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O-Zone: Assume the position

Posted Jan 29, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it . . .

Scott from Jacksonville:
I had no idea so many people watch the Pro Bowl. Personally, I find it pretty much unwatchable.
John: The Pro Bowl television ratings are indeed a phenomenon. I don’t watch the game very closely either, but it appears many people do – or at least they have it on and watch it on some level. Whatever, it’s commentary on the monstrous popularity of the NFL – and it is quite a commentary indeed.
Mike from Jacksonville:
I know the schedule is not released yet but does the NFL have a start week already set? I'm trying to set up a vacation in August and don't want to miss a game.
John: The NFL doesn’t start the regular season on or before Labor Day anymore, so the first Sunday of the 2014 regular season will be September 7. Enjoy your vacation.
Tim from Bismarck, ND:
As a North Dakota State University and Jaguars fan, could we see quarterback Brock Jensen and/or running back Sam Ojurifrom NDSU drafted or selected in free agency – being two of the coaches are from NDSU and these players have three National CFC titles? Also how about Terrence West from Towson, who had 2,500 yards and 40 touchdowns – could we see him, too?Small schools with great skills.
John: Sure, those players could be free agents or late-round draft selections. But I wouldn’t say there’s any bigger chance those players wind up here than a lot of other teams. Bradley, Todd Wash and Bob Babich coached at NDSU, but most NFL teams are pretty in tune to smaller schools these days.
Steve from North Haven, CT:
In response to your response, raw meat actually offers more nutritional value then cooked meat. The only downfall is it is much harder to digest. So yes, in short... while we let men be men, you and I can grab a nice helping of raw meat and watch men be men.
John: (Text me).
Marcus from Jacksonville:
I decided to waste some time and look up some stats. Since the 2004 draft, most teams have draft four or more quarterbacks. A few have drafted three, and two (Cowboys and Saints) have drafted only two. The Jaguars are the lone team that has only drafted one quarterback in the last 10 years. Oddly, teams with the better quarterbacks seem to draft them more often, probably because they develop their young quarterbacks and see them go on to start elsewhere. I don't think you have to draft a quarterback every year, or even every other year, but I think the total disregard for the position in the draft has put us where we are. Here's one fer drafting a quarterback ... maybe even two.
John: I wasn’t covering the Jaguars from 2001-2010, so I can’t speak in detail to the reasoning behind not addressing quarterback. I can say that circumstances dictated at least part of the decision-making. The Jaguars were in the relatively unusual position of a backup (David Garrard) who had been drafted before (2002) the starter (Byron Leftwich, 2003) beating out the latter-drafted player (Leftwich). Garrard then held the position for a few years with some debate over whether he was The Guy. As that storyline played out, the Jaguars went 2004-2010 without drafting a quarterback. The team then drafted Blaine Gabbert No. 10 overall in 2011 and signed Chad Henne a year later, again causing no quarterback to be drafted in 2012 and 2013. Ideally, should you go that long and only draft one quarterback? Probably not, and I doubt that will happen under David Caldwell.
Jon from Fort Irwin, CA:
Don’t you think in a draft where you have a lot of picks, you should take a quarterback at some point just because you might strike gold? I’d take one every year if I had extra picks.
John: What’s an “extra pick?”
Dakota from Dupree, SC:
O-man, how do you feel that Tyson Alualu did with his change to end this season? Did he play better?
John: He did play better. While it took a while for Alualu to adjust to the move from tackle to 4-3 end, he played well in the second half of the season and was a reason the Jaguars improved during that period, particularly against the run. I’m sure this will draw the usual hue-and-cry criticizing Alualu, but hue-and-cry aside he’s an asset and I expect him to be starting next season.
David from the Safe Side:
News Flash … Just In … Goodell Going to Head NASCAR. Safety First...Goodell Placing Speed Limits on All Tracks This Year Starting with the Daytona 500.
John: Good headlines. Your first duty as sports editor should be to assign a writer a story on the historical perspective of restrictor plates and SuperSpeedways.
Darrell from Starke, FL:
I am hearing of credible research (not my own) of medical marijuana being a better pain-killer, with less side effects, than opiates. Do you see a day in the near future when the NFL may negotiate with the player's union to quit testing for marijuana in return for more stringent performance enhancing drug testing?
John: In the near future? No. In the future, perhaps, because it seems as if in the future – perhaps in my lifetime – marijuana will be legalized in enough states to allow medical use in the NFL. I expect it will be a fairly brutal push-and-pull, but it’s possible.
Wayne from Brunswick, GA:
Say John, let’s start a new format on your show. Since the Jacksonville fans had a lot to do with getting the NFL to come here and we named them the Jaguars, then we should have a big part in choosing in the draft. Let’s first say Gus Bradley wants a quarterback for the first pick and has three selections. Then he should let us (the fans) vote on the Jaguars website which one we like the best. Then go to the second pick, third pick and so on. This would be more than fun for the fans. Let the Jaguar team be all of Jacksonville's team and not just the Jaguars’ main staff. Then, we all would take a share in the joy in winning or losing. After 19 years of losing we need to have a say in the selection on who should play here. Can you do this for the City of Jacksonville and all the Jaguar fans? Thank You.
John: Are you serious, Clark?
Ron from Orlando, FL:
I know the Knighton thing's been talked about over and over, but I had been asking this question all year and never received a response. Why would Caldwell allow players that fit the young-and-talented mold (Knighton, Cox, Jennings, Selvie) to go to free agency then feel the need to either draft or signreplacements in free agency? It makes NO sense why specifically Cox and Knighton wouldn't be re-signed after last season, then waste draft picks and free agency pickups on players that may or may not be as good as the players they released? Knighton and Cox were the best cornerback and defensive lineman on the team at that point and the team just allows them to go for nothing??? Help me understand this,please.
John: I rarely answer questions with, “I answered this already” and I often answer questions repeatedly – sometimes to the chagrin of readers – because I don’t assume people read every day. But the premise of your question is that somehow this question has been asked and answered. I have said repeatedly that Knighton was not re-signed because he did not play consistently well or consistently to his ability the last two years. He played very well this season, and myself and others around the Jaguars are happy that that’s the case, but that does not change how he played the last two years. Cox had been unable to stay healthy, and anyone who watched Rashad Jennings play in 2012 would have been hard-pressed to call not re-signing him last offseason a mistake. So, in that sense, it made perfect sense to not re-sign those players, specifically Cox and Knighton. The Jaguars were in a building mode. To re-sign players who traditionally had been inconsistent or unavailable made little sense. Would the team want to reacquire any of those players now? Knighton, perhaps, but I don’t sense a great deal of regret with the others.
Manuel from Jacksonville:
Hey O-Sir, can you take one more question on the half-the-distance penalty? By your explanation, from the 11-yard-line you go to the one-yard after the 10-yard penalty; but from the 10-yard you go only to the 5-yd? Is this correct? That doesn't seem fair.
John: It seems there is still confusion this topic. It’s possible I caused this confusion, which wouldn’t be surprising because I spend a lot of time … well, confused. The half-the-distance penalty occurs any time there is a penalty greater than half the distance to the goal that moves the ball in that direction. If there is a 10-yard penalty at the 11, the ball moves to the 5.5-yard line. If it’s on the 14-yard line it goes to the seven. And so on.
Greg from St. Johns, FL:
I get the feeling you spend a great deal of time curled up under your desk in the fetal position while reviewing your inbox. BTW, could you explain the whole half the distance thing again? I still don't get it.
John: I can’t. I’m under my desk in a fetal position going through alternatives to the PAT rule.

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