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O-Zone: On the offensive

Posted Jul 6, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Happy July 6. Isn’t this awesome?

Let’s get to it …

Armando from Vacaville, CA:
Which rookie receiver will have a better season, Marqise Lee or Allen Robinson?
John: The first thing to note here is it’s unfair to expect either player to be close this season to what he will be in a year or two. No matter the expectations, hype or even the talent level, rookies need time and maturity to develop. That’s particularly true at the receiver position. Still, to answer your question – and, after all, that’s why you asked – I’d project Robinson to have the better rookie season. During the brief time he was on the field in the offseason he appeared to have natural hands, and his size could give him a tool to be effective immediately as a rookie while he learns the nuances and subtleties of the position. Lee has the potential to be a dynamic, big-play receiver, something that could take a bit longer to develop without Robinson’s size.
Casey from Los Angeles, CA:
John, when you aren't writing articles, answering fan questions and conducting interviews, what are you doing at work? Naps, eating and bathroom breaks don't count. Thanks.
John: I garden, mostly. A little-known fact about me is I rarely – if ever – eat any vegetable I haven’t grown myself. It’s a blessing and a curse. I’m outrageously healthy, yet I rarely go anywhere that people don’t yell, “Hey, Mr. Dirty Hands!!!”
KC from the Bay Area, CA:
I'm really pleased with how this offseason has played out. I firmly believed Chad Henne deserved a chance to remain the starter when he started putting up 300-yard games, albeit in losses at first, and provided some stability and rhythm for the offense. What will it take for this team to develop the 'killer instinct' necessary to impose its will at the end of games and pull out the close wins?
John: “Killer instinct” is often code for “being good.” For the Jaguars to “get good” on a level of being in games and pulling out close victories against the better teams in the NFL a few things need to happen. The offensive line needs to pass protect effectively throughout games and run-block effectively at the end of games. Henne needs to develop chemistry with at least one receiver to make plays at the end of games, and the Jaguars need to not only get leads at the end of games, but have the pass rush necessary to pressure quarterbacks into mistakes on late drives. That’s no magic formula. Some combination of that is what all teams are seeking.
Larry from Jacksonville:
As to Joe from beautiful Charleston, I think I know this guy. If you just type slower, he'll read slower and everyone gets what they want. And he'll be none the wiser.
John: Cool. Just did.
Sonny from Melbourne, FL:
Answer: Other (Jim Brown).
John: This obviously is in reference to an O-Zone question earlier this week about what running back would you want in a key short-yardage situation. Given a choice between Earl Campbell, Christian Okoye, Adrian Peterson and Bo Jackson, I chose Campbell because he was the best short-yardage back I ever saw. I have seen only highlights and old video of Brown, but based on the opinions of those who saw him you can make an argument that he’s as good at all things running back as anyone who ever played. Therefore, although I’ll stick with Campbell, I don’t argue too vehemently when anyone offers up Jim Brown as the best at something.
Richard from London, Ontario, Canada:
I have possibly convinced my wife to make a trip from the far north to the sunny south that is Jacksonville to see a game this year. Should we make the trip for the home opener or wait for the Texans game in December? I'm only going to make one; the deal I had to cut with the wife was steep, to say the least. By the way how big is your guest room?
John: I once believed I had “possibly convinced” my wife of something … so, I guess I’m just saying I’d double check that before moving forward, I guess.
Brian from Cedar Cliff High School:
Great article on Jaguars.com about Kyle Brady. Kyle and I played on the same football, baseball and wrestling teams and shared many of the same friends. As with most high-school friendships, it faded as time went on. I now live in Ponte Vedra with my family and we are season-ticket holders. I run into Kyle several times a year, mostly at Jaguar games and events. Without hesitation he stops what he is doing and speaks directly and genuinely to me and my children. That is something they soon will not forget. Thank you for the article and recognizing a good man.
John: This is the article. I didn’t write it, but no question Brady’s a good guy.
Ryan from Charlotte, NC:
I may be a little late to the billboard debate but I, for one, loved it. Not just because it was funny, though it was, but because two weeks earlier I was talking with some friends about how much bigger our scoreboards are compared to the ones Bank of America has just put in. I said they were the biggest in the world and was told by everyone that there is no way they’re bigger than the Cowboys’, and no way the Jaguars could afford them if they were. The billboard story got enough traction that most of them saw it and now know. For a team that is ignored or misunderstood by the national media, sometimes it’s OK to create your own buzz, particularly with something that is, well, buzz-worthy.
John: You make a good point. It’s easy for people in Jacksonville – myself, included – to forget that not everyone nationally is as engaged in local goings on as the locals. The fact that the video boards are real and spectacular is well-known in Jacksonville, but the issue has been a blip nationally. The blip has gotten a bit brighter in recent weeks, and that’s a positive.
Bruce from Gotham:
So now that I am in the midst of Khancam withdrawal, I am forced to look at other things Jags like stats. Since Maurice Jones-Drew is now no longer with the team, do you think any running back will break Fred Taylor's team rushing record? With backs being used more in the pass game and having shorter lifespans with the same team, it may hold for a while don't you think?
John: Fred Taylor’s 11,271 yards rushing with the Jaguars indeed is a franchise record that seems destined to last for a long time. A player likely will have to be drafted, be very special and play for a long time with the Jaguars to reach it. He also likely will have to play on a team that’s pretty good for an extended period. All of it without question will be difficult in an era when the run is less-emphasized and when most backs are playing less. But “most backs” won’t be able to challenge a record such as Taylor’s — and wouldn’t have been able to in any era. It will take a special one; that much is evidenced by the fact that as productive and durable as Jones-Drew was he couldn’t get close. All records someday will be broken, so someday a special back will break Taylor’s record, but someday may be a long time from now.
Keith from Summerville, SC:
Gene from Jacksonville used the Pythagorean theorem to argue that the new scoreboards should be visible from Melbourne, Tampa, Tallahassee, Albany, Ga., and Charleston, S.C. This might possibly be true if the world was flat. Sadly, there is a "line-of-sight" problem caused by the curvature of the earth.
John: WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?III?? WHAT. ARE. YOU. SAYING???
Ron from Jacksonville:
Question about the strong-safety position. If Cyprien turns out to be the player they think, is his draft selection considered a steal where he was selected from or appropriate based on the value of the position he plays? Has the position fallen as much as running backs or is it somewhere between running back and say, a run-stopping linebacker?
John: Strong safety – and the safety position, overall – actually seems to be moving the opposite direction of running back in that it is becoming more important. With defending the pass becoming more and more of a priority, strong safeties in general have had to become more athletic and a bit better against the pass. Cyprien certainly fits that. To answer your first question: if Cyprien is the player they think, then he would be a very, very good selection at the top of the second round.
Brian from New Hampshire:
Hey, John, just to let you know: you be as offensive in your response to me as you want. I’d like to think most loyal fans aren’t thin-skinned. Maybe it’s living in New England and getting grief one constantly about being a Jaguars fan. I hope next time they play it’s in New England so I can be there with my Jags jersey laughing when we beat them.
John: Shut up.

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