JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . .
Marcus from New York City:
O-Man, could you tell me if I've got this straight? There is a chance that the Jags may play more than one game overseas in 2014 and beyond. However, that game -should it happen - will most likely NOT be a home game. Is that correct?
John: The best way to put it is that in 2014-2016, yes, there is a chance for a second game overseas. It almost certainly will not be a second Jaguars home game. As for what happens after that, four years is a long time and much can change.
David from The Island, FL:
I have a problem with NFL.com and The NFL Network. They pay a bunch of people to sit around and heap their praises on some players and franchises, ignore some, and belittle the rest. They are just a bunch of talking heads that act like they are being paid by some third-party website. What's up with that, O? Seems to me they'd be interested in promoting all parts of their own business to me.
John: They actually are supposed to operate as if they are being paid by a third party. Their marching orders are to operate as much as possible as if they are unaffiliated and unbiased. With that mission, they offer news, insight and analysis in the manner of a neutral party. However you feel about how successfully they do this, those are their marching orders.
Charles from Midlothian, VA and Section 410:
Let’s just hope your story isn't naked . . . (like the city) . . . that would be disturbing.
John: But, in certain times of the year a bit exhilarating, too.
Jack from Jacksonville:
What are the odds that the whole MJD incident amounts to MJD taking one for the team? Stay with me here. It's my contention that MJD sacrificed himself in order to take the spotlight off Blackmon's substance-abuse issues. Is that great leadership or what?
John: Way to bring it, Jack.
Marjorie from Jacksonville:
I don't understand. If Roger Goodell wanted more of an NFL presence in Europe, why did the NFL do away with NFL Europe?
John: The European fans, as would be the case with most fans, knew the difference between an NFL product and an inferior one. If you want to make something work, you need to provide the previous version. That’s the reason for the increasingly intense London initiative.
John from Jacksonville:
Not a Jaguar question, but what are your thoughts about the change the internet has had on journalism and sports reporting? Seems like great publications are struggling to survive, and talented writers are not appreciated like in the past. At the same time, more info is available than ever before and things like the O-Zone make fans feel more involved with their teams. Bittersweet.
John: I could go on about this topic for much longer than most readers would find remotely interesting. The internet indeed has changed sports reporting, but the world of information long has been about adapting to change. News once took weeks to travel, then days, then hours and now it travels with the tap of a few keystrokes via Twitter. People in my business can bemoan it or embrace it. As you mentioned, we at Jaguars.com have embraced it and features such as the O-Zone are indeed part of why we are able to help fans feel connected. We are always working hard and trying to figure ways to creatively have fans feel a stronger and more real-time connection. At the same time, you’re right that many publications struggle mightily with the electronic concept, and with a few notable exceptions, it seems a well-written piece isn’t nearly as appreciated as perhaps it once was. I grew up on newspapers. I appreciate the well-written words even on those many, many occasions when I can’t produce it. So, yes, I hate to see that devalued. But now other elements are valued, and as always has been the case through history, it’s necessary to change with the times. Those who don’t shall perish, or at least they shall be writing to a strikingly small audience.
Caleb from Orlando:
With Daryl Smith agreeing to terms with the Ravens, does this move positively impact the Jaguars when they are being considered for compensatory picks next year?
John: It could, yes. Compensatory selections are awarded by the NFL, which never reveals the exact formula. But because Smith was an unrestricted free agent, he could yield a compensatory selection.
Jeff from Starke, FL:
It's hard for me to be as optimistic about this year as some are. Even the players that are planted as starters, as much as that is possible, are concerned one way or the other. MJD (foot), Gabbert (performance), Shorts (fluke?), Blackmon (distraction?), Alualu/Babin (position moves)... and concerns at LB except for Poz, young safeties and Corners, turnover on special teams... that's almost every key spot on the team. I'll be cheering as loud as anyone, but boy there's a bunch of questions.
John: Yes, there are. If there weren’t questions, the Jaguars probably wouldn’t have been 2-14 last season and we wouldn’t have had a massive regime change. I’m optimistic the Jaguars will be improved, but realistic enough to know a lot has to go right for that improvement to be significant. The questions are what make this season fascinating.
Keith from Jacksonville and Section 150:
Since it's the offseason and I'm incredibly bored, I was curious about the "thousand stories" line. I googled it and found out it's from a 1948 movie entitled "The Naked City.” I then noticed that the line isn't a "thousand stories," rather it's "eight million." I need a beer now, that is all...
John: There are eight million or a thousand stories in the naked city, and one of them is mine.
Trey from Jacksonville:
How do you try and market your team as London's team, then bring them back in the same year and say they are the away team? Seems fishy to me.
John: Don’t overthink it, Trey. If they market them as London’s home team and bring them back, fans will still know they’re the Jaguars. The idea is to get them to identify with the team, home or away.
Scott from Jacksonville:
Sorry, running a day behind. Shad seems like a really cool guy. Do you think he would loan me some money? With zero percent interest? With no expectation of me paying it back?
John: Line starts behind me, Scotty.
James from Starkville, MS:
The conspiracy theorists regarding coaches "fixing" the quarterback position to jockey for better draft position fail to think logically. First, if you make it to head coach, you are generally highly-self-motivated; this type of personality takes great pride in their work. Thus, it does not fit the character profile to throw games in one season for the "chance to get the top draft position." Second, even if they play the best quarterback and "accidentally" win too many games, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement makes it far easier to trade up if there is a "franchise QB" available in the Top 10. Finally, if these same men uncharacteristically decided to start the lesser of the available quarterbacks, the players are not so dumb as to not realize this, and the locker room would start to have trouble sticking to the coaches' messages. To conspiracy theorists, at least make sure your conspiracy theory makes good sense! Sheesh!!
John: Yes. Sheesh.
Steve from Jacksonville:
How does the scheduling work for London? Are both teams playing a 'home' game, there?
John: No. Just the Jaguars. For the 49ers, it is a road game.
Dane from Jacksonville:
How do the coaches feel about Andre Branch
so far? At this (early) point in time (time), do they think he can be an impact player?
That’s the hope. Branch is getting extensive work at the Leo position with Jason Babin
out, and because Babin hadn’t been working much beyond individual drills, that was true even before Babin underwent groin surgery. He has athleticism and quickness and in college, he showed ability to do what is asked of a Leo. From what the Jaguars’ new decision-makers saw on video from last season, they like what Branch can bring them in the Leo position. Now, he has to prove them right.
Jeff from Clearwater, FL:
“If the local market responds." John, what constitutes responding? I thought at one point it was blackouts, which I don't feel are a real problem anymore. Where is "the bar" set?
John: You’re right that blackouts aren’t a problem. It’s safe to say the expectation would be that as the team improves, the season-ticket base would increase accordingly. That would increase the local revenue base, which is key for the team’s stability.
Camron from Orlando:
I would like to thank you on behalf of me and the one other dedicated O-Zone reader. Thank you, my good Oesher!
John: I just hope the other guy can spell my name.