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O-Zone: Rhetorically speaking

Posted May 25, 2013

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

Bill from Palm Coast, FL:
The quarterback issue is maddening to Jags fans because with all due respect to Mark Brunell, the team has not had a top-tier quarterback, ever. And over the last 10 or so years when a potential improvement at the position has been available, they've shown no interest. Peyton Manning, Jeff Garcia, Matt Schaub, Michael Vick, Brady Quinn, Tim Tebow, Kevin Kolb, Ben Roethlisberger, Ryan Mallett and many others have been available at one time or another, in the draft or in free agency. Some good, some turned out not so good, but zero interest in any of them from the Jags. Can you blame us for being impatient?
John: No. At the same time, your list reveals a part of the reason for not pursuing quarterbacks willy-nilly. Roethlisberger obviously was a huge miss and that has been well-documented. Peyton Manning was an unusual situation, but at that point in his career, the chances of him signing with a then-struggling franchise were slim to none. Look, there’s no doubt that the quarterback position has been an issue for a long time. Mistakes were made. So, yes, the frustration and impatience from fans is understandable. At the same time, the people running the Jaguars now can’t let the actions of the past dictate the present. Doing that would just add years to the frustration.
Moshe from Mexico City:
Hi John. What does the "J" and the "P" mean in J.P. Shadrick's name?
John: My money’s on “Just partyin’.”
Corbin from Rockledge:
How do you think the team will utilize the fullback in the coming seasons? As it has in the past, or will it scale it down due to the loss of Greg Jones?
John: Neither, really. I think the fullback will be utilized differently than in the past, with the fullback perhaps getting more carries and not being the pure mauling, physical presence of Jones – because, after all, who can match that? Undrafted free agent Lonnie Pryor seems likely to fill that role, and Gus Bradley has talked about using him in the one-back role at times. The reason for that is it’s good to have a big, physical back as an option behind the zone-blocking scheme. But none of it is really because of the loss of Jones. It’s more a philosophical and scheme choice for the future.
Dane from Jacksonville:
Let me take this one, John, just to show I've been paying attention: There likely won't ever be a college all-star game for draft-eligible players due to the risk of injury. How'd I do, John?
John: Not too well. They play the Senior Bowl every January.
Alan from Mandarin, FL:
This is probably another unanswerable quarterback question, but here goes. Do you see Scott as a potential No. 2 this year? It seems to me that if (when) Gabbert wins the starter competition, Henne vs. Scott becomes the real battle. We're looking to improve the roster this year, Henne is a known quantity, he costs more than Scott and has less upside, so I think we could easily see Bradley and Co. going younger with an eye to the future. What say you, Johnny O?
John: It’s answerable. Whether I answer correctly is another issue. I doubt either Gabbert or Henne gets cut. If Scott or Jordan Rodgers shows he is ready to play immediately, then maybe. Otherwise, it’s good to have two players who can function at the position. Preseason could change that, but I’d keep both players on the roster.
Dalton from Orlando, FL:
Do you have any prediction on what you think the Jags record for this year will be?
John: Yes.
Lance from Section 412:
J.P. told me it's Juan Pablo, so there.
John: I’ve also heard “Jacques Pierre.”
Steve from Nashville, TN:
A local sports radio station here is running daily Mount Rushmores of various NFL teams. They have not done the Jaguars yet. Mine would be Taylor, Boselli and Brunell but I cannot come up with who would fill Roosevelt's spot.
John: Mine would be Taylor, Boselli, Maurice Jones-Drew and Jimmy Smith. And yes, I know about Smith’s current off-field situation. Mine would be Taylor, Boselli, Jones-Drew and Smith.
Matt from State College, PA:
What exactly is it about Cecil Shorts III that's making him look even better this offseason? Is it more speed, strength, physicality, awareness, or some combination of many things?
John: It’s a combination of many things. I don’t know that he’s significantly faster, but he appears to have improved as a route runner. With a receiver, you look for guys in practice who consistently run crisp routes and who get open and appear sure-handed. Shorts rarely looks as if he is running the wrong route and gets open even more consistently than last offseason – when he was very good. He has the look of a polished NFL receiver.
