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O-Zone: A (disturbing) football love story

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Drew from Jacksonville:
In all your years covering the NFL have you ever seen a new team owner do so much so fast to improve all aspects of a floundering team as we are seeing Shad Khan do since taking ownership of the Jaguars? I feel we are all extra fortunate to be owned now by a world-class business person with a sincere desire to make not just the Jaguars, but Jacksonville itself, better than it has ever been!
John: I can't name another situation in which an owner has had the immediate, overriding impact Khan has had in Jacksonville, but to be fair I don't study other franchises' situations the way I do the Jaguars. For me to say Khan has done more in this regard than any other owner would be to make the same mistake national journalists make when making blanket, ill-informed statements about this franchise and this market. Still, you're absolutely right that Jacksonville, this franchise and this fan base should be thankful for Khan. His desire to reshape and re-imagine this franchise and this city's relationship with the franchise is staggering and indeed is changing the organization before our eyes.
Armando from Vacaville, CA:
Has Ramsey gone one on one versus A-Rob yet? Who'd you think will win?
John: Jalen Ramsey and Allen Robinson have gone one on one quite a bit in training camp thus far. Both have had their victories. Robinson probably has gotten the better end of the matchup overall, which is as you would expect from a third-year Pro Bowl wide receiver competing against a rookie cornerback.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
Since it has been suggested multiple times that teams should never select guards or other interior offensive linemen within the top five picks of the NFL draft, is Luke Joeckel's being on this team a failure of David Caldwell's? Is it possible for Joeckel to play the left guard position at a level that would justify his second overall selection in 2013?
John: It's fair to say Joeckel has not lived up to his status as the No. 2 overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft. It's also fair to say that considering Caldwell's draft record since 2013 that the "mistake" may have been more about that year's draft overall being one of the weaker in recent memory than a reflection of Caldwell's decision making.
Nolan from St. Augustine, FL:
Mr. O! More and more I'm becoming worried that another team is going to try and steal Dave Caldwell from us. Mr. Khan has to be an incredible owner to work for, but do you foresee any chance that Dave might take the bait to work in a bigger market? #Jagsplayoffrun16
John: No, I do not think David Caldwell would leave the Jaguars for a bigger market.
Rob from the Duuu:
John, what are the chances that Chris Ivory leads the AFC in rushing a second year in a row? Is it just me or are most people not as stoked on this guy as they should be? No knock on T.J. Yeldon, but Ivory was a Top 3 or 4 back in the league when healthy last year. Dante Fowler Jr. looks so nasty, just saying. Is it possible he ends up being a better player than Clowney after all that hype?
John: I doubt Ivory leads the AFC in rushing this season – primarily because I don't think the Jaguars are going to play the sort of run-dominated style necessary for that to happen. But he doesn't have to lead anything in rushing to be effective this season – and he doesn't have to lead anything in rushing to help the Jaguars. What he needs to do is be effective enough to give the Jaguars the threat of the run and to allow them to run when they need to run. As for Fowler, he has looked nasty, athletic and dangerous so far in training camp. Is it possible he winds up being better than Jadeveon Clowney? Sure, it's possible, but it doesn't matter. What matters is that Fowler gives the Jaguars an impact, disruptive player on the defensive front and it appears he will do that. At this point, I would be shocked if he doesn't do that.
Rob from Brunswick, GA:
The Hall of Fame Game was cancelled. If they don't reschedule, which seems like it would be impossible with camp schedules, do you think this gives us any advantage against the Pack in Week One at all? They would seem to have 25 percent fewer snaps in live games for the preseason. While I doubt this will be an issue for the ones, do you think it makes a lot of difference for the rookies and how much? Also, do you feel it hurts the chances of the undrafted FAs and 5th-7th rounders on the roster for either team to make final rosters?
John: No, I do not believe cancelling the Hall of Fame game will have any effect on the outcome of the regular-season opener. The Packers and the Jaguars still will both have four preseason games, and more than a month to prepare. It's a non-issue when it comes to Week 1.
GPP from Savannah, GA:
In regards to your comment about slow starts in scrimmage, old Tom Brady was 29 for 29 in New England's Friday night. Much rather have that even in preseason. Just saying!
John: OK.
Matt from Easton, PA:
I'm one who really would like to see Luke Joeckel pick up his level of play and win the starting left tackle job, but has he done ANYTHING in camp so far to make this decision tough? All I've seen and read is he is getting beat by pretty much everyone on the defensive line when playing tackle.
John: Joeckel has looked in camp like he often looks. He plays very well for extended periods, then has a play or two on which he gets beat. I think he has looked OK at guard and my expectation is that's where he will start this season. The issue is it's hard to know how soon Kelvin Beachum will be ready to play left tackle. We're still in the middle of this story and I expect we'll remain in the middle of it for a few more weeks. This one's unsettled. Stay tuned.
Jay from Gainesville, FL:
Do you think we give in and slide Brandon Linder back to guard and have Luke Bowanko starting at center by the end of preseason? He wasn't horrible his rookie season. Did he not improve? Or do they not want to let the No. 2 overall pick go to waste?
John: There's no "giving in" involved here. Linder is going to be the starting center for the Jaguars – and the guess here is he will be the starting center for a long time. Bowanko is on the Physically Unable to Perform list, and even if he wasn't, Linder would be the center. That decision has nothing to with Joeckel and everything to do with Linder.
Anthony from Madison, WI:
I don't think it's fair to point out Blake Bortles' performance in the scrimmage regarding poor completion percentage and slow starts and then not also point out the four touchdowns with no interceptions. If he doesn't improve his completion percentage this year but drastically reduces the interceptions, I'd consider that another massive improvement.
John: True that.
Silar from Minneapolis, MN:
The defensive side of the ball has more talent, but do you think the lack of talent on the offensive line is getting hopes a bit too high? I am afraid that all the smoke being blown up (somewhere) is gonna have fans come crashing down to reality when this team gets humiliated by the Packers then the Chargers.
John: Well, if the team indeed gets humiliated by the Packers and Chargers then there without question is going to be a reality check. That's what happens when teams start 0-2 after offseasons of giddy talk and expectations. Look, I don't know how the Jaguars' offensive line is going to fare once this gets real. I do know the team feels good about the right side of the line, and I know it's hard to know what to feel about the left side of the line because Beachum hasn't participated in contact work yet and because Joeckel has been inconsistent. But I also don't know that it's accurate to paint with a broad brush the offensive line as not having talent. Linder and A.J. Cann have the look of long-term solutions at center and guard, respectively, and all reports are that Beachum is at least an above-average left tackle when healthy. The Jaguars' offensive line may not be the best in the NFL this season but those writing it off as a bad line are writing way too early and they may not be writing accurately.
Darren from Fort Worth, TX:
Dear John, I love you ... I mean, er, I love your writing. Yeah, that's what I meant ...
John: I'm so uncomfortable right now.

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