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O-Zone: Blame game

Posted Oct 19, 2013

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it...

Rob from Orange Park, FL:
Why has the Jaguars’ offensive line played better these past two games with two undrafted free-agent tackles than they did in the first four games with two first-round tackles? Do you think they will be able to play consistently the rest of the season?
John: Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley discussed this a bit this week. A lot of it has to do with the line as a whole continuing to get comfortable with the zone-blocking techniques, new line calls and a new system. Remember, it was a pretty significant system overhaul and it’s hard to simulate game conditions until the regular season. Bradley talked this week about the line getting more comfortable working together and more confident in communication. That matters on the offensive line and it takes time. As for the rest of the season, we’ll see. The interior of the line struggled early and while Austin Pasztor and Cameron Bradfield have played well, they were backups to start the season. It’s not a group that’s likely to play perfect, but there’s no reason it can’t be a group that improves. If it improves from the last two weeks, it has a chance to be OK.
Pat from Jacksonville:
John, our beloved but aging MJD becomes an unrestricted free agent after this season and will likely go elsewhere. Doesn't it make sense to shop him around with hopes of securing another draft pick in 2014?
John: Sure, it would make sense. And Caldwell has a feel for what Jones-Drew would bring. General managers don’t have to actively shop players to have an idea what a market will bear. Jones-Drew is in his eighth season, and spent the first part of the season returning to full strength after rehabilitating from offseason foot surgery, so his trade value hasn’t exactly been at an all-time high. And let’s not assume Jones-Drew has to be somewhere else next season: It’s not absurd to think the Jaguars would try to retain him at the right price. The free-agent market was flat last offseason and could be again. If Jones-Drew doesn’t sense that there’s a huge payday awaiting him, it wouldn’t be silly to think he could return.
Kevin from Section 220:
Oh-man, do you know if any of the players read or submit questions to the Ozone?
John: A few read, but I can’t imagine any submit questions. It’s safe to assume they know more about the team than I, and a good percentage have told me at various times that they don’t like me much face-to-face. There’s little reason to torture themselves by interacting with me online.
Tom from Keystone Heights, FL:
Is the Ozone going back to the smaller website anytime soon? (Please answer)
John: (No problem) The web guys are working with the league to update it as we speak. Until then, the official Jaguars app has all the O-Zone articles and videos updated daily.
Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Just three questions. Who determines a 30-second time out and is there a limited number in a game? When do injury reports have to be in to the league office? Are there actual definitions of probable, questionable, and doubtful?
John: Just three answers. One, according to the NFL rulebook, “Charged team timeouts shall be two minutes in length, unless the timeout is not used by television for a commercial break. Timeouts shall be 30 seconds in length when the designated number of television commercials have been exhausted in a quarter, if it is a second charged team timeout in the same dead-ball period, or when the Referee so indicates.” Two, NFL injury reports for Sunday games must be turned in Wednesday, Thursday and Friday following practice. Three, probable means 75 percent chance of playing, questionable means 50 percent chance of playing and doubtful means 25 percent chance of playing.
Mike from Atlanta, GA:
With Gratz back we will have 3/4 of our secondary of the future playing against the Chargers. When can we look forward to seeing these guys start playing that aggressive press man scheme Bradley ran in Seattle?
John: First, I’d expect Gratz to share time with Will Blackmon Sunday. Bradley said Gratz felt good Wednesday, not as good Thursday and better Friday, so he still may not quite be at full game speed. The Jaguars have played aggressive press man at times this season, though they didn’t play it much against Denver because Peyton Manning has a tendency to expose that coverage and the Jaguars wanted to force Manning to drive using shorter passes. I’d expect the move toward more and more press coverage to occur over time as these guys gain experience. That will be their style long-term under Bradley, buy you need to let the players grow into it. You don’t play like Seattle overnight.
Herbert from MidState Office Supply Accountz Receevable:
If Henne can get a win against the Chargers this week it's going to be very difficult for Gabbert to see the field again barring injury.
John: Not if coaches want him to start, it won’t.
Tom from Jacksonville:
A friend of mine dropped his phone into the toilet here at work. And yes, it was funny.
John: Yes, other people’s misfortune almost always is funny.
Kent from the Wild Westside of Duval County:
Sir, O, the Wise: I have two questions, only one of which pertains to football. One, the defense has improved a lot, but against Denver, the Jaguars had Peyton on the verge of the "lemon face" and then after halftime it seemed like Denver adjusted and the defensive just did the same ole'. Why does it seem like the Jags defense sucks at halftime adjustments? Two, you come across as a bit of a geek on television. What are your "geek" shows of choice?
John: Two answers. One, I don’t get the sense the Jaguars’ defense has stunk at halftime adjustments this season. As for Denver specifically, if the Jaguars got out-adjusted by Manning and the Broncos Sunday, that’s probably a lot more to do with Manning than the Jaguars. Over the last four or five years of his career, he has reached a level of adjusting in the second half that few quarterbacks ever have reached. The first half for Manning often is about figuring out what looks the defense can show, and once they have been shown, Manning is very adept at exploiting the looks. There are reasons the Broncos are good and why the Colts were good when he was there, and that’s a huge part of it. As for me being a geek, I’m afraid I don’t follow.
CD from Orange Park, FL:
I don’t think it’s fair to say Gabbert is scared of getting hit. Most agree he leaves the pocket too early and doesn’t keep his eyes downfield, but that doesn’t mean he’s scared. In my opinion, it means he’s inexperienced; he’s trying to make a play for his team and abandons his progressions a bit too early. To me, that is easily the aspect of his game that can improve the most as I consider it part of the greater issue of him making better decisions. The guy broke his hand on a helmet while standing tall against an onslaught of 300 pounders. It can't be a total lost cause can it?
John: I can’t honestly say how lost the cause is. These Jaguars decision-makers are still figuring out Gabbert’s future and if he and the Jaguars have one together. That’s an ongoing process. As for the “scared” thing, I almost hate to bring it up, because I don’t want it to become an ongoing, back-and-forth O-Zone debate again, but I have said many times I don’t see Gabbert’s issue as fear. He has stood in against too many hits and he has done too many things that require “courage,” for lack of a better term. I agree with the inexperienced part and that he’s trying to make a play. That said, whatever the reasons, the decisions have to get better.
Jaggelo from Riverside:
Why do fans not understand that NFL teams don't have an endless supply of cap money? That whopping $19 million could be spent very quickly if David Caldwell decided to sign "proven" quarterback and defensive ends.
John: Yes, and there’s also the issue of why in the world their current teams would let them go if they were so proven and still contributing.
Nicholas from Fort Hood, TX:
Do defensive players practice catching passes using the JUGs machine or do they practice the "tip" drill? I have seen defenders across the league drop passes that hit them squarely in the chest.
John: Yes, they practice. And yes, despite that practice, defensive players drop passes. Catching passes in the NFL is hard. If defenders were good at it, they would be doing something else. Like playing on offense.
Steve from Jacksonville:
John. You may not be at fault, but you are most certainly getting the blame.
John: Yes. I am married.

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