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O-Zone: Best, best friends

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … JD from Duval:
O-Man, I am worried. I am worried Blake Bortles won't pan out - that he'll be average, at best. I was relatively upbeat about his prospects at the end of the season last year; but, I have since soured. What has occurred since then to make me feel this way? Nothing on the field, obviously. Maybe the negative vibes are a result of the Groupthink that is the national NFL beat harping on Blake's abysmal stats - not many quarterbacks have turned as bad of a rookie season, at least statistically speaking, into a successful career. O-man, can you quell my concerns?
John: Honest answer? Probably not, because if your hopes have been dashed by offseason stories in the national media, then it likely will take more than me talking to bring you off the ledge. The reality is we don't know the end game for Bortles. No one does. Not me. Not you. Not David Caldwell. Not Gus Bradley. I can quell your concerns a little, perhaps, over the whole "statistical" thing. It's easy to say that few quarterbacks have reversed such a statistically difficult start, but it's also true that few quarterbacks have played behind such an inexperienced offensive line and with such an inexperienced receiving corps around him. The point is you can't assume future results based on one season – and you certainly can't assume anything about Bortles' future because of last season. The bottom line is the Jaguars like Bortles' potential. He is working to fulfill that potential. He's doing the right things, which is important. As for how it will all turn out, stay tuned.
Trevor from Jacksonville:
Hey Johnny, how 'bout them Jaguars?!
John: #DTWD
Sandman from Jacksonville:
I believe Aaron Colvin is the best corner on this roster. He has the ability to be the best cornerback the Jags ever had. Why not play him primarily against the No. 1 receivers and let him shine?? I don't understand having him play the slot receivers. Going old school, but a "Free Willy" call may be appropriate. "Free Aaron!"
John: I'm old school, too, and that part of me figures at some point Colvin will push for and win one of the two starting cornerback positions. I, too, believe he's that good. At the same time, Colvin is a very good nickel corner and that position has grown in importance in the NFL in recent seasons. Considering that, there certainly is a school of thought that would favor playing Colvin outside and inside depending on the situation.
Mike from Jagsonville:
OK, Zone. I see what you did there. Take comfort. I'm still with you. Oh, and I see what you did there.
John: Wait. What?
Bill from Orlando, FL:
John, assuming the Jaguars are playing in London in 2016, who would be the most likely opponent?
John: The Jaguars will be playing in London in 2016; that's the final year of the current four-year agreement to play a home game in London's Wembley Stadium. Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union made some news this week speculating that the answer to this question was probably the Green Bay Packers. I can't say I disagree with O'Halloran on this one, necessarily. Putting the Packers on the international stage makes sense.
Buddy from Jacksonville:
#O-Sighting. Jogging down Baymeadows in sweltering heat.
John: Jogging (n.): To stagger and stumble while desperately gasping for breath in an effort to stay something remotely close to thin and stave off mortality.
David from Oviedo, FL:
Johnny-O, the New York Giants withdrew a $60 million contract offer to Jason Pierre-Paul, mainly because he lost a finger playing with fireworks. Do you think they would have pulled the contract if he lost a finger lifting weights, working on his car or mowing his lawn? It's not like he lost his finger fighting dogs. He was just celebrating the 4th of July, like every other proud American. Thoughts?
John: I can't speak to the philosophical approach of the New York Giants except to say my experience has been that they are considered a first-class organization. In theory, the difference between sustaining an injury while handling fireworks from lifting weights or working on your car could be found in one act being perceived as being careless (fireworks) and the other act being an ordinary, day-to-day task (mowing lawn). I think many teams would have pulled the contract offer not because of a philosophical issue over Pierre-Paul's decision-making as much as uncertainty over his future.
Charles from Midlothian, VA:
Given Luke Joeckel looked like a slightly out-of-shape rookie most of last year due to injury, do you think this year he will look more like a second- or third-year veteran? Isn't it on the third year if he was going to be a Pro Bowl talent he would start showing it? Or has that train left the station and he is what he is – that's a solid utility player not living up to first-round level, much like Alualu.
John: Utility player? Goodness no – we're not there with Luke Joeckel yet. Joeckel should look and play better this season. He has had an entire healthy offseason to strengthen and condition and he now has a season and a half of NFL experience. I don't know what level Joeckel will reach this season. A player is going to develop at his own pace. But there's no doubt improvement is needed and expected – by the Jaguars and certainly by Joeckel, too.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
Are there any good football movies about a college quarterback who switches positions when he gets to the professional level and then excels at his position change?
John: I'll check.
Jizzy from Jacksonville:
John, how would you compare and contrast the strength and weakness of this current Jaguars roster to the roster you were covering when you came back to Jacksonville? Thanks.
John: This is a difficult question that must first be answered with the premise that the makeup of the roster is a bit different now than four years ago. I returned in 2011, and while that team wasn't "aging," it did have a few more established veterans such as center Brad Meester, cornerback Rashean Mathis, running back Maurice Jones-Drew and linebacker Daryl Smith. There also was a relatively unexpected quarterback change just before that season, with the release of veteran David Garrard eventually leading to Blaine Gabbert starting that season. This Jaguars team feels to me as if it has much more potential and upside than that team, and I think in two or three years we'll look back on this 2015 team as being more talented and better than the 2011 team. I still believe overall this Jaguars roster is developing and won't reach a peak for a few years, but the young potential at positions such as, say, wide receiver and defensive back, could start showing itself this season.
Cliff from Jacksonville:
No, no, no John. You're wrong. A "hard" snap count is when the center snaps the ball to the quarterback, who quickly realizes the ball is way too hard. He then proceeds to employ (entice, beg, blackmail) a couple of equipment managers to "soften" the ball via deflation of a pound or so of pressure. This is in the NFL Rules Manual as perfectly legal…provided one doesn't get caught.
John: You know what's awesome? When people have a lot of free time. That's what's awesome.
Marc from Jacksonville and Section 239:
Do you think having Tim Tebow on our team would be too disruptive to ever consider? I was initially of the opinion that it was a no-brainer to make him a Jaguar, thinking it would help ticket sales, etc. However, I now think Jacksonville would be the worst place for him to be a backup quarterback. Every time Blake Bortles made a mistake, many in the crowd would start chanting, "Tebow, Tebow, Tebow." Thus, I no longer see it ever becoming a good move, unless it was somehow for the purpose of being our starting quarterback. Your thoughts, Mr. O?
John: My thoughts haven't changed on this much over the years. I have no problem with the idea of Tebow getting a chance to play quarterback in the NFL. I'm not big on the idea that he can be a front-line starting quarterback for the same reason many doubt his abilities in this area. I'm an old-school guy who believes a quarterback must be able to win from the pocket, and that's where I've long been skeptical about Tebow. I also think it would be difficult for him to be an effective backup because it appears he needs to be in a system that fits his skills. As for the fan pressure around a team on which he is a backup, I think that's an issue for Tebow whatever the market, though it likely would be a bit more pronounced here.
R.J. from Jacksonville:
Being Shadrick's best friend, could you tell us his favorite football movie?
John: Rarely has the overused phrase "You've got the wrong guy" rung so true.

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