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O-Zone: A promise of dessert trays

JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . . Steve from Nashville, TN:
What player are you most excited about who the Jaguars obtained with their high waiver position this spring?
John: I can't say I'm all that "excited" about the guys. We don't know each other all that well – at least not yet. I do think the waiver acquisitions have a good chance to help the Jaguars, particularly Kyle Love. He started 12 games at defensive tackle for New England last year, and has the size and power the Jaguars want from their early-down defensive tackles. The Patriots released him this offseason after he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, but Love and the Jaguars believe he can play effectively. If he can play as he did the previous two seasons, he can certainly help the Jaguars.
Joe from Jacksonville:
T.S. Eliot is an anagram for "toilets".
John: So is, "Let's oit."
Trey from Jacksonville:
Really? Speed is a commodity in the NFL? If people who write in don't know that, then it is time to pick a new sport.
John: You're right, Trey. Most people do know speed is a commodity in the NFL. I made the mistake of including those seven words in a post answering a question about the difference between Tim Tebow and Denard Robinson, and for that, I do apologize. I was noting that an advantage Robinson might have over Tebow is his speed. Tebow is not overly fast and Robinson is indeed overly fast, which should be a point in Robinson's favor. Many football experts probably know this and in retrospect, I now realize many people of elite intelligence probably found themselves bored with those seven words. Frustrated, I imagine they logged off immediately, cursing my dimwitted existence as they reached smugly for their smartphones and iPads – is that what them newfangled thingamajigs is called? – to fire up their MENSA apps. As for those of us poor, dim souls sentenced to toil in mediocrity, we'll just keep a-muddlin' along, watching SpongeBob, eating Cheetos and talking a little football here on this free website.
Tom from Melbourne, FL:
Long live Gator Jr.
John: No doubt!
Patrick from Merced, CA:
Hey John, which of the unis is your favorite: home black, home teal or away white? Also, any chance of bringing back the fedora this season if (and I do doubt) the season doesn't go as we hope?
John: I think I like the white best, but the more I see the uniforms, the more I like all of them. My first thought is that although I never say "never" when it comes to a cheap, easy gimmick, the fedora is probably permanently retired. It was donned last season at a time when people were talking about it being better for the Jaguars to lose to secure an earlier draft selection than to win. The fedora was for fans who didn't see things that way, who wanted their team to fight whatever the circumstance. The fedora was also about hope in a difficult season. I don't anticipate hope being an issue for the Jaguars under this new regime. Gus Bradley and David Caldwell seem to have things going in the right direction, and whatever circumstance this season brings, I think fans are going to be able to see the progress. Because of that, I'm not sure the fedora has a place. That said, if you're wondering if there will be some other way I can make an idiot of myself, fear not, Patrick. Fear not.
Dustin from Duval, FL:
Do you think both undrafted wide receivers, Tobias Palmer and Mike Brown, can make the 53-man roster? I think they both have potential, but Palmer has the better shot because of his ability to return kicks.
John: I think it will be tough for both players to be on the 53-man roster. I give Brown the edge because he showed a lot during training camp, and because it appears he's closer to being able to contribute consistently offensively. If Palmer can win the kickoff return job, though, you're right – that certainly would work in his favor.
Jake from Connecticut:
Yes, Blackmon began to flourish when Henne took over last year. I attribute that more to gaining game experience as a rookie, not so much the quarterback. I know we've talked about the learning curve for rookie wide receivers a lot in the O-Zone. But somehow I feel like this gets lost in the Gabbert/Henne debate when people use Blackmon's progress with Henne as a pro-Henne argument. Ya feel me?
John: Oh, yeah, baby, I feel ya. Henne threw the ball downfield more immediately when he came into the game against Houston at midseason. That gave Blackmon opportunity that day, and undoubtedly helped his confidence and set him on the way to significant improvement. I'd say that "accelerated" his development more than I would say it "caused" it. Had Gabbert stayed healthy, I certainly think Blackmon would have developed in the second half of the season. Blackmon's a good, young player. It's a bit far-fetched to think that Henne was the only reason he performed well late last season.
Brian from Bold City Brigade, Atlanta Chapter:
I'm thinking you probably already know, (or if you don't, I feel sorry knowing you'll most likely be inundated with emails like this one) but Ray McKelvey – a.k.a., Stevie Ray Stiletto - passed away a few months ago after a long fight with cancer. A truly unique character, he'll be missed...
John: I did know Ray died a few months back. When I answered the question early this week about what Jacksonville bands I'd have play at halftime, I mentioned his band – Stevie Stiletto and the Switchblades – because in theory, I'd love to see them play halftime. I didn't know Stevie personally, but I knew a lot of the guys who played live music around Jacksonville in that era. A lot of unique characters, and a lot of bands I'd love to see play again.
Adam from Orange Park, FL:
Should I feel like less of a fan for preferring to watch games from my couch? Don't get me wrong: I enjoy going down to the stadium for a few games every year, but the prospect of nine or 10 games just seems like a hassle. What I'm getting at is when I tell people that I'm a Jags super fan, inevitably the first question they ask is, "Do you have season tickets"? Are the two mutually exclusive?
John: No, you're not less of a fan. Not even close. Season-ticket holders are very much the lifeblood of the organization because season-ticket holders form the core of the all-important local revenue. At the same time, Jaguars President Mark Lamping and Owner Shad Khan would be quick to tell you it is the team's responsibility to make the game-day experience so outstanding – with improved product on and off the field – that the prospect of nine or 10 games is so awesome that it won't feel like a hassle, rather an opportunity for a memorable experience.
Bill from Sebastian, FL:
I didn't do anything even close to what has transpired.
John: Careful, Bill. We have video.
Richard from Ontario, Canada:
People comparing Denard Robinson to Tim Tebow miss one huge thing. Robinson is not demanding to play quarterback; he is accepting the role that will benefit the team, "Offensive Weapon." That's not even mentioning the media circus that follows the "Heavenly Quarterback" everywhere he goes. It makes no sense to compare the two. Does it make sense to you, O-Man?
John: I didn't think the reader who asked the question was trying to compare Tebow to Robinson on the overall scale that you're covering. I just took the question as comparing them in the narrow scope of how they can be effective within an offense. No, Robinson hasn't made any demands and he's not only willing to accept his role, it appears he's embracing it. That's a positive thing for the Jaguars, and fortunately has nothing to do with anyone else.
Manuel from Jacksonville:
It's funny that when the Jaguars announced the proposed stadium enhancements to include pools and the largest scoreboards in any stadium, all most fans asked about were the swimming pools and not the scoreboards. Or, was it that Mr. O only picked out the questions on the swimming pools? If this is the case, this forum is not a great one anymore, this forum has gone from great to mediocre and it should be called the So-So Zone.
John: I was going to write here that I went back and looked at the emails from the past week and a half and was surprised that indeed, most of the emails were about the pools. But loyal readers of this column – and he knows who he is – would know I didn't do that. Far too much work. But I do recall that there were far more pool emails than video board emails. That's not surprising. People expected the video boards. They had been discussed for a while. The pool thing was pretty much unexpected and novel. The idea of the pools is intriguing to people. And of course, there is the promise of me, JP Shadrick and Tony Boselli in some sort of caffeine-fueled midafternoon Speedo party with perspiration, racing and dessert trays involved. The latter has proved as fascinating to O-Zone readers as it is disturbing.

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