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O-Zone: Pre-e-e-tty good

Posted Aug 12, 2014

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Dakota from Dupree, SD:
Blake Bortles looked good Friday. Now, I would like to see what he looks like after some bad plays. I’d like to see how he reacts to it. Not bad, rookie. Not bad!
John: This is a good point, and it probably is the next step in Bortles’ development. The good news for the Jaguars is there are plenty of indications he will get high marks here. Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch and Head Coach Gus Bradley said during the on-field portion of the offseason that Bortles had the ability in practice to shake off a difficult play, focus on the next play and execute. Doing that in a game is different than doing it in practice, but there’s no indication that Bortles will be weak in this area.
Richard from Myrte Beacj:
Can we educate our players so they stop saying "At the end of the day" and "You know what I mean?” Sorry … No, I don't know what you mean, ugh.
John: Yes, many Jaguars players – indeed, many people less educated than yourself – use annoying phrases. What’s weird is just as many also know how to spell the names of the cities in which they reside.
Matt from Stroudsburg, PA:
The mic'd up segment of Bortles showed another quality we should keep in mind - he has that leadership quality. His play speaks for itself, but my question is this: how do the coaches incorporate leadership and confidence from teammates into making a decision on who will start?
John: It’s all part of the equation, but remember: Bortles starting will be more about him being ready to play than about leadership and confidence. Those qualities will be there whenever his time comes. The Jaguars want to make sure he’s ready – and that the team is ready to help him succeed – when that time is right.
Damon from Jacksonville:
So what is up with this whole #dtwd thing. What does it stand for?
John: Do the weird dance. No, wait …
Bo from Dresden, NC:
If the 49ers really want to trade Alex Boone, do you think the Jags would look into it?
John: Probably not. Alex Boone is a guard. The Jaguars drafted right guard Brandon Linder in the third round and signed left guard Zane Beadles as an unrestricted free agent. It would be unusual if they gave up draft picks for a player in that same position and followed that by signing the player to a huge contract. Now, Linder worked at center Monday, so if the team thinks that’s his spot permanently, then the equation changes … but probably not enough.
Manning from Calgary, AB:
I know preseason isn't the be-all, end-all some make it out to be, but I'm curious. On a scale of 1-to-10, how important is it for players to go up against a different team? I'd imagine route repetition day in and day out against teammates in practice could eventually become somewhat stagnant as the players would eventually learn each other's habits. Going against a group of guys you've never seen before, even if it's not for real, per se, would be a much-needed breath of fresh air, I'd imagine? Your thoughts, O-Man.
John: I don’t know about a scale of importance, but since you asked: let’s say seven or eight. Preseason games are critical to general managers for evaluation, and going against players unfamiliar with tendencies and plays is one reason for that. Teams could get ready for a regular season without preseason games, I suppose, and personnel officials could evaluate based on practice, but it certainly is the closest thing to a real game in the preparation process, so they’re important.
Matt from Boston, MA:
How would you describe Gus Bradley's coaching style in comparison to other coaches in the league? Or former Jags coaches?
John: I think it’s safe to say Bradley is the most positive, upbeat coach in Jaguars history – and almost certainly the most positive, upbeat coach in the NFL right now. Other coaches are positive, but there aren’t many coaches who adhere to the principles of competition without focusing on winning and losing the way Bradley does. A lot of coaches have core principles and belief systems. None that I’ve been around had as laser-sharp a focus on those principles on a daily basis as Bradley.
Geoff from Orlando and Section 243:
It’s early, but this draft class has a chance to be very special.
John: Sure, and because it’s early it also has a chance to be very average. That’s the great truth of any draft class – that you really can’t judge it until four or five years down the road. But you know what? It’s not four or five years down the road. It’s right now, and right now you’re right: the early indications are very, very good for this class.
Bryan from Tampa, FL:
Which player do you think will lead the Jags in sacks this year?
John: Chris Clemons is the logical answer, but I think the Jaguars probably will have a bunch of guys with five-to-eight sacks as opposed to one or two guys in double digits.
Daniel from Orange, TX:
Am I the only one who thought Bortles was late on a few of his passes Friday? Yes, the passes were completed, but they could have been bigger gains if he hit the receivers sooner. No doubt experience and playing time will help the timing issues. It is truly a good problem to have when you can say a 20-yard completion could have been better.
John: You’re right that it didn’t look as if Bortles played perfectly on Friday. Then again, you weren’t looking for perfection. You were looking for poise, pocket presence, ability to see the field, etc. Now, Gus Bradley was among the first to note that Bortles showed these things against a very vanilla defense, one that blitzed him just once. But all of the things you saw were key things that you have to be a good quarterback. The things he didn’t do are details that can be developed.
Nalen from Faith, SD:
No question, just wanted to let you no that there is only one l in jel.
John: Know problem, there’s actually two in “jell” and one in “gel.” But thank you for reading.
Brian from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
John, when are the first team cuts?
John: Why on earth would the Jaguars cut anyone from their first team? Oh … the first roster cut-down day is after the third preseason game.
Brandon from Section 122:
I wasn't surprised to see Storm Johnson in with Blake in his first series. With their familiarity together, does that give Storm a leg up on Denard Robinson or Jordan Todman? I like all of them but I do not see us keeping four running backs on the regular-season roster. I am way off-base here?
John: Johnson playing with Bortles at Central Florida is an interesting storyline, but I wouldn’t put too much stock in that as a factor for Johnson making the team – or for solidifying his spot on the depth chart. It’s probably too early to say for sure the regular-season running back depth chart. Though it appears right now it’s Gerhart followed by Todman, Johnson and Robinson. Johnson and Robinson appears to be a competition that will play out in the coming weeks. And yes, it’s possible the Jaguars keep four running backs. I wouldn’t rule that out at all.
Martin from Fernandina Beach, FL:
If the Jaguars’ coaching staff wants to see how Blake handles the pressure when blitzed in preseason games, is there any way they could communicate that to the opponent's coaching staff and have them send more blitzes? Would they?
John: They could communicate it, but the response would probably be something like laughter, or, “What? WHO IS THIS?! WHO IS CALLING PLEASE!!!” In short, it probably wouldn’t work out well.
Greg from St. Johns, FL:
The defense looked great Friday night, but the Bears ain’t the Bucs. Do have any specific defensive concerns as we face a much better offensive line, one of the best wide receiver tandems, and a top-tier running back? At least we're game planning this week.
John: Yes, I think the Jaguars are concerned about the defensive line against the Bears’ offensive line, the cornerbacks against the Bears’ receivers and the front seven against a very good running back. It’s a better test. We’ll know more at 10 p.m. Thursday about the Jaguars’ defense than we do now.
Jeremy from Miles City, MT:
First off, why should a quarterback be able to catch passes as good as a wide receiver? That’s like saying a cornerback should shed blocks as good as a defensive end. Not to mention most quarterbacks taking a snap from shotgun don’t look down very long to keep their eyes on the defense. Those were on the center, plain and simple.
John: Yeah, there’s not much debating that.
Zach from Jacsonville:
Namaste, O-Admi! (Hi O-Man!) My name is Zach and I'm going to college this year in Bharuch, Gujarat, India. This pretty much makes me the only Jaguar fan in the country! Anyway, with what limited internet I have here, I was not able to see the game and only slightly view the highlights. If you had to summarize Bortles' play against Tampa Bay, how would you?
John: Sort of like this.

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