First, an apology – sort of. The O-Zone was posted later Friday than usual, and some of you may have missed it. There was a brief panic in a few very disturbed circles, a brief gurgling in my corner of the Twitterverse that perhaps the streak was over.
The reason for the late posting was a miscommunication. I was on the road and out of pocket briefly, and when we realized the oversight, the crack team at jaguars.com got it posted – a few hours later than usual, but otherwise none the worse for wear.
So, we offer an apology . . . of sorts – and with that, we move forward.
Let's get to it . . .
Dustin from Jacksonville:
Can Josh Scobee be fined for not attending mini-camp since he isn't technically under any contract?
John: No, he is the designated franchise player and franchise players who have not signed their tenders cannot be fined under the rules of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Tyler from Woodbine, GA:
Adam Vinatieri does not deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. Yes, he made some "clutch" kicks in his career. But how many other kickers you think would make those? I know without a doubt Scobee would have made all of them. He made the Pro Bowl twice, was an All-Pro twice. Is 11th all-time on scoring for kickers. Both game-winning kicks in the Super Bowl were when the teams were tied. I think that takes a little off it as well. Vinatieri is just an above-average kicker who has been put in some fortunate situations.
John: I don't know how many other kickers would have made them. I know VInatieri did. And you don't know that Scobee would have made them, although I – like you – believe strongly that he would have. Sometimes circumstances help etch your name into history. Vinatieri has four Super Bowl rings, and his two Super Bowl-winning kicks – against the Rams following the 2001 season and against Carolina following the 2003 season – will get him in the conversation. Don't forget the game-tying and game-winning kicks in the Tuck Rule game. He also had a five-field goal game in a 15-6 Indianapolis win over Baltimore en route to the Colts' title following the 2006 season. I would say he's better than an above-average kicker, but whatever I say, the reality is making clutch kicks is what counts in the NFL and Vinatieri has made as many season-saving, season-altering kicks for Super Bowl champions as any kicker in recent memory. I wouldn't make a real passionate argument for him, but whatever your argument against, don't be surprised when he gets strong consideration. It's going to happen.
David from Jacksonville:
Can NFL teams have general bonuses for players? For example, every player who has over 1,000 all- purpose yards will get a bonus? Or the team's rushing leader at the end of the season will get a bonus?
John: They could in theory, but it doesn't work that way. Incentive bonuses such as the ones of which you speak are typically written into contracts on a case-by-case basis.
Gary from Broken Arrow, OK:
I visited the Hall of Fame a few years ago. As I walked by the rows of busts and memorabilia, I realized why it is not called the NFL Hall of Pretty Good. When you read the names of former players you cannot help but feel that you are in the presence of greatness. The number of great players today will cause disappointment for many fans in the future because of the limited number inducted each year. When I read the names of the inductees each year, I compare them to the greatest athlete in the hall, Jim Thorpe. Any fan that can stand before that bronze statue and say that the Hall Of Fame is a joke just doesn't understand.
John: People like to tear down institutions such as the Hall of Fame and pick apart the small things that might be wrong. But you're right: the Hall of Fame isn't a joke. The reason you cite is just one, but a big one is the seriousness with which the voters take the process. It's not perfect, but I assure you no one is ever put in casually.
Deven Johnson from Los Angeles, CA:
Do you feel that the Jaguars will trade MJD?
John: I do not.
Ralph from Orange Park, FL:
I attended the Teal rally at Moosehaven and had an opportunity to talk with Gene Smith. I approached him wearing my MJD jersey and said, "I want a new contract." He replied, "I want one too!" Then, he went on to say that "MJD is not only a wonderful football player; he's an even better person." What a nice way to describe your best player despite a contract "dispute" wouldn't you say?
John: Teams and general managers don't dislike players during a contract dispute, and players generally don't have to dislike the teams, either. This is a business. Contract disputes are part of it.
Pulin from Jacksonville:
From what I can tell, the last time a team won the Super Bowl with its best player a running back was the Cowboys and Emmitt Smith (arguable, yes, but that's about as close as it gets). With all the rules changes, you need an excellent quarterback. Not to set off a firestorm, and I promise I love MJD, but I think Gabbert's development is more important than whether MJD ever shows up.
John: If I haven't said that already, I should have.
Joe from Aurora, IL:
I think this season's starting receivers are going to remind me a lot of a pair you have covered - Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne. Hear me out. Both were very good receivers, but in my opinion, neither was a game-changing, play-making beast in the Calvin Johnson-, Larry Fitzgerald-mold, who can take over games. I think Laurent Robinson and Justin Blackmon can both play with similar styles as the Colts' duo. Fans are concerned with who the team's No. 1 receiver will be, but the Colts seemed to do all right without one.
John: I can't say I completely agree with your comparison, but it does have merit. While Harrison wasn't a "beast" he was remarkably effective at getting open consistently and his ability to convert third downs – and his propensity to score double-digit touchdowns consistently certainly made him a true No. 1 receiver. Wayne for a time also was a true No. 1, though again, he wasn't a beast in the sense of Johnson or Fitzgerald. I think that was your point – that you can win without the beast, and you obviously can, but you need at least one receiver that you can rely on consistently to be productive on third downs. As for the Jaguars' receivers, I've long said I see some similarities between Wayne and Blackmon, though they certainly aren't carbon copies. I can't put Robinson on Harrison's level yet, but there certainly are signs that he could be that No. 1 receiver. Time will tell.
Sean from Section 133:
Do you often pose questions to yourself in your answers? Absolutely. Did it bother me at first? Not really. Does it irritate me now? I'm not sure that it does but it might eventually.
John: Do you make a good point? Perhaps. Will I continue to do it? If it gets the point across.
Josh from Jacksonville:
How hard would it be to throw some incentives into Jones-Drew's contract? It seems like it would be what both sides want, MJD gets more for another stellar year and if he doesn't, he is still getting what his contract was originally worth. Don't extend him and play it out this year with incentives, everyone is happy. Why is this so hard?
John: I can't speak for Jones-Drew, because he hasn't said publicly what he wants, but I don't know that incentives are what Jones-Drew is after. Most players who want to renegotiate want guaranteed money and more years on the deal.
Kristian from Belo Horizonte, Brazil:
Oehser [...] is an excellent reporter. (And judge of football.)" - Gregg Rosenthal. What an endorsement, you rarely see that. Now, do you deserve such praise? I hope so - Because I really want to trust that your general optimism is more than simply towing the company line.
John: Well, that was nice of Rosenthal, who recently moved from Pro Football Talk to nfl.com. He was speaking of what I wrote about Gabbert in Friday's Fabulous Four. I don't know that I deserve such praise, but I do know the "optimism" about Gabbert isn't the company line. What I wrote was that he had done about as much as could be expected in the offseason and that he has built a base for the season. I wrote that that doesn't mean much until the regular season. I wrote that that's the general feeling around the Jaguars. Maybe that's the company line, but right now – six weeks before training camp – the feeling absolutely is that Gabbert prepared during the offseason and will be improved.
Corey from Orange Park, FL:
NFL.com released an article complimenting your work and your integrity. It's well deserved. You're our calming voice and our source of reason. No question. Just wanted to give a quick thank you for the streak and the reason you offer.
John: I'm disoriented. These last two emails came back-to-back and were complementary. I'm starting to think I logged into the wrong inbox.