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O-Zone: Training camp opens soon

Posted Jul 19, 2013

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

John from Elizabeth City, NC:
I like hard-hitting, old-school safeties like what Johnathan Cyprien is predicted to be. But, do you see – or think eventually we will see – less of these style players? With the rules set up to prevent hard hits in the open field, I can't see why you would want a player known for hard hits.
John: This is a common theory – that the current trend of rules changes to promote safety will mean fewer big hitters among defensive backs, but I’m not ready to say that will be the case. Yes, players will have to continue to work to figure out an often-increasingly-difficult-to-execute rulebook, and yes, there will be penalties as players at all levels adapt to changed rules. But hard hitting doesn’t necessarily mean hits that fall outside the rules and as I have often said regarding the crown-of-the-helmet rule, I believe over time players adapt to new parameters – even ones that seem extreme at times. The game has survived an awfully long time and somehow, it has flourished through decades of sometimes unpopular rules changes. I can recall outcries in the 70s over rules to protect quarterbacks, for example. There are still hard hits despite those changes and I expect that will continue to be the case. And I expect players who can hit hard always will be coveted.
Adam from Jacksonville:
I think I just saw you in my neighborhood while I was walking the dogs. I would have greeted you with a nice #Moodachay, but: A, I didn't want to scare Mrs. Ozone; B, I figured it couldn't be you, because there's no way such a hard working senior writer would be away from the office at 4 p.m. on a Thursday; or, C, although you looked oddly familiar, I didn't put two and two together until logging onto jaguars.com. Yeah . . . I think it was C. Anyway, I always hated the move those chains chant. But, like Whitney Houston, I will always love #Moodachay.
John: If you take a breath and reread this email, you’ll know why I’m glad in retrospect that I grabbed Mrs. O-Zone’s hand and got the heck out of there in a hurry.
Ben from Somewhere in Iowa:
Hey John, I'm in a fantasy football league for the first time. Do you think I should wear pants?
John: What would be the point?
William from Savannah, GA:
I work seven days a week to put food on the table for my family and to help others in need. I truly do appreciate your dedication to the streak. I believe it was Wayne Newton who summed it up best: “Moodachay. Darling, moodachay. Thank you for all the joy and pain. Though we go on our separate ways, still the memory stays, for always, my heart says moodachay. Moodachay. Auf Weidersehen. Moodachay.”
John: Well put, William. Being selfish, small and petty, I can’t relate to the “help-others-in-need” thing you have going on, but as for writing in with praise . . . you have my email; write any time. #Moodachay.
Dan from Section 242:
Sir O, I know this is the time of year when we make pointless lists of things. Here is my question. Where does Marcedes Lewis fit in the list of all-time Jaguars? He is now No. 3 in all-time touchdowns and owns pretty much all the records for tight ends. He is a guy who gets a lot of grief in this town, but when his career is over, what will be the thought on the former first-rounder's standing?
John: He’s up there.
Don from Newport News, VA:
I know you only activate a certain number of players on game day, but if, say, a punter was injured during the game, does the team just use one of the activated players to punt or can they bring in someone else quickly who was not previously activated (Hoping for healthy season by the way)?
John: In your scenario, another active player must finish out the game punting. Usually, it is the kicker. After that, the team would likely sign a punter until the first is healthy.
Michael from Broomfield, CO:
In the clearing stands a boxer, and a fighter by his trade, and he carries the reminders, of every glove that laid him down, or cut him till he cried out in his anger and his shame, "I am leaving, I am leaving," But the fighter Moodachay.
John: #Moodachay. Ah, ah, ah, ha . .
Don from Newport News, VA:
How is the long snapper competition, seriously? I've been hearing about the other competitions but I have not heard much about the long snappers. Is it even close?
John: I can’t honestly say I’ve stood on the sidelines and timed spiral rotations while comparing Carson Tinker and Jeremy Cain. This competition will play out in training camp like many others, and likely will be a case of age and salary. If it’s close, it stands to reason you go with youth and a less expensive salary (Tinker, a rookie) with the idea that he can grow and develop as the team grows and develops. But if Cain is significantly more reliable, you stay with him. Teams value long snappers and no one wants one who is unreliable.
Ricky from Jacksonville and Section 245:
I wasn't impressed with Bryan from Portland's open invitation for West Coast week until he dropped the Caddyshack, "pond would be good for you" line in your lap. Regardless of how both of these loyal readers treat you John, don't sell yourself short. You're a tremendous slouch. #Moodachay
John: I was impressed as soon as Bryan started offering free things. #Moodachay
John from Jacksonville:
Dreams are the beginnings of major achievements. Now, nightmares can forecast foreboding events. Here's a “for instance” from a while back: I looked at Henne's work with the Dolphins and noticed he didn't make it through a complete season. I grasped my football signed by Fred Taylor, Garrard and others and it was like the dead zone, a complete blank, no playoffs, a rather quick season. Will there be another house cleaning if the Jaguars go below .500 this year?
John: John! Welcome back! How’s the family? Alter ego doing well? No, Henne never finished a season with Miami, but as to what that forebodes, foretells, foreshadows or even forehands, I cannot predict. The vibes you’re getting from your football aside, I don’t see the coming Jaguars season as a blank. If you’re thinking unbeaten season and Super Bowl from the Jaguars, sure, maybe you’ll be disappointed, but this season is about getting a long-term turnaround started, establishing a core and improving. That’s first, and then we’ll then see what that brings in terms of record and contention. As for your final question regarding a housecleaning after the season, no, I don’t see it in any circumstance. Shad Khan likes the duo of Head Coach Gus Bradley and General Manager David Caldwell and knows time could be needed to build and get moving in the right direction. This situation isn’t the same as last season. They will get that time.
Gary from DeBary, FL:
Who the heck is Russ?
John: We end every O-Zone live chat with “Good talk, Russ.” Gary apparently is asking, “Who the heck is Russ?” I feel there is some sacrilege and betrayal in the question, and I have to reassess a lot of things. Can someone help?
Brian from Atlanta, GA:
According to my count, the Jaguars will have 10 new starters – if you count Mohamed Massaquoi being in for the suspended Justin Blackmon – on their team in Week 1. Generally that type of inexperience is seen as a negative, but with a new coaching staff and system being put in place, is it possible the experience aspect could be less important?
John: Experience is important, but good players are more important. Good players all buying in and pulling in the same direction is even more important. For all of the people who bemoaned the Jaguars not re-signing certain players and releasing others during free agency, I don’t know that I can honestly say the roster is worse now than it was in January. But better or worse on paper doesn’t matter that much. What matters as training camp opens is the Jaguars have taken steps this offseason toward getting the roster in place that Bradley and Caldwell want. Some of those players aren’t as experienced as last year’s players, but that’s to be expected. You don’t execute a rebuild without playing inexperienced players. View this season as the first step of a process and you’ll have the right perspective.
Earny from Springville, AL:
I highly recommend that book. A good read for any man.
John: It’s a bit slow at first, and then picks up through the middle. But then what about that ending? The wife is really his cousin, and a man? I mean, whoa!!, right?
Richard from Starke, FL:
I sure am glad Khan couldn't buy the Rams. Khaaaaaaaaaaan!!!!!! #Moodachay
John: Come in, Richard. Sit down. Rest. Training camp begins soon.

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