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O-Zone: Sympathy for the Joeckel

Posted May 7, 2013

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

Ted from Jacksonville:
I don't understand the hate on Gabbert and Henne. Just ask Steve Young what coaching, wide receivers and an offensive line can do for you. He was 3-16 in 19 games as starter in Tampa and where is he now? I am not putting these guys in Canton, but at least let them throw upright.
John: The hate is actually easy to understand. The Jaguars have struggled the last two seasons, and when football teams struggle, the quarterback is blamed. That’s a constant. It’s very difficult, when a team loses as many games as the Jaguars have the past two seasons, to understand that it’s not all one person and that blame must go around. I have written many, many times that the Jaguars must get their quarterback situation resolved. That’s absolutely true. At the same time, they have to get the structure around the quarterback solidified – coaching, offensive line, receivers, philosophy of management/player selection – all of those things must be in lockstep for a team to be successful. There’s a feeling around the Jaguars that the first steps toward that are being taken. Is that feeling correct? Well, that’s what the coming months and years are about.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
I attended the Sunday minicamp with my two boys. It was very impressive to watch Gus Bradley take the time to sign autographs/pose for pictures with everyone who wanted one. We were near the end and he still had a big smile on his face. He made two little boys very happy - and Jags fans for life!
John: Yes, Bradley gets it. No doubt. His upbeat, energetic nature seems to be far more than a public persona, and he seems to genuinely care about players, people in the organization and fans. I don’t say that lightly. Anyone who has been around him will tell you his energy is sincere energy, and fans are starting to see that.
James from Jacksonville:
We've gone too far. I am a Tebow fan but this is getting stupid. Is it that he doesn’t fit into the scheme here, or is it the circus that comes with him or both?
John: People get tired of Tebow questions in the O-Zone, and I honestly was ready for a few Tebow-free days before this latest gurgle of ridiculousness over the weekend. I long have taken the approach with the Tebow situation to have fun with a story that obviously is irrationally serious and emotional for so many people. But for today, because it seems to now have reached a previously unreached level of strangeness, I’ll say it as simply as possible: NFL people generally believe that HE IS NOT GOOD. If NFL people believed that he was good, they would sign him. There is no conspiracy. It’s not about scheme. It’s not even about the circus, though as I’ve written before, I do believe the circus prevents teams from bringing him in as a backup and allowing him to develop. NFL people – coaches and general managers – live with a couple of underlying motivations, namely “win” and “don’t get fired.” Doing the first generally helps with the second. If NFL people thought he was good – if they believed he could help them win – teams would be lining up to sign Tebow. Maybe he will land somewhere and succeed wildly. Maybe some team will give him that chance, but the chances of that get slimmer all the time. And if your next question is, “Does having a fan base that petitions the President of the United States to have an NFL team him help his cause?” then my answer would be a pretty definite, “No, it does not.” And by the way, did you say “getting” stupid? When it comes to this story, we reached that long, long ago.
Glen from Lake City, FL:
Here ya go Johnny-O, The Tebowites have gone even more off the scale than I thought possible. Seriously??? A petition to get the President make Mr. Khan sign and start Tebow! Not sure if I should laugh or cry at/for these people.
John: Do what I do when I look back over the arc of my life story. Laugh and cry. After all, it is as comical as it is sad.
Logan from Wichita, KS:
Are you as humiliated as I am that some idiots calling themselves "fans" petitioned the President to get Tebow into Jacksonville?
John: I don’t need Tebow fans to make me feel bad about myself. I’m married.
Manuel from Jacksonville:
Do you think the Jags keeping three quarterbacks (two veterans, one rookie) this season is very probable?
John: It’s possible. I would not say it was “probable.” How many quarterbacks the Jaguars keep will depend on how all four – Gabbert, Chad Henne, Matt Scott and Jordan Rodgers – play in training camp and preseason. It’s possible two could be kept on the active roster, with one of the rookies kept on the practice squad, though enough people know about Scott it may be risky to put him there. At the same time, because no one drafted either Scott or Rodgers, the practice squad could be an option for either player. Specifics on numbers at roster positions will be tough to answer this season. Bradley has made it clear the theme will be creating competition, with the possibility of a lot of roster turnover. If that’s the case, the numbers at each position almost certainly will change at various times during the season.
Alex from Aviano, Italy:
Any talk about Mike Brown? Do you think he has a chance to develop into someone the Jaguars could rely on as a solid wide receiver?
John: Mike Brown appears to have the chance to take advantage of Bradley’s approach, meaning that competition for every position will be open with no preconceived ideas. Brown has impressed Caldwell and Bradley with his approach, and he got open consistently in rookie minicamp this past weekend. That doesn’t put him on the active roster, but yes, he has a chance to develop.
Miguel from Section 145 and Jacksonville Beach:
Please tell Matt from Cape Coral, FL that real men don't practice in the rain if there is LIGHTNING. That was the difference this past weekend.
John: You just told him.
Mark from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
The Jaguars are getting credit for great analytics before the draft. However, the Jaguars’ war room during the draft looked anything but sophisticated when compared to other teams. Most teams had several rows of people at tables with charts, graphs and laptops. The Jaguars had a table where Caldwell and Bradley were sitting with a Jaguars logo curtain as a backdrop. I am sensing a conspiracy. Was Tony Khan in the real war room in a bunker in West Virginia? Does he have the body of Bigfoot?
John: No conspiracy. If Tony Khan has a bunker in West Virginia, then I don’t know about it. The picture that made the rounds before the draft was of the Jaguars’ war room, and while it was used extensively during the draft, the war room wasn’t where the team did a lot of it pre-draft planning. There are other offices around EverBank Field. It’s possible to meet and plan a draft strategy in many of them, cameras and staged photography notwithstanding.
Paul from Jacksonville:
Okay, I'm on to you Shadrick. You've been writing the "O-Zone" and all of "John Oehser's" articles for over a year now, haven't you? John is just a character you invented to make yourself look better, right? Who's the actor you hired to play him on the site videos?
John: Who the heck is John Oehser?
Awesome Bill from Dawsonville:
I watched Joekel almost flip a weight sled at the Saturday rookie minicamp. I'm hearing way more about Cyprien, however. Would you explain the balance of coverage as Cyprien being more of a standout, or does most everyone already have it in their head that Joekel is gonna be a star?
John: It might have to do with people still trying to learn to spell Joeckel’s name.
Darrick from Jacksonville:
With the injuries that occurred, did we see enough of Matt Scott or Jordan Rodgers to form an opinion one way or the other on these rookies?
John: It’s probably too soon to form a complete opinion. On the first day, it appeared that Scott had a little more arm strength and looked a little ahead – whatever that can mean in an introductory rookie minicamp practice. At the same time, Rodgers seemed to see the field well, had a nice long touchdown in a driving rain Friday, and then seemed to be better Saturday. That’s a thumbnail, sideline view based on a very short window. Each likely will have ample opportunity to allow an opinion to be formed in the coming weeks.
Mark from Albuquerque, NM:
Every time I look at Luke Joeckel all I can this is this guy the spitting image of Tony Boselli or what? I sure hope he plays like him!
John: It is indeed a little eerie how much Joeckel looks like Boselli. I haven’t mentioned this to Joeckel. I didn’t have the heart.

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