JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …
Sherick from Jacksonville:
Why don't the wide receivers who were stars in college with impressive stats or accolades necessarily translate to the NFL? (See Jarrett Dillard).
John: It’s essentially for the same reason many big-time, productive college players at any position struggle once they get to the NFL; it’s just more pronounced and noticeable because wide receivers have statistics by which to measure them. The game is simply different and more challenging with a slimmer margin for error at the professional level. A wide receiver, in the specific case raised by your question, can put up huge numbers in college because he’s able to get open against college defensive backs who might not be able to make the jump to the next level. The difference between getting open in the NFL often is a half a step, or the slightest edge in a route. If a receiver lacks the quickness or route-running ability to get open at that level then he’s going to struggle against all teams because all NFL teams have cornerbacks who are significantly better than most of the players he played in college.
Ryan from Jacksonville:
What's up, O? I'm going off to college. Just making sure you can keep me updated with all Jaguar-related things while I'm gone! I'm terrified of all the Buccaneer-related things I am about to encounter in Tampa, so please help keep my sanity.
John: Just read, baby – and all kidding aside … study, enjoy and savor this time. You never get it back.
Rod from Jacksonville:
So were you ever the teacher's pet?
John: No, but I was honor pledge for Sigma Nu Epsilon Zeta pledge class, spring 1985. I wasn’t a teacher’s pet, exactly, but at one time I knew the Greek alphabet well enough that I almost certainly was pretty annoying to those around me.
Brandon from Duval:
#Tonguegate is in full effect. Can we call him Blake the Snake because he sticks out his tongue and senses his receivers that way?
John: And away we go.
Thrill from Section 236:
Just catching up on the weekend O-Zone. You wrote, "Players sense phoniness." That's a bunch of Mularkey. (See what I did there?)
John: No, what?
Shane from Pensacola, FL:
What will Denard Robinson
be listed as this season? Running Back or Offensive Weapon? Do you think there will be some trick handoff plays where he throws the ball?
John: He’ll be listed as a running back, and as for trick handoff plays … well, I could tell you, but if I did, they wouldn’t be too tricky or surprising, now, would they?
Chris from Niagara Falls, Ontario:
I drink the fantasy Kool-aid like everyone else and enjoy it very much. I don't enjoy it as much as cheering for the Jags or the game of football itself, though. I know it attracts fans to the NFL, which is positive, but do you see any negatives? Thanks.
John: There are no negatives on the field. The NFL is still played and coached by professional, talented players motivated by winning more than any “fantasies” people may attach to their performance. The positives are overwhelming. It attracts fans, keeps them engaged and without a doubt creates interest where otherwise there might be none. The only negative is that fans often judge a player based on his fantasy value rather than his actual worth – and sometimes those two things can be very different. But if the worst thing that happens is fans misjudging players … well, that’s going to happen in reality just as much as fantasy.
Nick from London, England:
Surely the streak must end this Dead Zone? Wouldn't Mrs. O-Zone like a vacation? Or does she vacation without you to ensure a proper rest?
John: Mrs. O-Zone’s idea of a vacation is time away from O-Zone. She shares the belief of the mass majority, which is that definitely is such a thing as “too much O-Zone.” She also knows from experience that that point is easily reached.
Calvin from Monticello, FL:
Johnny O...I recently received a text from my friend in which she posed a question and ended it with ?!? She claims it means intense questioning. As you are the master of grammar..is this true?
John: I, think so..
Dakota from Dupree, SD:
You wrote the other day that, "at minimum the Jaguars should be better at the running back position". Are you being so bold as to say that Toby Gerhart
is better than MJD? Just wondering what you meant O-man.
John: Gerhart is a fifth-year veteran entering who should be in the prime of his career. He has yet to have significant injury in the NFL. Jones-Drew is a nine-year veteran who does not appear to be entering the prime of his career. He also has dealt with some significant injuries in recent seasons. It’s hard to imagine Gerhart will have the overall career that Jones-Drew had – although it’s not out of the question – but it’s not hard to argue Gerhart will be the better back right now.
Andy from St. Johns, FL:
This is the problem with the Dead Zone, O-Zone. Everyone lays off a little bit and the quality of question-asking and the question-answering by you goes down a level. Blake as Michael Jordon? JP is more handsome in person? The plural of Leo is Lea? I mean O-Zone, are we going to be subjected to questions/answers like this for the next month, or are you going to get back to answering the hard-hitting questions that makes the O-Zone great? With that said, do you think the Jaguars will sign Tim Tebow to a FA contract for the upcoming Training Camp?
John: All right, Jags.
Jack from Chicago, IL:
The best Seinfeld moment has to be "no, I mentioned the bisque.”
John: And you want to be my latex salesman.
Ken from Jacksonville:
Any chance Tebow could be the third quarterback?
John: For what team?
Al from Orange Park, FL:
In the "modern" NFL, I see the fullback role being closer to that of a tight end than that of a running back. Do you see that as accurate?
John: I’d say it’s accurate if you’re referring to a blocking tight end rather than a receiving tight end – and overall, yes, the positions are probably pretty similar. Tight end seems to be more of a position that will evolve and have staying power. I believe a lot of teams will have a fullback role in the future, but you could also see offenses develop that minimize it to the point where it’s not in the scheme.
Jason from Tallahassee, FL:
Big O...what's been your most memorable moment covering the Jags?
John: Easy – and really, not close. Denver, January 1997.
Jason from Jacksonville:
This time every year, every team is positive. Every player claims to love the direction of their team and is in the place he wants to be...but you know that is not always true. The biggest reason I believe this team is Marcedes Lewis
. For most of his career he stayed in California during the offseason and would rarely be in Jacksonville. This season he went above and beyond to fly back and forth across the country when he did not have to. That speaks volumes. They are walking the walk.
John: I was struck by Lewis’ approach in the offseason, too. I’ve never known Lewis to not be around in the offseason, but I’ve only covered him four offseasons and one of those was in 2011 – the lockout season. I do know that Lewis is as completely bought-in as I’ve seen him and I know you can’t fake his approach this offseason. And yes, it’s reflective of how the locker room feels about Gus Bradley and the organizational approach. Now, part of that is because this is a new situation and there has been a lot of turnover. Competition means competing for jobs, and players know that. But a bigger part of it is that players are enjoying what’s going on and they want to be a part of it.
Dan from Jacksonville:
In the interest of helping the team with their salary cap, I to would be willing to sign for 500k and get cut. #sacrifice
John: You’re a big man, Dan. Anyone can see that.
Ryan from Toronto, Ontario:
Setting aside the debate on our 16-game record, do you think it's possible for us to go 4-2 or maybe even 5-1 in the division?
Jared from O-Town:
Hey, John-O. I heard once that you can dance if you want to and that you can leave your friends behind. Cause your friends don't dance, and if they don't dance, well they're no friends of yours. Have you found this to be true?
John: Yes. What I also learned in this crazy time we call life is that we can go where we want to, a place where they will never find, and we can act like we come from out of this world and leave the real one far behind.