JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Jerry from Tamarac, FL:
Some time ago, they talked about how rookie quarterbacks learned NFL offenses mainly in their rookie year – and in Year 2, they would learn how to attack the different defenses with the offense. Is that true today or is that overly simplified?
John: There's still a lot of truth to it, though like many one-sentence statements, it's a little more complex than that. I could go on a diatribe/tangent about what that means in terms of an increasingly Twitter-centric world, but that would be boring and self-indulgent. As far as your question, a young quarterback can attack defenses in Year 1 while learning an offense, and a quarterback obviously can continue to learn even in the second year of an offense. But the basics of that theory hold true. That obviously was Head Coach Gus Bradley's dilemma when deciding to make an offensive coordinator change entering quarterback Blake Bortles' second season. There will be a learning curve and Bortles will almost certainly be better in the offense as time continues. The thought is that the improvement gained from the change will outweigh that factor.
Trae from Jacksonville:
Not to imply that you are or would be dishonest but is it possible that you have perhaps taken days off over the years and had someone else answer and write the O-Zone column for you? #thetruthshallsetyoufree #ormaybeyouramachine
John: #notachance #cantduplicateanythingthispathetic
William from Section 231:
A lot of football legends have sadly been passing away lately, at relatively young ages (Ken Stabler at 69). Do you think the wear and tear from NFL careers leave players more susceptible to shortened life spans?
John: First, a word about Stabler: I was saddened by news of his passing, and I imagine any NFL fan around my age feels the same way. I first learned and loved the NFL in the 1970s, and although Stabler perhaps wasn't the greatest quarterback of that era, he symbolized a lot about that period. He also was one of the faces on an Oakland Raiders team that helped define a lot of that era. He was a master of the two-minute drill, and I passed many late Sunday afternoons watching him come from behind in unlikely fashion in the second game of an NBC Doubleheader with Curt Gowdy likely on the call. He had a flair for the dramatic and was cool enough under pressure that I imagine he would have found a way to be successful in any era. As for wear and tear of the NFL shortening life expectancies, while circumstantial evidence perhaps suggests that's the case, that's way outside my area of expertise. Considering Stabler died of colon cancer, it also doesn't seem to apply here, so while it's a significant conversation, it's perhaps one for another time.
Stephen from Dillsburg, PA:
John, the discussion on college quarterback to other NFL positions got me thinking about George Blanda, who played quarterback and kicker in college and the NFL. Ultimately, he retired as a kicker. Have there been any other players in the NFL who were able to succeed at two positions like George Blanda?
John: It actually used to be quite common. Hall of Famer Sammy Baugh is best known as a quarterback, but he also was a safety and punter while playing for the Redskins in the late 1930s, 1940s and early 1950s. That was in the era of two-platoon football, when players commonly played both ways. As the years have gone on, there have been others, though it's obviously rare now. Chuck Bednarik played middle linebacker and center for the Eagles during their 1960 NFL Championship season. Lately, there have been cases when players played both sides of the ball in some situations. Danny White punted and played quarterback for the Cowboys in the late 1970s and 1980s. Wide receiver Troy Brown played nickel back for the New England Patriots in the mid-2000s and Deion Sanders doubled as a wide receiver at times in his career in the 1990s. There probably have been others, but those are some high-profile examples.
Josh from Allentown, PA:
John, I will be getting married July 18 and am going to Savannah, Ga., for the honeymoon. Our flight takes us into Jacksonville airport. This will be my first time in Jacksonville and we will be driving by the stadium just so I can see it in person. Having been a Jags fan for all my life, I am so excited for this opportunity and wanted to share with you and the Jaguars organization that they will be a part of this special time in my life!
John from Section 113:
Additional question to add to the supplemental-draft conversation. What are the usual circumstances that would lead a player to become ineligible to play college football after the draft in May?
John: The circumstances that would lead to a player becoming ineligible after the draft would be the same that would lead to a college player becoming ineligible any time. Academics. Discipline. Off-field issues. Etc., etc.
Geoff from Orlando, FL:
With the dead zone in full swing and the MLB All-Star game upon us, why don't we switch to baseball movies? I'll submit my short list; The Natural, Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, For Love of the Game. But my favorite has to be Major League... Juuuust a bit outside... Classic!
John: Ed. 'Nuff said.
Justin from Jacksonville:
Hey Mr.O. I was just hearing the reports on Jason Pierre-Paul having a finger amputated because of his fireworks incident. What's your take on the whole situation? Do you think it will have a noticeable impact how he plays the game? Never heard of anything like this happening to a player before.
John: I typically do whatever I can to not answer questions with, "I don't know," but as far as how Pierre-Paul will play now … I don't know. You would think he could play effectively moving forward, but it goes without saying it's unusual.
Adam from Richmond, VA:
If The Program wasn't your cup of tea; how about the longest yard? The original or remake...your call.
John: I'll take the original Longest Yard. I wouldn't put it in the Top 5, but in terms of football movies, it was a whole lot better than a whole lot of them.
Biff from Jacksonville:
I still enjoy "The Best of Times." And Robin Williams in general.
John: I agree. And I agree.
Chen from Narnia:
So, the fight should be nearing the end for the name "Redskins" in Washington. I think the wise move for the owner would be to work with Native American groups to come up with a new name that would honor the heritage and move away from the image that has caused so many ill feelings. What are your thoughts?
John: A couple of thoughts here. One, if a change is indeed going to occur – as most people do believe appears inevitable – the approach you suggest makes a lot of sense. As for your first thought, that the fight "should be nearing an end," I'm not so sure. Yes, a federal judge ruled to cancel the team's federal trademark registrations this week. That's a significant step in this story. But having followed this for a while, I don't get the sense Redskins Owner Dan Snyder will quit his fight easily. There are ways to appeal, fight, delay, etc., and I'd be surprise if he doesn't do all three. He's pretty much the definition of "dug in."
Scott from Aurora, IL:
How goes it, Mr. O? Part me of me feels bad for JPP. He was just having fun with friends. But then another part of me chimes in thinking that he should have had more awareness about his professional responsibilities and perhaps his unresolved financial situation. Which side do you feel to be more correct?
John: I'd feel bad – and I do feel bad for Jason Pierre-Paul. I don't know the details of what led to the accident that caused his index finger to be amputated, but we do know it was a fireworks accident. He made a mistake. A big mistake. But no one deserves what happened to Pierre-Paul just because of a silly mistake.
Tym from the Southside:
Exactly how much of that shelf is reserved for beer and leftover Sbarro's?
John: Exactly "all" – minus, of course, the Sbarro's.
Lance from Lebanon, TN:
This quarterback switching to play and excellent at another position is lacking one prime example. What about John Lynch? Quarterback at Stanford, safety for the Bucs!
John: Sort of. Lynch was recruited to Stanford as a quarterback, and when he didn't win the starting job, he switched to safety. He played there his final two collegiate seasons.
Thomas from Jacksonville:
John, was that you I saw jogging on Baymeadows? You trying to impress the Culligan girl or something?
John: Yeah, it was probably me – if you can call that jogging. And while I have no idea what you're talking about, who's to say someone somewhere isn't somewhere jogging trying to impress me? Hello. Hello!? Is this mic working?
Mike from Jagsonville:
Zone, just so you know, I'm still here. Every day.
John: Well, that's just awesome.
O-Zone: Awesome update
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Jerry from Tamarac, FL: