JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . .
Chris from Mandarin, FL:
Is the quantity of British NFL fans really growing rapidly, or are the Jaguars starting to notice because of creative marketing? I think it's more likely that they've been starving for an outlet.
John: I think it’s likely they’ve been starving for an outlet, too. It certainly seems that way judging by the emails I receive. The British NFL fans are excited about the NFL and about seeing the Jaguars on a yearly basis for the next four years. I started to write, “the closer the October game gets, the more I see evidence of it in the O-Zone,” but that’s really not fair. The emails from the UK have been pretty steady and pretty enthusiastic since the announcement of the Jaguars’ London series last summer.
Scott from Chelsea, NY:
What player do you think is going to surprise people the most next year?
John: I think it will be . . . Hah!! I see what you did there, Scott . . . If I told you, then it wouldn’t be a surprise.
Jim from Jacksonville:
When you first started I was disappointed because I thought you had no sense of humor compared to the other guy. Now I think you are funnier than the other guy. Long live the O-Zone!
John: Disappointment is one of my core values. Whenever I can spread it, I feel like I’m leaving behind a little part of me.
Robert from Moorpark, CA:
bring back football please
John: Soon, Robert, Soon.
Dustin from Jacksonville:
When it comes to MJD, I think people need to understand that you don't pay players based on what they have been; you pay them based on what they will be. I also think that unless he has an absolutely lights-out season or takes a contract extremely favorable to the team, he is going to get slapped with the dreaded franchise tag. It's not personal, it's just business.
I get the idea most people do understand that notion. I don’t know that most people grasped it before the salary cap era, and as a Redskins fan until the early 1990s, I well remember being confused and a little irked when the team allowed Art Monk, Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders to finish their careers elsewhere. These days, I think it has been explained often enough and for enough years that a lot more fans grasp. You can’t manage the cap based on paying players out of loyalty. All of that said, I don’t think we know what the end game is on Maurice Jones-Drew
– or Eugene Monroe
, for that matter. The franchise tag is an option for both, and the Jaguars haven’t remotely closed the door on renegotiating with them for long-term contracts. We’re a long way – seven months at least – before that becomes a front-burner issue.
Chris from J-Ville:
Hey boss man, what's up with the lack of O-Zone mailbags? I know it's a slow time, so that seems like the best time to fill it with wacky videos. Now slap J.P. around the head and shoulders, shove a camera in his hands, and start filming!
John: Look, you can say or write what you want. You’re going to make your own choices in life. It’s a free country, and we believe in free speech. I’m just saying to watch your step, Chris, because no one tells JP what to do. No one.
Dave from Section 410 and Jacksonville:
?sdrawkcab ti od ew od woH
John: .ti od ot yaw eno s’thaT
Eric from Coolville, UT:
John some of your failed jokes are as weird/wrong as a clown at a funeral...
John: Jokes fail?
Richard from Woonsocket, RI:
ESPN has a question on their website on whether Denard Robinson
will develop into an NFL star, with most people voting "NO" so far. Do you think they even know this player or are they voting this way because he is a JAGUAR?
John: I think most fans know who Robinson is. He was a very popular player at Michigan. And most of the fans voting in that poll perhaps think he’s still trying to play quarterback. The Jaguars want Robinson playing a unique role, and fans nationally probably don’t have much of a grasp about . . . Honestly, I’ll stop there. I don’t care in the least why they’re voting that way. In fact, it’s hard to think of much I care about less.
Jared from Downtown O-town:
In regards to your response to Shay yesterday, does that guaranteed money count against their cap for the year?
John: I can honestly say I haven’t delved into Patriots’ cap situation to go deep into detail. The reports I’ve seen are that Aaron Hernandez will count $4.1 million against the cap next season and $8.6 million the year after that.
Ron from Jacksonville:
Who lives in a pineapple . . .
John: Yay, SpongeBob!!!
Mike from Jacksonville:
Tank for Teddy? Bomb for Bridgewater? Which one sounds more appropriate for this season, because as soon as we hit a rough patch in the season bad fans will begin chanting it.
John: How ‘bout “Oh, yuk, for Oehser,” or “John is junk?” You can count on me being a train wreck, but I’ve said before that I don’t believe it’s anything close to a guarantee that the Jaguars will be in contention for the No. 1 overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, and I don’t think they’ll get it. It’s a long season. Let’s not start this talk yet. In fact, let’s not start it at all.
Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
John in the heat and doldrums of an NFL summer two of my favorite Vince Lombardi expressions were "there is no substitute for speed" and "fatigue makes cowards of us all." The Jaguars have upped their speed quotient quite a bit and in training camp we'll see who really wants to play.
The speed quotient has been, as you put it, “upped.” My guess is if you look back at the early years of General Manager David Caldwell’s regime five years from now, that will be one of the themes – an intense focus on getting the lineup faster on a yearly basis. That was the idea behind drafting Robinson and Ace Sanders
, and you could see an immediate difference. As for the fatigue part, yeah, training camp certainly will be about that. It will be a test, and Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley likely will know a lot more about this team when it’s over rather than when it begins.
Chris from Norfolk, VA:
When I was a freshman, I had practically zero confidence. My sophomore year was a little better, but when I got to my junior year, I wasn't scared of anything. Is this something the coaches might be thinking about Gabbert? I think we will find out his "shook factor" early. Thought.
John: I think the coaches believe Gabbert will benefit from two years’ experience. I don’t know that they have much thought on the “shook factor,” as you call it, because these coaches really aren’t spending too much time dealing with Gabbert’s past. I have written often that I don’t buy into the “shook” theory or that Gabbert played without confidence as much as many others. I think a lot of things have conspired against Gabbert, and I think this year will be his best chance to succeed. I have no idea if he will or not, because I can’t predict the future, but there are certainly more factors in his favor this year. In that sense, it’s very much a clean slate for Gabbert. As far as your college experience, I can’t relate. I started out without a lot of confidence as a freshman. After having that feeling confirmed for a year, it pretty much has been a long slow side after that.
Trey from Jacksonville:
Sorry about that, John. Overreaction on my part.
John: Hug it out.
Gator from Gainesville and Section My Couch:
I was at my friend’s and he has cable. I saw a game on ESPN Classic (who knew such a thing existed) and saw Cowboys V Eagles. McNabb may be no Heisman winner from our own back yard but I still think he has some in the tank. He sure looked good on the game I saw. Also Owens was tearing it up for Dallas. These two may not make the entire team better around him like you-know-who, but if what I saw today on the Cable was any indication these two still got some "juice". Caldwell needs to look into these two before someone else snatches them up!. PS, GJ wants to know if you tutor?
John: You, Gator, are a visionary. I will pass this on to David Caldwell.
Embarrassed by That Other Gator Fan Who Hates the Jags:
No way, man. We've been through this before. Sorry, couch guy, we don't care about your kid (real or imagined) even in the deadest part of the dead zone. I'd rather one less answer than carry on this foolishness.
John: HEY! I thought I said, “Hug it out?” Don’t make me stop this car.