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O-Zone: In any language

Posted May 20, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Marcus from Jacksonville:
Do you think there is any realistic scenario in this coming season that would cement Chad Henne as the starter for 2015-16? If he has a career year and leads the Jags to a wild-card berth, would that be enough? Or, is Blake Bortles going to start next year regardless? I know it's all about competition, and that's the easy answer, but I think barring an MVP-caliber season from Henne, Blake Bortles is going to start in 2015. What do you think?
John: This is one of those questions for which the Internet, message boards, Twitter and talk radio were invented – and it’s certain to get kicked around a lot. It also falls into that category of Good Problems to Have, although it probably falls, too, into the category of Not Likely to Happen. Not that Henne can’t have a career season, and not that he doesn’t have the potential to be a long-term starting quarterback in the NFL. He does, and the Jaguars believe he can have a very good season next season. But with a young, just-built offensive line and a still-young receiving corps featuring two rookies, an MVP-caliber season for Henne will be a bit difficult. Those two groups have a chance to be very much improved – and a strong foundation appears to be being built – but there might be a few hiccups early on. That’s often the case with those two areas.
Jack from Panama City, FL:
Will minicamp be open to the public? I'd gladly take a day off from work (although my boss won't be so eager....but what can he do if I'm "sick"?) to check out the team.
John: The Jaguars’ organized team activities begin May 27. Those are NOT open to the public. The team holds its mandatory veteran minicamp June 17-19. The final day of that – June 19 – is on a Thursday and it WILL be open to the public. (Capital letters emphasize things).
Daniel from Santa Rosa, CA:
Now that our roster is pretty much set going into the season where do you see the holes on our roster? I know we had holes prior to the draft, but it seems like David Caldwell addressed a lot of holes. I'm not seeing a lot of holes, just a need for more depth and growth.
John: That’s a far truer statement than it would have been this time last year. Caldwell’s approach has been to fill as many holes as possible through free agency to allow flexibility to draft for talent. Caldwell made a move toward that in his first offseason, but still couldn’t fill all the holes in the 2013 NFL Draft. This year, the Jaguars indeed went into the draft with far fewer holes – perhaps a couple on the offensive line and one or two at receiver. They drafted to those positions while also building for the long term. That’s not to say the Jaguars are an elite roster at every position, but there are fewer spots around the roster where you’re worried about the team being able to line up and play in the fall.
James from Jacksonville/Hawaii/Canada:
So we had like 6,000 fans at the rookie minicamp, but how many rookies were there? I thought we only got like seven in the draft? Did we get like 20 unsigned guys?
John: The Jaguars had 52 players at the 2014 rookie minicamp – nine drafted players, 17 undrafted free agents and 26 workout players.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
I believe the Jags can be competitive in this division and possibly win it; there is nothing written on a stone tablet somewhere that the Colts have already made the playoffs. The home opener versus Indianapolis will be an important game.
John: Yes, it will be.
Frank from Jacksonville:
At minicamp Saturday, I noticed there were 26 workout rookies and 14 free agents invited. What will be their demise after camp? Will some be offered to come back?
John: The Jaguars did sign two of the workout players – running back Beau Blankenship of Ohio and safety Jerome Junior of Winston-Salem State. The other workout rookies were not retained, and rookie kicker Jeff Budzien and rookie punter Chad Zinchini were released.
JB from Jacksonville:
Isn't Cecil Shorts III one bit hit away from being irrelevant?
John: Yes. Just like every player in the NFL.
Chris from Ponte Vedra, FL:
As a UCF alumni and longtime Jags fan, it was amazing to see all the UCF jerseys and gear at the minicamp. I spoke to at least 15 people that said they made the drive up. I think this will be big for the Jags and their ability to tap into the O-Town market. I have to give props to the Jags for allowing Orlando media and UCF administrators at the minicamp!
John: It indeed is an opportunity for the Jaguars to grow the Orlando market. It will have to happen organically, meaning the Jaguars will have to win and play well. Without that, all of the advertising and promotion in the world won’t mean much. But if the Jaguars make the strides they should, quarterback Blake Bortles as well as running back Storm Johnson can’t help but help the team’s popularity in Central Florida.
Benjamin from Asquith, Canada:
Could drafted rookies not agree to sign with Jacksonville and sign with another team in free agency?
John: No. Teams retain the rights to drafted players for a year. In the staggeringly unlikely scenario they don’t sign with the team that drafts them they would re-enter the draft the following year.
Chrus from Delray Beach, FL:
Let's say a quarterback never throws that perfect spiral and all his passes have a certain "wobble" to them. Is that something that will be a constant issue to the receivers or would they eventually get used to it and make adjustments at their end?
John: This has become a topic since the Jaguars’ rookie camp, with some expressing concern that some of Bortles’ passes appeared wobbly. I covered Peyton Manning for 10 years, and I wouldn’t call him the most picturesque passer in terms of spirals and absolute aesthetic beauty. A ball can have a slight wobble and be very, very catchable. It’s enough of a non-issue that the four sentences I’ve written to discuss it are probably overdoing it.
Keith from Jacksonville and Section 436:
The only problem is with your answer to Rick's question is that 2015 is the very latest the Jags should be in the playoffs. There are many instances where teams turned it around quickly – i.e. Luck, RGIII, and Wilson in 2012, Flacco & Ryan in 2008. Brady in his second year in 2001. If they can do it, then so can we if Bortles is the quarterback everyone is saying he is. If he sits out this year, it’s 2015 playoffs or bust.
John: Well, except it’s not. There are many instances where teams turned it around quickly and there are also instances where teams and quarterbacks needed a certain amount of time to develop. The Jaguars certainly need to be improved by 2015, but to say that the situation is a “bust” if a second-year quarterback doesn’t lead the team to the playoffs is a bit extreme.
James from Jacksonville:
David Whitley from the Orlando Sentinel is a moron and a jackass. Do you feel he is a credible reporter?
John: I’ve known David Whitley for a long time – well enough to know he’d tell you that you perhaps can be all three at once.
Herbert from MidState Office Supply Accountz Receevables:
What are the odds the Jaguars draft Jameis Winston with their top pick next year?
John:
Dave from Rhode Island:
Hey!! I'm from Rhode Island as well! #DTWD
John: Yup.
Kane from Canandaigua, NY:
I'm from Central New York and I am Duval!
John: Indeed.
Nick from Aarhus, Denmark:
I am from Denmark, and I am Duval!
John: Hey, Indtil vi Duval!
Duran from Rapid City, SD:
Is the plan to sit Bortles the entire year-even if we are out of playoff contention later as the season progresses? I would say why not give him a head start on next year if we aren't in the playoff picture.
John: Blake Bortles will play when he’s ready. The playoff picture will be a secondary factor.
Brandon from Waukesha, WI:
I am 19 years old and have been a jags fan since I was six. I have lived every year in Wisconsin and have only been to one jags game and I can say I'm a Duval.
John: Indeed you can.
Tom from St. Augustine, FL:
What is this DTWD?
John: I’ll leave this one to the comments section below.
Cristiano from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil :
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, #DTWD
John: Hey, Duval til vi dør!

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