Let's get to it . . .
Lance from Jacksonville:
Defensive end > Defensive tackle. Just thought I'd pass on some useful knowledge. Word to the O-Zone, homey.
John: I'm not as versed in less-than, greater-than technical communication as I should be, but it seems you're saying defensive end is more important than defensive tackle and that you're saying it as an inarguable fact. While I'm the first to say you have to have a pass rusher, it's not nearly so simple as your four-word, one-symbol message. You must have a pass rusher on the edge, but to play good or great defense, you also have to be strong up the middle. If you're not strong there, your pass rushers/ends can be more-easily double teamed and you don't get into passing situations that allow defensive ends to excel. I'd use =, but not sure I'd use >.
Michal from Gainesville, FL:
Is Roy kidding? Boselli handled perennial All-Pro Bruce Smith as a rookie and Jason Taylor in his prime. The list goes on. Pierre who?
John: It's easy to forget a decade after he left football how dominant Boselli was during his time with the Jaguars. He was one of the best – if not THE best – left tackle during perhaps the golden era of the position. I get a little weary of praising Boselli. He likes himself enough as it is. But the truth is the truth.
Tyler from Neptune Beach, FL:
O-Man, in your mind, who are the top five Jaguars of all time?
John: Boselli, Fred Taylor, Jimmy Smith, Maurice Jones-Drew and Keenan McCardell.
Bill from Woodbury, MN:
With respect to Edward's question regarding the Dead Zone, I do not think he was referring to the end of the O-Zone streak – even though it would be an appropriate label for when it happens. I believe he was referring to what Ric would describe as the time in between mini-camp and training camp when the NFL is pretty quiet; coaches take the one vacation they can get, the combine is done, free agency is all but finished, and those of us clamoring for the next breaking headline spend a few weeks in withdrawal. Hardcore fans hate the Dead Zone because we have nothing to feed the frenzy, so we take to drinking more beer.
John: Yep. I missed that one, and thanks for all who pointed out my error. My ego knows no bounds, so I assumed the question referred to me. And who knows? Maybe the end of the streak and the Dead Zone will indeed be one and the same.
Jonathan from Fort Irwin, CA:
Just a quick reminder for those who question the Alualu pick: defensive tackle is the first line of defense. This means that they are the closest defender to the ball at the time of the snap. Guess who is in the top 10 for tackles at the DT spot? That's right, Tyson Alualu. He is doing his job and apparently he does it better than most other defensive tackles. Have I been heard?
John: Indeed you have. You might be hard to hear among the din, but you have been heard.
Zach from Colorado Springs, CO:
I understand the Jaguars have a bunch of cap space. Will they have enough left over to re-sign core guys next year such as Eben Britton, Terrance Knighton, Derek Cox and Rashad Jennings?
John: I don't know that I'd put all four players in the "core, must-sign" level yet. If all four players play at a high level next year, that could change, and in that case, having the room to re-sign all four could be problematic. But, oh, what a problem to have, huh?
Dave from Section 412 and Jacksonville:
I was trying to be conversational when out with some friends and somehow committed to run the River Run. I run like an African silver-back gorilla and I am in no kind of shape for physical fitness. What would you do?
John: Easy. I would simply do what I usually do when faced with a task that requires commitment, dedication and effort. I would try to lie my way out of it, and failing that, pretend to be sick.
Paul from Jacksonville:
Looking back at last year's free agency signings, it was a remarkable period of time for the Jags. Do you think it's possible to repeat that kind of impact in this year's FA period? Is it realistic to expect to impact our offense this year as dramatically as we impacted our defense last year?
John: Yes, and no. I don't think you'll see the number of free-agent signees offensively this season as you had on defense last season. Can the free-agent signings have a dramatic impact? Yes, I do believe that's possible.
Brian from Jacksonville and Section 230:
Did you ever have a chance to work with Hugh Douglas? I always admired his motivation and determination when he was here and Jacksonville. Is he as great of a person off the field as he was on the field?
John: No, I've never been that lucky, but I – like you – have admired him from afar.
Ray from Corpus Christi, TX and stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany:
O-man, long time reader from back in the "Rick" days (published twice by Rick). A word of caution: finding talent in free agency is great, but this is a team sport and lots of great players don't always make a great team. Let's hope Gene makes smart moves that benefit the team. Second, Gruden is like Madden: I respect both for what that they have done in and for the NFL but I really can't stand either one when it comes to working in the booth. They are the perfect example of being Mr. Obvious as well as liking certain players a little too much. They both get on my nerves.
John: I don't think you need to worry about Smith making smart moves in free agency. While free agency is by its nature a risky, high-priced avenue through which to procure talent, Smith approached it in a safe and least-risky way as possible last off-season – i.e., by not trying to play fantasy football and signing the biggest names, but by signing players that made sense for the Jaguars' situation. I suspect that will be his approach this off-season. There's nothing wrong with making a play for a big name if he fits what you need, but there's also nothing wrong with signing someone few have heard of if he's the right guy, either. A lot of people knew about Paul Posluszny last off-season, for example, while fewer had heard much about Drew Coleman and Dwight Lowery, but all three were successful free-agent signings. As for Madden and Gruden, I wouldn't mention Gruden with Madden. In his prime as a broadcaster, Madden was as good as I've ever heard and educated and entertained at the same time. Toward the end of his career, he was a bit much, but he still was very good – and good for the league. I think Gruden's good, but not an all-time great.
Chris from Osan AB, Korea:
With the report that Garrard will be healthy and ready to play next season, do you think the Jags may look at resigning him even if it is for a backup role / mentor type of a position to Gabbert? Or have the Jags completely moved passed Garrard? I liked David because he had good pocket awareness, he was hard to take down, he wouldn't be afraid to take a hit, and he could make the throws when it mattered. What do you think?
John: I think in most cases – particularly cases of quarterbacks – once you move on you don't look back.
David from Jacksonville:
I just had the feeling that Jerry Sullivan's expertise as a wide receiver coach involved only maximizing on already made all-star talent. What are your thoughts on him improving the young receiving core of the Jaguars, or was this move made with a free agent signing in mind?
John: The best coaches are, in essence, teachers, and teachers are best measured on how they work with all students, not just the best ones. Sullivan was brought in to work with the entire receiving corps, and that will include the Jaguars' current receivers as well as any free agents or rookies acquired.
John from Kingsland, GA:
Can you at least give us the unofficial O-Zone poll regarding black uniforms? Does the fan base seem to be in favor of it, or not? I, for one, am disgusted by the idea of such a non-descript color, and the idea of losing our primary color because of it, but maybe I'm alone?
John: You're not alone. It's probably split, with many excited about the idea of black jerseys and others worried about losing the teal. I've said before, I'm more of a helmet guy than a uniform guy, but my guess is the design won't be non-descript. The idea is to design something decidedly descript and while there may be some resistance to change I prefer to wait until I see the results to judge.
Charles from Midlothian, VA and far from Section 216:
With everyone singing your praises you would think you're working a 70 hours week by doing the O-Zone on Saturday and Sunday. Little do they know you do it in 15 minutes in your underwear on the couch.
John: Shhh, and let's not spend much time on that visual.
A somewhat disturbing visual
Let's get to it . . .
Lance from Jacksonville: