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O-Zone: All's fair (well not all)

Posted Jul 26, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Manuel from Jacksonville:
I admire Ace Sanders for his honesty and how he handled the situation. Without a doubt, the Jags are a better team with Ace than without him, but that being said, where is the positive Gus is talking about? I am missing something.
John: The positive from Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley’s point of view is that Sanders appears to be handling the situation and appears to be taking steps to address the issue. Bradley often talks to players about needing to make sure they have their lives in order before they can be the best players they can be. As Bradley sees it, Sanders is taking steps toward getting his life in order.
Keith from Stuart’s Draft, VA:
Just curious, is Luke Butkus related to HOF great Dick Butkus? Thanks
John: Yes, Luke Butkus is the nephew of Dick Butkus.
Michael from Jacksonville:
I was at Jaguars training camp Friday morning. I was watching Blake Bortles a lot. Why do all of his throws have a wobble to them? I saw one duck; it got to where it was going but it was UGLY. I liked what I saw from wide receiver Allen Robinson. I know one day doesn’t mean anything but with his size we just might have a very nice No. 1 wide receiver.
John: The aesthetics of Bortles’ passes have been a topic since his arrival in Jacksonville. They don’t yet sail through the air in beautiful fashion, and part of that may be the adjustments and honing he’s still making to footwork and delivery, etc. He has been pretty up front about needing to work on fundamentals in that area, and footwork and fundamentals indeed can affect how a pass looks. At the same time, tightness of spiral and aesthetics are pretty low on the list when it comes to the factors that make a quarterback effective. Give me leadership, accuracy, pocket presence and the ability to see the field over aesthetics any time. As far as Robinson goes, it may be only Day One, but he has the traits needed to be an elite receiver. That doesn’t make you elite, but it gives you a chance.
Gary from Jacksonville:
Watched you and Shadwick on the video post today and could not help wondering why you and Shadwick think you have any room to talk when making fun of Prisco. Have either of you ever looked at yourselves. It is like seeing human versions of Barney Rubble and Howdy Doody.
John: Ooh, burn.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
Wow! So much has changed about the Jaguars in such a short time. It was only a couple years ago I was worried about FINDING someone interested in the naming rights of our stadium. Ten more years (and hopefully a lot more) of The Bank!
John: The extension of the naming rights agreement with EverBank was a big deal that shouldn’t be lost in the flood of news stories this week. EverBank is sponsoring the stadium for 10 years at $43 million, a significant source of revenue and a significant relationship for the team moving forward.
Sid from Pittsburgh, PA:
You say that keeping the rights to Justin Blackmon does not cost the Jags anything. Like it or not, the Jaguars are a brand and Blackmon's and Sanders antics take a toll on the perception of that brand. You Google news of Jaguars and all you see are stories about drug related incidents involving players from this franchise. Not exactly the image you want to project and until this team can be associated with something other than losing or tarps covering seats, I think cutting ties with drug abusers can only help the overall image of this organization.
John: My point was that the on-field, organizational problems caused by Blackmon have pretty much already been caused. There is no harm from a football standpoint to having him on the roster. I think I made that pretty clear. We can argue and shout, “YEAH, BUT …” from now until the end of the season, but what won’t change is that the Jaguars aren’t risking anything by having Blackmon on the roster. And there’s nothing outside of public relations to be gained from releasing him. The overall image will change as the team improves, and retaining Blackmon’s rights won’t affect that one way or the other.
Jack from Duval:
I think you hit the nail on the head Johnny O. Why cut Blackmon, and on the slight chance he becomes a productive, clean player and the Patriots or the Colts are hailed for a reclamation project?
John: It has nothing to do with who gets hailed for what. It’s simply a matter of logic.
Chris from Crestview, FL:
You said "what strikes me is the sudden vehemence the most recent incident inspired..." Let me tell you: I am a fan. I am not gifted with a 6'1", 240-pound body that can run NFL-required speeds. I don't have the required skills, nor the God given talent. For someone "different, special, and most of all in possession of physical attributes that I would kill to have" to go out and waste it inspires such emotion. Blackmon - he has had four chances to learn the same thing and it's going to cost him his, and our dreams. When on the field he is a beast, but sadly drugs are going to claim his career if not more. Yes, we are angry, yes we would love to trade lives, and no, we wouldn’t waste our gift.
John: I understand irritation when players squander talent. But fans often overlook that players are human – and therefore flawed – and that often because these guys are young they’re going to make what seem to be ridiculous, inexplicable choices. My point was that I was surprised THIS incident drew such vehemence because this incident really doesn’t change the Justin Blackmon Story in Jacksonville. He wasn’t going to play for the Jaguars this season before and he’s not going to play for them this season now. He was suspended before and he’s suspended now. The team is planning and developing the roster assuming he’s not going to be around and it’s doing the same thing now. The incident is without question important to Blackmon individually and the Jaguars are concerned about him as a person, but it doesn’t really change anything when it comes to the football team.
Frank from Knoxville, TN:
I know that the Blackmon story dominated the Friday O-zone, and rightfully so, but not much info on the Watson and Ball injuries … concern for them to miss major time? Seems like losing one of your starting corners and your projected starting OTTO is a bit more of an immediate issue than Justin Blackmon.
John: Right you are, Frank. Linebacker Dekoda Watson is on the Physically Unable to Perform list after sports hernia surgery and could return sometime in training camp. Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell expressed optimism Friday that Watson will be available Week 1. Ball also is starting camp on PUP and Caldwell said Friday he could return late next week.
Dwayne from Sunrise, FL:
It was so refreshing to hear a source outside of the organization giving his honest perspective of the team, as Pete Prisco briefly did during the training camp live broadcast. I understand the organization wants to establish a positive environment and hope for the fans, but the way these players and coaches are praised day in and day out in the Jags circle is ridiculous sometimes. We have a lot of young unproven talent, both on the team and coaching staff... Let’s sit back and let things play out to see what the Jags really have to show as a team before we go overboard.
John: Hmmmm. I understand that people are quick to criticize a team website and a team in general for being overly positive. At the same time, I’ve said repeatedly here that I think 8-8 and the playoffs will be difficult for the team to accomplish, and I have noted quite often that there are huge question marks at receiver and offensive line in terms of those positions having the continuity and experience needed to win immediately. I have said often that the team will be better than last season, and I continue to believe that. I don’t necessarily think that will mean a mammoth difference in the number of victories. Pete certainly said it in his unique voice, but it’s not as if that was breaking new ground.
Craig from Auburn, IN:
Your recent answer to Daniel about fairness was shocking. "Is it fair? It doesn't matter?" Using idiot entertainers, who should be put to the same standard as the rest of us, was a poor example. It isn't the team that is letting the entertainers slide, it is the law. I am not naive enough to think that these athletes are going to be held to the same standard as we "normal" people; they should be, but I know better. Still, just not thrilled by your last sentence. Disappointed.
John: Real life can be very disappointing. Trust me.

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