O-man: I guess if BG continues to put up numbers like the other night then a bromance isn't such a bad thing?
John: MAN CRUSH!!!
Marcus from Jacksonville:
I'm thrown off by the response of Gabbert supporters. He did a good job Saturday and deserves credit, but how are people who last week said that his poor performance didn't matter because it was preseason now sticking their chests out saying they were right all along and that Gabbert should be the starter after two series of quality play? Newsflash: It's still the preseason! If it didn't matter last week, it doesn't matter this week.
John: You’re right, and I don’t know how to explain what people say. The reality is Gabbert wasn’t as “awful” as many believed in the first game, and that he probably wasn’t Tom Brady/Peyton Manning after the second. Gabbert has shown enough over two games to be the starter. That’s where we are.
Sebastian from Poland:
Is Andre Branch still on the team? If so, why?
John: The Jaguars need to find edge pass rusher, that’s why. Branch hasn’t done enough this preseason, but while he played just seven snaps against the Jets, Head Coach Gus Bradley said Monday that was because of circumstance as much as anything. The Jaguars wanted to see Branch in pass-rushing situations and Bradley said there weren’t as many of those against the Jets as the coaches would have liked. I suspect he will get more of an opportunity the rest of the preseason, and I suspect just as strongly he needs to take advantage of the opportunity.
Mike from Section 238:
There seems to be a real drop-off at center when Meester is out. Do you think this an area that the general manager will particularly scour the waiver wire?
John: Yes.
Damien from Appleton, WI:
A quarterback had a good game. Can't we be happy regardless of who it was?
John: Some people can. Some people can’t. Fans will always be divided, and some always will be unhappy. That’s just how it is.
John from Section 105:
If Gabbert turns out to be good this year, what the heck are we supposed to complain about?
John: You will find something.
Brooks from Jacksonville:
I know it's a bit early to be concerned, but by my count this is Gabbert's fourth significant injury since being here and third to cause him to miss time. When should we panic?
John: Quarterbacks who get hit a lot get hurt. Gabbert has been hit a lot. If he gets hit less, he should get hurt a lot less. The Colts made protecting Peyton Manning a priority from Day One, and the result was he was very, very durable for a long time. The better protected Gabbert is I suspect he will become a lot more durable, too.
Aaron from Arlington:
Well, when you are wrong you are wrong. Happy to see Blaine get the nod. Hope Henne finds a place to play somewhere.
John: My sense is that somewhere will be in Jacksonville. I’d be surprised if the Jaguars release Henne.
Evan from Section 137 and Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
You keep mentioning we need a pass rush to complement Jason Babin. Is the move of Tyson Alualu to the outside not accomplishing this purpose or has Alualu not adjusted to playing defensive end? If not, how long will it take him to be productive at defensive end?
John: Alualu was moved to defensive end to be a solid run-stuffer opposite the team’s Leo pass-rusher on early downs, and potentially to play inside some on other situations. He was not moved with the idea that he would be a pass-rushing defensive end.
Ryan from Jacksonville:
Figured you like seeing a question that doesn't involve quarterbacks, so tell me, who do you think has the most to prove in Game 3?
John: Matt Scott.
Doug from La Follete, TN:
Good point about winning preseason games. Last year, we won three of four preseason games and the starters struggled in every game. Those preseason games were won by the second- and third-stringers. We all know how last season turned out. Saturday, under Gabbert, the Jaguars held their own against the Jets. I think we will have a better record this season.
John: I think so, too. The Jaguars were competitive early despite the absence of Cecil Shorts III, Luke Joeckel and Marcedes Lewis. The team struggled in the second half for a second consecutive week, which could indicate a lack of depth. If that’s the case, it’s not a shock for a team very early in the building process.
Scott from Jacksonville:
Gabbert's preseason game versus the Jets was a fluke and Bradley will learn that Week 1 when the Jags can't move the offense like last season with Gabbert in.
John: Here we go, Jaguars.
David from Savannah, GA:
How easy will it be for a quarterback to just quick look at the two-toned helmets of the jags and know exactly which way the defensive players are looking? It seems like it will be easy to decide back shoulder throw or not??
John: #overthinking . . .
Sean from Jacksonville:
Gabbert has one good game in preseason and he's named the starter? Talk about lowered expectations. Henne would have had to play four great games to become the starter but Gabbert just has to play well on two drives. This coach is an idiot and Gabbert should be sending a thank you letters to the entire Jets defense for not caring about the game and leaving wide receivers wide open in the first few series.
John: . . . #underthinking
Lyle from Kingsland, GA:
Now that positions are starting to settle out, where do you think the biggest opportunities will be in picking through the cuts to the 53-man roster? Will it be for quality of depth or positions of need? I bet the answer is a little of each as they become available. I wouldn't put down first month’s rent on an apartment if I was a bubble player that makes the roster.
John: I wouldn’t, either. I don’t know if there is a position group where the final guy making the team is a rock-solid lock to be there throughout the regular season. The Jaguars haven’t looked strong in the second half of either preseason game, which points to depth. I expect the team to look at the waiver wire along the interior of the offensive line, as well as defensive end and secondary.
Steve from Nashville:
Jordan Todman looks fast or maybe quick or both?
John: Todman, listed as the third team running back, has looked both, and more importantly, he has looked like he knows how to run. He has gotten extensive playing time with Maurice Jones-Drew playing sparingly and with Justin Forsett out with an injury. He has taken advantage of it. He has a hamstring injury, but if that’s not overly serious I’d expect him to make the roster.
Alex from Jacksonville:
I guess with Gabbert injuring his thumb you really couldn't have a true competition anymore. Might as well eliminate the chance for controversy at this point.
John: That’s one way to look at it. It’s not how the Jaguars looked at it, but it’s one way to look at it.
Ryan from Boynton Beach, FL:
Now that Gabbert has won the starting job, if Chad puts up another poor performance in Week 3 and Week 4 is there a chance he doesn’t make the team? Could this be Matt's chance to become the No. 2 quarterback?
John: I doubt it. And I doubt it. While Gabbert is the starter, it’s not as if he has turned in week after week of solid, consistent, winning quarterbacking. There are worse backups in the NFL than Chad Henne, and injuries do occur in the NFL. Scott has shown potential, but I don’t know that he’s quite ready to play.
Brandon from Tallahassee:
When does the roster get trimmed to 75?
John: By Tuesday after this week’s game.
Marty from Jacksonville:
John, love your column. Keep up the good work. I do have one suggestion, however, about your writing style. You use too many double negatives and triple negatives. "He didn't seem unconcerned..." There's no reason to tie your sentences into knots like that.
John: Thanks for advice. I won’t not take that into consideration.

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