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O-Zone: Add it to the list

JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . . Alan from Jacksonville:
It was the worst of times; it was the best of times. Just about the time we drafted the fourth of our five defensive backs in this year's draft, it occurred to me: they are viewing this as a two-year, 14-round draft and we are just at halftime. I'm not saying we purposely didn't draft to address all our needs to make sure we didn't win too many games this year, which could screw up our draft position next year (the second half of our draft). But if they did, it's both diabolical and pretty smart. Any thoughts on this theory?
John: There is a bit of truth in your thought, but it's not completely right. And the diabolical part of the theory is absolutely wrong. Certainly, the Jaguars did not address all of their needs in this year's draft. They made it very clear entering the draft and coming out of it that there were too many needs on the roster to address them all in one offseason. Partly because of that, there were indeed positions they didn't bother drafting. At defensive end, for instance, they could have selected a sixth-round guy, but they liked safety Josh Evans there and felt he had a chance to be a long-term contributor. The objective wasn't to lose games this season, but to build the right way – a way that would lead to a solid roster long-term.
Nicholas from Fort Lee, VA:
"You keep saying intangibles. I don't think it means what you think it means." Was that an intentional Princess Bride reference or a complete accident? It is inconceivable to think that was an accident.
John: Inconceivable.
Armand from Jacksonville:
John, would our kickers be able to do each other's job if an injury occurred during a game?
John: Both would probably be able to fill the other role, though not at a very high level. Kicking and punting, while both employing the leg, are very different motions and skills. Josh Scobee could punt and Bryan Anger could probably kick an extra point or two, but they certainly wouldn't be long-term solutions.
Tom from Jacksonville:
I heard on the radio talk of how few players were still on the roster from the Gene Smith era. They did not say how many or who all was gone. Can you shed some light on that? It sure does "appear" from what we have all seen in OTAs and minicamp to look and feel an awful lot better than I have seen in a while. You don't really hear or feel a lot of negative vibes like we have always had over the last few years. Or is it just me peeking around the corner to see if Santa has come yet..?
John: I don't know where Santa is. He was on my porch last time I checked. I actually counted 42 players on the roster who were around last season, but that statistic doesn't accurately reflect the changeover in the roster. The number of Smith-era players likely will decrease during training camp, and that trend certainly will continue in the coming seasons. As for the vibe around the Jaguars, it's a good one right now. That guarantees nothing coming training camp and the regular season – as we saw last season. What will this season bring? That's what the coming months will tell.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
The other night, I dreamed I cut off both my hands but somehow my fingers remained attached to my arms during this process.
John: You, too?
Mark from Jacksonville:
I know Gabbert has a good chance to start the year, but how has he actually looked thus far? A knock is that he practices well and it needs to translate to Game Day. Have you noticed anything that makes you think he might have turned the corner since his play last year?
John: I don't know that Gabbert looked too much different this offseason than last, but that's not what matters for Gabbert. What matters is how he'll take it into the regular season. Gabbert was looking a bit better before he got hurt last season. Can he build on that? I don't know how to know that based on unpadded practices, but we should know in September.
Hunter from Orlando:
In regards to Jedd Fisch encouraging the quarterbacks to call their own plays, do you think he is just afraid of making the wrong call? I tend to do this when I eat out and just order whatever my wife does.
John: I don't think Fisch fears that. As for your habits eating out, join the club. The other night my wife and I were eating out. She ordered and the waitress looked at me and raised her eyebrows and I said, "WHAT?!! WHAT!! STOP THE BAD LADY FROM STARING!" I ran out. And that was one of my good nights.
Joe from Jacksonville:
If you were a clown, you could call it the "BOZOne."
John: If it was yours, we could call it "from Jacksonville"-zone. Or something like that.
Bob from Jacksonville:
There are 45 unsigned rookies in the NFL, 24 in the first round. We have signed our two seventh-rounders. We have six of the 45 unsigned. What is taking so long to sign our picks?
John: General Manager David Caldwell addressed this Thursday, saying the Jaguars are close to signing the rest of their eight draft selections. There is no rush on this issue. The Jaguars have lost nothing by having the players unsigned. It is a non-issue until training camp. If the Jaguars have their draft selections signed by then – as they most certainly will – the rookies will have lost no practice or preparation time.
Nick from Kingsland, GA:
I know it is early in the process and it may be too early to tell much about how this team is going to play together during the season, but in your expert opinion as of right now what group do you think will perform the best this season? The O-line? Running backs?? Linebackers???
John: Out of that group, I think the offensive line will perform the best. I think the addition of Luke Joeckel and the presence of Eugene Monroe will help the interior, and the return of Will Rackley and return to health of Uche Nwaneri should help, too. By extension, that will allow the running backs to perform well.
Steve from Jacksonville:
Why would the Jags cut a proven veteran in Henne for the guy who got cut for Tebow – unless, of course, Caldwell has no idea what he is doing. Do you realize how big of a joke the Jags look like when Caldwell says something stupid like that? And yes it was a stupid statement.
John: Speaking of which . . .
Andrew from Orange Park, FL:
With the emergence of Mike Brown and Ace Sanders at wide receiver, do you think Shipley will be the odd man out in the group?
John: I think there's a chance of that, yes. Brown and Sanders each play the slot, and on the final day of minicamp it did seem they were ahead of Shipley. That could mean a little or it could mean a lot. Training camp and preseason will tell the tale.
Inigo from Spain:
I do not mean to pry, but you don't by any chance happen to have six fingers on your right hand?
John: I'd rather not say.
Sean from Miami, FL:
Seriously, how long have you been best friends with Gabbert or his Godfather, because that's the only reason possible why you could think he's better than Henne. Or drugs, is it the drugs?
John: Perhaps regrettably, I don't do drugs. This seems to be an emotional issue for you, and I apologize if that's the case. I have started that I believe Gabbert will win the job. Maybe I'll be wrong, and Henne wins the job. If so, good for Henne. He's a good person and perfectly capable of winning the position. I have no dog in this hunt, and I'm certainly not best friends with Gabbert. My best friend isn't a quarterback. He's imaginary.
Chris from Crestview, FL:
The Patriots took a flyer on Tebow. Why not? After all, he isn't guaranteed anything. What I don't like about the Jaguars is it seems we are dismissing some options. Why not take a flyer on JaMarcus Russell and let him come to camp? You don't get franchise quarterbacks often - and not saying he is - but moves like this with no risk and some reward why not make?
John: The Jaguars didn't want Tebow. They didn't want JaMarcus Russell. People ask the question, "Why?" They don't think they are better than the quarterbacks they currently have. They just don't.
Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
OK I have to ask because its driving me nuts. Why are the [] words used. Like "this [writing] is making no sense." I genuinely don't get why these brackets are put around certain words, why not just write the word? Can you explain this?
John: Correctly used, brackets in a quote indicate a word that was implied but not actually said. I don't always use them correctly, I'm afraid. It's one of my flaws. For a complete list, consult Mrs. Ozone.

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