JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . .
Craig from Raleigh, NC:
If my memory is correct, over the past four years we are around 22nd in overall ticket sale attendance out of 32 teams. Twenty-second! Fans need to realize it’s hardly just a concern for our organization. Also, teams relocate for stadium issues (like San Diego or Minnesota). We will be in Jax for a long time.
John: Good points, all of them. The Jaguars were pretty clear early in the offseason that there is still work to be done locally. While the ticket sales have been good, and while the blackout issue hasn’t been much of an issue at all, local revenue must increase. That’s a major initiative right now, but yes, the attendance issue isn’t nearly as much of an issue as the national media portrays. The history of the NFL in this town has been written against the backdrop of national doubt and local skepticism. As for being in Jacksonville for a long time, thinking otherwise is connecting dots far too quickly and unnecessarily.
Ryan from Las Vegas, NV:
I'm suddenly fascinated with the subject of the word "impact." I would have never known if not for the O-Zone. Yay, learning!
John: Vegas, baby.
Josh from Hastings, FL:
So, Daryl Smith was signed after June 1. We get no compensatory pick, right?
John: Teams actually don’t get rewarded on a one-to-one basis for unrestricted free agents who sign elsewhere. It’s a formula that the league doesn’t share, but you essentially get more opportunity for a compensatory selection if your team loses unrestricted free agents and less chances for one if your team signs them. But regarding Smith, you’re essentially correct. I had written earlier this week that Smith would count for the Jaguars in next offseason’s compensatory formula. I neglected to change the page on my calendar. After June 1, UFAs don’t count in the formula.
Joe from Palm Coast, FL:
I know you've probably answered this before but please indulge me. Are the minicamp practices open to the public?
John: Thursday’s practice at 11 a.m. is open to the public.
Nick from Annapolis, MD:
Shorts was recently ranked in a third tier of top wide receivers on an NFL.com article yesterday. He was grouped with names such as Wes Welker, Eric Decker, Miles Austin and DeSean Jackson, to name a few, and he was actually ahead of all those guys officially. When he was starting and he was healthy he was very impressive last year. If he looks even better, that's great news.
John: Good for Shorts if he was ranked highly in an article. I put little credence into such lists when they ignore Jaguars players, and I don’t put much more in when they include them. If you watched Shorts last season, you saw a player growing and becoming a reliable player in the offense. He got better and cleaner as a route runner, his hands became more reliable and he had the ability to break tackles near the line of scrimmage and turn short gains into big plays. The good news is he appears to be taking a step forward from that. Whatever list he is on is just gravy.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
Jedd Fisch is head coaching material, isn't he?
John: No doubt.
Brandon from Jacksonville:
We need to cut Babin now, he is over 30 and injured. He cannot help this team now.
John: Cute, Brandon. Babin has played all 16 games the past three seasons and has 37.5 sacks during that span. That’s significant productivity and reliability, which is sort of what you want when you’re trying to rebuild. I think you’ll find most of the players the Jaguars have let go this offseason lacked in one of those areas the last two seasons.
Robert from Jacksonville:
I understand and appreciate the fill-the-stadium concept many fans espouse. I disagree that it will matter in the end. The value of a team is based on factors other than ticket sales. Khan is a smart man, who understands how to make money and increase value of assets. London, even if I believe it to be a poor move on the NFL's part, is too big a market to ignore long term. The Jaguars would be a billion dollar team just moving there. This really is a question of when does it happen and who does it happen to.
John: Khan is worth $3 billion already. He owns multiple planes and a yacht. I imagine the little jar he keeps pens in would be the coolest, most-expensive thing in my house. My point is I don’t think he bought the Jaguars with the sole idea of maximizing his financial self-worth. He has said he wants to make it work in Jacksonville. I’ve heard nothing of substance to make me think that’s not true.
Dane from Jacksonville:
I'm a daily O-Zone reader, but today is the first time in a long while that I've checked out the player profiles. What a great job the Jaguars.com team has done on that section! I love the profile pictures for each player. The action shots add a lot of character to the site as a whole!
John: Yes, that part of the site looks great. Whoever we have doing that did a great job doing their job.
Mike from Port Charlotte, FL:
So, you say you make senior writer money, so what does your wife do for work?
John: Got any openings?
Kenneth from Jacksonville:
What are the other teams doing that the Jaguars don’t have success? Gus Bradley will be the second defensive-minded coach that we have hired since Del Rio. Does that concern you? Other than his personality and him being so upbeat what makes you think he can coach, especially on the offensive side of the ball where elite teams are defined? Do you think the Jaguars would have been better off with a proven winner?
John: Bradley’s background doesn’t concern me. Whether a head coach had defensive or offensive background means little compared to his ability to manage, lead and set the time/culture for the organization. As a matter of fact, I don’t know how much specifically Bradley knows about offensive football at the NFL level. That’s why he hired Jedd Fisch. As for the proven winner thing, that’s always one of my favorite questions about new coaching hires. Few of the best coaches in NFL history arrived at their jobs as proven winners, and just about all of them got at least one job when they were decidedly unproven (hint: all of them did). You hire a head coach because you believe he can be a leader of men and make the decisions to lead the franchise on a daily basis. Gus Bradley appears to have fit that description.
Tucker from New York, NY:
If Shorts doesn't have a 1,000-yard season this year, I'll literally die.
John: That would have a big impact on the team.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
Now that we are getting ready to begin the 2013 season soon, who do you see as the best players of last year’s draft class? How would you rate how the Jags did with who they picked?
So far, it’s not a bad class. If not for the suspension, Justin Blackmon
would seem to have a pretty good chance to push for 1,000 yards, and while the Bryan Anger
selection long will be criticized, he seems destined for a long, productive career. Andre Branch
probably holds the key to the draft class. If he can develop into a disruptive pass rusher, it’s a really good draft. If not, it’s just OK.
Keith from Palatka, FL:
I baited the hook and you swallowed hook, line, and sinker. Instead of focusing on the content, you went straight for the minutia (misspelling and language). It is a big turnoff to readers and writers of the O-Zone. People don't want to ask questions of the hypercritical. I guess you can't teach some people anything. You're not as smart as I thought.
John: Keith, I honestly can’t worry about everyone liking every aspect of the O-Zone. Poking fun at the minutia is something I do occasionally, just as joking about things that aren’t Inside Football or Xs and Os is something I do while also answering football questions just about every day – or actually, exactly every day. Some people get the joke, some people don’t. Some people like the approach, some people think it’s the worst thing and swear to never, ever read again. I’m OK with that. I’ve done this long enough to know you can’t make everyone happy. Shoot, I can’t even make the people in my house happy. The O-Zone not only is a small sliver of the Internet, it’s only one of the features we offer on this free website. We analyze, report and discuss as many aspects of the Jaguars as we can in many different forms on this website. It is the sincere hope of those who provide content that people like it all, but failing that, that most people can find something to like. If one thing is a turnoff, then maybe others will be turn-ons. Me? I like walks on the beach, intimate conversations, Julia Roberts movies and drinking whiskey from Dixie Cups shirtless on a kitchen stool pulled out on the front porch . . . but, hey, to each his own.