Me and my people

Let's get to it . . . Trevor from Jacksonville:
No Oklahoma? BOO-Urns!!
John: As most readers now know, Jaguars Head Coach Mike Mularkey said this week he will not run the Oklahoma Drill in training camp. Many O-Zone readers are quite fond of the drill, which became a tradition under former Head Coach Jack Del Rio. With that in mind, I decided to run a lot of the Oklahoma reaction emails on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. It seemed a fitting time to let people express their feelings and remember a drill that some loved very much and looked forward to each training camp. So that's why we ran, "Boo-Urns" in the O-Zone.
Christopher from Fayetteville, NC:
I'm sure people are all aghast that Coach Mularkey decided not to run the Oklahoma Drill in training camp. I for one am glad. It lets me keep that memory for Coach Del Rio. Love or hate JDR, he won everyone over each summer with the Oklahoma.
John: You know what? That's probably the best perspective I've heard yet on the Oklahoma Drill. And as you said, love Del Rio or not – and love the Oklahoma Drill or not – it was very much a tradition of its era. It's fitting in a way to let it be associated with Del Rio's time here. All things end, and as you said, the drill ending now lets people associate it with a certain time in the franchise's history.
Carl from Jacksonville:
I submitted a question the other day asking about the Oklahoma in camp but didn't see a response until I saw the section about it in the recent Inside the Jaguars. Whether true or not, I'm just going to tell everyone I know that my question contributed to an actual column on the website and not just a post in the O-Zone. I have to admit I'm sad to see it go, though. It became a nice little tradition to watch the Oklahoma each year. It was fun.
John: Go with that, Carl. Whatever helps you sleep.
Kevin froim Jacksonville:
Coach Mularkey should reconsider not opening camp with the Oklahoma Drill because it really is a fan favorite and many fans are very disappointed that one of our young traditions is being taken away. Do you think coach Mularkey knows how big of an event the Jags' Oklahoma drill has become? Also do you think he might reconsider under enough pressure from the fans?
John: I do think he knows, and no, I do not think he will reconsider. Nor should he. Mularkey's job is to prepare the team for the season. The Oklahoma Drill, while popular, didn't really do much to prepare the team for the season and put players at risk of injury. Its time is past. Del Rio made the unconventional choice to run the Oklahoma Drill, and it's not surprising Mularkey's not continuing it. Very few coaches would have kept it.
David from Waxahachie, TX:
When is the deadline for the Jaguars to sign their draft picks?
John: There's no real deadline except that players must be signed before they participate in training camp. I'd expect the Jaguars' draft selections to be signed well before that.
Ross from Jacksonville:
NFL.com recently ranked starting quarterbacks from 1-32. Gabbert did not make the list, and Henne sat at 32. I think we can count on one hand the people that still believe in him. How many chances is he going to get this season before he's benched??
John: The only people whose opinions matter are those who work for the Jaguars' organization. Let that sink in a while. One hand, two hands, eight hands – the opinion on Gabbert outside the organization is meaningless. He will be given time to develop. He is the Jaguars' starting quarterback and will be that unless Henne beats him out. That will be determined by many factors, not one or two performances.
Gaetano from San Diego, CA:
If I were the GM of the Jaguars I would probably be making football decisions and not reading the O-Zone. For all the GM's out there.
John: My goodness -- me, either.
Blake from Jacksonville:
I'm 27 and reading a question from a 17-year old made me feel old. I remember 10 years ago saying those exact words and vowing to become a season-ticket owner once I got a job. I purchased season tickets after I graduated, then got a new job in Miami, but I am going on my third season as a ticket owner and just signed up for three more years. My girlfriend doesn't entirely understand why I maintain two season tickets even though we only make about five games. I guess I just wanted to own tickets for so long that now that I have them I couldn't imagine giving them up, even if I only made two games a year.
John: On your shoulders and others with your passion will the future of the Jaguars be built.
John from Jacksonville:
How hard will it be to coach the special teams punt group to not tackle the returner and walk off the field before the ball that Anger punted returns to the ground?
John: You joke, and that's obviously an exaggeration, but something close to that actually almost occurred in a practice this week. Anger 's punt traveled high enough and far enough that the coverage was down quickly and had to change angles to avoid reaching the returner too fast. Anger didn't do that every time this week, and Mularkey talked a lot about Anger needing to be more consistent, but kicking too high and too far is a good problem.
Joe from Pontypridd, Wales, UK:
I'm a police officer and today I was working on the route of the Olympic torch relay in the city that I'm based (Cardiff) - just wondering, do you foresee a future in which football is ever an Olympic sport? Also, let Aaron Ross know that he and his wife are going to have a great time over in the UK.
John: It will be a long, long time before football is an Olympic sport – likely not in our lifetimes. Football not only has been slow to catch on in any significant way overseas, it also hasn't produced anything close to the number or level of players to compete with the United States. Should that happen – and it could, eventually – there would be the obvious barrier of injuries. As reluctant as owners of baseball and basketball teams are to allow their athletes to compete internationally, football owners would understandably be even more averse to allowing their athletes to play outside of their season. Not everything has to be Olympic sports. We get football every year. Let the Olympics have their 16 days every four years.
Greg from Orange Park, FL and Section 101:
Check the top of your head, that's where my dad's usually are.
John: Mine, too.
Brandon from Starkville, MS:
I think that the modern game will leave Gabbert without a chance to maximize his greatest asset - his mind. I'm watching an NFL Films presentation on the 1978 Steelers and they just mentioned how Bradshaw was "one of the few that called his own plays." Wouldn't Gabbert's "beautiful mind" have come in a little more handy back then?
John: Perhaps, but if a quarterback is capable of seeing plays and getting the offense in and out of good and bad situations a good offensive coordinator can design a scheme to use that strength. See Peyton Manning. I don't know that Gabbert will call a lot of his own plays this season, but over the long-term it's certainly a possibility.
Michael from Jonesboro, GA:
Do several teams pay for Refs to watch OTAs or is that a Jaguars exclusive this year? This is the first I have heard of a team doing so.
John: It's common for teams to pay officials for OTAs, mini-camps and/or training camps. I haven't heard of a team doing it every day in OTAs, which Mularkey plans to do, but he's putting a huge emphasis eliminating preventable, pre-snap penalties and the presence of the officials is a way of making clear the importance.
Dane from Jacksonville:
Why were Steve Spurrier, Kerwin Bell, and Reggie Barlow invited to the Jaguars' practice today? Is there interest in them as potential assistants or was this just for posterity's sake?
John: It's not uncommon for college coaches to visit NFL teams in the off-season. I don't see Spurrier coaching in the NFL as an assistant or otherwise anytime soon. As for Bell and Barlow, you never know, but that wasn't the purpose of their visits this week.
Jerod from Point Pleasant, WV:
John, do you forgive some of the boneheaded fans who post in your inbox? Trust you do. "People talking without speaking. People hearing without listening..."
John: Forgive? What's to forgive? The people who post to the inbox are passionate Jaguars fans who care enough about the team to put up with my obvious, trite attempts at humor, sometimes sloppy spelling and ill-informed opinions on football. You call them boneheaded fans? These are my people.

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