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O-Zone: Word count

Posted Aug 30, 2013

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .

Glen from Lake City, FL:
Did we see Todman play his way into the No. 2 slot on the RB depth chart?
John: This may be the most-asked question in the O-Zone these days, and for good reason. Todman has shown strong in camp and preseason, and I think he has earned a place on the roster. As for him being the backup to Maurice Jones-Drew: perhaps for the short term, though it’s difficult to tell for the long term. The Jaguars liked a lot about what they saw from Justin Forsett in OTAs, and though he has been unable to show that during the preseason because of a toe injury, that doesn’t mean the decision-makers have forgotten him. If Forsett can practice full next week, he could be the backup, but if he’s limited at all, the Jaguars wouldn’t have a hesitancy to go to Todman. He has earned that and has gotten increasingly more effective each week of the preseason.
Ian from Los Angeles, CA:
I work nights, and could only watch the live updates of the game, so I'm a bit blurry about what happened with Justin Blackmon. He was in and played a lot of the game, right? So if he's facing off against second, third and fourth-string defensive backs, what gives? Was he even targeted? Was he not getting open? Or was it just really weak QB play from our back-ups?
John: It was a combination. I wouldn’t call it Blackmon’s best game by any stretch, but there also wasn’t a play where you said, “Wow, Blackmon was terrible on that play.” He wasn’t targeted often, and when he was targeted . . . well, there’s a reason Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert were the top two quarterbacks on the depth chart. I wouldn’t worry much about Blackmon’s lack of production in the preseason finale. He showed in the preseason and last season that he can and will produce when it matters.
Jordan from Little Valley, NY:
Would you rather have your team get blown out or lose a close game?
John: This will be a longer answer than you probably wanted. As a fan, I generally preferred a close loss because I could rationalize that at least the team was close and had a chance. After covering the NFL a while, I learned that that logic really didn’t work and often times the final score didn’t really indicate how close a team was or how it might play the following week. Once the emotion of a game is past, coaches usually don’t care too much if they lost by a point or 10 points. They’re looking for players who won matchups and reasons things went right or wrong. Often, one or two very fixable things can cause a score to shift one way or the other, and that’s what coaches worry about most.
John from Section 105:
How would you say the split in who decides the roster spots would break down between Caldwell and Bradley? Sixty-forty? Fifty-fifty?
John: It may be best described as 60/40 or maybe even 51/49, with Caldwell getting the deciding nod. In most cases, there’s realistically not a tremendous amount of disagreement on the roster – and I’d be very surprised if there was much between Bradley and Caldwell. They might be a player or two at the end of the roster upon whom the general manager and coaching staff don’t agree, but they usually will have talked through it and reached an agreement before cut-down day.
Jared from Downtown O-Town:
I watched the road trip video and heard Lageman say something about the waiver wire being for fourth-year and lower veterans. What happens if a more tenured veteran is released?
John: He becomes a free agent.
Jared from Cantonment, FL and Section 115:
Since it's a rebuilding year and Gabbert is starting – with Scott a developmental guy – couldn't we trade Henne to a team in need of a capable quarterback since he is not the future? If Gabbert goes down there is no better practice for Scott than game day.
John: I don’t see the Jaguars trading Henne. People may call this a rebuilding year, but the coaches want to give this team the best chance to win. That’s their job. Scott has potential but he’s probably not ready for game-day action quite yet, and although Gabbert won the job, he wasn’t so convincing and so dominating that you want to go into the season with no one capable behind him.
The Bearded Mountain Sage from Manly Mountain Cabin. NC:
You know what bugs me? People who use question marks incorrectly?
John: Huh. What.
Mike from Atlanta, GA:
I read the comment about cutting Alualu. It makes no sense. I'm not a stat guy, so I googled the 2012/2013 season DT Rankings. Tyson was 18th. Ndamukong Suh was 11th. Seems like interior DT's don't get double digit sacks in a season; that’s not their role in a 4-3. Suh was 8 last year; Geno Atkins was the only one over 10 at 12.5 in the entire NFL. Tyson was 3.5, but there were guys on the list ranked higher than Tyson with 2 and 2.5 sacks. Sure he was a top ten pick, but you don’t cut him. He’s producing and played each game for three seasons. The draft pick is in the past move on.
John: Good point.
Jeff from Starke, FL:
Why use the waiver on the first-roster cuts? Wouldn't waiting for the cut to 53 give you more quality players to select from the waiver? The chance for these guys to make the final roster is pretty slim... isn't it?
John: You use the waiver wire to acquire a player who might have a chance to make the roster. You can always use it again next week. Cornerback Will Blackmon and Kyle Knox were acquired this week, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see them on the team.
Keith from Forest Hill:
Jags finally getting some respect: Steve Wyche, nfl.com
John: Really!? YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!
Manuel from Jacksonville and Section 215:
Steve Wyche wrote in NFL.com: "Expectations are low for the Jacksonville Jaguars, but this team could come closer to .500 than a lot of people think -- with Blaine Gabbert at quarterback. Although they won't have Justin Blackmon for four games, there are pieces on the offense. Maurice Jones-Drew, Cecil Shorts III, Ace Sanders, Denard Robinson and a decent offensive line could do some damage." Did Wyche asked you to write a few words about the Jaguars for him?
John: No. I’ve known Steve a long time, since our days covering the University of Florida, and he’s a quality, professional reporter. He probably . . . wait for it . . . did a little research.
Snook from Keller, TX:
When we talk about Mincey, I get confused. He got a paycheck, but may not fit the system? He is older as well. I watch this guy play and think of Rocky. He plays with passion and energy. Is it possible he has not peaked? Can the coaches turn his passion into something refined? Is he starting caliber? Are you not entertained?
John: I’m tired.
John from Duvalllll:
Okay, MoJo is our star running back, no doubt, but I do believe Jordan Todman is a starting running back in this league if he continues to run like he has preseason. What do you think?
John: Todman certainly appears to be able to make plays and be productive, and he has shown up maybe better than any previously little-known player in Jaguars training camp outside perhaps Allen Reisner. Yes, he could start at running back for an NFL team and function within. He’s probably a backup level guy right now, and with some regular-season opportunities could play his way into the next level. For now, it’s safe to say that the Jaguars are deeper at the running back position than a year ago, and that an injury to the spot might not be as devastating as it was a year ago.
Bryan from Jacksonville:
The best day of the week for the Jags will be Tuesdays. #waiverwire #rightway?
John: It may not be the best day, because there should be more good Sundays than a year ago, but will it be an active day? Yeah, I don’t think there’s much doubt about that.
Lance from Jacksonville:
Sign a pass rusher. Yes, I want you to do it.
John: I can’t, and I don’t know that the Jaguars will, either. But it’s safe to say pass-rushing defensive ends who get waived in the coming days will get at minimum a quick look from the Jaguars. And in some cases, it will be a lot more than a minimum look.
Brandon from Pensacola, FL:
Two words, Alex Smith. Would you not say that his career has been very close to Blaine's? Different O coordinators and eventually once he got some protection and weapons he flourished. Don't ya think the same thing can happen here?
John: That was more than two words.

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