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O-Zone: All fired up

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Paulo from Salvador, Brazil:
Hey, O! What do you think will be better improvement this season: 4-12 with all the "L"s by three points and some of them in overtime or 7-9 but all the "Ls" by double digits and the "Ws" by three points?
John: This is an interesting philosophical question, particularly in Year Three of the building process under Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley and General Manager David Caldwell. I can't in good consciousness say a 4-12 season is better than a 7-9 season; this fan base has waited too long to approach .500 to dismiss the value of winning games and approaching .500. For the long-term growth of the franchise, though, a 4-12 season with all games competitive would show progress and be a step up from the past two seasons. That would mean being toe-to-toe into the fourth quarter with every team on your schedule. That's what you want as you move toward being consistently competitive with the top teams.
John from Boynton Beach, FL:
Do you ever walk into the cafeteria at the stadium and get Scobee and Sexton to flinch and drop their lunch trays when you act like you're going to punch them?
John: Yes.
Randy from #DTWD:
Red Bryant has 4.5 sacks over 80 games. Couldn't we get a guy that has at least 16.5? I think Odrick would be a nice upgrade.
John: I sense the sarcasm in the question – and I like it. For the non-facetious among us this morning, though, sacks from the strong-side defensive end position in the Jaguars' defense are a bonus. Jared Odrick's main value to the defense will be to play the strong-side end position and help solidify the run defense. A significant bonus is he can move inside and play defensive tackle with another bonus being that he has some pass-rush ability. Hey, bonuses for everybody!!!
David from Orlando, FL:
Mr. O, Is Tony Khan still working the analytics for the team?
John: Yes.
Jim from Jacksonville:
Was nice seeing Toby run hard this past weekend. But not so nice seeing Telvin get run over numerous times. I know it's just camp but that's not a good sign.
John: We're three days into training camp, Jim … breathe. Breathe. Remember, too, Telvin Smith is a weakside linebacker who weighs just over 220 pounds. He's going to make a lot of big plays, but he's probably not going to play like a strong-side linebacker.
Kyle from Duval, FL:
So judging from the "Wired" video with Julius Thomas, the narrative that he's unable to block needs to be put to bed. He looked pretty good to me!
John: It's probably safe to say blocking pass rushers in a game will be a different than doing it in the third practice of training camp, but it's just as safe to say that Thomas is probably a little better blocking than was pontificated before he signed with the Jaguars.
Peter from Maribor, Slovenia:
John, when talking about competition, something is clear. No matter how rusty he looks, how many drops he has, Marqise Lee will always be in front of Benn because of the position where he was taken in the draft. Luke Joeckel will start at left tackle, no matter how he performs during training camp. Jared Odrick, Jermey Parnell and Dan Skuta will start (yes, they are better than others), but because Dave Caldwell invested in them they have the priority. So, when talking about competition, there are not many spots open, are there?
John: There's an element of truth to what you say, but I wouldn't say it's quite so extreme as your question indicates. Conspiracy theories to the contrary, players typically start in the NFL because they're the best players; the pressure to win is too great to allow for anything else. The Jaguars drafted Dwayne Gratz in the third round and Demetrius McCray in the seventh round; McCray started ahead of Gratz last season because he deserved to do so. Allen Hurns played his way into the lineup last season as an undrafted player. Do highly drafted players and big-time free agents get every opportunity? Yes. Might they get the nod if it's close? Yes, because the belief is they have the talent to do the job. But if a guy flat-out isn't getting it done and there is a better alternative the better alternative typically will get a chance.
Ty from Jack town:
Johnny bag a o'nuts, I work in an industry where if you aren't dead, you better be at work on your station – an industry where sick days are laughed at and injuries – sometimes severe – happen often. I understand people's frustration when Chris Clemons missed a day, but even in my industry where "dead, jailed or hospital" are the only real excuses personal days for life insanity are also permitted. If the team wants to fine him, they can. If they choose not to, there is probably a good reason. Anyway, I'm most excited to see this secondary. Every video I've seen they are on their man and at least bothering the pass catcher.
John: We've about reached the end of the Chris Clemons-Missed-Reporting-Day storyline. It wasn't the best form, particularly after he missed voluntary organized team activities and all other voluntary work during the offseason. But he was in camp the following morning and that absence didn't cause him to miss any practices. The Jaguars would obviously prefer Clemons be here in the offseason, but they signed on for those absences when they signed him. As far as the secondary, it looks good. This could be an area of strength. We'll see.
Mac from Neptune Beach, FL:
There has been some talk about Aaron Colvin playing outside corner, then moving inside for nickel packages. Will he take Demetrius McCray's place or Davon House's when he's on the outside?
John: Probably McCray's.
Jason from Jacksonville:
Hey O'man, got a question about the run-blocking change from zone to gap. In your opinion why is the blocking scheme changing? Is it to suit Yeldon's running style or is our line better suited for the gap or is it about Olson's offense or another reason? Thanks.
John: The Jaguars began the move to more of a gap-blocking approach long before they drafted T.J. Yeldon, so rule that out as a reason. It's probably best described as an adjustment in philosophy. And it's not as if the Jaguars are completely abandoning all zone-blocking concepts; it's more of a shift to a more gap-based scheme because of a desire to be able to drive block and maul a bit more at the line of scrimmage. Basically, the Jaguars feel like they need to be able to run more effectively and reliably than they have the last two seasons and they hope this is a way to make that happen.
Sean from Fleming Island, FL:
Have not heard much about how Otto or Leo are doing in camp; do you think they will make the 53-man roster?
John: They're looking good. Real good. But stay quiet. The Jaguars don't want too much known about them before the regular season begins.
Keith from Palatka, FL:
Clemons shows up late for training camp and then rides a bike the first few days of practice. Should we be concerned about him and the Leo position?
John: I can't control what or who you're concerned about, but Clemons is a 13-year veteran. I wouldn't be too concerned about him being ready until he does something on the field to show he's not ready.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
I have a question for the greatest sports writer in the NFL. Are the quarterback and maybe the kicker and punter the only positions that could keep playing into their mid to late 30s? Or are there other positions that a player can keep playing for that long of a career?
John: You're clearly asking the wrong guy, but because I don't know any great sports writer in the NFL to whom to forward the question, I'll take a cut. Those positions are certainly the most likely to play so deep into their 30s, though other positions – center, in particular – are certainly capable.
Abe from Fairfield, CT:
Hello! Can we bench the Justin Blackmon questions that seem to always be popping up until there's actual news about him?
John: Hello! People come to this website with dramatically different levels of knowledge of what's going on with the team. Some people are aware that there is no news to report on Justin Blackmon; others see he is still listed as a member of the organization – though on indefinite suspension – and wonder about his future with the team. As long as people ask me questions on this website, I'll try to keep answering them.
Austin from Atlanta, GA:
Curious who you think starts Week 1 in the Leo spot. Obviously there will be a rotation, but does Branch or Clem get the majority of the snaps? Or someone else like Ryan Davis?
John: Chris Clemons took the vast majority of the snaps at the Leo position last season. I don't think he'll get that many this year, but I expect him to be the starting, No. 1 Leo. That's why he's here.
James from Jacksonville:
The table is still square. That is all. No wait... GO JAGS!!!
John: #DTWD

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