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O-Zone: Realistic expectations

Posted Aug 13, 2013

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .

Chase from Jacksonville:
You say Gus Bradley will still be the head coach next year, but does that include if the Jags have another 2-14 season? If so, I would really like to hear the reason. What makes him more deserving of leeway than Mike Mularkey got
John: I believe the Jaguars will be better than 2-14, but whatever the record, I believe Gus Bradley will be the head coach next season. Shad Khan last year was in his first year as the owner with a fourth-year general manager, and a head coach hired – Mularkey – in Khan’s first month in the NFL. Khan sincerely believes the combination of David Caldwell/Bradley is the right two-headed duo to lead this team into the future, and after overhauling the roster in the offseason, it is obvious this is a long-term process more than it is about the short-term. Khan understands this might be a long process, and he will behave as such whatever the record this season.
Marciano from Shoals, IN:
Did the NFL edit the game before I was able to watch it here in Indiana? The game I was able to watch here in no way showed a reason to claim Gabbert was playing worse than Henne. It didn’t show Henne playing any better than Gabbert, either. So was the game edited, or am I sensing a huge overreaction from the first game of the preseason?
John: The game was not edited.
Michael from Kentwood, MI:
So, numbers say Henne did better against a second-team defense. If we convert the drops Gabbert had wouldn't he have been equal or better statistically, but against ones instead of twos? As long as he stood sound in the pocket - I'd support you in thinking Gabbert is likely to get the regular season nod.
John: I said immediately after the game I thought Henne outperformed Gabbert Friday. I still believe that, with Henne looking a little more in control and moving the offense better on one drive. At the same time, neither quarterback went downfield and I didn’t think the quarterback equation changed significantly on Friday. There are plenty of bridges in Jacksonville, but there’s no reason to throw ourselves off of one just yet.
Keenan from London:
Thoughts on an NFL.com editor calling Jacksonville, 'the NFL's version of a backwater town.'
John: “Whatever.”
Moshe from Mexico City, Mexico:
You said the coaches think Prosinski is one of the best four safeties on the roster; well, maybe the coaches are evaluating bad, just maybe. He played really bad against the Dolphins.
John: Or maybe he’s one of the four best safeties on the roster. Either that, or coaches whose jobs depend on putting the best possible team on the field have made it a point to not do that at the safety position. That’s always possible.
Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
What does the term LEO stand for and what are the basics of that position versus a regular 4-3 defensive end?
John: The “L” in Leo stands for linebacker, with the “E” standing for end. The position is a hybrid of those two roles and lines up outside. The basic of the position is that it is very pass-rush oriented and sometimes plays from a standup position in the same way a linebacker does. A 4-3 end typically would play with his hand on the ground far more often than not and would have more run responsibility.
Trey from Eagle Mountain, UT:
All right everyone, including you, Mr. Oehser . . . People are not in a "hurry to criticize Gabbert," nor is it "just the first preseason game." He has started more than 25 regular-season games, and multiple preseason games. We've seen the same thing nearly every time, and it's not good. Please stop saying everyone is quick to "rush to judgment on him.”
John: Including me? I’m not critical of people critical of Gabbert. People have every right to criticize Gabbert, and every right to pass judgment. And while Gabbert actually has started 24 regular-season games, your point is correct that he has struggled over the first two seasons of his career. People around the organization would tell you the same thing, and I think Gabbert would tell you the same thing, too. That’s the past. This is the present and in the present, the quarterback situation will play out over the next several weeks.
James from Jagsonville:
Are we going to see Kafka work with the first-team offense this preseason?
John: Probably not. The starting quarterback position is a battle between Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert, and those two have been splitting repetitions with the first- and second-team offense. The only way that would change is if someone else would “earn” his way into the competition. That hasn’t happened yet.
Ryan from Boone, NC:
A few months ago I started noticing comments from writers about not getting on the wrong side of Jaguars Twitter and how we have some of the most vocal fan bases on twitter. Curious, I started following some of the Bold City Brigade guys. It seems they aren’t involved in any official capacity with the Jaguars, but it’s clear many Jaguars officials and writers know who they are on some level. What exactly is Jaguars twitter and how unique is it compared to other franchises?
John: Jaguars Twitter is best-defined as a group of passionate, educated Jaguars fans who don’t take kindly to writers or tweeters who tweet negative comments about the Jaguars based on assumption and perception rather than facts. As is the case with J.P. Shadrick, I’ve heard it is best with these folks not to dig too deeply into details of their background. I assume they hail from a dark, hazy place, wear blue-and-black T-Shirts and smell wonderfully of beer and barbeque. I admire, envy and fear them on pretty much an equal basis.
Drew from Jacksonville:
Have they tried LaRoy Reynolds at outside linebacker? And do they feel he can move around at the linebacker position?
John: They worked Reynolds at outside linebacker on Monday with Russell Allen out with an ankle injury.
George from Savannah, GA:
You mentioned the lack of downfield plays in one reply Monday, with the longest pass attempted by Gabbert on Friday being only 11 yards. If it is preseason, shouldn't this be the time we work on downfield accuracy before the regular season starts?
John: Look, I get that people are going to pick apart the preseason opener to pass judgment on the quarterback. I did it myself, reviewing every pass attempt in the first half in detail early in the week. But remember: just because the first preseason game is the only action most fans have seen doesn’t mean that’s the only thing the coaches have seen. They have seen these quarterbacks take snaps all offseason and training camp. They called plays on Friday that they wanted to see executed in that situation. I believe fans will see balls further downfield throughout the preseason. Now, are the Jaguars going to be a fling-it-downfield-at-all-times team during the regular season? No, I see them giving either Gabbert or Henne a manageable playbook and not ask either to go downfield an inordinate number of times. But they have worked on a lot of the offense in training camp and will continue to do so.
Brian from Atlanta, GA:
It seems like the team really wants to see LaRoy Reynolds and Brandon Marshall more. Is there a chance they could push Geno Hayes and Russell Allen out of the lineup? I know it's still early, but it seems Reynolds and Marshall have been getting a lot more attention in reports than Hayes and Allen.
John: The team certainly wants to see Reynolds and Marshall, and they should see them a lot more as the preseason goes on. I would be surprised if either player starts over Allen and Hayes at the beginning of this season. Now, Reynolds and Marshall are young players with upside and this is a team very much about competition. Is there a scenario where Reynolds or Marshall develop and become long-term contributors at the expense of Hayes and Allen. Sure, that’s what competition in this league is about.
Mike from Section 238:
Is it unrealistic to think we'll be twice as good as last year (four wins) or three times as good (six wins)? I don't think so. It seems like some fans won't be happy unless they are five times as good as last year.
John: It’s not unrealistic. I can’t control other people’s happiness. If I could, my wife and child wouldn’t resent me.
Daniel from St. Paul, MN:
Why is Denard Robinson not even a passing thought to start at quarterback? I can really see an option offense work with MJD and Shorts, etc. to be a legitimate deep threat.
John: I wouldn’t say there was no passing thought. I would say it was given a passing thought and the thought passed fairly quickly. Robinson is a very fast player who looks like he has a chance to be a reliable option. So far, he has not looked like an NFL quarterback when throwing the ball. I suppose that could change, but that’s not the plan.
Eric from St. Augustine, FL:
Coaches always preach to play loose. Write loose Mr. O and you will rise to the top.
John: I doubt that.

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