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O-Zone: The right response

Posted Aug 25, 2013

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .

Chris from Delay Beach:
We only won two games last year. We are winless in the preseason. Silver lining? We aren't the Jets.
John: The silver lining has nothing to do with the Jets. It’s that the starters and front-line players have been competitive, and that the first-team offense has played well the last two games. The Jaguars probably aren’t going 16-0 this season, but if they’re competitive with an offense that develops over the course of the season, that’s something on which to build.
Abel from Jacksonville:
John, can you explain the process of a player being elevated from the practice squad in midseason?
John: It’s actually fairly simple. Players on the practice squad are treated essentially as free agents. When they are signed by their own team, they simply join the active roster. When another team signs them, they join that team and must be on the team’s active roster for at least three games.
Mark from Orange Park, FL:
Is it me, or does Cyprien look lost and confused?
John: He looked hyped up and a little lost in the second game of the preseason, but I don’t know if that was as true against the Eagles Saturday. There was a long pass early when it appeared he was in the area, but I hesitate to lay blame until I see a replay. The coaches aren’t worried about Cyprien. He will make some errors or enthusiasm early, but the consensus is he will be fine.
John from Couch Section Jacksonville:
How many of those armchair quarterbacks that called for Todman being cut are still holding that opinion?
John: I never heard people calling for him to be cut, but I certainly don’t hear any now.
Chris from Crestview, FL:
Wouldn't you want to sign a star player in a year that he was hurt to a below-market deal rather than wait and possibly have to overpay for a running back?
John: I assume you’re speaking of Maurice Jones-Drew, but that’s not really the way it works with running backs in the eighth season of their career. Yes, you could sign him to a long-term deal, but it’s probably wise to see how he plays this season. He missed 10 games last season with a serious foot injury and has a lot of carries and wear-and-tear on his body. Jones-Drew has proven to be a special player in his career and it’s never wise to doubt what he can accomplish, but you also have to be smart and take into consideration where players are in their careers.
Antony from Columbia, SC:
John, the more I see Todman, the more I'm impressed with him. With his flashes and the team's commitment to D-Rob, has Forsett become expendable?
John: I don’t know that keeping Todman means releasing Forsett, or vice-versa. I still don’t see Robinson being an every-down back this season, which means if you want three every-down backs, you’re probably keeping Jones-Drew, Forsett and Todman.
Josh from Dayton, OH:
Every video or article on NFL.com or ESPN that I see mentioning the Jaguars makes a snide remark about their uniforms. I've held that the new logo was awful since the beginning, and when everyone agrees with that assessment except jaguars.com, well, I rest my case. It hasn't worn off after all these months.
John: “Everyone.”
Dude from Jacksonville:
What if the Eagles had signed Gus, and the Jaguars had signed Chip? How would that change the Jaguars’ offense and defense?
John: The Jaguars’ offense would probably look a lot more like the Eagles’ and the defense probably wouldn’t look as much like a Gus Bradley defense as it does.
Gary from Fleming Island, FL:
I Binged Moodachay after following your link back to the origin of the word. It was the second entry there, linking to the next day's O-Zone where you started using the hash tag. #Moodachay.
John: #Moodachay
John from Savannah, GA:
Preseason or not, third-stringers or not, watching a team drive 99 yards on you for a go-ahead touchdown never feels good.
John: No, it doesn’t. The Jaguars’ depth is not great. The second-half performances have been rough because of that. A lot of the players who were on the field in those performances won’t be around come the regular season. That’s not a happy sentence to write. It’s just how it is.
Brad from St. Augustine, FL:
Marcedes Lewis had a "calf strain" for what seems to be longer than usual. I understand it is preseason, and we really don't need to risk it, but should this be a concern? I remember MOJO had a "sprained foot" for a couple weeks last season until week 14 or 15 and all of a sudden it was reported as broken and needed surgery.
John: I wouldn’t worry about Lewis’ calf strain. I’ve heard nothing to indicate it’s serious.
Lance from Jacksonville:
Would you kindly point out the weight room to the linemen on this team? From top to bottom, we have a really weak team that can't push anyone.
John: I don’t share your assessment, but I’d be happy to point it out . . . can you tell me where the weight room is?
Amer from Odessa, TX:
My main concern with the Jaguars the last few seasons were lack of creativity in play calling and half-time adjustments. It seems creativity is going to be addressed with the new offensive coordinator, but how do you see halftime adjustments addressed? Last year Jags were competitive up until half but we lost lots of games in second half?
John: The Jaguars have had one chance to make halftime adjustments with the first-team offense this preseason. It came on Saturday night, when the first-team offense came out of halftime and moved 80 yards on 14 plays, capped off with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Chad Henne to Allen Reisner. So far, so good.
Glen from Lake City, FL:
Loving the pace of the offense so far this preseason. Two questions. First how many plays total were run last night? Second, a lot of rookies and young players wear down late in the season. Will running an offense at this speed wear the younger guys down earlier in the season?
John: The Jaguars ran 73 plays and the Eagles ran 70. I don’t know that you’ll see the players wear down over the long-term because of the offense, but certainly the players will have to continue to build up stamina to run it effectively on a weekly basis. It’s a tough offense to run for four quarters. It takes a toll.
Tucker from New York, NY:
Just curious why we haven't seen our stud punter this preseason. Why aren't we letting Anger punt, and why did our backup punter replace Scobee on a kickoff last night?
John: There’s no reason to wear out Anger’s leg in the preseason; Scobee’s, either.
Bucky from Jacksonville:
I'd really like to see more of Matt Scott, but with the first team. He has a strong arm and seems to have control and poise when he's in. I know most of the starters will be off this last preseason game, but do you think they will line up Scott with the first-team offensive line?
John: Not much, no. I’d expect Scott to start, but I can’t see the first-team line playing more than a series or two, if that. This is not a deep team. There’s not much reach to get guys hurt in Preseason Week 4.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
Seeing how they played in the fourth quarter, I can see at least 11 players who will not be here next week. Up until the fourth quarter, the Jaguars played pretty good. There was sure a big difference with Shorts in there.
John: Yes, the Jaguars did play well until the fourth quarter, and yes, the presence of Cecil Shorts III makes a difference, but I’d be remiss to not write about Justin Blackmon this morning. I have written all offseason that Shorts is the best receiver on the roster, and that’s still probably the case. But Blackmon looks very good in the preseason, and has reminded why he was selected No. 5 overall and why he’s so important to the offense. He’ll be missed in the first four games of the regular season, but when the Jaguars get him and Shorts on the field at the same time, they could have something.
Laurie from Neptune Beach, FL:
I can't help wonder why so many people are hung up about whether there was a true competition at quarterback. The coaches get paid to win. To win they need the best quarterback they can find. Wake up, doubters. The coaches aren't going to conspire to put in a guy that doesn't give them the best chance of winning. It wouldn't make sense.
John: No, it wouldn’t.
Kach from Jacksonville:
Do you buy into the notion that players play harder in a contract year?
John: Some do and some don’t. The best players usually are the ones who are so motivated on a yearly basis that the notion of a “contract” year doesn’t influence their play much. Those are the guys franchises want to re-sign, because their level of play should stay high after re-signing.
Ryan from Jacksonville:
With all the change and hopeful improvements our team has gone through this offseason, is #moodachay the biggest? I love saying it to my wife when she is hounding me about something. She just stares at me because she doesn't know how to respond.
John: Note to self: Try, “#Moodachay” for that “situation.”

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