ATLANTA – Game-day O-Zone. Preseason finale.
Let’s get to it . . .
Chris from Crestview, FL:
Is the pass rush, coupled with our young secondary, going to be a major problem this year? Or do you foresee them getting a rush/able to function? For years, we have been looking for an edge rusher and just can't seem to find it - of course, our last few were free agents that got hurt.
John: We won’t take the time here to catalogue the Jaguars’ efforts to find a pass rusher in recent seasons. They’re tough to find and the Jaguars have had a tough time, too. It’s too early to say it will be a problem this season, but it’s safe to say it’s a concern. The pass rush hasn’t been outstanding in preseason, and it’s tough to win in the NFL if you can’t pressure the quarterback. That’s a priority until it gets fixed for teams without a pass rush, and it remains a priority for teams with a pass rush. It’s that important.
Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Really, five years?
John: If you’re referring to how long the Jaguars will wear their current uniforms and helmets – yes, that’s the rule.
Redmond from Jacksonville:
I think Mincey is better than Alualu at end and should start. Any chance we send Alualu on his way after final cuts and close the chapter on another wasted top ten pick?
John: No. The Jaguars need Alualu in the lineup this season; they’re not looking to release him. He’s not an elite pass rusher, and he has struggled with a knee issue in three seasons, but he’s so clearly one of the best defensive linemen on this roster that the idea of releasing him is really silly.
Benjamin from Jacksonville:
Do veteran players who bounce around get labeled as "rats" or some other moniker if it becomes known they have a habit of telling their latest team the intricacies of their previous teams’ playbooks? I understand that in Renay's question, the idea of the Jaguars dropping a couple hundred grand for a small glimpse at their week one opponent's playbook seems unlikely, but I could see a team like the Niners being willing to make that investment against the Seahawks or Ravens.
John: The incidents of players signing with a team playing a former team are actually relatively rare, though it does happen. Players who tell their new teams about their former teams aren’t labeled as “rats.” They’re labeled as players doing what they can to help the team paying them that week. It’s professional football. Players play for their current team and no other.
Troy from York, PA:
I was wondering if Gabbert plays decent this year and makes progress in the new offense what will be the scenario for next year? Will the new regime draft a quarterback that they want or would they stick with Gabbert?
John: That will be a critical decision facing Gus Bradley and David Caldwell. If Gabbert plays well and shows he can be a big-time quarterback, a problem is solved. If not . . .
Wallace from Jacksonville:
The Kyle Knox
signing is a head scratcher? He's 6-feet-1 and weighs 200 pounds. That's undersized for a college linebacker. I'm sure Gus knows him from last season, but how does a guy this size play linebacker in the NFL? Is he being looked at as a possible special teams ace?
John: He’s being looked at as a possible linebacker with pass-rushing ability. I didn’t see it as particularly head-scratching. The Jaguars have made it clear they’re going to bring guys in and out this season to try to find pieces that will work. This is exactly the time of year when that’s going to happen the most.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
Assuming the Jags are happy with their quarterback next spring, do you see them interested in Clowney if he is available in the draft at their spot?
John: They might look into it, yes.
Manuel from Jacksonville and Section 215:
How has Babin looked in the Leo position so far? I don't think he has had a single sack.
John: He has looked fine. He has had some pressures. It’s preseason. Starters get limited reps and defenses don’t show all their looks.
April from Pooler, GA:
Thanks to YOU perpetuating "Moodachay," I have to hear slobbering drunks yell at the top of their lungs! (every time we make a first down because they're so darn clever from reading your column) I sure hope you're proud of yourself!
John: No worries.
Geoff from Jacksonville:
John, as a dentist, I appreciate the toothpaste in your office during the O-Zone videos. What gives? And how much is Crest paying you?
John: The O-Zone is a place of knowledge, interaction entertainment, pure in its intention. I am insulted that you would insinuate that somehow my motives are otherwise. www.ozonesellsout.com.
Benjamin from Jacksonville:
Just when I thought my wife couldn't get any hotter she is playing fantasy football with me this year. Her team name... In The MOODachay.
John: It sounds like we better break out some new merchandise.
Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL:
How many years have the Jaguars been rebuilding now? It's hard to believe in when it seems nothing ever actually gets built.
John: You’re right, and no one’s arguing. The Jaguars started to build four years ago, and success never came. That makes it difficult for fans to believe now. But the belief within the organization is that what’s going on now is taking things in the right direction. You should see some signs of that this season. If you do, fans will steadily believe. It’s not an overnight process.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
If it was up to the head coach, would he prefer to play the final preseason game or have an extra week off? I know there is value in the final game, especially for those less significant roster decisions, but sometimes I get the sense that the coaches might prefer to go ahead and trim the roster to 53 and take an extra week off. Your thoughts???
John: Coaches generally want the four preseason games, and general managers absolutely want them. People who make roster decisions want as many games as possible so they can get the starters time, and have time to play the lesser-known guys on the roster to make decisions there, too. Coaches can easily structure playing time to allow starters to rest and give bubble players opportunities.
Jimmy from England:
I understand the NFL is a business and sometimes the guys in charge have to make tough decisions. We signed Forsett for veteran leadership and to be a quality backup to MJD. But if he is injured and can’t get on the field, and with Todman is stealing the show, could he be a surprise player to not make the 53?
John: I doubt it. Fans seem to have begun clamoring for Forsett to be cut because he hasn’t played in the preseason. Bradley indicated this week the team likes what Forsett brings to the table, and because the Jaguars do know what he brings he probably will be on the roster.
Sam from Fernandina Beach, FL:
In Game Four of the preseason, do the starters get about as much playing time as in Game One, or maybe a bit less?
Bo from Dresden:
What are your thoughts on Robinson? Isn't Ace Sanders
able to do all he does and more? Do you think he is at risk to make the squad because of his ball handling?
John: Sanders and Robinson are similar in the sense that they are quick players who are also fast and therefore could add an element to the offense. Aside from that, they’re not that similar. Sanders plays wide receiver and is a punt returner. Robinson plays running back and also plays wildcat quarterback in some situations as well as returning kicks. He does not seem overly comfortable yet as a receiver or punt returner, but I don’t think he’s at risk to not make the squad. At all.
Dane from Jacksonville:
Obviously, it's tough to take seriously any of Jeff from Jacksonville's bashing of Jedd Fisch's three-week old NFL coaching career. But from what I've seen in three games, he actually seems to have what it takes to be a very innovative offensive coordinator. Sure, we haven't produced 35 points a game yet, but the offensive players as a whole seem to be in positions to play to their respective strengths. And we are moving the ball across the field with ease, relative to how we have in the past. I'm more than comfortable (so far) with what I have seen from Jedd Fisch.
John: Preseason isn’t the end-all gauge, but so far there is little to indicate Fisch isn’t a pretty innovative coach who has the ability to use the talent available. That’s based on three preseason games. That doesn’t mean he’ll make the Hall of Fame, but he certainly has done nothing to indicate he’s lost in his role.
Tom from Section 141:
So JP is thrice divorced...does he live in a van down by the river?
John: I don’t know. And I don’t want to know.