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O-Zone: Candy and crunchies

Posted Aug 13, 2017

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Daniel Since Day One from Jax:
Paul and you miss the point. We know what Blake Bortles can do. Many of us want to know if Chad Henne's years of experience have made him a better decision-maker. We want to know what the young kid – Brandon Allen – looks like against real competition. If Blake played half the game, I'd be OK with that, too, because his three years have not turned into experience that has made him better yet. If he's going to get better, it's going to come from playing more. So far, his career path looks just like Henne's, without the last four years of training.
John: I can’t speak for Paul, but I didn’t miss the point – and I understand what fans want. I also understand that’s not going to sway the Jaguars’ decision-making (nor should it) and I understand that there’s no inclination to upheave the quarterback depth chart – or to vary the quarterback rotation in preseason. The preseason is about getting the team prepared for the regular season – and about evaluation. If the coaches and decision-makers feel players need to rotate with the first team to evaluate, then that will happen. If they don’t, that’s not going to happen – and it’s sure not going to happen because the fans want to know something. Until something dramatic happens or until someone says differently, Bortles is the starting quarterback, Henne is the backup and Allen is the third-team quarterback. Preseason repetitions will reflect as such.
Nathan from Fort Belvoir, VA:
Do you believe Tom Coughlin will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame? It seems his resume is quite impressive.
John: Yes. And yes it is.
Marc from Oceanway:
When does the All Knowing Oehser-Sense predict Aaron Colvin will be off the PUP list?
John: I don’t pretend to be all-knowing, but I think Jaguars cornerback Aaron Colvin will be in the lineup Week 1 of the regular season.
Marc from Oceanway:
Curious how many emails you've received since our first preseason game commenting that Chad Henne or Branden Allen should be our starting quarterback?
John: A comical amount.
Hunter from Jacksonville:
Does Blake Bortles make the throw to Dede Westbrook?
John: Sure. It was a speedy wide receiver against a third-team defense in a non-game-plan situation? Bortles could make that throw. Henne made one like it in the first half. And Allen clearly made it. It’s a good situation to have a bunch of guys who can make that throw.
Bill from Hammock, FL:
O-man, so we do have a quarterback backup plan and they are on the team right now? I realize it is preseason, but both looked like they could manage an overall improved team.
John: Well, whaddayaknow?
Shawn from the Westside:
O, I seem to be the only one asking about fullback Marquez Williams. With Tommy Bohanon on the roster, what realistic chance does Marquez have to make the roster? I haven't heard a thing and doubt the team will hold onto two fullbacks.
John: I don’t see the Jaguars keeping two fullbacks. Williams came off the physically unable to perform list last week, so this week’s practices against Tampa Bay and the next two preseason games – against Tampa Bay and Carolina – could go a long way toward deciding the fullback position.
Chris from Houston, TX:
Big O, clearly Leonard Fournette is not ready to handle press. Please have Jags PR get a hold of him before he makes anymore idiotic statements that will surely put a target on his back.
John: Fournette will be fine. He was trying to answer a reporter’s question honestly; in doing so, he said the transition to the NFL has been easy compared to what he expected – and the game isn’t as fast as he expected. It came out that he said the league was easy. That’s not what he meant, but it’s what was said – and that happens sometimes. Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone said Saturday he spoke to Fournette and basically told him to make sure he phrased things how he wanted to phrase them and to be careful he presented things in the manner he wanted. This, too, shall pass.
John from Jacksonville:
At LSU, Leonard Fournette looked like a man amongst boys. Was it just me, or did you notice that he seemed "smaller" against the Patriots? The NFL is definitely bigger and faster.
John: Well, of course it is.
Matt from Green Cove Springs, FL:
How realistic is it that our whole draft class makes the roster? Also, how many undrafted players do you think make the team? I know we're still in the middle of camp and only one game into preseason, but I'm liking what I see so far.
John: It’s very realistic that the Jaguars’ whole draft class makes the final roster, but that’s not unusual. Most drafted players make the roster and many teams keep all of their drafted players. They’re affordable, and often make contributions on special teams. Teams also tend to keep drafted rookies because they know many players need a year to adjust to the NFL before making a jump in their second or third seasons. As for undrafted rookies making the final roster, right now I’ve got wide receiver Keelan Cole making it. We’ll see if the next two preseason games add any more candidates.
JT from Fort Worth, TX:
You got to talk about the level of discipline we can expect this year; last year obviously was a disaster. The first preseason game had moments (Fowler hands to the face and Brown forearm to helmet) of the old team. Do you hear that they are actively targeting discipline issues?
John: Yes.
Eric from Flowery Branch, GA:
Not just Yannick Ngakoue, but even Dante Fowler Jr. played really good Thursday. No, he didn’t record any sacks, but I saw countless quarterback hurries because of him always being right there just inches away. One thing I learned long ago is quarterback hurries can be better than sacks if they’re forcing turnovers.
John: True that. One thing the Jaguars can rely on from Fowler is constant, maximum effort – and he showed that Thursday. He still needs to improve his pass-rushing technique, but he worked and efforted his way to a lot of disruption. That’s not nothing.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
Mark me down as another vote for Brad Allen. Brad seems like a great guy and a good football player at the position he plays.
John: Play the kid.
Dave from Duval:
I was wondering why Brad Allen is not used more, too. Get him the ball on a jet sweep or put him in special team to be a gunner.
John: Play the kid.
Charles from Midlothian, VA:
Fair to say the team under Marrone played to win and not to "get better?” Seemed to me even the third and fourth string played with a sense of purpose and intensity.
John: Sure, the Jaguars played to win Thursday – and they’ll play to win this season. Just like every other team I’ve ever covered.
David from Oviedo, FL:
Zone - I know it’s a good problem to have, but the Jags are going to have to cut some talented receivers. After one preseason game, who do you think are the leading candidates for the last spot(s)?
John: I think the Jaguars’ top four receivers will be Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, Marqise Lee and Dede Westbrook and I think Arrelious Benn will be on the team. I think Rashad Greene is going to have to play well in training camp to hold off Keelan Cole if the Jaguars keep six receivers.
Ric from Jacksonville:
Hi, John. I realize this was only one preseason game, but I was pretty encouraged by the play of the starting offensive line. It might have just been my bad eye keeping me from seeing reality, but it seemed as though they pass protected pretty well and they got a bit of a push off the line for the backs. And Cam Robinson seemed to hold his own too. Leonard Fournette and Chris Ivory look to be great backs. However … maybe … possibly … this line and its rookie left tackle isn't as questionable as I thought they were. Were you seeing the same thing I was seeing or is it just wishful thinking on my part … and my bad eye?
John: Your eye is pretty good. The offensive line wasn’t perfect Thursday, and the unit wasn’t blowing open gaping holes early on every play. But guess what? NFL offensive lines don’t blow open gaping holes on every play. Rushing in the NFL usually is about a yard here, two yards there, six yards there, one yard here, one yard here, 12 yards there … That was the sort of rushing game the Jaguars were having the other night. But yeah … there was some cause for optimism on the offensive line Thursday. I wouldn’t say there was cause for cartwheels, candy and cinnamon crunchies, but it was a good start.

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