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O-Zone: Getting it right

Posted Sep 4, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Mike from Jackson de Ville:
John, obviously having an elite quarterback is extremely important. Do you see this model changing at all given the rule changes geared toward the offense, as well as the salary cap making it more difficult to pay one position an exorbitant amount of money? To clarify my question, wouldn't it make more sense to have a serviceable quarterback with elite-level talent surrounding the quarterback as opposed to a quarterback taking 35 percent of the cap with adequate talent surrounding the quarterback?
John: You call having an elite quarterback a “model.” It is indeed a model, but the only time it can really work is when you have … an elite quarterback! Those are rare. I begin with that statement because the way to answer your question is this: if a team has an elite quarterback the people running that team by necessity almost always will follow the model of paying the position an exorbitant amount of money and building around him. That makes sense for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that a quarterback typically can be counted on to be available and to play at a high level far longer than most positions. If you have that elite quarterback, you have a relatively stable building block in place and stable building blocks are a rare commodity in this league. If you don’t have an elite guy, by all means build around a serviceable guy and put talent around him. It’s the second-best way to have a chance to contend over the long haul.
Eric from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
O Man, you are a Peasant!!
John: Thanks. And indeed, although many of my close friends and family have a strong dislike for me, there are those who find me quite enjoyable to be ar— … oh.
Matt from Clemson, SC:
John, who would you say are your all-time top Jaguars to interview?
John: I missed a good chunk of this team’s history in the last decade, but I’d say Tony Boselli, Fred Taylor, Cecil Shorts III … those guys are a good start.
Daniel from Windsor Heights, IA:
I know injury might have been a part of this, but it seemed to me that Cecil Shorts III did not have a very good preseason. I especially think of that long pass where he didn't even seem to realize the ball was in the air. Both quarterbacks seemed to have better rapport with Hurns than Shorts...any cause for concern?
John: No. Shorts missed the first two games of the preseason and played about 15 plays in Week 3 before playing into the second quarter of the preseason finale. He is the No. 1 receiver on this team right now, and the Jaguars are a better receiving corps and a better team when he’s healthy. The entire offense has a lot of question marks. Continuity and youth is a question on the line and in the receiving corps, but I don’t include Shorts’ preseason on my list of top concerns.
Manuel from Jacksonville:
Is it Sunday yet?
John: What’s your ZIP code?
Charlie from Jacksonville:
I have been married for almost eight years. My wife told me I was right about something the other day. I still don't know what is going on. Any thoughts?
John: ...
John from Boynton Beach, FL:
Last year, Roy Miller played hurt most of the season and didn't cause a lot of disruption in the middle. This year, I am looking forward to see how his grandson, Roy Miller III, plays in his grandfather's position. I am expecting big things from the kid!
John: You’re correct in your assessment. While this year’s Roy Miller III is curiously the exact same age – plus one year – as Roy Miller, what’s most notable is that he is indeed healthy. Remember, when the Jaguars signed Sen’Derrick Marks, Alan Ball and Miller as free agents in the spring of 2013, the general thought was that Miller had a chance to be perhaps the best signing of the bunch – and a real find. He didn’t get the opportunity to play at that level last season, but he appears healthy enough to do so this season.
John from Boynton Beach, FL:
Is it typical that there are starting-caliber centers available in the sixth round?
John: I don’t know that it’s typical, but it’s not shocking, either. Finding centers on the third day of the draft happens perhaps at a slightly higher rate than many other positions. They often take a few years to reach the level at which they can start effectively, but you can find them there.
Sandy from Fruit Cove, FL:
Jimmy Page or Eddie Van Halen?
John: Jimmy, but there are people with far more expertise in this area. Now, ask me Elvis Costello versus, say, Blondie, the Clash, the Ramones, etc., and I can answer with far more passion and authority.
Lance from Jacksonville:
I have to confess something. I might not like your snark or your humor too much. And I certainly wouldn't want to hang around with you. But after watching you jump the sprinkler on the Hard Knocks video, I have to say you're 10 times the athlete I am. I had to swallow a lot of pride to say that. This next shot is for you, John Boy. #DTWD
John: Wow, and I was just thinking recently, “That Lance guy … there’s someone I really want to hang out with …”
Austin from Athens, GA:
You know what, John, you make me laugh sometimes. Thanks.
John: That’s great. Now tell Lance.
Tim from Newton, PA:
O-Man, I'll be attending the season opener at the Linc and am concerned about getting the crap beat out of me if I wear my Jags gear. Worth the risk? Please note that I am not a physically intimidating individual, but can verbally jab with the best of them.
John: Sure, the more verbal jabs the better. Philly folks love that. They’ll act like they don’t. They’ll even carry the charade out to the point that they chase you down Broad Street, steal most of your clothing and leave you bloodied in a gutter, but don’t pay attention to that. Just remember when they’re doing it to keep telling yourself, “They like me. They really like me.”
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
O-man, I am really looking forward to the Eagles game because they are by far one of the best teams for running an up-tempo offense. Last year they were able to run more offensive plays than any other team. That said, I would be curious to see how our up-tempo offense compares to theirs and measure how far we have improved as a team.
John: Sunday’s game will be a good first test. It will be a good test for a defensive unit that should be improved, and also a good test for a defensive line that should be vastly improved. Not only does Eagles running back LeSean McCoy provide a difficult test in the run game, quarterback Nick Foles and the passing game is somehow overlooked despite Foles throwing 27 touchdowns and just two interceptions last season. I, too, am looking forward to seeing the Jaguars’ up-tempo offense in comparison to the Eagles’ up-tempo offense. Bear in mind, though, that the Eagles run their offense at a slightly faster pace – in part because of a more developed offensive line and because they are a bit more veteran. You also probably aren’t going to see the fastest version of the Jaguars’ offense on Sunday. Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said Wednesday that while players such as Chad Henne, Cecil Shorts III and Marcedes Lewis are comfortable in the second year of the offensive system, playing three rookie wide receivers and a newly constructed offensive line could keep the Jaguars from playing quite as up-tempo as would be ideal. Look for the Jaguars’ to play faster as the season continues.
Dan from the North End Zone Bar Rail:
In years past I've asked you to guess season-end reception yard totals for our receivers (Shorts, Blackmon) and you've been pretty spot on. That said, can I get a guesstimate for Lee and Robinson?
John: This is only a guesstimate, but let’s go with 800-to-850 for Marqise Lee and 650 for Allen Robinson, with Robinson making a late surge. As I write that, I’m thinking those may be a bit low. To listen to people around the Jaguars, there’s a strong belief that these guys are really good players, and that gives me the feeling that at least one could surpass expectations. I always assume there will be ups and downs with rookie receivers, so if those receivers put up those numbers with a few games here and there in which they really looked like NFL receivers I would call those very good rookie seasons.
Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL:
I know that all players, no matter how good they are, always say "I gotta get better". In your opinion, is Henne better than last year?
John: Yes.
Bill from Jacksonville:
Finally unblocked on Twitter by the O-Zone?! Praise Shad!
John: Let me check chat … OK … #fixed

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