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O-Zone: Pool boy

Posted Jun 2, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Joseph from Sacramento, CA:
Does Blake Bortles want to start and be the starter come Week 1 of the season?
John: Of course, he does. What else would he want? The Jaguars’ plan to start Chad Henne at quarterback for now and let Bortles develop at the proper pace has nothing to do with what Bortles wants or doesn’t want – and it’s not a matter of a lack of drive or determination on Bortles’ part. It’s about the Jaguars doing what they feel is best for him and the organization. A players’ instinct always is to be on the field, competing and playing, but the Jaguars want to make sure Bortles has a chance to compete for the starting role without worrying about when exactly that will happen. It’s Bortles’ job to want to start and to work toward the objective; it’s the Jaguars’ job to decide the best time for that to happen.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
With all the positive energy we have around the organization and the fun that the players are having, how much do you think that will help to draw players here in the future? I remember a lot of the players in the Senior Bowl saying this was a coaching staff they would want to play for.
John: A couple of thoughts on this. First, yes, yes, yes … players who understand the energy and atmosphere of this organization without question will want to play here. But one thing to remember is something Jaguars cornerback Alan Ball pointed out when I was talking to him the other day – that it might be difficult for Gus Bradley’s approach to attract as many players as it might for the simple reason that players can’t fully grasp the culture here until they arrive. Ball said he could tell former teammates about the culture all he wants but they wouldn’t believe it if they didn’t play here. He said, yes, it’s *that* different. That brings us to the second thought – that it might be a few years until the Jaguars get the full benefit of this culture change. That’s when you might get some players from this year’s Senior Bowl as well as players in the league who have continually heard about it indeed signing with the Jaguars. Plus, remember: the Jaguars must win. You have to combine the two to get the full effect.
Adrian from Inglewood, CA:
It's amazing how life turns out. I remember going to my friend's house to shoot some hoop when I was younger. A wall of cemented bricks divided his backyard and a local motel. My group of friends and I would always notice a younger guy looking out of the window of that motel every time we played basketball in his yard, but the boy was always too shy to join us. I would have never imagined then, that he would grow up to play in the NFL, let alone be drafted by my Jags. Congratulations to Marqise Lee. I hope he has a long and successful career ahead of him.
John: All right … how cool is that?
Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL:
I don't expect playoffs, but it would be nice if the Jags were still in the game in the fourth quarter. There have been far too many games in recent seasons where the game was over at halftime, some even after the opposing team’s first three possessions. It was hard to believe with only 1,696 players playing football on Sunday, the Jags’ 53 were that far behind the other 1,643. Playoffs may be too much, but is it too much to expect a competitive team? The last three seasons have been brutal.
John: This is one of those questions I get sometimes that feels outdated somehow. I get that the past few seasons have been frustrating – yes, brutal at times. And if the last eight weeks of last season and the 2014 offseason hadn’t happened, I could see still feeling this way. But the last half of last season *did* happen – and so did this offseason. Yes, the Jaguars’ talent level was behind the other teams – and yes, the playoffs remain a lofty goal. But the Jaguars did take a step toward competitiveness late last season and it appears the foundation is such that they can take a more significant step this season. That doesn’t excuse the past, but it should make the future much brighter.
Joe from Charleston, SC:
Something most fans are forgetting when it comes to Chris Clemons is that this is the best time of the year for going on vacations. When you also factor in that here in a few weeks it is going to be all football all the time all the way through past the holiday season ... I personally do not blame an experienced, proven veteran for missing a few days of optional practices. If we were talking a rookie or anyone else who was struggling, I could see why people have a problem, but other than that let these men enjoy their youths.
John: I’m not going to insult the readers’ intelligence by saying Clemons’ absence is about this being a good time of year for vacations. When you make NFL free agent money, vacations are pretty cool whenever you take them. But I’ll continue to say perspective is needed on this Clemons thing. Bradley certainly wants him here, but in the big picture, this is a blip. As is the case with a lot of May/June NFL stories, it’s something that likely will be off the radar come training camp. Absences in OTAs are big news these days because everything in the NFL is big news these days, but they’ve been happening for years and they usually don’t mean much come the regular season.
Jared from O-Town:
Hey, John, in your response to Mike, did I see you reference yourself in third person as "O-Zone"? And, if so, does that mean you know how to do the Electric Boogaloo?
John: I did, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to be boogalooing anytime soon. As Warren Zevon sang, “I can saw a woman in two, but you won’t want to look in the box when I’m through.”
Ken from Duval:
Let’s say Stanzi continues to improve and surpasses Henne in practices. Would that increase his preseason playing time? Just curious how much the coaches’ plans for the future would be a factor if they found unexpected talent from someone else?
John: This smells suspiciously like a Free Matt Scott email, but I’ll bite: if your question is, “What if Ricky Stanzi is better than Henne? What then, O-Zone? Huh? Huh?” … then, sure, Stanzi would get more playing time. He could even start. And in that same vein, Matt Scott *could* have started last season. A lot of things could happen in life, and a lot of them don’t. The snarky tone to this answer is not a knock on Stanzi. Perhaps he could start, but after year watching them both, the Jaguars decided in the offseason to re-sign Henne with the idea he will start. It would take development on a phenomenally rapid scale to have Stanzi start the season. I just wouldn’t bet on it.
Adam from St. Johns, FL:
Hey John, I just went through probably the two toughest weeks of my life. I've pulled through and part of that process was you and Jaguars.com. Thank you and everyone else (except JP) for all your hard work and dedication. #DTWD
John: Stay strong.
Lewis from Section 109:
Just read this article on NFL.com: “Stephen Ross: L.A. to 'certainly' get team in five years.” I read about 150 of the reader comments and only saw one that mentioned Jacksonville. That's a lot of progress in a year and a half. #Go Jags
John: I read the article, too, and while I don’t discount it, it did little to differentiate itself from many, many articles in recent years about the Los Angeles situation. There just appear to be many obstacles and many moving parts and whenever I read about it my first thought is I’m glad I’m not a reporter covering this story. As for the comments below the story, I didn’t read them. There are many places that I’ve learned are best avoided, the comments section below .com stories about franchise relocation chief among them.
Sean from Fleming Island, FL:
With all the renovations to the stadium did the broadcast booth need to be expanded to accommodate the big personalities of Tony, Jeff and Frank?
John: The stadium has undergone increasingly large-scale makeover each of the last three offseasons – locker room, training facilities, video boards. A broadcast booth makeover to house those three egos might break even Shad Khan’s financial means.
Eric from Bold New City of the South:
Where do you watch the home games? I prefer the north end zone because it's the rowdiest. With the addition of the pools, I might have a new favorite location...
John: You might not be alone, but I won’t be there. I’ll be in the press box. As for Shadrick …

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