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O-Zone: Reality check

Posted Jul 23, 2013

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

Michael from Jacksonville:
You've talked quite a bit about the defensive line but not so much about the offensive line. I know our first-round draft pick, Luke Joeckel, is expected to start at one tackle, of course, with Eugene Monroe probably at the other. But what about the guards? If Gabbert or Henne hope to have ANY chance at success throwing the ball they need protection. We all know last year was a catastrophe in this department.
John: Last year was a catastrophe in many departments. That’s usually the case in seasons before significant organizational changes. I’m not sure the offensive line was significantly worse than some other areas of the team last season, but without question the struggles there contributed to the cause. As for the specifics of your question, there’s no “probably” about Monroe. He’ll start at left tackle barring injury and based on the past several seasons, it’s fair to assume he’ll be fine there. I expect Uche Nwaneri to start at right guard, with Will Rackley at left guard. Nwaneri should be improved with a return to health and with Joeckel beside him at right tackle. Rackley is really a key to this equation. He has potential, but hasn’t played since his rookie season. If he can play to the level of a third-round selection, the Jaguars suddenly look much better on the offensive line.
Peeved from Jacksonville:
Jaguars just waived Rodgers? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! You can't waive someone whose brother is a superstar QB. Any chance they sign him to the practice squad (to develop), at least?
John: Very doubtful. If the Jaguars thought Rodgers fit in their plans, he would be coming to training camp.
Sweetsho from Magicland:
Music is my soulmate...
John: … while, as for me, I walk blissfully hand-in-hand with disappointment and disillusion.
Ryan from Saint Johns, FL:
Mr. Oehser, I'm interested to see how the new offense will utilize Justin Forsett and Denard Robinson. Do you think we will see more of a running back by committee than we have in previous years?
John: I think you will see Forsett and Robinson get touches, particularly Robinson, though I don’t know that it will be a true “by-committee” philosophy. Jones-Drew likely will be a focal point of the offense, and he is at his best when he is getting consistent carries and can get a feel for the game. Forsett and Robinson have game-breaking speed, and I think Robinson will get a chance to show that speed as a receiver and perhaps at times getting direct snaps in some capacity. I also think Forsett will be utilized slightly more than Rashad Jennings was when healthy last season. All of that said, Jones-Drew is too valuable a weapon to severely limit his drives and carries if he’s fully healthy. Such is the challenge facing Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch.
Chris from Hokes Bluff, AL:
Can we start chanting moodachay at football games?
John: Within reason, you can chant whatever you want.
Reggie from Gator-proof bunker in Tampa, FL:
I have seen we will be sharing our stadium with Fulham from time to time beginning in 2014. I also see the Mustache Man is planning on renovating Craven Cottage. Since we have to play the four London games, are there any plans to play the later games in Craven Cottage? I mean, I have no problem letting them play with our new toys, but shouldn't we get to play with theirs?
John: I doubt you will see Jaguars games at Craven Cottage, if that’s indeed what you’re asking. One of the appeals of playing in London is playing in Wembley Stadium, which because of its 86,000-seating capacity for American football is expected to produce significant revenue. Craven Cottage seats 25,700 now, so unless the planned expansion is exponential in nature, I’m not sure it fits the plan.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
The ODeadZone material has been incredibly weak and uninformative for the last month or so. I would like to ask you to pick up your game a bit now that the season is here.
John: Perhaps not completely coincidentally, the Jaguars last practiced about . . . well, how about that!? A month or so ago!!! I would like to ask if you had an actual question, but that would sound critical, mean-spirited and petty, and there’s only so much room in one column for that.
Casey from Jacksonville:
I’m an avid reader of the O-Zone and I love the sense of humor in some of your questions. Do you think you guys can incorporate a like button next to your answers?
John: I would, but then Steve would ask for another kind of button.
Robert from Orange Park, FL:
training dates and times and are they open to the public
John: you can ask nicer than that
Moodachay from Moodachay:
Just because the dead zone is coming to an end doesn't mean that there will be less Moodachay. In fact, there will be more. The level of Moodachay is directly proportional to the level of football. As football grows, so then, does Moodachay.
John: #Moodachay
Andy from right here:
I only regret that I have but one #Moodachay to give for my country.
John: I have many more regrets than that.
April from Pooler, GA:
The Jaguars have never had that Owen Daniels/Dallas Clark-type tight end. Do you think he could be on the roster? Kyler Reed’s speed is intriguing. Did he flash in camp? Perhaps Ryan Otten or another guy to compliment Marcedes? The Jags had high hopes for Zach Miller in that role but it never worked out. Interested to get your opinion.
John: Otten and Reed both on paper seem to be that “type.” The thing about most of those types around the NFL is they often need a few years to develop, because tight ends often come into the league drafted in the later rounds and need experience and time in the offense. It was evident early in Indianapolis that Clark would be good, but he really didn’t flourish in the role until a few years into his career. Could Reed or Otten eventually turn into that type of player? They seem to have the athleticism, but if we see signs of that in camp in the coming weeks, it’s likely to be in flashes more than standout practice after standout practice.
Michael from Altamonte Springs, FL:
John, I cannot wait for Friday! Just four more days until my life becomes exciting again. In the words of Psy, Heeeeeeyyyyyyyyy sexy lady! Op op op op op oppen moodachay!
John: Word.
Satchel from Jacksonville and Section 110:
When Alualu was drafted, I remember hearing he played a 5 technique at Cal and that moving him inside would fit his skill set and ability better. Now that he's back outside, I'm hearing the exact opposite. Which one is it?
John: I can’t speak for what was said when Alualu was drafted and moved outside. I do know he believes playing outside will fit his skill set and perhaps prolong his career. I also know he seems genuinely more excited and enthusiastic than I have seen him the past two years.
Jeff from Starke, FL:
O-Man, please tell me Friday marks the day that we can begin to say, "This season"!
John: Word.
Manning from Calgary, Alberta:
What's your opinion of Ace Sanders? In many respects he reminds me of Cecil Shorts III, in that both are smaller, but lightning quick. Not to say Ace will put up big numbers like CS3 did, but do you feel he is the same sort of player?
John: I don’t see them as all that similar. Shorts is certainly not a giant by NFL receiver standards, but he’s also far from tiny. At 6-feet-0, 202 pounds, he has the size to play the position inside or outside. Sanders is 5-feet-7, 178 pounds, so it’s hard to imagine him playing extensively anywhere on offense but the slot. Sanders also appears to be quicker than Shorts. If you’re asking can Sanders be effective, then yes, the Jaguars believe he can fill the role for which he was drafted, which is to return punts and be a threat in the slot. Absolutely he can do that.
Travis from Chesapeake, VA:
O-Man, last week you posted my, "I had a dream.” You not only posted it, it was the blog title for the day. I have been reading Ask Vic and then "O-Zone" every single day for, well.... since it started. I have written in a few times but never made the cut. Just wanted to let you know how gratifying it is to be included in the O-Zone. I walked around with a smile on my face the entire day after I read it. Thanks for what you do. It really helps me as a displaced fan keep up with the team every single day of the week.
John: That’s how I feel every day when I write it, too. I walk around in a numb state of glee with a big, dopey smile on my face – just, plain gratified to be a part of something done by, well, me. I usually do this until Mark Lamping sees me and asks, “What are you grinning about?” I answer, “I just wrote my column, Mark!!!! Did you read it??” He looks me up and down, does a strikingly poor job hiding a sneer, and asks, “You realize you sit at a computer and make stupid comments most of the day, right?” I nod then lumber back to my office, where J.P. Shadrick and I watch Andy Griffith until lunch.

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