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O-Zone: Here it comes

Posted Jul 14, 2017

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Jonathan from Jacksonville:
This is how low the bar of success is for this organization. We are now basing Blake Bortles’ improvement on the last two games and just forgetting that he sucks for the last three-plus years of his career and hoping he will get better this year because of those two games. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. Just like when they tried to fool us and say we're built ...
John: I understand this perception, because it’s true that the Jaguars want very much to build on Bortles’ final two games from last season. But no one’s forgetting Bortles’ first two-plus seasons. And no one’s assuming that Bortles will magically turn things around because of those two games. And no one is setting what Bortles has done in any of his first three NFL seasons as the franchise’s bar for success. It’s certainly true that both Head Coach Doug Marrone and Executive Vice President Tom Coughlin know Bortles has serious improving to do to get this team where it wants to go. The Jaguars chose to stay with Bortles as the quarterback because they have seen enough from him to believe they can win if he reduces turnovers, and if they build a stronger running game and defense. Are they right? Is the approach justified? It’s fair to be skeptical, and criticism will be warranted if the approach doesn’t work. We’ll find out the results soon enough. And as far as that blind squirrel … have you seen it? Can you prove it? Didn’t think so …
Dave from Duval:
Mr. O, speaking of numbers, I think an important one for the Jags this season will be rushing touchdowns. Over the last two seasons the Jaguars have only 13 rushing touchdowns and Bortles has five of those. The FIRST thing I heard Tom Coughlin mention to Leonard Fournette after being drafted was about scoring touchdowns. You can't win in the NFL if you can't score rushing touchdowns.
John: Wish I’d said that.
Josh from Jacksonville:
A lot of people are worried about the offensive line, but I'm not so much. I am more worried about depth in the secondary. Hopefully no one in the secondary sustains any major injuries but if so, do you feel like we have good enough depth to stay somewhat solid at those positions?
John: Great depth is rare in the NFL, and few teams can withstand a slew of injuries at any one position. The Jaguars like their depth at safety, with Peyton Thompson and Jarrod Wilson. Cornerback is dicier. The top three of Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye and Aaron Colvin have a chance to be as good as any trio in the league at that position. Beyond that trio, the depth isn’t nearly as experienced or well-known. Rookie Jalen Myrick figures to have a chance to be the fourth corner, but do the Jaguars need someone to impress during training camp at the position? Well, they wouldn’t be disappointed if that happened.
Dan from Jacksonville:
I ran into Shadrick the other day and he told me that ... YOU are a fine, upstanding member of the jaguars.com staff and deserves – nay, commands – our respect. He'd appreciate it in the future if your readers remember this.
John: That’s nice of him to say. I can’t say I feel the same way about him.
Tom from Virginia Beach, VA:
Why does Myles Jack have to make the defensive calls? As long as Poz is on the field why can't he still make the calls?
John: Myles Jack as the middle linebacker will be on the field on most of the defensive plays. Paul Posluszny as the strong-side linebacker will be coming off the field in passing situations. It makes sense to have the player who is on the field the vast majority of the plays be the one talking to the sidelines in the helmet-to-sideline head set – and making defensive calls.
Eric from Jacksonville:
When do the Jaguars report back to camp and who do you see as the clear-cut choice for the No. 1 receiver spot?
John: July 26. Allen Robinson.
Mark from Silver City, NM:
Zone, you brought up a good point about A-Rob first needing to prove his effectiveness in this new offense before discussing an extension. To date, he has never really shown the ability to beat double coverage, and throwing with a fullback in the game – meaning fewer receivers on the outside – will make it easier for defenses to double him. We’ve all seen Robinson make some incredible 50/50 catches; however, 33/66 throws probably wouldn't help our quest for fewer turnovers. It seems that true No. 1 receivers in this league have historically come out knowing how to beat double coverage. In your estimation, is that something that can be taught and learned in the fourth year?
John: Beating double coverage – or more accurately, learning to cope with defenses shading safeties toward their side of the field – actually is something with which many receivers struggle early in their careers. It’s usually something the better receivers handle better over time.
Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Blake Bortles is the best running quarterback in the league. He gets the most yards and first downs and takes the least amount of hits. That makes him the best because that's the only way you get away with it in the NFL. Yards and first downs and no hits. Cam Newton is the best pure running quarterback but you can see he is nicked up – including head injuries – a lot. There is always another perspective. Quarterbacks who take hits will not be in the league long. They also will miss games and have bad games. Nobody gets down or gets out of bounds better than Blake. He has great vision when running. That makes him the best running quarterback in the league.
John: OK.
Christopher from Duval Baby:
Shouldn't we just let Chad Henne manage the game? He can hand it off and throw 15 times a game. Better than Blake?
John: No, the Jaguars shouldn’t do that.
Jared from O-Town:
Hey John. While I sincerely believe that both Tony Boselli and Fred Taylor are deserving of serious HOF consideration, I wonder how much of what you said of the small market and no Super Bowl is taken into consideration - if any. One example for you: Lee Roy Selmon played in a small market and during his career with Tampa Bay, they were a combined 44-84 with no Super Bowl appearances or wins. If I remember correctly, he was inducted in 1995 (the day before the Jaguars/Panthers HOF game in Canton).
John: I’m not one who believes that the small market plays as much of a factor as many believe. Now, there’s little question that playing in a huge market – say, New York or Chicago – can play a role in this, but I don’t know that playing in Jacksonville is all that much different in terms of national notoriety than Tampa Bay, Seattle, Atlanta. Not playing in Super Bowls certainly hurt that duo, because playing in Super Bowls – and winning them – does carry cache among Hall voters. The bottom line is that while Taylor and Boselli are deserving, they also have elements of their careers that hurt them in the Hall of Fame consideration. Taylor made just one Pro Bowl and never led the NFL in rushing. He also wasn’t a huge touchdown guy, and the Jaguars made the playoffs just twice after his first two seasons. Boselli was an other-worldly offensive tackle, but played at an elite level just six seasons – 1995-2000. I believe both players should be in the Hall of Fame, but I also believe there are legitimate reasons beyond market size why they are not. As for Lee Roy Selmon, he is a good comparison. That’s a reason it was far from a no-brainer when he made the Hall.
Steve from Redlands, CA:
"I can't think of anything positive about that organization outside of the fact that they have pools in the stadium" – DeAngelo Williams. I did not like his statement although he is entitled to his opinion. If I were a player, this statement would cause angst. It probably does not bother you professionally. I think it should bother everyone associated with our team or the culture will never change. I know: winning changes everything. How long do you think Jaguars fans and the organization will endure these shots? P.S. – one for the pool, I suppose.
John: Winning does change everything. The organization will endure such statements until it wins just like the Cleveland Browns will endure such statements until they win, just like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers once were called the Yucks, just like the Cincinnati Bengals were once called the “Bungles” and so on. The perception of losing organizations is changed when the losing stops. Not before.
Mike from Atlanta, GA:
Did I read that correctly? Training camp is less than two weeks away? Not a moment too soon.
John: Yay.

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