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O-Zone: Only the lonely

Posted Aug 14, 2013

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .

Daniel from Johnston, IA:
It’s the preseason. I get it. Really, I do. There's no game-planning. Play-calling is different. Not all starters are out there and the ones that play are probably more focused on not getting injured than winning/making plays. Still, I get annoyed when the Jags' staff after the game only talks about positives and blowing sunshine. Coach Coughlin would say it how it is, the good and the bad.
John: I’m sorry you’re annoyed. This coaching staff is in the beginning of a building process, and they realize that what they’re watching is a young team that’s learning the schemes and learning what is expected. Different coaches take different approaches, and many coaches prefer to emphasize the positives in public. That doesn’t make either approach wrong. It’s just different.
Luce from Buffalo, NY:
Why don’t you think Robinson could ever be a lead back? He is the exact same size as Chris Johnson was coming out. I know it’s early to make any judgments on Robinson but if he runs well in his limited role this year, he could take over full time if MJD leaves. We would need a short-yardage and goal-line back, but those are relatively easy to find. I was very impressed how far along he is in the transition to running back; he ran with good patience and visions as well as finished runs with good pad level. I think we have our back for the future.
John: Perhaps, but watching Robinson it’s still difficult to see a player of his size being a full-time, every-down back who has to test the middle of the line regularly. Having a back of that size can limit your offense if you’re expecting him to play every down in multiple situations.
Bryan from Tampa, FL:
I am curious about how Rackley has fared so far. He is the biggest question mark on our O-Line. Since the pads have been on, we really haven't heard about him. Is that a good thing in this case?
John: It is, and further, Rackley played well against the Dolphins Friday. The interior of the Jaguars’ offensive line as a whole played well against the Dolphins, particularly considering the absence of Brad Meester at center.
Duran from Rapid City:
The first-team defense looked great against Miami; my only concern is the way the team seemed to "break" after that penalty for a first down. Looked a lot like past seasons of one mistake and things spiral downward from there.
John: You’re right. That was familiar. The Jaguars have done it on more than one occasion in recent seasons. It’s not unusual for a defense to give up a score after a first down for a penalty. It is tough in the NFL to overcome that, and that’s especially true of a defense that hasn’t reached an elite level. While I don’t see that as terribly unusual for a defense, it is something that you don’t want to be a trend. Often, responding to that sort of play is the difference between being very, very good and being mediocre. The Jaguars have to get past it. Gus Bradley would tell you the sooner, the better.
Ryan from Duville:
Last year, the Jags went 3-1 in the preseason and Gabbert had 61 percent completions with three touchdowns and no interceptions and a 95 passer rating. With that, can we all take a deep breath and stop saying what we saw on Friday is no different than last year? It's the preseason and come September 8, none of that matters.
John: Word.
Aaron from Jacksonville:
It has been said that perhaps the offense is best when being run out of the two-minute/hurry-up/no-huddle formation. Is there any chance with the quarterbacks making more decisions at the line that a form of no-huddle is the best way to go with the offense? Also, noticing our quarterbacks are getting rid of the ball quicker - they are passing after 2.2 seconds or sooner . . . nice point of emphasis. Keep up the good work sir. #DTWD
John: In Jedd Fisch’s ideal, he would run a lot of up-tempo and no-huddle. He absolutely wants the quarterbacks to be operating the offense a lot from the line of scrimmage and to be changing plays when the situation calls for it. The extent to which the offense will be executed that way will certainly depend on the quarterbacks’ comfort level with it, but that’s the direction Fisch wants the offense headed.
Jeff from Starke, FL:
I think Gabbert's pocket presence has greatly improved. The last two years, when pressured in the middle, his tendency was that his eyes went down, he would get low and tuck the ball. Friday, when pressured in the middle on a couple occasions, he kept his eyes down field and even moved to avoid the pressure very well.
John: Yes, he has improved. He needs to improve a lot more in that area, and it needs to result in the offense moving efficiently when he is playing. That’s what hasn’t happened enough, and the next two preseason games will be pretty important in that area.
Tim from Jacksonville:
Chris Wesseling is not an editor for NFL.com, he's just a writer. My thoughts are that Chris Wesseling is a bald, ugly dummy whose mother surely wears combat boots. So, that's my thought on Chris Wesseling's claim that Jacksonville is a "backwater town.”
John: “Whatever.”
Dave from Jacksonville:
I'm pretty sure Cyprien was penciled in as the starter ahead of Prosinski before he played one snap in training camp. They know who is better!
John: Yes, he was. And yes, they did. I’m not sure why that merits an exclamation point! Cyprien was a first-round talent, and Prosinski was selected in the fifth round. Not a knock on Prosinski – though most Jaguars fans seem to relish in that – but Cyprien is supposed to be better.
Mark from High Springs:
I know you're not a physical therapist, but can you better explain what a calf strain is? It seems like its kept CS3 out longer than Gabbert's ankle sprain, which would seem to me a more serious injury. Is it because No. 11 is competing, whereas No. 84 is a foregone conclusion, or is a calf strain worse than I think it is?
John: There are different degrees of every injury. Shorts III probably would be able to play if this were the regular season. It’s not, and because you know what you have in Shorts, there is no reason to put him at the remotest risk.
Amar from New Orleans, LA:
Repeatedly you have mentioned that you don't believe the Jaguars will pick first, or even second. Who do you foresee having a worse year? I have a tough time keeping the Jaguars out of Top 5 picks for next year and by that logic, they are a game or two away from the No. 1 pick.
John: I have no idea who will be worse; I don’t cover other teams enough to know what situations might be ripe for a breakdown. I think the Jaguars will win at least five games because I think they’ll believe in this coaching staff and stay together, and I think they’ll play smart throughout most of their games. Usually, that combination is enough to keep you competitive and usually if you’re competitive, things break your way so that your season is not a disaster.
Scott from Jacksonville:
I consider myself a regular reader of your column, but I keep reading about Moodachay and have no idea what that is. Can you re-explain what Moodachay is and why people keep using it?
John: #Moodachay began as an email from Carl from Jacksonville, who one day this past offseason innocently commented that the chant “Move the Chains” sounded to him like, “Moodachay.” I just-as-innocently commented that the thought made me laugh. The rest was out of my hands.
James from St. Augustine, FL:
I understand that without the normal weapons on the field the quarterbacks are going to struggle with completions, but that shouldn't matter for accuracy. It was very boring watching Gabbert complete 5-to-10-yard passes downfield and dump-offs into the flat. Henne was better, but it seems that Scott and Kafka were trying to make more with the time they were given. Scott also appeared to be more accurate with his passes and better with play recognition. Do you see maybe one of them sneaking into the quarterback battle as preseason moves along?
John: No.
Patrick from Merced, CA:
What is your estimate on how many yards MJD will rush for this season and do you think he'll re-sign for the Jags for a few more seasons once his contract is up?
John: If healthy, I see Jones-Drew rushing for 1,200 yards-ish. That’s acknowledging he could get fewer grind-it-out games in Jedd Fisch’s up-tempo offense. Whatever the number, I think Jones-Drew will be productive this season. As for his future, that’s less certain. Many observers believe he will sign elsewhere next season. My impression is Jones-Drew doesn’t want to do that. Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell said he doesn’t plan to negotiate with free-agents-to-be until the offseason, so we won’t know for a while.
Max from Jacksonville:
Gabbert looked terrific last preseason. You can put me in the group that doesn't overreact one way or another.
John: Good. Thanks. I hope you’ll enjoy being lonely. It’s always worked for me.

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