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O-Zone: Inexact science

Posted Jun 15, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Steven from Fernandina Beach, FL:
(Jaguars defensive coordinator) Bob Babich … what a class guy! Hats off to the Jaguars for making the coaches and scouts accessible to fans. It seems the NFL norm is to muzzle the assistants, and let the head coach be the sole voice of the staff. I admire the organization's strategy to reach out and integrate the team to the fan base, and community. Transparency is, indeed, more than lip service to the Jaguars, and I am certain this philosophy will pay huge dividends. I also encourage the fans to check out other team websites. They will find the in-depth interviews, information and use of varied media by Jaguars.com is second to none. I guess I haven’t asked a question yet … so, do you agree?
John: No doubt. The Jaguars long have been a transparent organization, particularly since General Manager David Caldwell and Head Coach Gus Bradley took over in January 2013. I can’t say with certainty that Jaguars personnel officials and coaches are *more* accessible than any in the NFL. I can say that in a league in which secrecy and indeed – as you say – “muzzling” of most coaches and officials are the norm, the Jaguars have gone completely the other way. That couldn’t happen without Caldwell and Bradley believing in the approach. That has enabled jaguars.com to bring fans more information and bring fans far closer to this organization than most teams allow. The doors aren’t always open, of course. We’re not planning to put GoPro cameras inside the game-planning meetings next season, but within reason this team wants fans to feel close to what’s going on.
Robert from Alexandria, VA:
While I'm sure many will complain about a "wasted" OTA on Friday, I'm glad to see the guys getting a chance to relax and bond. I just hope no one ruptured an Achilles tendon trying to pick up a seven-ten split...
John: I received zero complaints from people complaining about Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley cancelling practice Friday in favor of a team-building outing. Then again, the day isn’t over yet.
Donald from Melbourne, FL:
Here's why Colbert didn't bother me: he was telling the truth. He didn't make jokes about tarps and blackouts. He made jokes about how bad we've been in recent years. I don't think many fans would argue that point. In fact, I'm amazed that he got more of the story right than much of the national media who still thinks we have attendance issues.
John: The thing that struck me in the wake of the Colbert bit this past week was the horror and “embarrassment” many expressed that he had made fun of Jacksonville and the Jaguars. Really? You know what comedians do? They poke fun at things for fun. We all poke fun here at Shadrick for sitting at red lights until the last minute and making the driver behind him miss the chance to go. To my knowledge, he never has actually done this, or at least I have never seen him do it. OK, he probably does do it, but the point is, the joke is in fun. It doesn’t mean anything. When people poke fun at the Jaguars and Jacksonville, it doesn’t change how the team is building and it doesn’t change what’s going to happen here at EverBank Field and in the community as the team improves. To worry about it and get worked up about it is to spend a lot of energy on something that’s pretty meaningless.
Renee from Jacksonville Beach and Section 104:
When the new video boards are lit up, I betcha they can be seen from space, kinda like the Great Wall of China but the Glare of EverBank. All I know it's going to be cool. What ya think? GO JAGS!
John: They may or not be visible from space, but Jaguars President Mark Lamping said this week when the video boards get lit up for a night or two before their late July unveiling they almost certainly will illuminate a whole lot of downtown. They’re big. Really big. And bright, too.
Austin from Portland, CT:
Hey, long-time Jaguars fan from Connecticut (probably the only one) … I want to get a jersey, I'm deciding between Blake Bortles, Marqise Lee, and Johnathan Cyprien. Who do you think I should get?
John: Bortles … no, wait! Lee! No, Cyprien!
Earl from Akron, OH:
That's one way to get more Pro Bowlers... Nothing like a good practice. One fer keggling!
John: Clever.
Will from Jacksonville:
I think for a retro uniform, the Jaguars should use the original logo that got the team sued by Jaguars cars. Any chance of that happening?
John: I don’t know the legalities of that, and I don’t know that it’s worth soliciting our crack jaguars.com legal staff to learn the ins and outs on the issue. Upon being awarded the franchise, the Jaguars briefly had a logo that was deemed too similar to the logo of the Jaguar automotive corporation. That logo was quickly shelved, though enough merchandise was produced that it is still seen around occasionally. The logo was never used in an actual game, and was gone well before the 1995 inaugural season. An argument also could be made that it wasn’t nearly as good as the one that got used, so we’re probably not missing much not seeing it on the field. So, “Is there a chance?” It’s about as slim as can be.
Robert from Moorpark, CA:
Is Gus Bradley a copy of Pete Carroll’s formula? Or is what we’re seeing just Gus' genius?
John: It’s absolutely not a copy. It’s probably best described as similar spirits meeting, working together and influencing one another. Carroll retained Bradley on the Seahawks’ staff in 2010, and to hear Bradley tell it, he found that he and Carroll shared many of the same beliefs. A lot of those beliefs continued to develop in his time under Carroll, and Bradley and Carroll doubtless influenced each other during Bradley’s time on Carroll’s staff. Now that he no longer is in Seattle, Bradley continues to develop his philosophy and approach. It without question has similarities to Carroll’s, but you can’t operate the way Bradley does – 24-7, seven days a week, 365 days a year – if your approach isn’t something that comes from deep within.
Jack from Los Angeles, CA:
Everyone (and me) have been saying Marcel Jensen is going to be our third tight end. What happened to Danny Noble?
John: He was released on May 2.
Christian from La Habana, Cuba:
Why did Josh Evans wait so long to have surgery on his bone spurs?
John: Evans said the issue was sort of a borderline thing. Though it bothered him at the end of last season, he didn’t think it was serious. When it still bothered him later in the offseason, the decision was made to have the surgery. Remember, injuries don’t always prove clear-cut scenarios. The correct approach often is rest and sometimes it turns out it is not.
Steve from Hudson, FL:
I know you are a writer, not a doctor (but I think you are extremely intelligent) but could you please explain what exactly is a sports hernia and what are the effects on the body?
John: It’s defined as a soft-tissue injury in the groin area, and according to the “OrthoInfo” website, it is a strain or tear of any soft tissue in the lower abdomen or the groin. I assume you’re asking because of Cecil Shorts III's groin injury last season. He played through it, and to hear him tell it, the pain is on an extreme level.
Eric from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
What is the capacity of each pool? What is the depth?
John: The pools are 15 feet by 12 feet and three-and-a-half feet deep.
Ted from Austin, TX:
I just don’t get how some people think if a player wasn’t a high draft pick he won’t be good in the NFL. I am a firm believer in, “You find them where you find them.” Yes, most sure-bet players do come from big schools and are drafted. But a bunch of great players didn’t come into their own until later. Kurt Warner, Warren Moon, John Randle, Antonio Gates, Priest Holmes, Brian Waters, Tony Romo, Nate Newton, Jeff Saturday, Fred Jackson, Miles Austin, Jason Peters, Victor Cruz, Arian Foster, Wes Welker and James Harrison …
John: And the list goes on, of course. It’s actually very understandable that people assume an undrafted player is a lesser player. Teams spend enough money, time and resources scouting college football players that it’s easy to assume an undrafted player can’t play. But this is an inexact science. Therefore, factors such as fit and development factor heavily into a player being successful. We did have a reader this week saying he hoped it would become difficult for undrafted rookies to make the team. As the team improves, it will become more difficult for *any* player to make the roster. But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having undrafted free agents make your roster. You actually want one or two making it. It means you’re drafting and scouting well and keeping your roster young, healthy and fast.

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