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O-Zone: An invalid opinion

JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . . Mikey from Tallahassee, FL:
No question, just a huge thank you to our past and present military. And a reminder, when you see a vet, thank them for serving. And a thank you, John, for serving us fans in your own way. Cheers.
John: Don't thank me. I write about football, beer, answer questions and make stupid wisecracks for a living. But a thank you to past and present military? On this day, yes, we'll gladly lead off the O-Zone with that. Cheers? Yeah. Cheers.
Josh from Savannah, GA:
I DON'T UNDERSTAND. Who CARES if he was old and we wanted to gain youth? Who CARES if he would only give you a few years of elite play? Who CARES if he was coming off severe surgery? Who CARES if we still had a first-round, undeveloped quarterback? The Jaguars have always needed an elite arm, and if Peyton Manning was available, we should have taken the blessing. We would have had a chance of better play than we were given as a fan base last year. That is the plain truth.
John: I thought I addressed this, but perhaps I wasn't clear. Sure, all of the above issues were indeed the case, but the Jaguars at that point were coming off a 5-11 season and not perceived by most as being close to competing. It's hard to imagine he would have been interested. You say, "If Peyton Manning were available . . ." I say he wasn't going to be available to the Jaguars. Not at that point.
John Paul from Jacksonville:
Blaine Gabbert's looking good this year, so we should give the guy a chance. Mark Brunell came to Jacksonville his third year in the league. Also, if Gabbert came out this year as a senior he would've been a #1 pick in the first round. You want to meet in the Bud Zone now?
John: Careful there, John Paul. While all of the things you say about Gabbert are true, if my personal experience is a gauge, you should duck and run for cover if saying them publicly. Such talk of Gabbert is met with disdain, because so far in two seasons, he mostly has struggled. I can't in fairness compare Gabbert to Brunell, but it is true that Brunell had almost no experience at this point in his career and didn't start looking like an NFL quarterback until his fourth season. That means nothing in terms of how Gabbert will play this season, but it does illustrate that a quarterback shouldn't be written off two seasons into his career.
Al from Orange Park, FL:
Back to the quarterbacks, have you heard any indication as to whether we're keeping two or three this year? Or, if that's even been decided?
John: It has not been decided. Very little about the roster next season has been decided. My guess is three – two on the active roster and one on the practice squad. My guess now is that will mean Blaine Gabbert with Chad Henne as a backup and Matt Scott on the practice squad. And yes, that is only a guess – and perhaps not a great one.
Tucker from New York, NY:
Who's your favorite ROAR member and why?
John: My favorite is Christy Stechman Zynda, the ROAR Czarina. She and Tony Boselli are my archrivals in the building. But while Boselli ducks me whatever chance he gets, nobody – and I do mean, nobody – messes with Christy.
John from Bainbridge Island, WA:
I have no problem with the CBA limitations, and other fans shouldn't either. Do you disagree with the creation of the 40-hour work week? Players are people, too, and Henry Ford was right that people perform better when they have time to rest and recover. I mean, that's why you take all those naps, right?
John: Forty-hour work week . . . heh, heh, heh.
Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
I lived in the Tampa Bay area from 1999-2003. While remaining a Jags fan I also enjoyed watching the Bucs. One of my favorite players was big bruising fullback Mike Alstott. Do you foresee that position evolving again to be more of a North/South power runner than just a blocker?
John: No. While Alstott was indeed a productive, Pro Bowl player for the Buccaneers, he wasn't a true fullback in the sense that he was a ball carrier as much as he was a blocker. You may see an anomaly or two at the position from time to time, but for the most part, you'll see fullback remains a blocking role – and likely one that continues to be relatively deemphasized.
Zoltan from Budapest, Hungary:
Hello John! Did anybody mentioned that you and Matt Damon starting to look very similar lately?
John: I had a nickel -- and not just lately. The year "Goodwill Hunting" came out was not a pleasant time for me. I had to keep a stick with me to fight them off.
James from St. Mary's, GA:
I read an article saying that Chuck Norris endorses Tim Tebow. Keeping in my mind that Chuck can read this what do you think about it?
John: I don't think even Tebow's most ardent supporters put much stock in that as a reason for signing him.
Jared from Downtown O-Town:
I don't understand why anyone would be worried about the fullback position. I realize Jones was in Jacksonville for a while and did a good job, but he was converted featured back. Pryor was a full-time fullback that can do everything asked of him well. Just ask Kirk Herbstreit. He used to man-crush over Pryor. Is it safe to say that this should be a non-concern for fans?
John: I don't know that it's reasonable to expect Pryor to be as good as Jones at Jones' strengths in his rookie season. Jones was an elite blocker who was a very good fit for the Jaguars' offense when he played. Pryor seems to be a good fit for the Jaguars' zone-blocking offense, and the Jaguars think he'll be effective in it. The big reason to not be overly worried is that we're talking about fullback. Every position is important, but let's not put fullback at the top of the list.
Scott from Jacksonville:
Juan Pierre?
John: Jack Pot!!!
Bill from Palm Coast, FL:
I wouldn't have blamed Peyton Manning for not wanting to come to Jacksonville. I blame the Jags for not even feigning interest in him. Had Jacksonville just took a swing or two in the last decade for an elite QB, I'd bet the clamor for Tebow would never had been as strong. Fans need someone to cheer under center.
John: I'll just address your third sentence. I'd bet your wrong. That's the end of the topic for now. We're not letting this topic funnel out of control again.
Patrick from Merced, CA:
Just like last year we have a young team; if anything, it's younger now. Do you think having younger players gives us more of an unlikely chance of winning – given that it's most of the players' first season in the NFL?
John: The Jaguars will be younger than last season. Taken by itself, that might well mean a more unlikely chance of winning. But in the Jaguars' situation, you have to take more things into account – mostly, that it's a new coaching staff with a pretty significant turnover going on within the organization. If players are buying in all season – and there's no reason to believe they won't – this young roster should give the team more of a chance of winning than last year's older roster.
Gator from Section My Couch:
I never have bought a ticket, and I never will unless a certain Heisman winner is signed. I guarantee the 31 teams eyeing Him are playing it coy as to keep the price from sky rocketing. He is a proven winner, and just ask anyone wearing orange and blue, every day all day, He wills His team to win. Caldwell is crazy if he doesn't run out right now and offer him whatever He wants. At the very least go sign McNabb or Testeverde for some competition. What's Caldwell thinking?
John: Brilliant.
Maria from Melbourne, FL:
How has Jordan Shipley looked in OTAs?
John: Shipley has looked good in OTAs, but he is a guy whose video from last season probably means more than anything he does in practice. He flashed pretty consistently late in the season, playing well enough for the Jaguars to sign him to a two-year contract this offseason. He is an intriguing player because he shows he can be effective in the slot – and because of the situation surrounding Justin Blackmon. Shipley has shown just enough during his NFL career – quickness in routes, good hands, ability to run after the catch – that it makes you wonder what he could do with a greater opportunity. Come September, we may find out.
Eric from Jacksonville and Section 223:
When I disagree with you does it invalidate my opinion or yours? I'm confused.
John: Both.

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