Jordan from Leesburg, FL:
With Justin Blackmon suspended for the first four games.... do you think Cecil Shorts III will step up and become the new favorite receiver for Chad Henne or Blaine Gabbert or do you think that the addition of Mohamed Massaquoi will add competition to the new favorite receivers list?
John: Shorts already is the favorite receiver based on last season. Time will tell on Massaquoi, but I think he has a chance to be the outside guy in Blackmon’s absence early. How he performs during that time will determine what the Jaguars do to get him on the field thereafter.
Tom from Ponte Vedra Beach and Section 106:
Good luck to Jeris Pendleton - a responsible husband and father who was able to pursue his dream but just fell on the wrong side of the numbers.
John: No doubt.
Mike from Jacksonville :
We hear about OTAs and the limit put on practices. Is Blaine or Henne organizing any practices with the wide receivers during the off weeks? Peyton isn't a future Hall of Famer for nothing. He always works extra with his wideouts and also before games.
John: Yes, Manning works with his receivers before games and during OTAs, but let’s not overplay this: I covered Manning 10 years and to my knowledge, he and Reggie Wayne/Marvin Harrison weren’t gathering on high school fields in February and on April weekends to draw up plays in the dirt and play catch. I’m not diminishing the work Manning put in – he was and probably still is off the charts in terms of preparation – but the vast, vast majority was done during the time allotted by NFL rules. Henne and Gabbert have been at the facility since the beginning of the offseason workout program and all reports are that they are putting in the maximum time allowed.
Joe from Section 124 and Parts Unknown:
You missed a golden opportunity Thursday to make O-Zone "Ladies Day" with the Jaguars Women’s Club meet up.
John: Whoops.
Al from Orange Park, FL:
“If the Jaguars thought they were going to be starters, they almost certainly would have been drafted." Starters? Or "immediate starters"? I don't think that Scott is "the guy" but with a few years of good coaching and experience? Maybe?
John: Maybe, but we can say maybe all we want with any number of players. The answer you cited was in response to a question about Matt Scott, and my point is what it has been since the draft: if the Jaguars thought Scott and/or Jordan Rodgers were going to be starters, they would have drafted them. If other teams thought they were going to be starters they would have drafted them. This is not to say they can’t ever start. This is not to say the players won’t develop and improve, gaining experience and eventually starting and becoming starters. It is simply to say that if teams thought these guys were going to start, they would have been drafted.
Gator section my couch:
I wanted to ask a serious question about the new blocking scheme or change in philosophy with the pass rush but instead I will ask a question that needs to be asked, and I haven't seen it asked. Will there be competition for the QB spot or are they giving it to Gabbert and I heard McNabb is available. If Caldwell was serious he would bring him in for a try out. Also I can’t believe no one else has mentioned this; there is a certain Heisman winner who is from these parts available. The Jags would be morons to not snatch him up before the CFL does. Finally tell Caldwell we will never win until we draft exclusively from SEC teams. I mean c'mon. Ideally they would draft exclusively from Gainesville, but SC would be OK to because of course "The old Ball Coach" is up there.
John: I spoke with Brad Meester and Uche Nwaneri about the blocking scheme, and each still believes the move to a zone-blocking scheme will be a good one. Nwaneri played in the scheme in college, and says most of the Jaguars’ offensive linemen have experience in the scheme. It also favors athletic linemen, and Eugene Monroe, Luke Joeckel and Nwaneri, for example, are particularly athletic for their positions. As for the pass rush, that’s the most intriguing area of the offseason, with the team clearly still looking for answers on the defensive front. What else did you ask?
Shawn from Mean Streets of Arlington:
Mr. O, Would you please answer just one rhetorical question?
John: Only specifically.

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