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O-Zone: Old-school memories

Posted Apr 25, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Tom from Melbourne, FL:
Tough schedule for the Jaguars early next season … What concerns you most about the schedule - the opponents, the road games or all of the 1 p.m. starts?
John: Your first few words said it best. It does appear the Jaguars have a tough schedule *early* next season. They’re on the road against Philadelphia and Washington in the first two games, and then home against Indianapolis and on the road against San Diego. That’s three playoff teams from last season – Philadelphia, Indianapolis and San Diego – and another, Washington, that won its division the previous season. That appears a very tough start not only because of venues but because of opponents. The 1 p.m. starts don’t bother me. As someone covering the team, those are ideal because you’re not working deep into the night – and far more importantly, players and coaches typically prefer them, too. From a physical standpoint, there’s nothing better for an East Coast team than 16 1 p.m. games.
Kamal from San Francisco, CA:
Ten-day Countdown!! All hail the O-man!
John: I have no idea what you’re talking about.
John from Camp Casey, Korea:
I like the idea of adding at least two more teams to the playoffs. I don't agree with the first-round bye week for the top two teams with the best record. They already get to play against the lower-seeded teams, so why let them have an extra week to prepare? It would also help with setting the draft order.
John: Adding two teams to the postseason would only solve half of your problem; while it would eliminate the first-round bye for the No. 2 seed from each conference, the No. 1 seed would still get the first week off. The bye for the No. 1 seed is something about which a lot of people feel strongly, because there is a feeling that having the best record during the regular season should earn a significant postseason advantage. That, of course, wouldn’t be the real reason for adding the teams, though, and it wouldn’t have anything to do with draft order, either. I’d tell you the real reason, but it’s more fun to make you gue$$.
Quinn from Tampa, FL:
The Seahawks traded a seventh-round draft pick for Terrelle Pryor. It seems as though the 2011 third-round supplemental draft pick would add competition at quarterback for the Jaguars. Is this draft class really that deep at quarterback that David Caldwell didn't consider Terrelle Pryor for a late-round draft pick? What gives? The Jags have the ammunition to have made this happen.
John: Apparently, Jaguars General David Caldwell has a different perception of Pryor than you, as well as the quarterbacks in this year’s draft and the Jaguars’ quarterback situation. That’s understandable. The two of you are approaching it with different information and different perspectives.
Josh from Jagsonville:
It really doesn't bother me when sites like ESPN don't get facts right or talk about us moving, but shouldn't NFL.com be fair and accurate? They released this snarky little tidbit about Week 10: "The International Series concludes with a matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars. This will be the first of three London trips for the Jags through the 2016 season. The London Jaguars does have an excellent ring to it." For one, it isn't accurate because it is the second trip and it’s just really unprofessional.
John: In an effort to have credibility, NFL.com is allowed editorial freedom. This freedom sometimes allows inaccuracies and tired, lazy attempts at humor from what often is an intern level. Though I understand fans’ irritation at situations such as this, I don’t worry about the amateur efforts of uninformed novices. Also in these cases, I am fortunate to be able to defer to the collective wit and diligence of #Jaguarstwitter. Let’s just say, “The situation was handled.”
Awesome Bill from Dawsonville:
Jonathan, if Clowney falls to us imagine the double LEO packages with Clowney picking up a double team and Andre Branch windmilling his way to a ten-sack season. I can see it now...
John: Hey, one fer Windmill Wisdom!
Brian from Mandarin, FL:
I admit it: I am fretting over the offensive line, center in particular. The Jags thought Mack was the only free agent at the position worth pursuing. Understandable. Now it’s draft, waiver wire or improvement from within. Mike Brewster seems to be the most likely. Last year, he seemed overpowered. Can he improve enough in the weight room and more practice to be a good starter? I just dread the thought of continued weak front due to injuries or whatever. We cannot improve without good line play. Quarterbacks can't improve and receivers cannot get the ball. Not a news flash, just fretting. Thanks.
John: Goodness. You *are* fretting – and here it’s only April. Your concern is understandable, because offensive line is an area on the Jaguars that must improve, but don’t fret. Remember, the Jaguars are in a long-term process of improving the roster and not every position can be stocked in perfect fashion immediately. Getting elite level players on the roster takes time, and it usually takes drafting and developing. The Jaguars took a chance at Mack, and didn’t get him. Now, they must take the approach of developing Brewster, and perhaps drafting another player there or creating competition with players already on the roster. The Jaguars addressed offensive line already this offseason by getting Luke Joeckel back in the lineup at left tackle and signing Zane Beadles to play left guard. I suspect they will draft a guard or a center, and that a rookie could compete for a starting position at right guard. That’s some pretty significant offseason addressing already, even if center is still doesn’t feel fully addressed to some.
Mike from Green Cove Springs, FL:
O-man, here's the problem: when you took Scobee, J.P. and Boselli out for dinner, you were supposed to pick up the tab right after you told them how much they meant to you!
John: What’s a “tab?”
Dave from Vilano:
WOW! Four commas in one sentence in your response to Dave from Jacksonville. Three of which were separated by two words. Is that some sort of literary record? One fer Johnny O!
John: While not a record, the four commas were indeed there, though perhaps not correctly used, and quite possibly, perchance, distracting.
Jermaine from Triburon, CA:
How likely is Derek Carr still on the board when we selected in the second round? Is that a no-brainer to get him if he's there?
John: I doubt Carr is available at No. 39 overall, because I sort of doubt he makes it past No. 25 or so. There are reports teams in the Top 10 such as Oakland like him a lot, and he certainly appears to be a player for whom teams could trade up into the later part of the first round. As for whether he’s a no-brainer, it depends how much the Jaguars like him. He appears to be very much worth a second-round selection if the Jaguars see him as a potential starter.
Mike from East Moline, IL:
Speaking of quick releases, that Garoppolo feller seems to have a good release. Do you think that he will be drafted before the Jaguars pick in the second round? Do you think he will be available early in the third round? Would it be too optimistic to think the Jags could end up with Garoppolo and AJ McCarron?
John: I doubt Garoppolo would be available in Round 3, though Round 2 seems a possibility. As for drafting both he and McCarron, while I don’t doubt the Jaguars could draft two quarterbacks, projecting where and who is just very difficult.
John from Jacksonville:
Never drop your best player. No matter what. You can have an off day, an off month, an off season, but you better not drop your best player(*s). What if the Steelers dropped Franco Harris? What if Dallas dropped Roger Staubach? That bogus move by the Jaguars will give MJD just enough inspiration to have another 1,600 yard season.
John: Franco Harris finished his career with the Seattle Seahawks and Staubach retired, preventing the Cowboys from having to make that decision. The list of great players who have finished their careers with other teams is longer than the list of players who remained with one team their entire careers. It’s an unfortunate part of the NFL, but it’s not going to change.
Decker from Atlanta, GA:
If you are almost at 1,000 consecutive O-Zones, then how many have been about the Culligan video?
John: Not enough.
Steve D from Jacksonville:
Just got through watching some Toby Gerhart highlights from college and NFL. To an "old-school," ground-and-pound football fan, it put a big smile on my face. Who would you compare his style to? I can't think of anyone current. There seems to be just a little pinch of Natrone Means / Earl Campbell in there, I think. Am I crazy?
John: You’re not crazy, though I would throw in a bigger pinch of Means than I would Campbell. But that’s probably the *real* old school guy in me. I was a child of the 1970s, and my recollection of watching Earl Campbell pre-HDTV — shoot, even pre-cable – are as fond as they are fading.

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