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O-Zone: Honest question

Posted Jul 30, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Reggie from Gatorproof Bunker in Tampa, FL:
I know Coach Gus is encouraging aggressiveness, but I hope none of our players get hurt and I know no one wants to see any helmets getting ripped off in a game. That's a 'dumb' penalty and we have to eliminate those, right?
John: There’s no question Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley is encouraging aggressiveness, but I don’t know that it’s accurate to say he’s encouraging fighting in practice. I’d actually lean toward saying the opposite is true. Bradley, like many coaches, likes for players to practice with intensity and he likes intensity to foster passion and competitiveness. But he also would like that passion and competitiveness to stop short of fighting. It’s a waste of time and dangerous – with little or no benefit.
Matt from Indianapolis, IN:
Actually John, watching the Jags get beat from a pool would be way better than watching them get beat while sitting in the stands under the sun.
John: Stepping back from the situation a bit, you may well be right.
Ed from Jacksonville:
In your camp report Monday, you reported it was the first time the team practiced at a local high school for training camp. I remember spying on a few practices at Bishop Kenny that first year. Can you remind us of the circumstances from back then? Is your memory still good? Do you still remember the first question?
John: As difficult as it is at my age to remember which sock goes on which foot before I go sleepy sleep, I do somewhat vaguely remember the circumstances around the first season. The Jaguars trained in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, for the first training camp. The practices at Bishop Kenny were offseason workouts and not official training camp practices. Your recollection of them is better than mine. Tom Coughlin wouldn’t let the media attend.
Andy from Pittsburgh, PA:
So, what's it going to take to bring back the ponytail ...?
John: A major tactical error on my part.
Tony from Palm Coast, FL:
How is Ziggy Hood coming along switching back to the inside? Are we going to play him and Sen’Derrick Marks at the same time or is the idea still to rotate the two?
John: Hood continues to like the switch, though the Jaguars won’t hold their first practice in full pads until Wednesday morning. He and other defensive lineman will show a lot more then. I suspect most of the defensive linemen on the roster will play with most of the other linemen at some point, but the plan is mainly to have Hood back-up and split time with Marks.
Jay from Toledo, OH:
What's with the whole "pound-sign-dial-tone-while-dialing" comments/responses?
John: I have no idea what you are talking about.
Frank from Knoxville, TN:
It seems Allen Robinson is flashing more than Marqise Lee thus far. Concern for Lee – or is Robinson just really exceeding expectations even though he too was a second-rounder? Thanks.
John: #fourpracticesnoneinfullpadsyet
JT from Jacksonville:
The best gift my (former) wife and I received was Clash on Broadway, the box set featuring a bunch of unreleased gems, given to us by Henry Wag. She got it in the divorce.
John: Do you know why divorce is so expensive? It’s worth it.
Jeremy from Miles City, MT:
No Jaguars offensive lineman has played a single snap in the NFL with the guy next to him. Even if we swapped guards that would be true. Maybe let’s a minimum of two weeks in pads go by before we knock on them – if not like half the season. At what point in the year would you be disappointed if the line still struggles (assuming they are healthy). I think Game 10.
John: I think those involved with the offensive line would tell you they want to be playing well long before that, and I think that in fact will probably be the case. I’ve said throughout the season I suspect the line will have some continuity issues throughout the first month of the season, and I’d also suspect the line will improve pretty steadily. But let’s also keep this in perspective. These players are young with a capital Y, O, U, N and G. Only Zane Beadles has more than a season’s worth of starts at his position. This isn’t going to look like a veteran line early and it may not look like a veteran line a lot this season. That’s not to say this group can’t play well, but it’s not going to be perfect, either.
Stanton from Jacksonville:
Is it intentional that the NFL when scheduling our London game has it being a marquee team like the 49ers or Cowboys? It would have made it better for the Jacksonville fans to give them the Browns game. I can see it not working with a divisional opponent, but otherwise, if London is going to sell out anyway, can't we give them a weaker drawing team?
John: It’s absolutely intentional that the NFL schedules a marquee team against the Jaguars in London. The NFL is trying to promote the game internationally and marquee teams help that. There are Jaguars fans who resent this and I know the inbox will be flooded with that sentiment now that we’ve brought it up again here, but the league’s not putting the marquee teams there to hurt Jacksonville. It’s doing it to promote the league.
Sam from Kelowna:
At the start of training camp, who so far has shown to be the best in their respected position battles on the interior offensive line? Specifically, between Mike Brewster and rookie Luke Bowanko? Also the guard position battle against Jacques McClendon and rookie Brandon Linder? Has Austin Pasztor solidified his position at right tackle?
John: As of early in camp, there doesn’t appear much of a battle between Brewster and Bowanko. Brewster is pretty much the starting center, and while he has developing to do it would be a surprise if he’s not starting when the season begins. It’s too early to declare a “winner” at right guard (it’s always best to let, say, full pads go on before declaring such things on the offensive line), but Linder worked extensively with the first team in Monday night’s practice at Bartram Trail High School and he will get every chance to win the job. Pasztor has been solid at right tackle and nothing has happened in training camp to change that.
Rhett from Jacksonville:
The stadium does have a new, vibrant feel. You can feel the energy and where the organization is headed. I sent a text to my friend that was not able to make it to the event. It said: "New video boards = next level. You. Will. Be. Impressed."
John: Yep.
Trent from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Since Blake Bortles will likely be taking snaps now and in the preseason with the second team, when will he ever get snaps with the first team? It seems critical that he should get a feel for the first-team offense and especially defense before making his first regular-season appearance.
John: I expect Bortles will get some reps with the first team before the end of camp, but I expect those to be kept to a minimum.
Peter from Jacksonville and Section 106:
John, do you think we could use the new boards and fan cams to identify (and embarrass) those fans who insist on standing up and blocking the view of many of the fans who choose to remain seated behind them?
John: My momma didn’t raise no fool. Well, maybe she did, but like religion, politics and Tebow, standing-versus-sitting in EverBank on game days is a subject I avoid.
Chris from Jacksonville:
So I haven't heard much about the progress of Luke Joeckel so far. I know often with the line, no news is good news, but really, how's he doing? Ankle holding up OK? Is he showing the power and speed we have seen from him before coming to fruition?
John: He’s doing fine and the ankle is holding up fine. We’ll be able to see much more when padded practices and preseason games begin, but all indications as of now are that he’s developing fine.
Robert from Alexandria, VA:
On Monday morning I was listening to a DC radio show (Elliot in the Morning) and EverBank's new video boards came up as a topic. I expected them to mock, but instead there was excitement, awe and a good bit of jealousy. They're impressed with Shad Khan as an owner (perhaps mostly in comparison with Chainsaw Dan), and they seemed eager to see how the Jags do in the next few years. They went on for a good 20 minutes. I'm pleased to report that there is some positive buzz about the Jaguars emerging outside of Duval.
John: That’s notable and perhaps surprising, but only because people in Jacksonville and Jaguars fans are so accustomed to being dismissed or mocked nationally. If people are truly paying attention and being honest, it’s hard not to be impressed with what what’s happening here.
Rena from New York:
Did you shave your chest hair?
John: What’s chest hair?

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