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O-Zone: The real deal

Posted Aug 10, 2014

Let's get to it...

Tim from St. Augustine and Section 111:
You can feel the excitement. After suffering through the last several years, it is obvious we are on the upswing. I am sure you will be bombarded with “when-will-Blake-Bortles-start?” questions, so I will be no different. I liked the idea of having him watch for the year until I saw him play. Now, I would like to see what he could do with the starters. When does he get the chance?
John: It’s likely that Bortles will work with the first team before the regular season. Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said Saturday it’s not likely that happens this week. That also doesn’t mean that Bortles will start over Chad Henne. So, my guess as of right now is Bortles will work with the ones the final week of the preseason. That’s a guess. We’ll see if that changes after Thursday.
Princefigs from J-Ville (not Duval):
Is it too early to start talking about Bortles going to the Hall of Fame? #peopleneedtocalmdown
John: Absolutely not!!!!!!
Tim from Jacksonville:
Why is it important for the offensive line to jell and play as a unit, but rotation is such an emphasis with the defense?
John: An offensive line must jell because in pass protection – and even in run-blocking – communication is key. Offensive linemen must know when to double team, help and chip; the closer these things are to instinctive the better. While teamwork and communication matter on the defensive line, it’s not as critical there because it’s a position where attacking, pursuit and the ability to disrupt are paramount. Fresh legs also are important on the defensive line, and not quite as critical on the offensive line.
John from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Given the current situation with Mike Brewster at center – and I understand it only has been one game –are there any other centers available whom the Jags could bring in and work out? Say centers of the veteran type or free agents?
John: The Center Store is closed, probably until after the regular season. Besides, as of now, the Jaguars are not giving up on Brewster. He struggled with a couple of snaps Friday night, and the Jaguars are still trying to figure the best combination of Brewster, Jacques McClendon and Brandon Linder to start at center and right guard. It appears Linder is the likely starter at right guard and McClendon could still push Brewster. Right now, those are probably the options at center.
Ryan from Tucson, AZ:
John, you're a veteran sports journalist. You know what questions are coming about Bortles and his role in the future. Answer them!
John: Wjahtt?
Jami Wye Mills, MD:
I'm sure you received a bunch of emails about the way Bortles looked Friday. I know it came against the twos, but there's no denying he looked really good in his first action. That has to be a good thing for Gus and Co. I know there will be plenty of clamoring from the fans to get the third pick into the starting lineup now, a la Pete Prisco. I'm not sure if this will swell to Tebowmania that we went through, but I see it coming.
John: It is absolutely a good thing for Gus and Co., and it’s a good thing for the Jaguars. It’s also a good thing that the team remains focused on moving Bortles into the starting lineup at the right time for Bortles as opposed to putting him in because people are yelling and writing in capital letters, “START HIM!” But don’t worry about a repeat of Tebowmania. This isn’t that. Remember: Bradley and David Caldwell are watching this very closely. And they’re pretty good at what they do. Don’t you think they’ll put him in when the time is right? I mean, doesn’t that make at least a little sense?
Geoff from Orlando, FL and Section 243:
Clearly not many former athletes among the readers … not saying that snidely, but anyone who has consistently operated within an athletic regimen will tell you strains and pulls happen and no amount of stretching, calisthenics, or a strength and conditioning coach can prevent this. The only thing that helps is rest and recovery. The worst you can do is come back too soon; this often results in muscle tears or other longer-term damage. Just my two cents.
John: Yep.
Tom from St. Augustine, FL:
My wife, who did not what a pass rusher was until Friday, turned to me and said, ‘WOW!” after a throw Blake made. Did not take Blake long to start a controversy fans against coaches.
John: Here’s the funny thing about a debate featuring fans against coaches. One side has a lot of influence over the decision and other side does not. That almost makes it kinda, sorta not a debate at all, doesn’t it?
Ray from Pooler, GA:
Who gets the final say when on when Bortles starts: Gus, Dave or Khan?
John: Gus Bradley. Khan lets Bradley and Caldwell run football operations, and a general manager defers to the coach on playing time and starting roles. But this isn’t a push-and-pull. Bradley and Caldwell move in lockstep. They will discuss this issue pretty much daily, and when one believes the time is right, there pretty much won’t be disagreement.
Bobby from Section 236:
So the days of leaving the house 30 minutes before kickoff are a thing of the past. The price of progress. Go Jags!
John: #DTWD
Brian from New Hampshire:
Would it be safe to say at this point Allen Hurns has played himself into a roster spot? He is constantly being talked about in camp and had a good Preseason Game 1. I find it hard to see Doss being kept over Hurns now.
John: It’s probably not fair to say Hurns has guaranteed himself a roster spot. Three preseason games remain and he’s an undrafted rookie. But would I be surprised at this point if Hurns doesn’t make the roster? Yes, I would.
Daniel from Ocala, FL:
I am no professional scout, so I am going to need some help from the all-knowing O. My eyes tell me Bortles looked very good. That's great. My eyes are not clear on whether Bortles reverted back to any of his college "bad habits." Does it appear that the corrections Bortles made in practice (footwork, etc.) carried over to the actual game?
John: Bortles looked much better Friday than he looked in the offseason. He also has looked better throughout in training camp than he did in the offseason. So, yes, it appears that the corrections he makes in practice translate to games.
Mike from Jagsonville:
Your comments on Lee?
John: Goodness, people are strikingly concerned about wide receiver Marqise Lee. We are aware that he’s a rookie who played about a quarter in his first preseason game, right? He’s going to be up and down, and Bradley and the coaches certainly will talk to him about consistency this week. But if you’re asking if I believe that there is some sort of overriding concern over the future of Lee because of a preseason game, the answer is pretty easy: No, I do not.
Mike from Green Cove Springs, FL:
You can keep your plan if you like your plan, period. You can keep your doctor if you like your doctor, period. My hard-drive crashed, period and Chad Henne is our No. 1 quarterback, period. Period.
John: Yes, he is. Now, make no mistake: Bortles absolutely can be good enough to change that. Of that, there is no doubt. How soon that will happen is anyone’s guess, but the Jaguars’ coaches and decision-makers won’t be ridiculous about this. When it comes time to time for Bortles to play, they won’t not play him just to be spiteful about it.
Steve from Woodbine, GA:
What I saw was Henne doing the same thing he always does. Balls batted down at the line, wide open receiver over thrown and should have been intercepted. He is no threat to the defense and that affects the running game. I saw three other quarterbacks with great promise. Bortles looks like he has done this before. Going into the game, it was Henne's position to lose; now I think he has to light it up in the next two or three games to be here come September. Sure, you don't want to start a season with a rookie quarterback, but does Chad really give us a real chance at winning?
John: Let’s not forget: football doesn’t happen in a vacuum. You pointed out many things you saw Friday. You also saw Henne working against the Buccaneers’ first-team defense and Bortles working against the Buccaneers’ second team. You also saw Bortles working against a Buccaneers defense that blitzed him once. No one’s saying that Bortles eventually won’t be better than Henne. And no one’s saying that he didn’t look very, very good Friday. If he continues to look that good, then he probably speeds up the clock. But remember, too, that there are four preseason games, not one. This will play out.
Daniel from Jersey City:
Wow! Is Marks for real?
John: No. Sen’Derrick Marks actually is a cardboard cutout – but in this case, a very rich cardboard cutout who’s a really good quote, a better guy and maybe even a better player.

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