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O-Zone: A beautiful mind

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Big on Blake From Philly

Mister Funky Fresh Dizzle Sizzle, our Jags last preseason didn’t seem so impressive and the team went on to a ten-win season and a near-Super Bowl berth. This offseason, training camp and preseason the Men in Teal have performed markedly better in all aspects and most impressively on defense. This team had a really difficult training camp. Period. These men will look the way they’re meant to look when the games matter. Despite some perceived difficulties on offense, I still see this team being an unstoppable force. Last preseason our offensive line looked headed for 0-16 (Logan), but was actually a Top-5 unit. This preseason we’re seeing a consistent offense on vanilla preparation and a world-best defense. With all of the talent on the field and in the headsets, how many weeks until the “Tropical Swarm” lock up the AFC No. 1 seed?

First, I like the “Tropical Swarm” nickname. Then again, I like burlap underwear. As for how early the Jaguars will be “locking up the No. 1 seed,” let’s keep some perspective. Yes, they’re capable of such a season. Their talent absolutely gives them the chance to do that. But finishing with the best record in the conference often also requires good fortune in terms of injuries and perhaps some good fortune on game days – and it’s usually not decided until very late in what typically is a grueling season full of stops, starts and adversity. There are a lot of weeks between now and then. That sounds a touch like Coach Speak, I know, but a team can have a great season – i.e., 13-3 or 12-4 – and not secure the No. 1 seed. A team can get to the Super Bowl without a No. 1 seed. It’s not something to be assumed, and that’s true no matter what the talent level of a roster or a potential of a team.

Paul from Jacksonville

"That's the price for art, Lamping?" Is Lamping even aware your access card still works?

Apparently not.

Javier from Sicklerville

How do you think the drafted and undrafted rookies have fared so far this offseason/preseason?

They a-ight.

Danny Boy from Can-tuck-ee

In regards to the helmet rule, wouldn't it just be easiest to make automatic review – i.e., Jaguar A gets flagged for helmet rule, review officials immediately start checking whether it’s warranted or not? That allows the refs to try to protect the players without teams and players saying the refs are killing the game. Just curious to your thoughts.

The league, if at all possible, wants to games being stopped over and over again to go to replay. I’m not saying yours isn’t a valid point, but that’s the pushback when people start talking about making situations “automatically reviewable.”

Kasey from Miami, FL

Has the NFL ever completed a survey asking players if they would rather be hit higher or lower? It seems like most players would rather get hit up high than get their legs taken out, doesn't it? I know brain injuries are more serious than anything, but don't they take the players opinion into count?

I’ve never seen such a survey, but active players almost always prefer to get hit high rather than low. Players’ short-term concerns typically will focus on their knees, because those are the tougher injuries to come back from in the short term. Players who are playing naturally are often not going to be as concerned about the long-term effect of concussions because those effects reportedly often aren’t seen for years. This is a case where the NFL Players Association and NFL has an obligation to protect players from themselves.

Richard from Jacksonville

What was the rush to cut Allen Hurns back in March? It sure would be nice to have a proven 1,000-yard receiver available after the Marqise Lee injury. I know the Jaguars liked their younger receivers, but why not wait until early September to cut Hurns, once it's proven through competition he wouldn't be among their top four or five wide receivers?

The Jaguars released Hurns because they had seen enough to know they wanted to go a different direction.

Jason from Da’ Hass

John, what's with the uniform hate? When did uniforms dictate how the team plays? When was uniform design so incredibly "important?" Will borders around the numbers increase Yannick Ngakoue’s sacks total? Will a more aesthetically pleasing uniform help Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles throw more touchdowns this year? Solid no from me champ. Are the uniforms a little boring? Perhaps, but they'll be much more exciting to look at while the Jaguars are wreaking havoc on the gridiron! Wooooo! GO JAGUARS!

I like combination of teal and white the Jaguars have worn in Preseasons Weeks 1 and 3, and I liked the white on white they wore in Week 2. Generally speaking, I like most NFL uniforms because I can’t work up enough passion to hate them. A lot of fans disagreed with me on the white on white. A lot of fans agreed with me. I tend to like the latter group of fans because I like to be agreed with.

Larry from Duncan, OK

Will the Jaguars keep an extra tight end instead of a fullback on the 53-man roster?

I expect Jaguars fullback Tommy Bohanon to be on the roster.

Carter from Fernandina Beach, FL

John, one name I can't recall hearing anything about this summer is fourth-rounder Will Richardson from N.C. State. There seemed to be high hopes for him to replace Jermey Parnell in the next few years at right tackle. How has he looked through camp and so far this preseason?

I would call the grade on Richardson incomplete, which is the grade I would expect for a fourth-round tackle after his first training camp. He missed some time – and the first preseason game – with a shoulder injury, and he is listed as the co-backup right tackle with William Poehls. When I’ve watched Richardson he has appeared to need developing in footwork and technique before he handles NFL pass rushers effectively. That’s common and expected. Richardson wasn’t drafted to start immediately. If teams believed him ready for that, he would have been selected far earlier in the draft.

MrPadre from St. Marys, GA

I think people don’t realize that “all” quarterbacks throw interceptions and some of them look pretty bad doing it. These folks need to understand that Blake’s seem much worse because he is “our” quarterback and we see all of them – and they mean more to us than the ugly ones that, say, Nick Foles threw the other night.

Fans and observers absolutely see the flaws in their own team far more than the flaws in others. It doesn’t mean they aren’t correct about the flaws. It does mean their reactions and emotions involving certain players sometimes aren’t as reasonable as someone with more perspective. And it means fans are gonna fan.

Bill from Ponte Vedra, FL

Any of Bortles' detractors know how many picks he threw in the red zone last year? They should look it up.

Fair point.

Sid from Sidsonville

Last year New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski speared a player who was down after the play was whistled dead. He received a game suspension, but no fine. Yannick did a questionable celebratory post sack dance and gets fined $13,000. What up with that?

The NFL doesn’t explain its fine system, but it should be noted that Gronkowski’s suspension cost him a game check. If that’s not a substantial fine, then his agent’s got some ‘splainin’ to do. As for Ngakoue’s fine, it didn’t seem all that fair. But life isn’t fair. Do we expect the NFL’s fine system to be different?

Dan from Norfolk, VA

Johnny O, What you know?

What?

Steve from Jacksonville

John,

Steve,

Kyle from Noblesville, IN and the Mean Streets of Arlington

When can we stop feeding into Jerell’s ego? And we have three backs you recently described as a three-headed weapon (proof I am the guy who reads this great q&a), do you think we will be running any triple option wishbone?

You know when we’ll stop feeding into Jerell’s ego? When I SAY we stop feeding into Jerell’s ego. Jerell is one of the top self-appointed football minds of our time, and if he wrote about more topics than football I feel safe in assuming we would drop “football” from that statement and just assume we are blessed to read his insights. Stop feeding Jerell’s ego? Nay, I dare say we are among the fortunate few to read to be in the man’s presence. As for running the triple option, I doubt offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett will go that far. I do expect Hackett to continue employing the multi-back, test-the-edge looks we saw from the Jaguars’ offense – just as I expect Bortles to continue being the guy distributing the ball in this offense. And that last part will remain true no matter what the aforementioned top football minds might say.

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