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O-Zone: Writin’ and rappin’

Posted Jul 28, 2013

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .

Daniel from Jacksonville:
Hey John, thanks for the fist pump Saturday when I yelled #Moodachay from the bleachers! My question: how much weight does each practice carry as far as the positional competitions? Blaine Gabbert definitely had an off day Saturday and while Coach Bradley said he wanted to see how Blaine responded, I can't help but think that days like Sunday will leave lasting impressions on our decision makers. Thoughts?
John: Everything matters right now, and each day is part of a larger mosaic, but I wouldn’t say Saturday is going to have a swaying effect one way or the other. Gabbert struggled with snaps on Saturday, but he actually moved the offense well in the same two-minute drill for which Henne was praised. The difference was Gabbert had a couple of catchable passes not caught near the goal line and in the end zone. If every day is a carbon copy of Saturday, I supposed Henne would win the job, but I didn’t get the idea that people around the Jaguars were walking around after Saturday’s practice thinking they had just seen a seismic shift. #Moodachay
Ryan from Jacksonville:
Wow, must have been a slow news day with some of the questions you included yesterday.
John: Yes, weak questions are a major issue in the O-Zone. Thanks for your help on that front.
Nick from Jacksonville:
Is it common for slot receivers to streak for 40-yard receptions? I can't remember any that come to mind. It seems like when Wes Welker, who in my mind is the best slot receiver today, goes long for a catch it's only 20-25 yards at the point he makes the catch. Go Jags, Go Moodachay, football season is finally here!!
John: I assume you are referring at least somewhat to Ace Sanders’ long reception on Day 1 of practice. No, I wouldn’t say that sort of deep speed is common in the slot, and it remains to be seen how consistently Sanders can get open deep on plays such as that. Sanders still seems to be to likely be more of a lightning-quick slot guy than a consistent deep threat, and that’s OK; if he can be as effective as consistently as he has in the first two days of camp, the Jaguars will be ecstatic.
Arnie from Fernandina Beach:
Not really a question, but maybe you want to expand . . . oh, how things change in one season. This time last year all the talk was about how the Texans were most likely the best team in "all" of the NFL coming in and how desperately we needed receivers. Just a testament to those who just don't seem to get how fast things turn around in the NFL! What do ya say, Johnny O?
John: Things can indeed turn fast, although at this time last year the Texans were actually pretty darned good – they still are, from what I can see – and the Jaguars were really hoping Cecil Shorts III and Justin Blackmon turned out to be good. Actually, the Jaguars at this time last year were trying to figure out if Shorts was even going to be in the rotation, so those people saying that may not have been too far off. Your big point, though, is that you don’t always know what’s going to happen in a season, and that’s true. That’s why training camp is exciting, even for teams that went 2-14 last season – shoot, *especially* for teams that went 2-14 last year.
Brooks from Ponte Vedra, FL:
How has Mike Brown played so far in training camp?
John: He has played well, particularly Saturday. He caught two passes from Chad Henne in two-minute drill, including one that took the offense inside the 5. That’s not surprising, because he played very well throughout the offseason. Brown’s an interesting guy in that on paper, you would think he’s going to have a tough time making the team. The receiver position is relatively deep and numbers will be an issue for Brown. At the same time, he keeps performing well and keeps looking better, which gives him a chance to make the roster.
Patrick from Jacksonville:
Why are so many of your tweets misspelled during practice? Can you not type, or what?
John: I find many seemingly simple tasks challenging, and practice tweeting is one of those things. My thumbs are IPhone-screen challenged. I do my best to make the tweets as clean as possible, but there will be errors while trying to keep up with practice. My life is full of mistakes and shortcomings. We’ll add this one to the list and move forward.
Chad from Jacksonville:
I was at training camp Saturday and couldn’t help but notice the specimen that is Andre Branch. What are your thoughts/expectations on him?
John: My thoughts are that this is the beginning of a crucial time for Branch. There were times last training camp and early last season when coaches were pretty high on Branch, and he had some flashes early. As is the case with a lot of rookies, he disappeared a bit after that. This coaching staff likes some things about Branch. He’s athletic, and appears to have a chance to be a good fit for the Leo position. Having a chance to be a good fit and making plays are different things. Branch didn’t have much of a chance in the offseason workouts to show much either way, because the pads weren’t on. The pads go on Wednesday, so the days and weeks after that will be crucial. For my expectations, I expect he’ll be better than last season, which shouldn’t be difficult. It’s difficult to know what his high end is because he just didn’t show much last season and there hasn’t been much pass-rush opportunity under this regime. I’m waiting and seeing.
J. Hooks from Orange Park, FL:
It really looks like the guys are out there getting on it. I noticed D'Anthony Smith in the mix. I know the pads aren't on yet, but how's he looking so far? He was a pick I really liked and it would be great to see his skills come to fruition. I think he could be a monster if he could stay healthy.
John: D’Anthony Smith is in a difficult situation. He’s an athletic defensive tackle in a scheme that likes big, physical tackles on early downs. That means he needs to make plays in the pass rush to make an impact, and it’s possible the Jaguars will move ends inside on passing downs to generate pass rush. That’s not to say Smith doesn’t have a chance. Gus Bradley spoke highly of him in the offseason program, but as with pretty much any veteran in a regime change, he’s got to show in training camp to earn a roster spot.
Jimmy from Margate, England:
John, Do you want a hug?
John: . . . (sniff) yes.
Marcus from New York, NY:
The Khan-Era Jaguars organization has really stepped up effort to engage fans and recruit new ones. I can't help but be impressed. From Lamping all the way down to the senior writer. Good stuff. The increase in content here at jaguars.com is greatly appreciated by those of us not residing in Duval. So -thanks to you and the rest of the crew down there. Moodachay.
John: The Khan-Era stuff and Lamping stuff is great, but your nose for sniffing out quality senior writers is particularly impressive. Good stuff.
Dean from Rochester, NY:
Real football question ALERT!!! Can you define the term "possession receiver?”
John: Like many football terms, the definition is a bit vague and different people probably mean somewhat different things when they say it. It also probably is misused often. A possession receiver generally speaking is a receiver who perhaps doesn’t have great speed, but excels at getting open on short and even intermediate routes, enabling a team to produce first downs and therefore maintain possession. It’s an overused term, and sometimes has a negative connotation because receivers never like to hear that they lack speed and therefore are possession receivers. A possession receiver can be very valuable. Keenan McCardell, for example, probably was best defined as a possession receiver and he was one of the more valuable players in Jaguars history.
mIKE from middleburg:
what is a walk through and its purpose thanks john o
John: a walkthrough is a practice without contact and without nearly as much running as a regular practice its purpose is to go over plays, formations and techniques without risking injury or furthering wear and tear on players bodies your welcome mike
Carson from Da-Da-Duval:
I read on other websites and heard from multiple reliable sources on the radio that Matt Scott looked the best out of the herd of QBs Day 1. Why no mention in your recaps? I don't care if it's early or that he was an UDFA, I think you should report on everyone in an unbiased and objective manner. But then again, what do I know? Love you.
John: A couple of thoughts . . . 1. Stay In Your Lane. 2. You may note that the date on this is July 26, which coincides almost perfectly with . . . wait for it . . . Day 1 of practice. It posted about an hour and fifteen minutes after practice that day. Apologies for the delay. Love you, too.
Ed from Brisbane, Australia:
John, watching you really struggle with your pen in the MJD press conference. Just keep getting better every day!
John: I wasn’t struggling. I was writing rap lyrics. That’s my method, yo.

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