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O-Zone: A champion's way

JACKSONVILLE – Players report in a week. Al-most … there …

Let's get to it … Andy from St. Johns, FL:
Let's say Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones took offense to the Jaguars' billboard about having the largest video boards in the world – and let's say Jones expanded the boards in Dallas this offseason to be larger than the Jaguars' boards at EverBank Field. Is there room to expand the current video boards and do you think Shad Khan would respond and expand the boards so we still would lay the claim of having the largest video scoreboards in the world?
John: Ha. I seriously doubt it. The core reasons for installing the video boards were to enhance the fan experience in Jacksonville and to help give EverBank Field its own unique look and feel. The cabanas and the pools also contribute to the equation. When people see the enhancements they'll realize that the mission was accomplished. An enjoyable perk of the improvements indeed is having league-wide bragging rights, but the thing about building the biggest version of anything is that someone's going to build something bigger. You can't invest all of your resources into making sure you keep the title, no matter how cool the title.
Scott from Aurora, IL:
I'm too young to remember Walter Payton. How was he as a goal-line runner?
John: Exceptional. He not only could run around and over defenders; his athleticism enabled him to dive over the top of the line of scrimmage. Many running backs try this approach. Few were as good at is as Payton.
Justin from Little Rock, AR:
The most athletic NFL player of all-time has to be Bo Jackson. If you have any doubts, watch ESPN's 30 for 30: You Don't Know Bo.
John: You're getting into a dangerous area when you single out one player as the Most Athletic Player in NFL History. You're talking about a league that has long featured some of the greatest athletes in the world, and I wouldn't bet anything of value that there weren't at some point athletes on a par with Bo Jackson. At the same time, if I were forced to make an argument for the player I considered the greatest athlete in NFL history, Jackson would have to be on my list. And it would be a very short list.
Paul from North Dakota:
Say John, how much pressure is on the organization to have the offensive line perform at a high level? Seems like the season is going to depend on how well those guys can perform.
John: There indeed will be pressure on the Jaguars' offensive line to perform well this season, but I don't know how much more it will be than most other teams in most other seasons. Most teams need their offensive lines to play well. Offensive lines with quarterbacks who are exceptional getting rid of the ball quickly – the Broncos with Peyton Manning, the Packers with Aaron Rodgers, etc. – may not have quite the pressure, but most teams need their offensive line to play well to be effective offensively.
Darius from New Milford, NJ:
Thanks to the Bold City Brigade, which I am now a member of (pending delivery of my membership package). When you started this column those "few" days ago, did you ever imagine that you would have the tremendous impact that you've had on readers/strangers/Jaguar fans?? You're almost like a hero, writing the herO-Zone.
John: Almost?
Tim from Jacksonville:
In regards to Mike Brewster, he said in a recent interview that he gained the weight and strength needed to play center at the NFL level. I know he still has to prove himself the starter in training camp, but is the focus now more on his mental and play-calling development than his strength and conditioning?
John: Brewster probably will have to work each offseason to maintain and even improve his weight and strength. It has been enough of an issue for him that I imagine it will be a constant focus as long as he plays in the NFL. As for the focus for Brewster in the short-term, yes, it will shift a bit more to the mental side and play-calling. Training camp is upon us, and that's what training camp is about. You have to stay in condition during the season, of course, but the time for significant weight and strength preparation is the offseason.
Dean from Rochester, NY:
I was at the playoff game in Buffalo following the 1996 season, and it was my first Jags game ever. My roommates and pretty much everyone I knew were rabid Bills fans. I may have imbibed a bit too much before the game. I have very limited memory of most of it. I was of course fully decked out in Jags gear (original logo, even). The abuse I took was heavy before, and during the game, to the point where I was being chased by security through the halls. After I finally lost them, I couldn't remember what section my seat was in and I kept wandering around the stadium popping out of every tunnel looking for my section. The last time I did it, there were people all over the field and I remember thinking what are all these people doing on the field?!? There's a football game going on!! The game was over. We had won. I got out of there as quickly as I could without getting killed. That was the quietest, most somber Bills crowd I've ever heard before and since.
John: Did you go to Denver?
Seth from Omaha, NE:
I was out jogging in the wee hours in Nebraska and saw bright lights in the distance. I thought man, those video boards are cool, I like them. Then the lights got bigger, then I woke up in the hospital. Moral of the story: sometimes bright lights are not the new video boards; sometimes they are a truck about to run you over.
John: #Shadricksighting
Papadoc from St. Augustine, FL:
Chad Henne is our starter in the regular season, but in preseason, do they play him for, say, one quarter to work on his timing with the new rookies? My real question is about backup quarterbacks. Will we see Ricky Stanzi and Stephen Morris for most of the preseason? Also, do they squeeze in Blake Bortles here and there to give him the real feel of the NFL pros. Do we take that chance?
John: The Jaguars won't finalize preseason playing time for quarterbacks or any other players for that matter until a few days before each preseason game. That said, there's little indication that the Jaguars this preseason wouldn't handle the quarterback rotation in relatively routine fashion. If they do that, then Chad Henne should start the first three games and perhaps the fourth, playing a bit more each week and probably playing into the second half in the third preseason game. Bortles as the backup likely would play, say, a little more than a quarter in the first game and increase after that, perhaps finishing the third preseason game and getting a chance to start. Stanzi could get significant time in the first, a series or so in the second and maybe a quarter in the fourth with Morris playing a series or so total in the first three games and perhaps finishing the fourth preseason game. That won't be exact, but that's an example of how a team would normally handle a quarterback rotation in the preseason and there's no reason to think the Jaguars will go all wacky and crazy with their approach this preseason.
Charles from Bangalore, India:
John, he wasn't pretty like Marcus Allen, but he was almost a sure thing at the goal line. Larry Csonka. Super dependable on third down too!
John: Yes.
Brandon from Riverside:
Best short-yardage specialist? William Perry. That is all.
John: Eight carries. That was all.
Geoff from Orlando, FL:
Pertaining to the bit, is one chomping at it or champing at it? Thought I'd ask a "professional writer."
John: The original phrase is "champing at the bit," a reference to a horse impatiently biting – or "champing" – at a metal "bit" meant to control the horse. Because "chomping" means roughly the same thing as "champing," many people now write "chomping" rather than "champing." Because of the way language evolves, it probably will veer more toward "chomp," because while people still refer to "chomping" in daily conversation, I can't remember the last time I used "champ." No … wait … I do actually remember using it when I used to dominate my son in "Chutes and Ladders," but that was when I was strutting around the living room, arms raised and chortling, "Yes, I am the champ and YOU ARE NOT!" as he fruitlessly fought four-year-old tears to the sound of me yelling, "WHOA!!! NO-O-O-O CRYING!!!" That, of course, is a different-sounding and different-meaning "champ" and I only bring it up here because those were good times for old Johnny O. Good times.

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