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O-Zone: Word from the home front

Posted Sep 21, 2013

FREMONT, Calif.— Let’s get to it . . .

Joel from Jacksonville:
Just watched Tajh Boyd of Clemson on the ESPN Thursday night game. I hope Dave Caldwell's scouts were watching the game. Stay away from this guy. He missed open receivers time after time and his long ball was really inaccurate. Please Mr. Caldwell, do not draft this guy!
John: Caldwell’s got this end of the operation covered. I’m sure he appreciates the help, though.
James from Columbus, MS:
I can't seem to make sense of the remark "the Jaguars are just not talented." How does a team build through the draft, using guys who are rated as draft-worthy players by other teams in the round they were chosen, yet "less talented" than the rest of the league. Something else has to be the problem, it seems to me.
John: I don’t know that it’s right to say, “The Jaguars are just not talented.” They aren’t as talented as would be ideal – that is true, and I don’t know that many would dispute that. Injuries, some draft misses and some past roster decisions have made that true. There are teams in the NFL right now that are more talented than others. Some players develop and others don’t. It just happens.
Tom from Jacksonville:
I think Mularkey's offense was better. At least they knew how to get the ball to Shorts. I wish we would have given that coaching staff another year or two to see what they could have done. What do you think?
John: Shorts was the best receiver on the team last year and showed it during the first part of the season. I also know he didn’t get a chance to start until the sixth game of the season. This offense has been in place for two games, and has been without Justin Blackmon and Marcedes Lewis. Give it a few weeks before we throw it away.
Paul from Jacksonville:
Did Tudor notice that the team Greg Jones went to (the Texans) coincidentally has been rushing worse than last year? Not saying Jones isn't a great blocking fullback, just that in most cases success or failure is dependent on more than one person.
John: That’s exactly right, and I think most people get that. I would never diminish what Greg Jones did here. He blocked for Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew, and without question was crucial to Jones-Drew’s rushing title in 2011 and his three Pro Bowl appearances. But to say the running game has risen and fallen on his admittedly impressive shoulders just isn’t right.
Dennis from Post Falls, ID:
As a Seahawks fan, I love hearing the constant word, “Compete.” It is what has made the Seahawks who they are now. If Gus Bradley can do what Pete Carroll has done with competition, you will be in great shape within two more years. The constant turnover for better and better players is what Seattle still does and three years later, look at the results.
John: This email comes at a good time, and it does remind people of what Gus Bradley said several times upon his hiring – that people at first may not like or completely understand the Jaguars’ approach. The competition/high roster turnover was not necessarily popular in Seattle upon Pete Carroll’s arrival, and there was criticism at times early. The team found its core group of players, and there is no question the team has a clear identity and has emerged as one of the NFL’s best, most-consistent franchises in the last couple of seasons. Such things don’t happen in three weeks.
John Jacksonville:
Every day, when I open up the O-Zone, I quickly scan the list of names that ended up having the distinct honor of having their questions answered. If I don’t see my name, my day is pretty much ruined at that point.
John: Congratulations.
Bryan from Jacksonville:
Do you know if the zoo named the Jaguar cub yet? I suggested "Owen." You know, as in oh and sixteen.
John: I get it. You made a joke. No, wait – what you did was take the name “Owen,” and sort of make it to where it sounded like “Oh and” . . . hold on, hold on . . . and then you put “sixteen” on it, like the Jaguars might go 0-16. Man . . . that IS funny. The cub’s name is “Khan.”
Jason from North Pole, AK:
In response to Cecil, there is a difference between just going through the motions and really trying to get better while playing your tail off. Just because you "show up" doesn't mean you are competing.
John: Yeah, and I don’t honestly remember the entirety of Cecil’s email, but that’s the point that needs to be remembered. A lot of people are going to get tired this season of hearing Gus Bradley talk about competition. When you hear it after losses and are just thinking about the sting of that day’s loss and the record, the idea that the Jaguars “competed” doesn’t help ease the sting. But what Bradley’s talking about it is a day-to-day focus on improving and finding the best player, and eventually having 53 players who are the right fit with the right attitude and the right approach. Again, that’s a tough concept for fans to hear at 0-2, but he has seen it work before, and that’s the approach. It’s not saying, “It’s OK to try hard and lose,” but it is saying that the team has to stick to the long-term plan.
Austin from Atlanta, GA:
How about this draft scenario: We have the first overall selection, draft Bridgewater, and then trade up to the second overall pick to get Clowney.
John: Yes!! Yes!! Then trade up to get selections No.3, 4 and 5, too! #STANDUNITED!!!
Todd from Beaufort, SC:
Draft picks are rare and precious. Money is pretty common for NFL teams. Why would any NFL team give away a precious draft pick to the Jaguars when they can wait till the end of the season and just offer him more money than the Jags?
John: That does at times play into teams not trading for players who are about to become unrestricted free agents, but there are cases in which teams make midseason trades for potential free agents. The motivation for the team acquiring the player is that the team needs help now, not later. The trades are rare, because usually a team isn’t willing to part with a significant draft choice for what might be short-term help. But they happen.
Andy from St. Johns, FL:
Call me crazy, but I think the Jags win on Sunday over Seattle. No particular reason why. Not seeing this through teal-colored glasses. Not Gus's revenge on his former team. None of that storyline stuff that the media writes about and fans call into radio shows to discuss. I believe that the reason the NFL is so successful and why we are fans, is the "Any Given Sunday" mantra. It is true, in the NFL, that any team can beat any other team at any time. Looking forward to what Sunday brings us!
John: #Standunited
Jordan from Pittsburgh, PA:
Is it just me or are we in the midst of the worst possible scenario? I was prepared to watch my Jags be terrible on a laggy internet stream in the name of seeing what Gabbert can do with his job on the line. I have been one of the few Gabbert believers ever since I saw him throw a 25-yard out to Mike Thomas on a rope but now we are being embarrassingly uncompetitive without achieving our one goal for the season. All I have to look forward to every week is listening to drunk townies call in to the Scoreboard Show.
John: Hey! Watch it. Those people are my readers.
Jack from Section 436 and d Burg:
No question John, just an observation. Watching the Chiefs play the Eagles made that loss hurt a little less. I'm envious of their turnaround. Having patience as a fan is not easy. #StillStandingUnited
John: No, it’s not. The Chiefs had a better roster base from which to build. I think that’s pretty clear now.
Zack from Tallahassee, FL:
Went through the drive through and ate half an order of fries. Went back in and said they were cold and got a fresh order. #ShadrickSightings
John: Yep.
Tim from Jacksondeville:
In the only way to get through to all the Tebow haters like yourself, the easiest way to shut up the hater is to say 10-8. Yes the quarterback you and the NFL continue to run down is 10-8 as a starting quarterback in the NFL. Chad is 13-25 and Blaine is 5-20, obviously you and the Jaguars leadership is smarter than that silly concept of winning versus losing.
John: This was a real email.
James from Orange Park, FL:
All my ideas and suggestions get shot down at work. Do you have any idea how this feels?
John: No, that only happens to me at home.

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