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O-Zone: And Jersey, too...

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … James from Columbus, MS:
So, your opinion is the PAT change is unnecessary? You have company with Boomer Esiason. Anyway, I disagree because I've been wondering for some time what's the point of the PAT if it's so easy that it is successfully kicked nearly every time. At least the two-point conversion needed to be watched. Otherwise, the extra point for a long time, to me, has seemed....pointless. I think this change is going to help make the PAT relevant again.
John: I'll write a few sentences on this topic. That probably indicates a bit more passion about the subject than I really feel, but here goes: OK, so the PAT is relevant now. Moving it back 13 yards accomplished that. That's fine, but does it add to the game? Does it make football better? With apologies (not really) to Josh Scobee, is a 33-yard field goal significantly more exciting than a 20-yard field goal? Is it not still sort of a chip shot? Is there such a thing as a thrilling 35-yard field goal if the game isn't on the line? Perhaps. As I said, I'm not banging tables or punching walls over this. I'm fine with the rule change. I don't think it's a negative. It doesn't hurt the game. I just don't know that it makes it all that much better, either.
Fred from Naples, FL:
I keep reading how the extra point now would be in essence a 33-yard field goal. Isn't the ball normally snapped to the holder seven yards behind the line of scrimmage? If you have the ball at the 15-yard line, account for the 10 yards in the end zone and add the seven yards behind the line of scrimmage wouldn't that make the extra point 32 yards?
John: Your math is sound, Fred. But like me, you're an old old-school guy. Seven yards used to be the standard distance from snapper to holder, but now most holders line up closer to eight yards behind center, which makes the new extra point a 33-yarder.
Dave from Fleming Island, FL:
With minor rule differences in pro and college and even down to high school, do you think the college game will move PATs back as well?
John: You could see that, although I honestly don't have my finger on the pulse of college football enough to know if there would be any chance of movement on this. Remember, while there are certainly similarities between college football and the NFL, they are also in some cases significantly different games with significantly different rules. College football had a two-point conversion for years before the NFL adopted it, and the replay systems have been significantly different at times. Overtime, too, is a significant difference, with the NFL never likely to go to the college format. Point being, it's not as if one entity historically has been quick to copy a rules change by the other.
Ric from Jacksonville:
Hey, John. I was a teenager working part time at the Orange Bowl when Dan Marino became a starter as a rookie, taking the job from.... Bob Griese (sp), I think. Anyway, I met Marino in person at the stadium after a game once and he was an amazingly nice guy. I have always been a fan of his, so I wanted your opinion on something. It always stings just a little over the past few years when I hear one of his records fall, which a few have done lately. How do you think he would have performed in today's game with all the new "pro"-offense rules and "pro"-passing rules?
John: You spelled Griese right, but erred on the Dolphins' quarterbacking timeline. Marino did take over the starting job as a rookie in 1983, but he took over for David Woodley. Griese had retired following the 1980 season. Now that I've been "that guy" and played NFL Scholar, I'll actually answer your question. I think as phenomenal as Marino was when he played – and I consider him as good as any quarterback who ever played – he would have been even better playing under today's rules that emphasize the pass even more than they did when he played. He had an all-time quick release, field vision, pocket presence, etc. I'm not sure anyone ever was better and I think that would have been true whenever he had played.
Kamal from San Francisco, CA:
Does J.P. really speak five languages?
John: Yes, though only one is spoken by someone other than himself.
Rob from Fleming Island, FL:
John, your interview with Julius Thomas was impressive. It is always great to see such a well-spoken athlete who seems genuinely excited about the game, the team, and the future. Seems like a good team leader.
John: Thomas absolutely seems to be embracing his role as a team leader. If his level of play merits it, it's not hard to imagine him speaking for the team on a lot of issues moving forward and becoming a representative of the franchise. Those are high expectations, but early indications are that Thomas has a chance at meeting them.
Gabe from Washington, DC:
I remember several years ago reading that the NFL does not usually schedule three consecutive road games for a team, but of the times they had done it, it was mostly to the Jaguars. The reason, however, was not because the league hates Jacksonville, but because they cannot schedule a Jaguars game the day after Florida-Georgia, and it would be illogical to schedule a game the same weekend as the Jacksonville Fair. Both those events occur in late October/early November, so scheduling can be difficult. There's no bias against Jacksonville; there's only what makes the most sense. Every team has tough stretches.
John: The Jaguars are far from the only NFL team that faces three-game road stretches, though the league does try to limit such scheduling when possible. Look, every team gets stretches of schedules they dislike. Every fan base complains about it – and a lot of teams complain about it, too. But the league has to schedule 32 teams with 32 different sets of circumstances. The job's big enough without the league trying to insert biases for or against any teams.
Roy from St. Augustine, FL:
John, more than a year ago I wrote suggesting the goal posts have an upper crossbar as well. Now, the league is scrambling to find ways to make kicks more challenging. An upper crossbar may solve that, as the kicker not only needs to judge distance and wind but also height and trajectory. It would make the skill more nuanced – much like a golfer.
John: The league isn't trying to make field goals more challenging; just extra points. I like your idea in the sense that it would make Scobee's job more difficult and I'm for anything that inconveniences him in any way, but I doubt it will get much traction.
Tom from Ponte Vedra Beach and Section 106:
I noticed the OTAs won't be open this year. Do you anticipate the minicamp will be open to the public?
John: OTAs are rarely open, and in this case it's particularly understandable because there will be quite a bit of offensive installation going on – and yes, I anticipate at least one minicamp day will be open.
Bill from Hamden, CT:
O-man, why is Eugene Monroe repeatedly mentioned as a bad draft pick from the previous regime?
John: Good question. Monroe, the No. 8 overall by the Jaguars in the 2009 NFL Draft, has been lumped into some questions and answers in the O-Zone in recent days in which people are making the point that the team currently isn't getting much from its recent first-round draft selections. But he absolutely was not a bad draft selection, which is why I don't refer to him as such. He didn't play at a level that prompted this regime to re-sign him to a core player contract, and he was therefore traded to Baltimore last season. For that reason, I don't know that he should be called a great draft selection, but he certainly wasn't a bad one.
Dan from Jacksonville:
Yelling Duval is silly. No one cheers for a county. It's catering to the cheap seats for the Jags to acknowledge it.
John: Thanks, Don. #DTWD
Timothy from Rancho Cucamonga, CA:
Duuuuuuuvallllllll happens at my house in Rancho Cucamonga, California.
John: I had no idea they had cheap seats in Rancho Cucamonga.
Charlie from Los Gatos, CA:
I know you said we should stop but, Duuuuuuuuval from out in Cali!
John: How far are you from Rancho Cucamonga?
Ed from Memphis, TN:
Duuuuuuval all the way from Memphis. I've followed the Jags since '93 with the announcement of the franchise. Even from here I can feel the excitement of what Khan is building and have followed the team this past year more closely than ever before. I plan on attending my first home game and what should be a win against the Chargers. #DTWD
John: God bless the cheap seats of Memphis, I guess …
BCB Member Chris from New Jersey:
I lived in St. Augustine and Jacksonville, but I'm from Jersey and I'll Always be DUUUUUUVVVALLLLLLLL !!!!!.
John: … and Jersey. #DTWD

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