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O-Zone: Bad week, underling

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it . . . Aaron from Kenley, NC:
I can't find one "expert" anywhere who gives the Jags a winning season. Not even close to 8-8. And oddly enough, I'm OK with that. Is that weird?
John: No. The Jaguars went 2-14 last season and weren't very good. They have a new general manager, new head coach and a largely new roster. Also, no one pays them much attention on a national level. I would be stunned if many experts or anyone at all picked them to finish .500. This is not the year to get upset with how the experts think. This is a year to watch the build begin.
Shawn from the Mean Streets of Arlington:
Some days reading your column, not only am I entertained, but I go through a gamut of emotions. First, I am enlightened, then irritated, humored, confused, opinionated but ultimately entertained. #Moodyday
John: My emotions run the gamut, too. I'm irritated – confused, mostly. But most of the time, I'm greedy, and I'm angry, and I don't care who I cross.
Jason from Moodachay, USA:
John, with BG11 out for the rest of preseason, do you think Matt Scott will get some reps with the ones?
John: Perhaps, but not many. I expect Chad Henne to work with the ones pretty much exclusively this week, as he did in practice Tuesday. I'd also expect him to work into the second half with the first unit against the Eagles on Saturday night. The reason is not to exclude Scott from having a chance to get repetitions, but to allow the first-team offense to get as many quality plays together as possible. That's the idea in a preseason game, and that will be the focus until next week. At that point, it's the fourth game of the preseason, during which I doubt the starters play extensively after a series or two, after which Scott likely will play a lot.
Bucky from Jacksonville:
With Chip Kelly's up-tempo offense coming to town, do you think this will be a good early test for our defense? So far, the offenses the Jags have faced haven't been good ones.
John: Yes, it will be a test, but frankly, any offense is a test for the Jaguars' defense right now. It's a group that has played two games together, which means the front-line guys have played a little more than a half. Preseason is valuable for a group with little experience playing in a scheme, and playing Kelly's up-tempo offense – yeah, I'd call that a test.
Bo from Dresden, NC:
How concerned are the coaches about the injury Luke has?
John: Not much. The Jaguars are being cautious. They would like Joeckel to get repetitions. Obviously, as a rookie, he could use them. But they also want to make sure he's healthy when he returns and there's not much concern that he won't be good very quickly.
James from Oxford, England:
I apologize for what might be quite a stupid question, but coming from a country where the two aren't qualitatively much different, what is the distinction between being quick and fast when used in the NFL?
John: It's not a stupid question. Quick is about short-term bursts. Fast is usually about the ability to run fast over long distances. There are many who think quickness is more important in football, because plays in which a player runs more than 40 or 50 yards are relatively rare whereas plays in which quickness is valuable to pursue the ball or elude a tackler or defender are the norm.
Kent from Oak Harbour, WA:
After scouring today's O-Zone, I believe we have experienced the first Moodachay-free day since its genesis. Have we really become so entwined in discussions of quarterbacks, offensive lines and defensive ends that we have no space for a little MOODACHAY??? It's kinda like an episode of Duck Dynasty without beards! Oh, and have a great day, John.
John: At some point, I have to go an entire day without answering a question using that word.
Sean from Jacksonville:
Now that we know there was never any real competition at quarterback the Jags can proceed to go 0-16. This regime is worse than the last one and certainly dumber. Making the same mistake Mularchy made ladt year and we all know how that turned out. He truly is Blame Gabbert
John: #Moodachay
Redmond from Jacksonville:
In response to the answer given to my last question does that mean if CS3 or Blackmon missed the whole season whoever starts should get a pass on their poor performance?
John: I don't know that we have to assume a poor performance. I know the Jaguars aren't, and I really don't know what "pass" means. The Jaguars will do what any team does after the season – they'll evaluate as best they can based on the circumstances. Beyond that, I can't predict how the Jaguars will respond to something that hasn't yet occurred.
Herbert from MidState Office Supply Accountz Receevable Supervisa:
Do you think Coach Bradley announces Gabbert the starter Monday if he's not injured? The timing seems a little curious. If Gabbert was not injured last Saturday do you believe he would have started this week against the Eagles?
John: Yes.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
From ESPN, Gregg Easterbrook: "...a weak, insecure coach like Gus Bradley...Shahid Khan does not inspire confidence." This is among the most asinine comments ever made about the franchise. How can someone write something so ridiculous and untrue? Gregg Easterbrook is a sad, pathetic man.
John: It's difficult to be humorous with the written word, as Easterbrook knows well, so I won't criticize his efforts in that vein. But there is – as anyone who has followed this team for any length of time can tell you – steep competition when it comes to the most juvenile, misguided, absurd thoughts uttered or written about the Jaguars. Give Easterbrook credit. He blew the field away.
Frank from Knoxville, TN:
I re-watched the Jets game and noticed the linebackers doing a lot of chasing rather than stopping runners in the holes. Any inkling that linebacker might be a position of interest when scouring the waiver wire? Seems like finding an impact guy there might be easier than a serviceable defensive end or cornerback. Also, do you think Caldwell regrets not trying harder to sign Daryl Smith to a one- or two-year deal? Seems like we could use him now.
John: Yes, linebacker might be an area the Jaguars pursue via waivers, mainly because they'll seriously investigate most positions on defense on the waiver wire. I wouldn't expect "impact," but you might find a player who could be a reserve. As for Smith, I've gotten more than a few emails about this, and I'll say what I said in the offseason, that I believed the Jaguars would have been wise in the short-term to sign Smith. On paper, there was no question he would have been a premier player. But the Jaguars this offseason were trying to sign younger players and players who would be durable. Smith is in his 10th season and while he was durable for much of his career, he missed 14 games last season. Would I have signed him? Probably, from the perspective of a long-term building process, it's logical that the Jaguars did not.
George from Yulee, FL:
Have you heard any talk from Gus about the team's West Coast deficiencies in the last several years and any plans they have to turn that around, or is all of the regular-season talk strictly about Kansas City? What are your thoughts on keeping the team out west between the Oakland and Seattle games? Being familiar with the region, I'm sure Gus has already played with the idea.
John: The Jaguars are staying in San Jose the week between the Week 2 and Week 3 games. As far as the West Coast deficiencies, with a new head coach and general manager there isn't much talk about what has happened in the past. To the Jaguars' decision-makers, there's not much emphasis on the team's recent issues – rather their focus is on the future.
Steve from Miami, FL:
According to an ESPN article one of the main reasons Bradley decided in the early part of the year to start Gabbert, there was no real QB competition, is because of some stats that the owner's son came up with. He didn't go to scouts. He went to the owner's son. That is not something a head coach should be doing and if this is true, the Jags are in some major trouble.
John: The difference between what is written and what people read never ceases to amaze.
Malosi from Santa Clarita, CA:
Was there no O-Zone on August 17? If there wasn't, was that two consecutive years of O-Zones? Regardless if the streak is still alive or not, thank you for your column.
John: No problem, and I'll take this opportunity to clear up this issue. Yes, there was an O-Zone Saturday. It appeared on, but did not appear in the O-Zone archives. This caused some readers to believe the streak – which is indeed over two years, now that you mention it – had ended. It has not, but the underling responsible for the error – and he knows who he is – is being dealt with accordingly. Mark Lamping is involved, as are Shad and Tony Khan and an undetermined number of outside, off-the-books "consultants" with shady backgrounds and mostly unlicensed vehicles. The underling is not having a good week. J.P. Shadrick isn't, either, but that's normal.

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