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O-Zone: Added benefit

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Stephen from Jacksonville:
Tashaun Gipson dealt with injuries the past two seasons in Cleveland. How is his health currently and will it be an issue to keep an eye on as the season approaches? Who is Gipson's likely backup and how detrimental would it be to the defense's improvement and success in 2016 if he were lost for any period of time due to injury?
John: Gipson indeed dealt with injuries the past two seasons playing for the Browns, missing eight games during that span. He is fine now and participating full in Jaguars 2016 organized team activities. I suppose if you want to keep an eye on the "issue" when the regular season begins, you can do so. In fact, if you want to keep an eye on every Jaguars player's injury situation you absolutely can – and I assume many fans will do just that. But remember: Jaguars players will get hurt next season, and when I say "players," I mean more than one. History suggests at least one important player will not finish the season. It's part of the NFL and every team deals with it every season. As far as specifics in relation to Gipson, I can't predict future injury, and I don't know that anyone can. I'd project Josh Evans as his likely backup. How detrimental would it be to the defense's potential improvement if Gipson were to get injured? It would hurt. He's important.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
To me, one of the more fulfilling plays is when in the final minute of the game you have the lead and need a first down to cement the win by preventing the opposing team from getting the ball back. I'd like to see more of those.
John: Those plays are indeed cool. Winning teams like them.
Neal from New York, NY:
Hey, John … let's say Dante Fowler Jr. and Jalen Ramsey were both available with our No. 5 overall pick. We're picking best player available … who do we pick?
John: I'm going on the assumption that Ramsey and Fowler are equal talents, which essentially is the case. Therefore, I believe the Jaguars would select Fowler over Ramsey because he is closer to the ball and pass rush.
Jeff from Keystone Heights, FL:
I'm probably not lurking around any ledges, but isn't it concerning to have your Top 3 picks in two years have knee issues in their history? Nothing you can do about it, but let's not be flippant about it, either.
John: OK.
Gabe from Washington, D.C.:
I am unbelievably excited for the future of Jalen Ramsey. I am not, however, expecting amazing things from him this year – or even in 2017 – on a consistent basis. He has only played one season at outside corner, and that was at the college level. It's going to take him a while to get comfortable turning his back to the quarterback against experienced NFL receivers. Still, his combination of rare ability, toughness and leadership is sure to shine for a long time in Jacksonville.
John: I'm all for reasonable expectations for even the earliest-drafted NFL rookies, but you may be selling Ramsey a little short. Yes, I believe there will be an adjustment period as Ramsey adjusts to the NFL level. I don't think that has to be two seasons. He is a confident, talented player who possesses an elite corner skill set. I would think he can play at a high level near the end of his rookie season and certainly pretty soon after that.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
When are people going to realize that certain injuries are related to certain activities, and other injuries are basically flukes? Muscle strains are often related to conditioning, but a torn ACL or meniscus – even an Achilles injury – those can happen to anyone regardless of their conditioning or what they're doing. Torn ACLs are a common tennis injury, a non-contact sport. Anyone can twist their leg just right and seriously injure themselves. If OTAs started and guys were dropping left and right with muscle strains and pulls, then I might question the strength and conditioning staff, but some injuries just happen ... it sucks, but it's true.
John: Your question essentially was, "When are people going to realize that ACL, meniscus and Achilles tears are usually fluky?" You also wanted to know when people will stop casting blame? The answer is that as a collective whole that probably won't happen. Injuries are frustrating to fans, and when fans get frustrated they want to blame someone. Logic's not going to change that.
Strnbiker from Dothan, AL:
Fan's gonna fan and O-Zone gonna Zone. Love it!
John: And Strnbiker gonna do whatever Strnbiker does.
Jeff from Sacramento, CA:
Coach Bradley has been trying to mimic the Seattle defense since being hired as coach but the problem has been he hasn't had the players. So my question: can the Seattle defense be copied to be as successful? Because other teams such as Atlanta that try and mimic the Seattle defense haven't had success, either. Maybe only Seattle has those type of players to make it a successful defense.
John: I don't know that the Jaguars would have been any more successful the past three seasons using another scheme. I certainly don't think a different scheme would have made this defense anything close to a winning one. Seattle has had one of the NFL's best defenses in recent seasons because they have had some of the best players in the NFL in recent seasons. As the Jaguars' players improve, their defense also should improve.
Benjamin from Jacksonville:
Based on last year's production and the quality talent that has been added this offseason I believe the answer is fairly obvious, but who is your favorite Game of Thrones character and why?
John: I don't watch Game of Thrones. /ducks
Christian from Titusville, FL:
John, I played LOTTO once, but I just ended up losing $2.
John: I've never played the lottery. The closest I came was in August 1988, just after the lottery started in Florida. I had just started part-time at the Florida Times-Union. Renowned Jacksonville attorney David Barksdale – then not yet a renowned Jacksonville attorney – and I went into the old Convenient store on University Club and Fort Caroline for gas and beer. He said he wanted to try the lottery, and bought a ticket. In the car, he somewhat excitedly scratched the silver off. I immediately sensed he had not become life-changing rich. "Well, that sucked," he said, and that was all the lottery experience I needed.
Kyle from Ohio:
I'm curious as to what Gus Bradley has against Demetrius McCray. In 2014, he had a very good year. He didn't register interceptions, but Pro Football Focus had him highly rated among all cornerbacks and most people were impressed with his play. Then, all of a sudden last year he is behind scrubs like Dwayne Gratz. What does Bradley have against McCray?
John: Bradley has nothing against McCray. The coaches don't think McCray is as good as the players in front of him. That's usually why players don't play.
Joseph from Atlanta, GA:
Do the league owners have a more quid pro quo approach to giving out favors to NFL cities? Such as LA gets a Super Bowl after building a new stadium? Do you think Shad Khan and Jacksonville have built up enough goodwill (the only team to forfeit a home game to London the last four years) to host something like the draft or Pro Bowl in the future?
John: There sometimes is an element of quid pro quo to such things; for instance, it's fairly routine for cities that build state-of-the-art stadiums to be rewarded with a Super Bowl. In the case of Los Angeles, it's not as much a reward as a desire to have a Super Bowl in what will be a state-of-the-art, high-profile venue. As for Khan and the Jaguars building goodwill, that's not the situation. From the league's perspective – and from the perspective of the Jaguars, for that matter – is not a sacrifice; rather, it's a benefit because the Jaguars get the revenue from the game. Therefore, there won't likely be any push within the league to "repay" the Jaguars for doing what the team very much wanted to do in the first place. Now, that doesn't mean there won't be a Pro Bowl or NFL Draft in the city's future. I think either one is a possibility.
Daniel Since Day 1:
I know for a fact that all nine of us read the O-Zone absolutely every day and thank you!!! And we pay a lot for our tickets. The O is a benefit included at no EXTRA cost, kinda like when you buy a burger and fries at the drive thru. ... And they throw in a couple napkins, or the burnt breading in the bottom of the fry bag. Good Stuff Sir, we appreciate every schnibble more than you know!
John: I am extra napkins.

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