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O-Zone: Extra effort

Posted Aug 19, 2013

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .

Nicolas from Fort Lee, VA:
I know it is preseason, so wins and losses don't matter officially. Unofficially, though, coming off a season of only two wins, is it more urgent to win a game just to get the fans more excited? Hard to be excited when you only win two games out of the last 20.
John: It may be important to fans to win a preseason game. Probably, that’s the case because there are still many fans that don’t grasp that leading 13-10 at halftime in the preseason outweighs losing 37-13. And sure, the coaches and players wouldn’t mind winning. As Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh said of winning, “it’s like better than losing.” But it really, truly doesn’t matter in the preseason. Come Week 1, no one will remember if the Jaguars were 4-0 or 0-4 in the preseason. The Jaguars went 3-1 in the 2012 preseason, and honestly, I didn’t remember until someone emailed me recently.
Jesse from Charleston, SC:
It's never a good sign when the quarterback looks to the sideline and shrugs his shoulders in confusion. Is this one of the intangibles that Gus Bradley is referring to when deciding a starting quarterback?
John: Yeah, you’re right, Jesse. He’s the first quarterback to ever look to the sideline confused. That’s the intangible. Good work.
Girant from Fernandina Beach, FL:
I get Gus Bradley's statement of "competition," but that doesn’t explain why they bring in random punters and kickers. Bryan Anger broke rookie records last year, and Josh Scobee has been one of the few staples on this team. Why bring in these other guys?!
John: Teams bring in punters and kickers when they have established players at those positions for multiple reasons. One is to prevent the front-line specialists from wearing down in practice. You only want kickers and punters doing their specialties so many times in a given period. Teams also are wise to have a backup plan if a specialist gets hurt during the season. Training camp and preseason is the time to bring in other guys so that you’re familiar with them if they’re needed during the season. Also, with the offseason roster at 90 players it’s more possible than it was before to have multiple specialists around and not have it hurt you at other positions.
Jefro from Tull:
Dear John, Your the biggest BG fan. Overlooking Dennard. They let go Of rodgers. I do not know if that was the best decision. John your Making the Jags make bad choice. Last Night aganist the 6-10 Jets, The worst qb in the league had a great performance but the jags still Lost. With a 5.5 ave Which is BG average tis preseason. Chad looks like a better choice to start. Dennard Broke all his records at Michigan. WHy isn't Dennard the the starting qb from DAy 1. Second issue. The jags have the worst line in the league and need a running QB that make the big play in the air. Clearly Dennard the best choice.
John: Here we go, Jaguars!
Wayne from Atlanta, GA:
So what exactly is Palmer doing to keep a roster spot? It's apparent punt returns are not going to be his thing. Any reason they keep trying him there when we know Sanders is going to be our main punt returner?
John: I got a lot of emails Sunday calling for Tobais Palmer to be cut. There is no hurry for this, and it can be unwise to cut a player because he makes a couple of visible mistakes, which Palmer has done by fumbling a punt in each of the first two preseason games. The Jaguars signed Palmer as a rookie free agent because he has NFL speed, which not all players have. I don’t know that he will make the team. It’s probably a long shot, but he’s a player with ability who could be on the practice squad.
Jordan from Little Valley, NY:
It is going to be like a waffle shop in the Ozone this week.
John: Ha.
Sage from Orlando, FL:
“It felt great," Jones-Drew said. "Getting tackled was great." Uh...when does a running back ever say "getting tackled was great"?!
John: When it’s the preseason. Running backs will tell you a big part – maybe the biggest part – of their preseason preparation is getting used to being tackled. Remember, this isn’t the era of full-padded, tackle-to-the-ground training camps. A running back often will go from the end of one season to the beginning of the next without being tackled, and in Jones-Drew’s case, it has been since last October. A back needs to feel that and get used to it. Jones-Drew talks about it a lot. That’s what he meant Saturday night.
Anthony from Columbia, SC:
I want to point out that there are two offensive coaches that deserve a lot of credit. First, I loved that Jedd Fisch's offense allowed for a lot of quick, easy passes for Blaine, and Blaine was constantly rolling out, which can somewhat slow down a pass-rush because the defensive line doesn't know exactly where he will be standing until he runs the play. Second, there are four young receivers on this roster that are ascending and look like they'll be playmakers in the future. Jerry Sullivan is a beast!
John: Yes, Jedd Fisch appeared to game plan very well on Saturday. A wise approach with a young quarterback is to allow him to make quick passes and get into a rhythm. Remember, Fisch now has worked two preseason games – a little more than two and a half quarters – with Gabbert, and it takes time for a coordinator to get a feel for what a quarterback does best in games and vice versa. As for Jerry Sullivan, he’s the first one to tell you that developing young receivers is a process. It’s not a process that occurs in one month or sometimes, even one year. The Jaguars receivers are better at football than they were a year ago, and I suspect that will be the same next year, too.
Brooks from Jacksonville:
I'd be fine with that first team offense for 16 weeks.
John: Yes. I think a lot of people would.
Patrick from Coffee Land, CA:
Hey, John. What is going on with all those penalties? Every time the Jaguars do something good. There is a yellow flag being thrown. It really kills my positive mood and I start chugging my beer out of frustration.
John: Yeah, well, at least you had the beer. I watched it in the press box with a chocolate chip cookie and cold coffee.
David from Jacksonville:
In games past it has been so hard to see good drives stopped by a penalty. On Saturday, the second drive deep into the Jets territory did not end on three penalties. So proud, even if only for a half.
John: That may indeed have been the most impressive part of an impressive early-game performance by the Jaguars Saturday. Holding penalties put the offense in difficult situations on back-to-back plays inside the Jets 40-yard line, and Gabbert responded with passes to Allen Reisner and Justin Blackmon. You’re correct that in years past the Jaguars would have had trouble getting out of that situation. *Most* teams would have had trouble getting out of that situation. You can’t expect to overcome multiple penalties and produce touchdowns often, but being able to do it occasionally can turn games around.
Max from Logan, Utah:
Two questions: Which do you prefer, Minor Threat or Bad Religion? Also, it appears our defensive backs are tackling quite well, specifically in the open field, true?
John: Minor Threat. Yes.
Nicolas from Fort Lee:
Not sure how many players need to be cut, but I really liked Sanders, Robinson, and Todman. Hope we can keep them.
John: Ace Sanders and Denard Robinson will be on the roster barring injury. I’d be surprised if the same isn’t true of Jordan Todman.
Jessie from Gun Barrel, TX:
This team has shown a weak pass rush so far this preseason. My question is, “Can they play aggressive press man coverage?” I think it will put lots of pressure on the backs. I do not know if they can handle it.
John: The Jaguars actually showed a pretty good pass rush in the preseason opener, but Saturday’s performance against the Jets showed the concern. There’s not a proven pass rusher to complement Jason Babin, and the Jaguars want to find that before the regular season. That will be a challenge. As for it putting pressure on the secondary, yes, it does. Gus Bradley’s approach is that playing press coverage will help give the pass rushers an extra second or two to reach the quarterback, but the pass rush has to be able to take advantage of those extra seconds. That will be the challenge.
Brooks from Jacksonville:
John you haven't used any of my last few question. At first I was mad but then I realized that most of questions have been subpar; I should be trying harder. Sorry John.
John: This wasn’t a very good question.

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