JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … James from J-Ville:
Is it just me or does Doug Marrone seem to be an arrogant jerk? I mean, Tom [Coughlin] was tough and had every right to be: he is a two-time Super Bowl winner and has taken the Jags farther than the past couple guys we have had (I would call them coaches, but haven't seen one here since Tom). This guy (Marrone) is unproven, but talks like he has won tons of Super Bowls. Not a fan. I can't stand to hear him talk. He sounds like a total idiot to me with his stupid comments. I can't wait to see what this one does. I think he'll be gone next year and Tom will take over. Just saying.
John: I actually like Marrone's approach quite a bit – and I like hearing him talk. He's succinct and to the point, and I find his press conferences pretty informative. I can't say that I find Marrone all that "nice" or "friendly," but those traits are pretty unimportant when it comes to a head coach. I can't say I've ever sensed him trying to be something he's not, and he seems to try to tell the truth when possible – and I consider those traits very important when it comes to a head coach. I wouldn't say Marrone is a Coughlin clone, but his approach does remind me somewhat of Coughlin in the mid-1990s. Coughlin at the time never had won a Super Bowl and in fact never had been an NFL head coach. You might even have said at the time he didn't have the "right" to talk as tough as he did. But Coughlin didn't approach coaching as he did because he had won Super Bowls; he approached it as he did because he believed his style was the best way for him to lead and get success from a large group of young men. I get the sense Marrone takes his approach for the same reason. Does Marrone come across as gruff and unlovable? Yeah, that's fair, but I do sense he's being true to himself – and that's the only way an NFL coach can succeed.
Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Hugs, ice cream, 2018 season, short people – this is about the most dead a Dead Zone can get …
John: Just wait.
Micky from Orange Park, FL:
Who do you think should be favored to win the AFC South? The Texans are reigning champs with the best established defense, but the Titans have the best quarterback (Sorry, Luck) and run game. I'd like to think the Jags are the best balanced but I think the Titans should be the favorites going into the season. We spend a lot of time speculating about the future.
John: I see the Colts as having the best quarterback in the AFC South when Andrew Luck is healthy, and I don't see it as particularly close. I see the Texans as the AFC South favorites until they're not because they've been the best team the last couple of seasons. I also can't call the Jaguars the best-balanced team in the division until they show consistency on offense and start getting teams off the field consistently on defense. I'm not saying the Jaguars can't do those things this season. I am saying it's hard to call them the best anything until they actually do something on the field that looks that way.
Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire:
Mighty 'O,' the Beatles as a first album … excellent taste from an early age then. My first record was Darts - "The Boy From New York City" 7". It cost me 69p and I still have it. So, then: What's the album you have played more than any other?
John: I honestly can't accurately pick one. Something from this list is likely: "My Aim is True" or "This Year's Model" (Elvis Costello), "Murmur or Reckoning" (R.E.M), "Look Sharp or I'm the Man" (Joe Jackson), "The Clash" or "London Calling" (Clash), "It's Alive" (Ramones), "Greatest Hits" (Elvis Presley), "London 0 Hull 4" (Housemartins), "Darkness on the Edge of Town" or "Born to Run" (Bruce Springsteen), "Violent Femmes" (Violent Femmes), "Bat Out of Hell" (Meatloaf), "Learning to Flinch" (Warren Zevon), "Fine Young Cannibals" (Fine Young Cannibals), "Lone Justice" (Lone Justice) or "Declaration or Strength" (The Alarm). It's probably "London Calling" now that I think of it, but I wouldn't rule out the Costello albums. I wore them out.
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ:
O-man. Just checked out Jason Isbell for the first time ever. Wow. Do you pity the fools who didn't?
John: I do.
Hippy from Fleming Island, FL:
I'm looking forward to seeing MJack display his athletic ability at middle linebacker. Seems like we may have a powerful trio now. What should we be watching to see how Poz is transitioning to strong side? It seems his tackling ability and game smarts would prevail. I guess I'm asking what makes this such a self-proclaimed challenge for him?
John: Posluszny has said several times that moving from middle to strong-side linebacker is the biggest challenge of his career. I believe a reason Posluszny sees it that way is his approach as a player is to be as prepared and knowledgeable as possible at his position. This is a new position for him, so it will be very difficult for him in a few months to reach the comfort level there that he felt after nearly a decade at middle linebacker. My sense is his transition will be easier than perhaps he first anticipated because the Jaguars are making the strong-side position more of a traditional linebacker than it was in past seasons when the position – then known as the "Otto" – had a lot of pass-rush, on-the-line responsibilities. And yes, I expect Posluszny's tackling and game awareness will make him a strength at the strong-side position. Look for him to hold the point of attack, set the edge and make tackles. Considering his skill set, it makes sense he will do those things well.
Mike from Jacksonville:
That was a "low" blow on DiRocco! It is very obvious you think "little" of him and he will never "measure" up against a journalist of your stature.
John: I thought about this a while, then fell asleep in the wee small hours of the morning.
The Lonely Jag from Winston-Salem, NC:
Beyond his signing, I have not heard anything about Marquez Williams. Is he picking up the offense quickly? Is he going to be heavily utilized in his first year? I am looking forward to watching him.
John: It's difficult to get a gauge on the fullback position until there is contact and there won't be contact until training camp. I don't know that there is a real leader between Williams and veteran Tommy Bohanon, who was signed as a free agent in the offseason. That will be a competition decided in training camp, the winner of which I expect to play a big role next season.
Preston from Oakville, CT:
O-Man, do you get the impression that the receivers truly understand how awesome it is to have Keenan McCardell as their coach? I'm sure most players respect former players as coaches, but he was one of the best in the team's history. As a fan, it's awesome to know that he's grooming our current group, but I wonder if they recognize how important he was to franchise as much as the fans do.
John: I'm sure the Jaguars' receivers have an idea of McCardell's importance to the organization. Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns certainly do, because they were asked pretty frequently about McCardell and Jimmy Smith in 2015. That was the year Hurns and Robinson put up numbers that had people understandably yet prematurely comparing the duo to McCardell and Smith. But I doubt McCardell's place in Jaguars history means much to the current receivers – nor should it. While it's cool for fans to see and remember McCardell, it's far more important to the Jaguars receivers – and the Jaguars right now – if McCardell can coach these young players well.
Strnbiker from Dothan, AL:
It has been so long I've forgotten. How long is your daily O-Zone column been running now? Originally, I thought you planned to write one every day until the Jaguars had a winning season? Something of the sort or figment of my imagination?
John: This is O-Zone No. 2145 in succession. I vaguely remember the circumstances around the beginning of the streak. I think it had something to do with guaranteeing the Jaguars would not have a home game blacked-out at EverBank Field. That motivation seems rather antiquated as I don't know that anyone has any thought that the Jaguars will have a home game blacked out these days. Either way, there's no particular event that will end the streak. I figure it will last until I don't feel like doing it one day, or until the Jaguars tell me to stop this column. One of those things will happen someday or I'll get sick, or I'll die. Those are pretty much the options.
O-Zone: All possibilities
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … James from J-Ville: