Let’s get to it . . .
Brad from Jacksonville:
How does the Jaguars organization in general feel about Justin Blackmon
's performance this season? Do they feel like he is headed in the right direction, or is he a disappointment? P.S.: If we had traded for Tebow, we would be undefeated right now. Also, MJD's injury would have magically healed and free beer would be given away at every game.
John: Before I answer the first part of your question, consider the question a moment: you’re asking if after seven games the Jaguars are disappointed in Blackmon, and if they already consider him a disappointment. This is not to criticize your question, but it definitely speaks to the quick-trigger age we live in that that’s hardly the first time it has been asked. Development often takes time for a rookie wide receiver. It just does. The Jaguars believe Blackmon is what he is – a rookie wide receiver working to adapt to the NFL. Would they like his numbers to be better? Sure, but they overall like his work ethic and his approach and believe he will be more productive as he continues to approach things the right way. Blackmon is not blessed with elite-level speed or size. That means he’s going to need to be an exceptional route runner and playmakers. He’s working on running routes, and that’s something that can take time – even more than a rookie year – to master. I’m not sure about everything you wrote after asking about Blackmon. I blacked out when you mentioned that guy whose name starts with ‘T,’ and then I . . . wait a minute, did you say something about, “Free Beer?”
Shannon from Jacksonville:
When should we expect to see Jones-Drew back on the field?
John: When he is healthy.
Derek from Cincinnati, OH:
Hey John: Great work, my man. I don't believe this has been mentioned yet this year but what do you think the chances are we are able to retain Mel Tucker? I know last year he was one of a few hot choices for a new head coaching gig...has this season changed things? I know there's still a lot of football to be played, but I would hate to lose the guy...
John: I don’t think this season has hurt Tucker’s chances at a head coaching job. The season is seven games old, and after struggling a few games when injuries had depleted the front, the Jaguars have played better defensively the last two games. The defense has given the offense a chance to be in the game the last two weeks. If the Jaguars continue to play at that level, it shouldn’t hurt Tucker’s reputation in league circles. But to be honest, league ranking or even how a unit fares isn’t always indicative of whether a coordinator will get a head coaching position – nor should it be. Just because a guy has the second-ranked defense in one city doesn’t mean he’ll be a good head coach in another. A head coach is more about being a leader and setting a tone for an organization and Tucker will score high in those areas.
Aaron from Chehalis, WA:
How long does it take you to write an Ozone, not counting naps?
John: Ya gotta count naps. They’re the best part.
Dane from Jacksonville:
I was a little surprised that No. 1 on your 10 Things list wasn't "pressure Stafford.” With our starting two corners likely out, and unlikely to slow down Calvin Johnson, I would think a more "doable" gameplan would be to slow down Stafford. Are your 10 Things more indicative of what you think of our depth at cornerback? Or the effectiveness of our pass rush? Or am I just reading too far into this?
You’re reading too far into it. I should have included pressuring Stafford. No question that’s imperative this week. That would be true if the Jaguars’ secondary was fully healthy, and it’s doubly true with not only Rashean Mathis
and Dwight Lowery
out, but Derek Cox
questionable. The best approach with any passing attack is to pressure the quarterback first, and when you’re playing Calvin Johnson with Cox potentially out or less-than-100-percent it’s a must. I can’t explain the absence of that in “10 things” this week except that I’d included pressuring the quarterback in just about every “10 things” this season. Maybe I just subconsciously couldn’t do it again.
Mike from Jagsonville:
So what makes you think Tebow is a quarterback?
John: It says so on the roster.
Patrick from Dixon:
Tedy Bruschi on NFL live made his bold prediction that Calvin Johnson will out produce the entire Jaguar offense this Sunday. Hmmmmmm. . . I'm going to go out a limb and say he's wrong.
John: I’m going to stay near the trunk and say you’re right. Bruschi is paid to offer opinions, and that’s one that likely will get him noticed. That’s great, but I doubt he truly believes that. The Jaguars have looked better in recent weeks on offense, and the Jaguars’ pass rush has been better in recent weeks. While Cox is questionable with a back injury, if the pass rush can get pressure, that should help prevent Johnson from having a mega-game. And even if he has a mega-game, if Gabbert stays healthy, I see this offense moving well going forward.
Ken from Jacksonville:
Not a question, just a comment. A few years ago I did not watch a single college game. All I watched was the NFL. My college alma mater went to a bowl game so I decided to watch. It was like watching a game in slow motion. The difference in speed between the two games is amazing. They'd have to call a game between the Jags and Bama at halftime. It would be a blood bath.
John: It amused me to no end that Steve Spurrier said what he said this week about Alabama being favored over an NFL team. I covered Steve, and get that he says what’s on his mind, but in this case I don’t really believe he believes it deep down. Anyone who has read the Ozone the last year or so knows this comes up now and again, and each time it does, there are always a few fans who say, “But what about this . . .” and “what about that . . .” No, no, no. NFL teams are grown men playing a grown man’s game. While there are occasions when a college player can come in and start right away, even a college All-Star team would struggle to compete in the NFL. It’s a size and body maturity issue more than anything. Not to mention that the NFL is an infinitely more complex game. Rookies often struggle their entire first seasons to adapt to the speed, the nuances and the schemes in which they play and play against. That’s not to say a team such as Alabama couldn’t eventually win some games in the NFL if they kept the roster together and matured for a few years, but to think a college team would beat an NFL team is just silly, silly, silly.
Jacob from Orlando, FL:
I just bet a friend of mine a steak dinner that the Jags finish at least 6-10. Am I an idiot?
John: Not because of the bet.
Bruce from Mississauga, ON:
As much as I would like things to change immediately, Gene Smith, Mike Mularkey and Blaine Gabbert
are all tied together. Gene and Mularkey have three-year deals and Gabbert will be in the third year of his contract next year. They will be given the rest of this season and next year to prove the team is in the right direction. If by the end of next season the Jags are in the same situation I think everyone can expect a major overhaul. Mr. Khan is in his first year as an owner and the coaching staff in its first season. They deserve to have time. As for Gene, he is tied more into Mularkey than his draft picks. Mularkey was handpicked by Gene and Gene also had input in the hiring for the rest of staff. Really, this is the first season of Gene's full control and pick over the team. He will be given another year to be evaluated. If a new GM comes in that usually means a new head coach among many other changes. It’s too early for all that in my opinion. It will be interesting to see how this new staff impacts the draft decisions or if they do at all. Thoughts?
John: That’s a solid theory. People want answers on this topic, which is understandable for a 1-6 team. They want to know what will happen, “If . . .” The reality is nine games remain in the season. Answers will come soon enough.
Cody from Jacksonville:
Your name is John P. Oehser. What does the P stand for? The people want to know!!