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O-Zone: Still getting small

Posted Jul 1, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Jim from Chuluota, FL:
So, if a pilot can see the scoreboards from 200 miles away, isn't it possible these scoreboards could be a critical distraction for the players attempting to catch a ball?
John: Wow, the video boards are really gripping our collective psyches, it seems – apparently to the point of some good, old-fashioned collective overthinkin’. I have gotten emails about the video boards’ ability to withstand hurricane-force winds, about them being a physical distraction to players and there’s even one coming in this O-Zone about them being a mental distraction. Let’s not turn this positive into a negative, or even a source of angst. The video boards are big. They’re cool. From what I’ve seen of them, I like them. I think a lot of people will. Advice: relax and enjoy them. That’s why they’re here.
Ryan from Toronto, Ontario:
"but that Oehser kid … I see greatness there.” – I never knew you were a home-school kid.
John: I didn’t home school. In fact, I … Oh. I get it.
Ray from Vernon:
I'm sure you have been asked this a hundred times. But what’s going on with Marqise Lee not signing yet? I read where he is one of only four unsigned rookies. Just wondering. Thanks for all you and your staff do for us fans. The dead zone is killing us. LOL.
John: While David Caldwell hasn’t sidled up to me and laid out the details of The Marqise Lee Issue, logic tells you a few things about him not having signed. One is this won’t be an issue that lingers into training camp. There’s simply no reason for it to linger so long. Another is that the issues aren’t about the overall value of Lee’s contract. The rookie salary structure prevents that from being a huge issue. That leaves relatively minor issues such as bonuses, offsets and timing of payments as logical points of issue.
James from St. Simons:
I just watched the interview with D-Rob, and WOW. I know 15 pounds is a good bit to add to a skill player such as himself, but he looks in the face like he really bulked up. Can you see it throughout the rest of his body?
John: Yes.
Tim from Jacksonville and Section 213:
Michael Vick is Hall-of-Fame amazing, but whether he played on good teams or not doesn't matter. Just watch a highlight reel. Then ask who else are you gonna get to do all those things and with that durability? Name one guy in history. You can't do it. That's why he's not revolutionary. If you could see the future and guarantee that a guy would play like Michael Vick but for only five years, any GM would take that guy No. 1 overall. GMs don't care about revolutions, they just want to win games.
John: I’m about done with the Michael Vick topic. We’ve beaten it around pretty good, and it just feels about done. And you and I will probably have to agree to disagree about a few things, with the Hall of Fame of course being one of them. I agree that he was a highlight reel – and that made him very popular and exciting – but I don’t agree that “any GM” would take him No. 1 overall if they could have him for five years. I wouldn’t agree with that at all.
Andy from St. Johns, FL:
Seriously, O-Zone, has anyone taken into consideration how many moths might die during a night game once the new boards are up and running? Last thing I want to do is navigate through the PETA people before every home game this season.
John: All right, Jags.
Brian from Orange Park, FL:
O-man, watching this soccer stuff got me thinking. (Dangerous, I know.) The NFL should consider adopting a yellow/red card system for egregious personal fouls, like blow to the head or defenseless receiver. The NHL frequently penalizes players and Major League Baseball is quick to toss a player or a coach. If you get a yellow card you are out for 15 minutes of game time. Red and you're out for the game and possibly the next. Just spit-ballin here...
John: With World Cup Fever gripping us in its floppy, beautiful grasp, it seems we’re overthinking here, too. I’ve gotten a striking (#almostsoccerterminology) number of emails on this topic, with many fans wanting the NFL to adopt some sort of yellow-red-card system. I don’t see it happening, and don’t really see the need. The NFL has a system for this. It has been in place a while. The league penalizes players 15 yards for an unsportsmanlike-conduct infraction, then fines them significantly after the fact. I don’t know that the rules of other sports would be a more significant deterrence.
JJ from Arlington:
How cool is it that we had a Charter Point to go play in? A half-finished housing development along the river with tons of empty land, bike jumps and scary teenagers. I graduated in 1989, so I guess you were one of the scary teenagers we were worried about.
John: I graduated in 1983, so I was probably scared of you.
Michael from Jacksonville:
All the news around Justin Blackmon is he probably will not be returning to the NFL anytime soon, and if he did, most likely will never be a Jaguar again. What are your thoughts? I feel as if he did return and lived up to his potential, our receiving corps would be destined for greatness.
John: We’re not going to turn this month into all-Justin-Blackmon-all-the-time until training camp begins. Plenty has been written and said about Blackmon, and there’s nothing new to report. I include this email today only to point out that while it appears unlikely he will play in the NFL this season to say Blackmon “most likely will never be a Jaguar again” is not a statement based in fact. Caldwell has never said this and to my knowledge he has not intimated it, either.
Josh from Savannah, GA:
One thing we, as nonphysical freaks, forget sometimes is how truly grinding this game is. For someone such as Roy Miller to say his pain was significant … I'll just say I don't want to experience that. Ever. Here's to all those players who bust it every day and play through significant pain, all for our enjoyment. But I won't say the paychecks aren't nice, too.
John: The game is indeed a physical grind, and there’s no question it takes a toll that’s easy to overlook for those watching on television and from the stands. As for the last part of your comment, you’re right that the paychecks or not – and for the most part, players understand this. That’s why you hear little complaining about the grind. Most players understand what they’re signing on for – the good and the bad.
Nicholas from Fort Hood, TX:
I know the Jaguars are professional, and as such, will always play to win because their livelihood depends on it. With that said, does all the Khanstruction and the excitement from fans distract the players from their preparation? It seems like there is a lot of pressure from the fans for the players to do well and meet the expectations from all the offseason hype.
John: This is professional football.
Dalton from Orlando, FL:
Who would you give more praise to for Andre Branch? Gene Smith, for drafting him in the second round. Or Gus Bradley for getting the best out of him last year? #WindmillQuestion
John: How about Branch for working and developing as a player?
Patrick from Modesto, CA:
I sometimes send dumb questions in hopes to get a funny sarcastic, answer from you, but I think I'm going to stop doing that. Here's my attempt at a real question. Will Ace Sanders get a touchdown on a kickoff return this season?
John: It would take something unusual. Sanders is primarily a punt returner, returning 25 punts compared to three kickoffs last season.
John from Jacksonville:
I say things like, "I hope we keep him on the practice squad." However, I have no idea what a practice player does. Are they with the team during every practice of the year? Are they only called to practice if someone is injured? Do they scrimmage during practice? All of these things?
John: A practice squad player participates in every practice, though his role in practice can change depending on injuries. When the Jaguars were down in numbers at receiver last season, for example, then-practice squad quarterback Matt Scott (#freemattscott) played receiver in practice. During that same period, Jeremy Ebert often spent the week on the practice squad before being activated for the games. There isn’t really a “scrimmage” in a regular-season NFL practice, but practice squad players participate in team and individual portions of practice in the same capacity as a roster player.
Jeremy from Jacksonville:
You're an inspiration to me O-Man. I just volunteered to be a staff writer for FSCJ's 'Campus Voice.' Any words of advice for an aspiring journalist?
John: Always keep a litter bag in your car. That way, when it gets full, you can just throw it out the window.

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