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A strange place

Let's get to it . . . Mark from St. Augustine, FL:
Johnny boy, love your stuff, but I gotta ask: out of all the emails you get for the daily O-zone, how many make you just wanna rip your hair out because of their ignorance or vitriol?
John: As of today, one so far.
Aaron from Jacksonville:
I think Dave pulled out the White Elephant. We understand where he is coming from and your response –while stated with some punch – lacks somehow. Maybe if he was drafted in fourth or fifth round or if we had no other glaring needs we could dare to use a third-round pick on a punter. We just aren't that good yet. That said, it's done and now that we have him here, can't wait to see this young man kick.
John: Actually, that's one of the main reasons the Jaguars did use the third-round pick on a punter – that there are no glaring needs. If you look up and down the roster, where is the glaring need that is going to be filled next season with production from a third-round selection? With the possible exception of backup safety or backup offensive tackle, I don't see it. And frankly, I'm not sure you're going to get a third-round right tackle to come in and be ahead of Cameron Bradfield or Guy Whimper on the depth chart. Certainly not next season. Wide receiver? Tight end? Defensive end? Linebacker? The Jaguars for the first time in a long time weren't in position where they needed to use a third-round pick for someone to come in and start right away. I guess the truth lacks punch. I can't help that, but it's still the truth.
Ryan from Orange Park, FL:
"(Being) arrogant in the face of reality is stupid." I don't know who or where you get these one-liners from, but I think that one is the best we've heard from you so far, O. Well done.
John: When you write every day and throw enough at the wall something's bound to stick and sound relatively intelligent. Don't expect a trend.
Mike from Jacksonville:
All you have to do is look at Victor Cruz to see that a player who did nothing in his first year (and from a small school) can have an impact in his second year.
John: And many, many other players every season.
Robert from the Westside:
Can you supply us with an off-season schedule for team activities prior to the official opening of training camp? Haven't been able to find that anywhere.
John: Organized Team Activities begin next week and will run for the next three weeks. The mandatory veteran mini-camp will then be held June 14-15, after which the team will be off until training camp begins in late July.
Jeff from Section 106:
Turn in your man card for quoting Patrick Swayze – much less ANYthing from Dirty Dancing. Take a day off for crying out loud - it looks like you need it!
John: Don't tell me for a minute that you don't stop and watch Roadhouse when you flip past. And if you do, I'm not sure you deserve a man card of your own.
John from Jacksonville:
Is there much thought in developing the passing skills of a punter in training camp? It seems a valuable asset to have a punter who can also throw the ball to give a team a good Plan B option on the punt play. Also, in regards to our newly drafted punter, the only anger that I want to see on Anger is from the other sideline when he routinely nails punts inside the 5 yard line.
John: Having a punter who can throw is a nice aside. I have never seen a team spend a great deal of time developing that skill and I don't anticipate seeing it any time soon.
Rick from Jacksonville:
You stated that "The Jaguars should be better coached and better prepared this season than last." Is the general feeling among the front office that Gabbert suffered more from poor coaching last year or from a lack of quality preparation time due to the lockout ... or a combination of both?
John: There were many, many factors and like anything in life, it's hard to focus on one thing and say, 'That's it!!!" But yeah, it's safe to say there's a feeling that Gabbert will be coached better and better prepared this season than last. That has to help.
Travis from Jacksonville:
There can be only one Jim Thorpe. First player to have teams change the way they play just for him.
John: Actually, there was more than one Jim Thorpe. This one won the 1982 Canadian PGA Championship.
Tucker from New York, NY:
Be honest, John. Do you see Guy Whimper developing into a productive lineman in the future? I know he was just a rookie last year, but to me he looked more like a turnstile.
John: Whimper was a veteran last season, and he played through a knee injury much of the season. I can't say for sure how much of his struggles was because of the injury, but I do know he played far better before it than he did after. Ideally from the Jaguars' point of view, Whimper will be a backup this season, and if he's a backup, he's a capable one.
Steve from Jacksonville:
Just wanted your take on why the Jags are slow in signing their draft picks, etc. Other teams seem to be moving right along in that area.
John: It means nothing. Some teams get it done fast. Some teams will wait a few weeks or maybe more. If the Jaguars wait until a day before training camp, it will still mean nothing. Because of the rookie salary cap and wage scale, there is no mystery and no time element, either. This is not a race to sign draft picks. The draft selections will be in training camp and that's what matters.
Lawrence from Omaha, NE:
I, too, enjoy cottage cheese. Although I can't eat it on top of a salad, and my wife makes vomit sounds when she watches me eat it...
John: Are you sure she's OK?
Dave from Orange Park, FL:
What is this team's fascination with drafting/signing quarterbacks for other skill positions? It hasn't worked with Zach Miller, didn't work with Matt Jones, and probably won't work with Brown and Forcier! With all of the college players out there, if you need a tight end or wide receiver, then sign a tight end or wide receiver ... not a quarterback!
John: Matt Jones obviously was a terrible situation, but I don't know that him playing quarterback in college was the only factor there. I'd also argue that except for injuries Miller has proved himself worthy of being selected at his spot. As for Brown and Forcier, are we really worried about where a pair of workout invitees played in college? Anything these guys do is a bonus. Keep it in perspective.
Sean from Endicott, NY:
Hey John, I know it's silly to bring up Madden when talking about actual football, but . . .
John: I'm going to go ahead and stop you there. I hope you understand.
Clay from Section 120:
I'll admit I was grumpy when Vic left and I didn't give you a fair chance in the beginning but you've really turned this column into your own. Nice work. My question: If Kampman comes back and says he's 100 percent healthy, would you personally keep him? No doubt he's a difference maker when he plays but he's an expensive loss if he gets injured again. As a small market team, is it worth the risk?
John: I'd keep Kampman if he proves he's 100 percent and effective in training camp. If not, then I think the Jaguars probably will move on. I think Kampman understands that's the nature of the NFL and will understand if that happens. I think he also believes very firmly that he will be back this season and will contribute. I know everyone around the Jaguars wants that to be the case. As for your grumpiness, I appreciate your thoughts, but I must admit I'm not yet that big a fan of yours. Give me time.
Chris from South Orange, NJ:
OK. I'll just come out and say it. I know there's been some debate on this topic and I can tell that you've been wrestling with the decision yourself. But I'm firmly in the camp that you should wait until the last email to reveal the source of the O-Zone title for the day. Honestly, John, it creates an unparalleled drama and intrigue as the reader scrolls down the page in delighted expectation. The Ozone faithful have come to rely on a consistent signal tinged with humor and irony to know when the day's column has come to an end. Please, don't deprive us of that much needed closure. Please, John.
John: You're in a very strange place right now.

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