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O-Zone: Leave the man alone

Posted Jul 13, 2017

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Scott from Brooklyn, NY:
Mr. O, Jaguars fans need to take the “blinders” off their eyes. They can't seem to realize that there were two Blake Bortles: the awful one under Gus Bradley – and the player who had a 1-1 record, 600 yards, no turnovers, two touchdowns, 20 yards receiving and one receiving touchdown under Doug Marrone. Lighten up, Jaguars fans: it will be a different Blake Bortles running the team.
John: The Jaguars without question believe there is some truth in what you say. Bortles did play far better in the final two games last season when Marrone was interim head coach than he did in the first 14 games of the season; the Jaguars certainly want to build on that moving forward. At the same time, let’s not be dim about this: Bortles’ struggles last season were not all because of Bradley, and he won’t magically be an All-Pro selection just because Bradley left. What the Jaguars must hope is that Bortles is at least somewhat more the player he was the last two weeks of last season than he was the first 14 and hope they can build on that small sample size. That has been the idea of strengthening the running game and defense this offseason. But either way … hey, one fer Blake!
Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
There was a time when Giants fans would just tear down Eli Manning and say how bad he was. That kind of talk seems pretty dumb now after Eli won two Super Bowls. Blake Bortles is a really good quarterback who will win. He is also the best running quarterback in the league. He is very, very good at short passes. He has great feel and touch. He is tough. He is young. He does not choke. He works hard. His best days are ahead of him. His teammates respect and like him. Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone like him. Maybe fans need to take a deeper look at him; way too much diaper crying about him. He is going to be a big-time star. I agree with Dave Caldwell when he says you can win a championship with Blake.
John: Bortles is not the best running quarterback in the NFL, and it goes without saying his touch, feel and accuracy could improve. That said … hey, two fer Blake!
Matt from Las Vegas, NV:
Apparently, ESPN reported that DeAngelo Williams said the following about the Jags: "I can't think of anything positive about that organization outside of the fact that they have pools in the stadium." Not to harp on perception too much, but is this the result of being uninformed or is there actually a kernel of truth to this statement that runs through players' conversations about organizations? I imagine if this were true, we wouldn't be signing high-profile veterans who know a thing or two about organizational climates/culture.
John: It’s the result of being misinformed. It also reminds me of when I was single and boldly proclaimed I didn’t want to date Kathy Ireland – and furthermore, that there was no reason for her to contact me regarding the matter. She didn’t call, and I don’t recall her being upset I wasn’t interested.
Marty from Jacksonville:
I think people confuse cause and effect. For example: if we run more and throw less, we'll win more games. Isn't that putting the cart before the horse? Running more and throwing less is a byproduct of being ahead in games. It doesn't cause you to be ahead; it comes from being ahead.
John: The idea isn’t how much you run as much as whether you run effectively when you need to run. Doing that will help you win whenever you do it. If you do it early, you can control tempo and it makes it easier to pass protect – and theoretically, to pass – and that can get you ahead. If you do it late, it allows you to maintain your lead, which is a good thing no matter how the lead was attained.
Zac from DiRocco’s Neighbor:
Michael DiRocco states "Bortles' biggest issues are decision-making, accuracy and turnovers." Uhhh ... so, what can he do? I'm no general manager but aren’t those the Top 3 things a quarterback needs to do well?? (Insert confused emoji's)
John: I’m sorry you’re confused. Confusion can be confusing – yes, even emoji-expressed confusion. DiRocco in this rare case is correct, because those are areas in which Bortles must improve. What does he do well? He has shown a knack for the big play, and a willingness to stand tall in the pocket. He also has shown flashes of accuracy and good-decision making at times. What he needs is to be more consistent with those flashes, but either way …. Not one fer Bortles, I guess.
Bryan from Reston, VA:
I'm somewhat younger than you so I went and looked up those old bands you guys were talking about last week. What I heard sounded like a bunch of over-emotional guys whining about getting broke up with all the time, generally being majorly disappointed about life, and wanting people to feel sorry for them. Then I thought of you and it all made sense.
John: That hurts, Bryan.
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
Hey Zone, have been away awhile, sorry. Question: with the move of Poz from middle linebacker, how much difference is there in the new position? Is this a transition you believe he will succeed at? Or is this just prolonging the inevitable of him being released due to age? I really love Poz, if not for his skill, for his incredible heart and soul he brings to that defense. Good to be back.
John: The differences are substantial, most notably that Myles Jack and not Posluszny now will make defensive calls. Posluszny also likely will play on the line a bit more than he did at middle, though I don’t know if that difference will be as pronounced as it would have been had the Jaguars made Posluszny “an Otto” linebacker. That was what the Jaguars’ strong-side linebacker was last season, but Posluszny will be more of a traditional strong-side backer. I do believe Posluszny will succeed on the strong side, because I believe he will put in the time and study to succeed – and I also believe his skill set will allow him to succeed. I also believe the move has a chance to extend his career and his time with the Jaguars. Not that age won’t eventually catch up to him, as it inevitably does to us all.
Frank from Dothan, AL:
Zone, you responded to a question the other day about which receivers from the 2014 class the Jags would retain, and you made it sound as if re-signing A-Rob would be a given if he played at a level somewhere between his '15 and '16 campaigns. But, if the team waits to get a deal done until late in the season after Blake has already proven not to be the guy moving forward, why wouldn't Robinson just play out the last month of his rookie deal and opt for a team with an established quarterback that isn't as run heavy? Do you really think if his agent tells him the market will yield equal monies elsewhere that he'll elect to stay in Jacksonville in hopes the team can one day find someone to get him the ball?
John: That’s always a possibility, but Robinson is going to be expensive to re-sign no matter when the sides begin serious negotiation. At the same time, it’s logical for the Jaguars to see how Robinson plays within the framework of this offense and this coaching staff before determining their perception of his value.
Zoe from Jacksonville:
I believe the Jaguars deserve a backup that will compete with Blake Bortles for the starting position. Do you see us looking for that caliber backup this season?
John: It’s July 13. Training camp starts in less than two weeks. I do not believe the Jaguars will actively seek a backup quarterback before that.
Jon from Brentwood, UK:
Mr. O, Gil Brandt has done a Top 20 of offensive tackles and only one current player (Joe Thomas) and Tony Boselli on that list are not already in the Hall of Fame. Is this the year for No. 71?
John: I believe there’s a good chance Boselli makes the Hall of Fame in 2018. If not, I believe he has a good chance to make it soon. That has little to with Brandt’s list and a lot to do with Boselli making the Top 10 in Hall voting last January. It feels like momentum is on Boselli’s side. We’ll see.
Dwayne from Jacksonville:
My sarcasm font isn't working. Can you get Shadrick and the IT guys to fix that?
John: I would ask Shadrick about this, but he’s waist deep in his summer “me time.” Trust me when I tell you it’s best to leave him alone right now.

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