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O-Zone: Tickle, tickle

Posted Aug 13, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Paul from Jacksonville:
I really liked what I saw from Ricky Stanzi when he was in the game Friday. Is it more likely he's fighting for a roster spot on the Jags or auditioning for a shot on someone else's roster?
John: This is a question that may not be answered until after the final preseason game. That’s when the Jaguars will trim the roster to 53, which is when they likely will make the final decision on whether to keep three quarterbacks on the roster. If they do, I think they keep Stanzi and place Stephen Morris on the practice squad. There’s also the option of keeping both Stanzi and Morris on the practice squad. The more you watch Stanzi in practice and preseason games, the more you think they will want to keep him in some capacity. Chad Henne and Blake Bortles are clearly the two best options, but if one of those players is unavailable there are a lot of options worse than Stanzi.
Mike from Section 248:
If preseason doesn't involve much game-planning and it's mostly about beating the guy in front of you, which potential starters had trouble beating the guy they were matched up with Friday? We've talked a lot already about the guys that won their battles.
John: The glaring area was the right side/center of the offensive line, an area that has been beaten up enough this week there’s not much point in bruising it more here today. Aside from that there was nothing glaring, particularly considering the injuries to most of the skill players.
John from Elizabeth City, NC:
So the question must at this point be what does it take for Blake Bortles to start? It sounds redundant but is it Bortles being ready or Bortles being better than Henne? The staff consistently has preached competition and best player on the field. Can you then if Bortles continues to outperform Henne (not including the numbers; just the look the team had with him on the field and the fact that Henne could've easily had three interceptions) say no to the better player, yet still preach competition?
John: I am increasingly struck by an underlying implication that there somehow is something untoward at play with the quarterback process – as if there is some master plan by the Jaguars’ decision-makers to personally hurt fans by not playing Bortles. This is about making sure Bortles is ready and making sure the team is ready around him to give him a chance to succeed. It’s about his long-term development. It’s about making sure the time is right. If the Jaguars wait all year to do that it’s not going to endanger the foundation and culture of the locker room. Handing Bortles’ development is critical to the franchise; being prudent and even erring on the side of caution is not a ludicrous approach.
Eddie from Jacksonville:
I think somehow lost in all this quarterback stuff, is that Culligan sells soft water (very soft).
John: Once again, I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Tym from the Southside:
Was DeAndre Coleman playing defensive tackle, defensive end or linebacker for us during the Buccaneers game? Seems to me he was playing all of them. Gotta love high-motor guys like him and Telvin Smith. Do you see Coleman making the roster, O-Zone?
John: I think considering the depth along the defensive line Coleman will have a very difficult time making the roster. I could easily see him being a practice squad guy.
Arnie from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Would you say one of the best things Bortles did as an NFL quarterback against the Buccaneers was his decisive, quick throws? It appeared to me he stepped back like three steps and had his target figured out quickly and … Bam, let it go and on point.
John: That he did.
Bobby from Doboy Island, GA:
I'm surprised by your answer to Martin. Maybe it only makes sense if the two coaching staffs have a good relationship, but if the Jags and Seahawks played a preseason game, let’s say, I would think it would behoove Gus to call up Pete to say, "We are working on blitz pickup; can you zone blitz a few times when Bortles is in." And in return, we could do the same. After all, these games are just for evaluation. What say you?
John: I say it’s not going to happen – at least not very often. NFL teams do what they do in preseason for specific reasons. They are using those games to work on areas they feel need work. There are also things they don’t want to show on video during the preseason because they plan to do those things during the regular season. And all of that aside, coaches in general just aren’t predisposed to spending time or energy helping opponents. They’re a little more concerned on pretty much a 24-7 basis with … oh, I don’t know … their own teams.
Seabass from Jags Beach:
How does Mike Harris figure into this defense? How has he been maturing? With Alan Ball, Dwayne Gratz, Demetrius McCray, Jeremy Harris, Will Blackmon, the addition of Aaron Colvin and then Telvin Smith in the nickel role along with Geno Hayes, is there room for Mike Harris on this roster?
John: It will be difficult for Mike Harris to make the roster. The addition of rookie Rashaad Reynolds at corner makes it even more so.
Antoine from Laurel, MD:
With the center and right guard spots up in the air, do you see the Jags trading for someone like Alex Boone if the four guys fighting for those two spots don't step up by the end of preseason?
John: Not really, because this.
Mike from Jacksonville:
What is the average amount of time/plays/series quarterbacks average in preseason game. I am curious how much Chad and Blake will each play in the remaining three preseason games. Thanks!
John: There’s no real average, but playing time for quarterbacks usually follows a general, time-honored formula. Based on that, Chad Henne and Blake Bortles each will play a half Thursday, then you can look for Henne to probably play into the third quarter in the third preseason game with Bortles playing about a quarter. I’d guess Bortles probably starts the preseason finale and plays about a quarter.
Tony from Atlanta, GA:
How is Bowanko progressing? His name doesn't seem to enter into the center conversation, so I'm guessing he's not ready for prime time.
John: Luke Bowanko’s name actually did creep into the center conversation this week. The Jaguars will play Mike Brewster, Jacques McClendon, Brandon Linder and Bowanko all at center against the Bears. Bowanko’s not being mentioned yet as a possibility to start at right guard or center, but he’ll get some repetitions Thursday and we’ll see where it goes.
Chris from Omaha, NE:
Hey John, I have been in agreement with Gus's plan to allow Bortles to develop with little pressure as a backup. However, if the next three preseason games are similar to the first one (Henne struggles and Bortles performs well) who do you think will start Week 1? Do you think Gus sticks to his plan?
John: I think Chad Henne will start Week 1 of the regular season. Remember, football is not played in a vacuum, and while the easy storyline from Friday has been Henne Struggled and Blake Bortles WAS THE BOMB, BABY!!!!! there is more to the Jaguars’ thinking than that. Remember, the Buccaneers played a very vanilla defense, particularly with Bortles in the game, and the Jaguars were working on the running game early. That put Henne in some unfavorable down-and-distance situations. That’s not to say Bortles didn’t play well. He did. It’s also not to say Henne was great. He wasn’t. But there is often a reality beyond appearances in the NFL. Remember, the Jaguars aren’t plotting to make a bad decision here. They want Bortles to be good and they want to give him the best chance for success. I think it’s safe to assume they’ll make decisions toward that end.
Micah from Philadelphia, PA:
At the end of the day, it is what it is. Players may not ever stop using meaningless phrases, you know what I mean?
John: I do, hopefully.
Phil from Boynton Beach, FL:
Sen'Derrick Marks was probably the most disruptive defensive lineman on the team last year. He looked like Warren Sapp and Geno Atkins against the Buccaneers. I have to believe that he'll have a big year with all the additions to the defensive line this year. I could see this guy getting seven sacks from the tackle position. Would you take the under or over?
John: I’d take the under, but only because seven sacks is a really, really good number for a defensive tackle. I think Marks will have a big year and cause a lot of disruption, which to me is far more important than his sacks total.
Caleb from Jacksonville:
I thought it stood for don't tickle wild dogs...
John: #DTWD

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