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O-Zone: A cool format

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Kevin from Palatka, FL:
With Dante Fowler Jr. out for the year before he signed his contract, could the Jaguars have done it differently? Could they have offered him a five-year contract with the last four years at a higher-scale guaranteed, and a lower pay scale the first year? This way we have him under contract to play four years. Or are they bound to a four-year deal? It sucks we get him in first round and only get to play him three years before he turns free agent. But anyway … I'm glad he's DUVAL . #DTWD
John: The Jaguars indeed signed Dante Fowler Jr. to his rookie contract last week four days after he was almost certainly lost for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. The contract he signed was a guaranteed four-year deal worth $23.5 million that was essentially the same as that which Fowler would have signed had he not been injured. That's in keeping with the agreement Fowler and all NFL rookies sign with teams that says teams will negotiate in good faith if a player is injured while practicing without a contract. The Jaguars could have offered to structure the money in Fowler's deal a bit differently, but because he was a first-round selection, they were locked into the format for all first-round draft selections. That's a four-year deal with a team option for the fifth year. And yes, Fowler's injury means he potentially could play one less year before becoming a free agent. But that's a standard scenario in a sport in which season-ending injuries – although not exactly common – are far from unexpected, so it's pretty much part of the deal.
Dwayne from Section 408 and Jagsonville:
O-Man, I know you said one more day of #DTWD talk, but let's be honest: It's #DTWD yesterday, today, tomorrow, forever. #DTWD
John: Apparently … and you know what? Why not? #DTWD
MyronSchabe from TrollsRUs:
The Jaguars will win the Super Bowl next year. BOOK IT.
John: #DTWD
Andrew from Pittsburgh, PA:
Duuuvvvaallllll from Pittsburgh! Also, #Moodachay
John: #DTWD
Jake from Abu Dhabi, Dubai:
From across the globe, "Duuuuuuvallll!!!"
John: #DTWD
Steve from Nashville, TN:
Can you explain the difference in assignment, responsibility and skill set between a free safety and strong safety?
John: Generally speaking, a free safety plays more of a pass-coverage role and ideally has the speed to cover sideline to sideline whereas a strong safety is more of a "box" defender meaning he is in the box against the run more. The Jaguars under Head Coach Gus Bradley like their safeties to be able to play both roles and don't differentiate between the skill sets quite to the degree that many teams do.
Tyler from Jacksonville:
Have the Jaguars hired a Cheat Coordinator this offseason? I feel the team's hard line against cheating may be costing the team wins. You may not be able to say so in such a public forum, so just in the next Jaguars of the Round Table video, rub your right ear followed by a cough for yes.
John: If I cough and rub my ear in the next Jags of the Round Table it will because of a rash that stems from sitting next to Sexton and a cough that probably comes something involving the doings of the guy sitting one seat over. As far as your proposed Cheat Coordinator role, I get the joke and I get the inference, but I have covered the NFL long enough to know you can win Super Bowls playing within the rules.
Ron from Pori, Finland:
What is Duval? And sorry, I'm into the sport cheese-rolling and from Finland, but how many games do the Jaguars play a year?
John: Duval is the last name of 2001 British Open Champion David Duval, who is from Jacksonville. Jaguars fans chant his name while at games because he once beat Jaxson de Ville in a closest-to-the-pin contest on the famous No. 17 Island Hole at TPC Sawgrass, apparently becoming the only PGA Tour player on record to beat Jaxson at anything. The Jaguars play 1,013 home games a season. Conditioning is critical.
Jonathan from Yulee, FL:
Any rumors of more stadium Khanstruction where they put on a roof? Do you see them doing that within five years or not even a consideration?
John: Let's let the Shipyards story play out first, but in the long run I would be surprised if something isn't done to provide shade in the stadium.
Ben from Duval:
I feel like people never really talk about how bad our past draft classes were. Our first-round picks from 2004 (Reggie Williams), 2005 (Matt Jones), 2007 (Reggie Nelson), 2008 (Derrick Harvey), 2009 (Eugene Monroe), and 2011 (Blaine Gabbert) aren't on the team anymore and never did anything spectacular. I'd be interested to see if any other team has had a series of drafts that unsuccessful. I feel like we've finally righted the ship with Gus and Dave and I'm excited to see where they take this team. I've been saying it since last year. We will make it to the Super Bowl within the next five years with this duo! #DTWD!!!
John: I feel like this topic gets discussed quite a bit, though it's hard to overestimate the damage long runs of missed and unproductive draft choices does to an organization. So far, Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell's drafts appear to be laying the groundwork for a better talent base for the foreseeable future. Seasons and careers must play out to validate that statement, and we'll know a lot more on that front in the next season or two.
Greg from Section 233 and St. Johns, FL:
What is the Jaguars' official position on fan-based organizations such as Bold City Brigade, Teal St. Hooligans, Big Cat Country, etc.? It's awesome to have the Jags dominate social media and have sprawling fan bases. All the mentions in your column and on radio make it seem as though they are "unofficially – official" if you get what I'm saying. What's Shad's take on it? Have you seen other teams' fan-based organizations that compare to this?
John: For clarification's sake, while Bold City Brigade and Teal Street Hooligans are fan organizations, Big Cat Country is a web site – though the overlap with all three and #Jaguarstwitter do give the entities a similar feel at times. The team and Khan love the support; what's not to love about groups that form on their own and support the organization with passion and pride? As for their "official/unofficial" status, the groups are unofficial in the sense that they aren't technically affiliated with the team but official/unofficial don't mean much in this case. The Jaguars' fans and these organizations are pretty much unmatched, and even if they're matched, the Jaguars – and this column – wouldn't trade them for any fan base in sports.
Brian from Gainesville, FL:
Big O, do you expect that Jared Odrick will start at defensive end on the strong side and that Tyson Alualu will back him up? And do you expect there to be a combination/splitting of reps between Chris Clemons, Andre Branch, and Ryan Davis at weak side end? That leaves Igbinosun, Capi, and Chris Smith on the preseason roster who will also compete for a potential supporting role on the weak side. Why so many ends on the weak side and so few on the strong side? Is this balance fairly typical of other NFL teams?
John: Yes, I expect Odrick to start with Alualu backing him up on the strong side and I expect the Leo position opposite the strong side to be Clemons, Branch and Davis. It's hard to compare the balance of the Jaguars' defensive line to other teams because the balance is created by the Jaguars' defensive approach. Remember, the Jaguars use the Leo on early downs, then use multiple Leos – including a three-Leo lightning package – so you need more Leos than strong-side ends.
Dave from Fleming Island, FL:
Great, you said his hand is healed. Enter "Is-he-going-to compete-at-quarterback" questions … now.
John: I assume you're talking about Denard Robinson. Maybe I'm naïve, but I don't anticipate a run of Will-He-Compete-at-Quarterback questions.
Adam from Section 124:
I don't expect any "old-school football guys" to agree with me, but there's an excellent reason to remove the conferences from the playoff seedings - better Super Bowl matchups. With 32 teams in the league, in any given year, there is a 48 percent chance that the two best teams both reside in the same conference. In fact, there's a 42 percent chance that the Top THREE teams in the league all come from the same conference. I prefer any format that leads us to consistently better Super Bowls.
John: Has there been some sort of issue with bad Super Bowls in recent seasons? Except for the Seattle-Denver Super Bowl following the 2013 season, there hasn't been an uncompetitive Super Bowl in the fourth quarter since Tampa Bay-Oakland following the 2002 season. The playoffs are cool. I like them and a lot of people have liked them for a long, long time.

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