Let's get to it . . .
Aaron from Orange Park, FL:
Why is the clock ticking on the NFL's leading rusher from last season? Anyway, IMHO I think like most people, athletes are extending their careers barring serious injuries.
The clock is ticking because Maurice Jones-Drew
is an NFL running back who is entering his seventh season and who has had an enormous number of carries in the last three seasons. Yes, he has played at a high level in the last three years and yes, he should be able to do that for the foreseeable future. But from the point of view of the team and its thoughts on extending Jones-Drew’s contract, it’s also necessary to look at history and history suggests the clock is indeed ticking on a seventh-year running back. He also has a running style that leads to a lot of punishment. And unfortunately for running backs, if there is a position at which the average player’s “effectiveness span” hasn’t extended much, that’s probably the one.
Joe from Jacksonville:
In your opinion, what are the best sports movies of all time? Remember the Titans, Major League and Friday Night Lights are among my favorites.
John: Remember the Titans is No. 1 on my list, probably followed by Hoosiers, and although I preferred the series, the movie version of Friday Night Lights is up there, too. I liked Moneyball, but we’ll give it a year or two to see if it’s as timeless as Titans and Hoosiers. And although I usually watch Rudy if I surf past it, I have to admit I sometimes find myself rooting against Rudy in the middle of the movie. He’s a bit annoying at times. I actually sort of like the Vince Vaughn character.
Adam from Jacksonville:
I just wanted to point out MJD didn't start until Year 4. So, yes, this will be his seventh year, but if you add up his carries it probably only averages out to be his fifth season coming up. He hasn't taken nearly the beating a running back with seven years of full-time duty has.
John: That’s one way to look at it, and there’s truth in that argument. The counter to it is that the style that makes Jones-Drew special and effective – his willingness to scratch, claw and fight for every yard – also is very difficult on the body. Has it taken a toll? I honestly don’t know, and he was obviously effective last season, but that’s the other side of the argument.
David from Jacksonville:
Are you keeping up with the world's most-watched annual sporting event, Le Tour de France?
John: A bit. Mrs. O-Zone is a big Tour de France fan, and she keeps me updated.
Alex from Austin, TX:
I've been keeping up with the O-Zone pretty closely and noticed there are several things that you say fans are misinformed about or misunderstand. What, in your experience, is the biggest disconnect between the front office and the fan?
John: I’ll preface this by saying there are a lot of fans who aren’t misinformed and who do understand a lot of the issues. That’s particularly true of O-Zone readers. They’re a pretty informed group. But overall, there’s certainly a disconnect on some issues, reason being it’s not the job of fans to keep up with the intricacies and nuances of running a franchise. I’d say one big disconnect is that teams typically aren’t built in the NFL around big-name players at every position, and that they aren’t usually built by signing aging players who are familiar names. There are other disconnects, but probably because it can be done more easily in basketball and baseball, that remains an area where fans often don’t grasp reality.
Carl from Jacksonville:
Looking at my old Rick mug, I think once the streak finally ends, we need some sort of O-Zone item that will celebrate the streak. Basically, I'm saying I'm a sucker and will buy pretty much anything if it pertains to something I kind of like. And I think I like the O-Zone at least a little bit...
John: So, you’re the one.
Chris from New York, NY:
I have heard conflicting reports regarding Scobee's contract negotiations. Some have reported that the Jags have not offered Scobee a long-term deal. Does this mean that they have only offered him the franchise tag and have no interest in a long-term deal? Or does it mean that they tried to do a long-term deal but could not come to terms, so elected to do the tag?
John: My understanding is that the Jaguars have made it very clear to Scobee and his agent what they are willing to offer in terms of a long-term deal. Scobee and his agent appear to have made it equally clear what they believe Scobee should be paid. When it was clear there was a large difference in those two beliefs, the Jaguars opted to franchise Scobee.
Jack from Jacksonville:
Scobee says he's had a long, difficult offseason. I would love to trade places with him so I can play golf all day and then complain about it.
John: It’s all in the perspective.
Ronnie from Jacksonville Beach and Section 123:
If Al Davis successfully sued the NFL (under Anti-Trust laws) to unilaterally move his franchise to L.A., what's to stop a present owner from doing the exact same thing?
John: The NFL’s rules are strongly worded to prevent unilateral movement, and Commissioner Goodell has been pretty proactive in laying out how the process would have to work. And remember, Davis had to spend years in court fighting the NFL. That’s expensive and draining emotionally. Davis was willing to go through that process. I don’t know how many NFL owners want to take something that they bought for enjoyment and perhaps as part of their legacy and want to spend years in court with the result being remembered as a villain by the league. That’s not to say it won’t happen, just that I doubt it will.
Greg from Neptune Beach, FL:
Thanks for the answer you gave Scott about how veterans have game tape, so if a lot of teams are passing, that's a better indication that a player is done than teams passing on players during the draft. Makes total sense and it's something I hadn't thought of.
John: One of my jobs here in the O-Zone is to inform. Once in a while, I do that.
John from St. Augustine, FL:
Loved the interview with SVP Corporate Partnerships Scott Massey. Excellent insight into the world of national corporate sponsorship. It sounds like Mr. Khan's philosophy is to build much more value into stadium presence, over-deliver on exposure and affiliation, and partner closely with sponsoring companies. That's a great way to build sustainable, long-term agreements and find "organic" partnerships that are a natural fit. Thanks for more good info on the business side of the NFL.
John: I enjoyed talking to Scott Massey for that story this week. Massey did a nice job laying out the Jaguars’ mindset in the area of corporate sponsorship, and I – like you – was impressed with the team’s direction in that area. Khan’s not hiring fools, and those men who happen not to be fools appear dedicated to building the team’s fans base into a loyal, regional, long-term following. It’s neat to see and it feels as if things in that area are off to a very good start.
Keith from Jacksonville and Section 150:
That interview with Mr. Massey was AWESOME! I feel like it's 1993 again! I love the new direction we are heading towards. Jacksonville 2.0, let's go.
John: More love for Massey. Deserved, from what I can tell . . .
Marion from Section 437:
Loved the interview of new Corporate Sponsorships SVP Scott Massey, then read the O-zone and laughed out loud. Thank you!
John: . . . and a little love for the O-Zone. Underserved, but ooh, it still feels good.
James from Bossier City, LA:
Edward from Atlanta should ask the girl out. Even if she does take out a newspaper ad to cite his flaws, no one reads them anyway. The reward is much greater than the risk in this scenario.
John: Wish I’d said that.
Evan from Orlando, FL:
When a sports team such as the Jaguars say it is committed to doing things the right way what does that mean? Does it boil down to personnel, players, coaching ethics?
John: It means a lot of different things. It means bringing in high-character players. Often, it means bringing in young players who can form a core and build together rather than signing high-priced free agents. It also means building a relationship with the fan base, as well as setting a standard within the organization of work, focus and excellence. There are clichés involved, of course, but it’s mostly about daily focus and the idea that people who work hard and have high character will in the long run outperform those who do not.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
My two best friends got married Saturday. Black suits, teal ties and vests. I know it would mean a lot to them if you could give them some advice in their new journey together. (Also saves me the hassle of getting a present.) CONGRATULATIONS, JEFF AND ELENA.
John: Elena, be kind, patient and forgiving. Jeff, don’t count on it.