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O-Zone: Big-picture question

Posted May 23, 2013

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it...

Tom from St. Augustine, FL:
I have watched Maurice Jones-Drew play every home game in person, some on the road and the others on television. I have seen him at numerous community fundraising functions in the area. None of us knows if MJD loves this area. We have PROOF that MJD plays hard every single play. Is he always great? NO, does he always play hard? YES. He has done more than his share to improve our community and has represented himself and his family in a first-class manner. Give me 25 MJDs and we will collect Super Bowl trophies. MJD, your efforts are MUCH appreciated. Now, I am off my soap box.
John: Your soap box seems to be a place where wisdom prevails. I am sometimes curious to see criticism of Jones-Drew. The only explanation I can come up with is that people enjoy criticizing. In professional sports you ask players to be productive and to give all they have. Jones-Drew scores highly on both accounts. He is one of the best four or five players in franchise history. He is involved in the community even though no player technically has to do anything in the community. Jones-Drew often disagreed with things I wrote, and I wrote fairly often that I didn’t think his holdout last offseason would do any good – though I always have felt he or any other player are well within their rights to hold out. Does Jones-Drew speak his mind and do things his way? Sure, but to say MJD isn’t one of the best Jaguars players ever, or that he has given less than he should have? That’s ridiculous.
Houston from Aiken, SC:
John should your answer have been just K.
John: K.
Thomas from Las Vegas, NV:
After the first two weeks of OTAs, what concerns you the most about the Jags and what has you feeling pretty good? As a fellow Episcopal alum, what do you think about Mark Brunell coaching our Eagles?
John: I continue to like what I see from Cecil Shorts III, and I think when Justin Blackmon returns in Week 5, the Jaguars have a real chance to see them emerge as one of the best young duos on the NFL. If I had a concern, it would be how the defensive line will shake out. The Jaguars clearly have focused on the area following the draft. OTAs are the start of the process of finding the right mix there. That process will continue into training camp, but it’s sure not done yet. I also would be a little concerned about backup running back, though that concern is lessened if Jones-Drew is fully healthy. As for Brunell coaching Eagle Tech, I spoke with him about this a few weeks ago at a Jaguars practice. I said he had a pretty strong athletic tradition to uphold, considering, I had one represented Episcopal on the hardwood. He laughed and honestly, the laugh was a bit more dismissive than I thought necessary.
John from Jacksonville:
I feel another losing season coming on. They changed everything except what needed changing, or depth. The quarterback is the same. That doesn't make sense. If they don't pull in a quarterback like McNabb, or similar veteran I don't see the Jaguars doing very well. They might want to bring in someone that can make it through the season. I'm sure Tebow would be available as a viable option. What's their reasoning with the quarterback position? Do they think anything is going to change this year?
John: You mentioned McNabb and Tebow in the same email. I just love that.
Cathy from Jacksonville:
There hasn't been much mention of Jeremy Mincey and how he might fit into our new defensive scheme. Do you think he is at risk?
John: Gus Bradley’s theme is competition. Any veteran player who doesn’t seem to be penciled into a starting position would be in a position of needing to compete for a roster spot. Mincey’s contract isn’t extensive and the Jaguars aren’t overloaded with ends, but do I think Mincey needs to compete well? Yes, I’d say that.
Daryl from Philadelphia, PA:
You're out of touch...
John: Watch out boy, she’ll chew you up...
Ron from Orlando, FL:
Why are the Jaguars always so late in signing their draft picks? Some teams have signed all their draft picks already, and do so on a consistent basis. Yet we just signed our first draft pick. Every year, it's the same story despite the fact that there's a wage scale in place that should prevent this from happening. Why?
John: You act as if you’re worn out on something that has been going on for decades. Teams only began getting draft picks signed around this time of year as far back as . . . LAST YEAR. The rookie wage scale was implemented in 2011 after the lockout, so that season picks were signed in training camp. Last season, you started seeing guys signed early and there are teams that have signed some this year. But what I don’t understand is what difference it makes to people. The draft selections are in OTAs and can participate unsigned until training camp begins. So long as rookies are signed by then, being unsigned effects draft picks not one iota. The Jaguars have signed two of their draft selections, and there’s no indication all won’t be signed by training camp. Until then, it’s the definition of a non-issue.
Phillip from Brunswick, GA:
The biggest benefit MJD receives working out in South Florida is he is not limited to the CBA and what he can do and how long he can do it. I think he will recover faster and be better prepared physically for training camp than if he were to stay in JAX. Am I wrong to think this way?
John: You’re not wrong. From Jones-Drew’s perspective, that’s exactly why he’s going to South Florida. When he is at the facility, he must work under the guidelines of the CBA; when he is in South Florida, he does not.
Steve from St. Johns, FL:
Just wanted to thank you for posting Patrick Camp Leatherneck/AFG. That was my son. He is a JAG fan all the time – no matter what. It was such a surprise to read his question. Thanks again. Stay safe son.
John: Indeed.
Adam from Section 140:
With San Francisco getting Super Bowl L and Houston getting a second Super Bowl, do you see Shad Khan making a big push for Jacksonville to host another Super Bowl or has that ship sailed? Thanks and I love the O-Zone!
John: Shad Khan has said the focus for now is on the franchise, and that’s where it should be. There was some significant restructuring to be done when he took over. The Jaguars are now in the process of getting the on-field product competitive again. Sometime in the future, when Khan feels the time is right, I could see him pushing for a Super Bowl. There almost certainly will have to be pretty significant stadium improvements and some improvements downtown before it happens.
Dino from Jacksonville:
Do you own pink sneakers?
John: I thought for a second you asked if I owned “sneak pinkers.” I had no idea what that meant.
Robert from Grayson:
I'm not asking for a 'who;' I'm asking for a 'when.' When do you think the starting quarterback will be named? After OTAs? After training camp? After the 2nd preseason game? Just kind of curious as to what your thoughts are there.
John: It’s not likely a starter will be named before training camp. If I had to circle a date on the calendar, I’d circle sometime after the third preseason game. That will give enough time to see the padded practices during training camp and enough preseason games to make a sound decision.
James from Orange Park, FL:
If Shawn gets to ask you a serious question, may I ask you a dumb one?
John: What’s done is done.
Chad from Palatka, FL:
It’s time to nix the quarterback questions and insights from the readers. Apparently, no matter how many different ways you answer the question they still will not grasp or understand how the coaches will determine who wins this competition. Your words are falling on deaf ears. On another note: how does Massaquoi look so far in the "underwear practices?”
John: Massaquoi looks about as I’d expect. He looks further ahead in terms of his route running than the younger receivers, and his hands have looked reliable so far. He seems to be a guy who can fill Justin Blackmon’s role for a few games and be involved in the rotation. As far as my answers on the quarterback, yeah, they may fall on deaf ears. At the same time, it’s sort of fun to see the frustration of people trying or not bothering to try to understand.
Marjorie from Jacksonville:
You might be, or may not be, a lot of things, but clearly you are not a bum senior writer who lacks work ethic. JAK SMACKDOWN - Justified.
John: I honestly don’t like to think of anything I write as smacking anyone down. The O-Zone is entertainment, and anyone taking it more or less seriously than that is missing the point. But your question brings up a good point: Bum senior writer who lacks work ethic or just a juvenile half-wit? You know what, Marjorie? I like to think I’m a little of both.

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