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O-Zone: Calls from the coach

Posted May 16, 2013

JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . .

Chris from Mandarin, FL:
Funny, many of us fans have talked about Alualu playing the end position for the last three years. We get what looks to be a competent leadership system in place and what happens? They start working him at end. I have even less confidence in the regime that got fired now than I did when they got fired. That's a good thing.
John: I don’t know how much time we need to spend bashing the old regime. What I do know is Tyson Alualu is thrilled with the move to the outside, and the Jaguars’ new decision-makers believe him playing outside as a 4-3, run-oriented end is a good fit. It’s premature to say how well it will work until we actually see it working, but considering Alualu’s collegiate background as a 3-4 end, this seems like something that could benefit Alualu and the defense. It could enable him to take on double teams involving the tight end and improve the team’s run defense on the exterior. Alualu thinks so and perhaps as importantly, he says his knee feels better than it has in any previous NFL offseason. That’s a positive sign for the defense.
Keith from Palatka, FL:
I am thrilled to see Tyson Alualu switching to his more natural defensive end position as I think it will be good for him and the team. With the signing of Brandon Deaderick, we now have quite the competition at the defensive end position with Jeremy Mincey in the mix. Do you have any predictions as to how this will play out?
John: The phrase you used, “in the mix,” is the right way to think about this. There was chatter on local airwaves Thursday that the move meant the end for Alualu – though there’s little logic in that thought – and there have been questions about Mincey in relation to the move as well. Teams need eight or more defensive linemen playing at a high level, and Gus Bradley’s defense is known for using linemen in many situations. I think people will be surprised how much time Mincey and Alualu get and how many different looks the Jaguars show up front defensively.
Scott from Chelsea, NY:
With Alualu starting at one defensive end and Babin/Branch at the other it suddenly looks like we could be pretty good at that position next year. It’s amazing how much perception can change without adding big name free agents or early round picks.
John: Yes, it is. It’s also amazing how an offseason plan can sometimes play out over an entire offseason and not just two weeks in February.
David from Fredericksburg, VA:
All this fan angst and hand-wringing? In MAY? I don't get it. Happy wife, happy life. Ya knock that out, everything else is extra gravy on your biscuits.
John: You used the phrase, "happy wife." I'm not sure I follow.
John from Jacksonville:
Is it possible that moving Alualu to defensive end may leave us thin at defensive tackle? Also, what is the status of Roy Miller's injury?
John: I suppose it’s possible tackle could be thin, but the Jaguars signed Sen’Derrick Marks and Roy Miller for the position this offseason for a reason. Miller’s knee situation isn’t thought to be serious, and I’ve heard nothing to indicate he won’t be ready to participate in training camp. The Jaguars are continuing to address the line, having added Brandon Deaderick – who has played end and tackle in three NFL seasons with New England – off waivers on Tuesday. Work in progress means it will be done over time, and that’s what’s happening.
Foogie Bever from Funkytown, MI:
So, you put Hotline ahead of Mista Guitar Man? Time for Coach Gus to grow some funk of his own; maybe add a mirror ball to OTAs.
John: I’ll check on the mirror ball, and yes, I put Hotline ahead of Mista Guitar Man and Boogie Fever. Did you see those dancers? I’m in.
Lee from Jacksonville:
I know it seems early, but many teams have signed most, if not all of their draft picks. This is due to the new rookie wage scale in the CBA. So, how close are we to getting this draft class under contract?
John: The draft class will get signed. There’s no advantage or disadvantage to signing it now, particularly with as much room as the Jaguars have under the salary cap.
Steve from Jacksonville:
Considering the tone here lately I will cut to the chase. I "DEMAND" to know right now!! Who is our starting QB and how will he play? Will Blackmon relapse or not? What is the secret agenda against "you know who?” What will our record be this year? How will MJD play and is this his last year? Who will be at every position for our opening day roster and who will be the backup? Who will have season-ending injuries and when will it happen? Come on John, everyone else seems to think that you know these things so you MUST be hiding something!! Oh and what is the wing velocity of a European Swallow? That should cover it.
John: Huh? What?
Eddie from Orlando, FL:
Will you not be participating in the new radio show line up whenever the switch occurs? Didn't see your name on the press release.
John: I choose not to be associated more directly then necessary in anything involving Tony Boselli. The powers-that-be, having met Tony, understood this. Against my will, I will work the game-day broadcasts.
Chris from San Souci:
I saw online that the states with the most high school players drafted in 2013 were California, Florida, Texas and Georgia. Is it a coincidence that all of the Jags draft picks went to high school in these states or is this the influence of Tony Khan and analytics?
John: It’s coincidence, though David Caldwell certainly likes good players, and good players often come from those four states. As for the influence of analytics, Tony Khan likes good players, too. He typically encourages the Jaguars to draft them regardless of where they are from.
Clyde from Jacksonville:
From what you've seen, how do Gabbert and Henne look right now? NFL.com says both our quarterbacks look terrible! Are they right?
John: They look like quarterbacks three days into an offense with rookies and young players on May 15.
John from Georgetown:
Your take on Blackmon is part of the problem with the NFL in general. You blow it off as if the fans are over-reacting. I'm curious; how many regular, hardworking people could test positive for a substance and still have their job? Less than one percent? Probably. I realize you have to tote the company line, but someone needs to hold this guy accountable, and it needs to be the Jags, not the commissioner. It's disappointing that your defense of Blackmon is seen and read by kids. It's not hard to see what's wrong with the morals of this country. Please tell me who you know outside the NFL that survived a DUI and a positive substance abuse test, and kept their job? Accountability, my friend.
John: C’mon, John. I never, ever said the fans were overreacting. Fans can act or react however they want. And do we really think there’s a correlation between what happens to a regular, hard-working person and how an NFL player is treated? One has nothing to do with the other, and you know why? Because the NFL is a performance-based business in which players do a thing few other people on the planet can do. Moving on within your email, there’s nothing “company line” about what I’ve said about Blackmon. I’ve said he needs to mature, and that neither I nor anyone else in the media is qualified to say for sure the seriousness of his situation. I’m probably in the minority on that, and it’s certainly not anything the Jaguars have asked me to say. As for what kids think of the O-Zone, well, let’s just say the objective of the O-Zone isn’t to be anyone’s moral compass. There are other places for that, one’s home, for starters. I like to think people come here to read a bit about a franchise and sports they love, and to be entertained on some level for a few minutes a day. I am proud and honored to do that, and not arrogant, motivated or foolish enough to aspire to too much more.
Sergio from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Are the UDFA rookies such as Matt Scott and Jordan Rodgers getting first-team reps?
John: Matt Scott is working with the reserves. Rodgers is out after undergoing sports hernia surgery, and is expected to be ready when training camp opens in late July.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
How frequently do you communicate with Coach Bradley - text, phone email or in person? (Bradley's least favorite method)
John: All I know is someone keeps calling my cell and hanging up. Someone's got some 'splainin' to do.

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