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O-Zone: A thoughtful guy

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Mark from Charlotte (formerly of Duval):
Does a team like Jax, who may be seen as lacking depth in certain areas, need to be more worried about keeping players healthy than increasing the volume of the workload in training camp?
John: Minimizing injuries while hitting enough to prepare for the regular season is a balance for the Jaguars during training camp – just as it's a balance for any NFL team. You want to limit injuries as best you can, but you also must have a certain amount of contact and football stuff to prepare for the contact and football stuff you experience in a game. Teams already significantly limit contact and full-padded work in training camp practices, particularly since the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement. I think most teams including the Jaguars would tell you it will be pretty difficult to decrease it too much more.
Augie from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
I see controlled chaos on defense. Physicality. Bodies flying, sacks, stops, turnovers, interceptions. I see ball control, time management and the more than occasional big play on offense. Physicality, strong running game, laser perfect short passing game, screen passes until the last two minutes of each half. Then, let loose the dogs of hell and let Blake Bortles do what he does best, improvise and win.
John: #DTWD
JC from Deep South and Texas:
How come nobody has mentioned how the deflated football affected games? Fewer fumbles, easier catches (meaning balls don't bounce), and not to mention the throw itself? Someone should look at the numbers and compare them to the rest of the league. There are 31 other teams and if the numbers prove that the games are affected, four suspended games are not enough. We lost Blackmon for a whole year and a half.
John: I don't know how much Tom Brady and Justin Blackmon have to do with one another; the reality is it's next-to-impossible to compare suspension lengths because there always are going to be inequities when punishments/consequences are involved. As for the long-term impact of what the Patriots have been accused of doing, there was a study that got some play in early January that the Patriots had has a statistically unlikely amount of fewer fumbles than the rest of the league since 2007. It's obviously impossible to prove the inflation levels of the balls for that entire time, but it provided argument for those who believed the Patriots had an unfair advantage.
Chad from Yulee, FL:
Did you really just say the Jaguars would beat the Patriots Week 3 with or without Brady in response to Brian from Gainesville? I like the subtle yet bold pick. #DTWD
John: I did not say that. A reader asked, "Assuming Brady is suspended, can the Jaguars beat the Patriots this season?" I wondered why the question was asked in such a way as to imply that the Jaguars could only beat the Patriots if Brady was suspended. I was just wondering. I wonder things sometimes.
Jim from Jacksonville:
D-Rob sure looks bigger this training camp. Do my eyes deceive me?
John: According to him they do. Denard Robinson indeed gained 10-to-12 pounds last offseason, but he said recently he is pretty much the same size now as he was last offseason. The good news for Robinson is that it appears he has been able to maintain weight, something that's not always easy for NFL players trying to add size and strength.
John from Boynton Beach, FL:
So with the start of camp, do I have to wait until next July to debate the merits of Friday Night Lights, the TV show, versus Friday Night Lights, the movie? #deadzoneisdead
John: No, because there's no debating. The movie was really good. The show was better. /ducks
Miguel from Mexico City, Mexico:
A lot of love for UK fans. How about us Jaguars fans in Mexico?
Jim from Jacksonville:
Just attended the first training camp practice. Was great to see the crowd at practice. And what a great event. Stopped at the ATM on the way figuring I would need some cash for refreshments and water, but the Jags provided them for us. What a first class organization we have!
John: The free refreshments thing is pretty much how they pay Shadrick. I keep waiting for him to realize he's not the only one getting what he calls his "J.Perks," but so far he's not seeing it.
Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
The only part of what you said that I don't understand Ed, is why would you wish continued success upon a habitual cheater that can't even have the dignity to come clean. Personally, I hope that franchise burns.
John: That's not very nice.
Matt from Colorado Springs, CO:
In response to Jeremy from South Korea, not all 32 teams have the opportunity to improve. Look at the 49ers: they lost their coach and quite a few players to retirement. Other teams have salary cap issues like Denver. Some teams even have players who lost fingers in accidents. A good amount of teams are getting worse or simply running in place. I think the Jaguars have improved this offseason. The question is how many teams did a better job of improving than Jacksonville?
John: That is the question – and of course, another question is how much will the improvements the Jaguars made translate to the field? The Jaguars on paper appear to have improved not only with the critical step of having young players mature and develop, but with the addition of some veterans as well. I'm on record saying I am always conservative when projecting the impact of free agents, but Jermey Parnell, Jared Odrick and Julius Thomas appear to be significant, tangible upgrades at spots the Jaguars need. The same is true of Jared Odrick, and I think T.J Yeldon can provide an immediate upgrade, too. When you add that to an offensive line group that should be improved overall – and a quarterback who bare minimum should at least be eliminating some rookie mistakes – then there is room for real improvement. How much? Stay tuned.
Thrill from Section 236:
Young teams improve and gain experience. Established teams get old and slow and must replenish. So, it's not exactly a given that improvement is true of the 31 other teams in the NFL.
John: Correct.
David from Orangedale, FL:
In response to Otto's post concerning Chris Clemons: Get real .. the man has personal circumstances in his life just like I do. Suppose his wife/significant other had been admitted to the hospital suddenly. Was he supposed to leave her so as not to miss a day of work? I don't know the particulars, but he communicated his issue with his boss. That's good enough for me!
John: I learned a while back to not assume much when it comes to the issues that others deal with in their personal lives. We've all been through difficult times and we all deal with them differently. Chris Clemons is in camp now and the Jaguars need him to play well this season. For now, that's what matters.
Steve from Jacksonville:
I get that Marks isn't running (obviously), but I imagine he can still hit the weights, no? Of course that's not game shape, but it's better than my usual bowl of Cheetos and Root Beer.
John: Sure, Sen'Derrick Marks and most other injured NFL players are in significantly better shape than most people who don't play professional sports (present company excluded, of course). The issue with a player who spends the offseason rehabilitating is it's very difficult to strengthen and condition in a way that is ideal to prepare for the regular season. It's almost impossible to do when rehabbing a torn anterior cruciate ligament. That's not to say Marks can't play this season and be effective. It is to say that his strength and conditioning is a concern as it is for any player returning from an injury.
Biff from Jacksonville:
Do you remember, some years ago, Jaguars fans and players growing beards as a means of bringing success? How did that not work? It's a beard. It does magical and wondrous things.
John: I wouldn't know.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
Maybe I'm getting the last-minute jitters but I'm starting to feel like we need another pass rusher in this rotation badly. Which by the way makes picking Dante Fowler Jr. this offseason look even smarter. Should we wait and see if anyone good gets cut from another team in training camp or is it too late to find anyone worthwhile?
John: If you believe the Jaguars desperately need a pass rusher, there's really no option at this point except to wait until a team cuts a player. But I wouldn't hold your breath for a pass-rusher to be acquired in that way. Good pass rushers are hard to find. Teams rarely release good ones without very extreme reasons.
Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
You gave a good thoughtful answer to my question about Clemons on Friday. Thanks … Otto.
John: Every now and then I like to throw the readers a bone.

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