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O-Zone: Dancing on the hood

Posted Aug 17, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Friedrich from Hamburg, Germany:
Had the Houston Texans known how Blake Bortles was going to develop between the draft and now, they'd have picked him. Do you agree?
John: It’s hard to say. I don’t cover the Houston Texans and don’t know what they thought about Bortles at the time of the draft. I do know they got a player they liked in Jadeveon Clowney. I also know we’re three weeks into the players’ first training camp, so it’s still far, far too early to start comparing drafts and declaring that one team or another regrets a choice. Bortles appears to be functioning well in this environment. How he would function in another environment is anyone’s guess. So far it appears the Jaguars’ selection has an opportunity chance to develop and be a pretty good player. That’s what we know and it’s a good start.
Matt from Stroudsburg, PA:
If the offseason and first two preseason games are any indication, does this draft class have the potential to be the best in franchise history?
John: Slow down, Matt.
Antoine from Laurel, MD:
What does the signing of center Antoine Caldwell mean for the other guys in the center mix?
John: It means there’s one more player to give the Jaguars some depth and competition at the position. Because he just signed this past week, Caldwell would have to be considered a longshot to make the roster, much less work his way into playing time, but we’ll see.
Geoff from Orlando, FL and Section 243:
Dominating the wannabe derelicts... wait... Doing things with dogs... hold on...i'll get this
John: You’re doing fine. Keep trying. Don’t be afraid of success.
Daniel from Arcola, IL:
Are the Jaguars "hiding" Stanzi in hopes of signing him to the practice squad? I was surprised to not see him on the field Thursday.
John: No, I don’t think the Jaguars are hiding Ricky Stanzi. He has been around the league long enough that people know about him. The Jaguars want to see Stephen Morris, who has had fewer preseason reps in his career than Stanzi. #America
Ricky from Jacksonville, Section 201:
Hey O-man, really looking forward to you, Sexton, and Shadrick wearing slacks in future "Jags of the Round Table" editions. #ShadrickThighSighting
John: Here we go, Jags.
Ron from Pensacola, FL:
I understand that the reasoning to limit the team roster to 53 is primarily based on money, but what is the rationale for limiting the game-day roster to 46 instead of allowing everyone to suit up and be active? I heard somewhere it was intended to level the playing field because not every team could field 53 players every week due to injuries. Is that the reason?
John: Yes. The idea is to give teams a reasonable chance of having 46 available players. Allowing teams to carry 53 gives them leeway to have injured players active and still have 46 available on game days.
Mike from Tallahassee, FL:
#DTWD? It has something to do with the Culligan commercial. If it doesn’t, can I start a new one? Let's try #DCWW...drink Culligan with Whitney!
John: I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Brett from Hendersonville, TN:
If Allen Hurns has been doing so extremely well in training camp, how did he go undrafted?
John: Not every good player gets drafted; in fact, many do not. Remember, there often isn’t a lot of difference between players selected in the sixth and seventh rounds and those who go undrafted. Hurns was a front-line undrafted free agent and many teams wanted to sign him. That put him on a par with a lot of sixth- and seventh-rounders.
Howard from Homestead, FL:
I want to give props to the Guest Services at EverBank. I took my son to his first game last Friday. They asked if this was his first game. When he said, "Yes," he was given a "My First Game" button. Wearing the button, he was targeted for the red-carpet treatment everywhere we went. His attendance was announced to our section during a timeout and they all cheered. He was given a certificate. After being treated like a king for three hours, he's hooked. Fan for life. I've been to many sporting events, but I've never seen anything like this. Best Guest Services crew ever.
John: That in all seriousness is cool. It’s one more example of this franchise’s dedication to its fans, and the team is indeed well ahead of the curve in this area. Your story also is in stark contrast to my experience at Wrigley Field Wednesday. When I walked up, they asked me what in the world I was thinking wearing those pants. I said, “Who needs pants? I’m a celebrity!!” I was escorted to a room with cinderblocks and a steel door and after a conversation with some nice men far better dressed than myself, I was taken back outside to a cab stand and bid farewell.
Chis from Mandarin, FL:
I was most impressed with the run-blocking when Luke Bowanko was at the center position. That's a good sign for a sixth-round rookie draft pick is it not?
John: Yes, it is.
Sean from Philadelphia, PA:
I once had as teacher in high school who would say, "There are no stupid questions, just stupid people asking questions." How do you feel about this? (You being the master of answering questions and all)
John: I once had a teacher in high school who said, “I used to think there were no stupid question or people until I met you. Now, I’m rethinking that …” I wept for a while, then internalized it.
Nalem from Faith, SD:
Telvin Smith is a playmaker, plain and simple. I find it hard to believe his performance in the preseason thus far has not solidified a STARTING spot on the roster. The man is always around the ball and is very heads up on what’s going on around him. He has to be a lock for a starter this season, doesn't he?
John: No, he does not. He appears to have a chance to be very good. He also is a rookie who has played in two preseason games, and who may still need to add some size and strength to start and play every-down situations. That’s not to say he can’t be a starter. It’s likely he can. But it’s too early to call him a lock.
Wallace from Jacksonville:
I'm very excited about the future for the Jags with Blake Bortles at QB, but I hope he doesn't start until at least Game 5 of the season. Preseason is not even close to regular-season play in the NFL and he needs to go through some of the weekly game-planning and offense installation as the backup instead of being thrown into the fire on Day One. Here's one vote for a little patience. Is that logical to you?
John: Yes.
Tom from Ponte Vedra Beach and Section 106:
The preseason games get a bad rap. Seems like everyone's solution to changes to the schedule begin, “Cut two preseason games..." You can practice positions and angles and technique all day long but until the coaches see full-speed live action with full hitting and tackling how can they possibly know what they really have?
John: They can’t. That’s why football people – people who must evaluate talent – typically argue pretty vehemently against the idea of cutting the preseason.
Scott from Gilbert, AZ:
As good as the defensive line looked against Tampa, I got the feeling Jay Cutler would've eventually shredded us had their starters played longer with the Jags only rushing four. As nice as it is to finally have some depth there to better defend the run, it still appears that Babich is gonna have to dial up some additional blitz packages involving more than just the front-four this year.
John: Yes, it’s quite possible that’s true. The Jaguars may not be able to always get pressure rushing just four down linemen. That’s hardly unusual. Most teams at some point in an NFL seasons have to bring pressure with five or six rushers because most teams can’t always get pressure with four. Roy Miller on Friday explained some of the issue with the pass rush Thursday against Chicago. The Bears when the first-teamers were playing used some draw and handoffs from shotgun formation, and the Jaguars were adjusting to that. By the time they adjusted, the first team was out of the game. That’s very feasible. Most NFL games have stretches where one team does something the other must solve, and once solved, the results are often different. That’s what makes preseason games a difficult gauge.
Kenneth from Baton Rouge, LA:
Don't Tickle Wounded Ducks?
John: #DTWD
Brian from Round Rock, TX:
I think it is obvious that Bortles is better than Henne and gives the Jaguars the best chance to win. I am amazed at not only his elite physical skill, but also his mental skill (reading the coverages and getting to the third pass option, making sound decisions, the way he carries himself on the field, maturity.) What's not to like? It seems silly to plan to leave that talent on the bench, for even one regular-season game. The kid seems mentally and physically tough and can handle being the starter! I don't think playing him will slow his growth. However, not playing him will.
John: You make good points. When Gus Bradley and David Caldwell agree, Bortles will start.
Mike from Bye East Moline, Hello Des Moines, IA:
Dancing To Whitesnake Dude #DTWD
John: Oh, yeah.

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