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O-Zone: Best sequel ever

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Scott from Fernandina Beach, FL

Hello, King O. With Organized Team Activities and minicamp behind us, it appears we made it this far without serious injuries. I’m sure there are bumps and bruises to go around, but essentially we came out healthy. Is there anybody who’s not expected to be 100 percent to start training camp?

Health indeed was a key issue during the on-field portion of the Jaguars’ offseason program – perhaps the most important issue. While players such as linebacker Myles Jack, guard A.J. Cann and defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. missed various parts of the program with various injuries, the team appeared to be relatively healthy at the end of minicamp. Head Coach Doug Marrone said Cann participated in minicamp after being limited in OTAs; Jack was held out of minicamp for precautionary reasons but is expected to be 100 percent for training camp. Marrone when speaking Thursday on the final day of minicamp didn’t commit to Fowler absolutely being 100 percent by training camp, but he generally said he expected all players to be ready come the end of July.

Kelly from Los Angeles, CA

The offseason is over and training camp will be here before you know it, right? So, bottom line: how much better is this year’s team than last year’s team?

Training camp indeed will be here before you know it – to the pleasure of some and the chagrin of others (I’m not chagrined, of course, but perhaps others are). As for your question, it’s a fair one – but tricky to answer. There’s no question that right now – a month and a half from training camp – just about everything about the Jaguars looks better than it did this time last offseason. We think we know what the defense is, and we think we know what the offensive line is – and we have a pretty good idea about a lot of areas. It also appears safe to assume that quarterback Blake Bortles is poised for a better season than last season; he looked that much better during the offseason. But Marrone would be quick to tell you that those ideas are based on last season – and while last season gives you indication what those areas can be, it does not guarantee anything about this season. That has been Marrone’s mantra throughout the offseason and he’s right. The Jaguars are a more talented team than they were this time last offseason: the addition of All-Pro guard Andrew Norwell and a year for a lot of young players to develop seems to assure that much. But the Jaguars were good for more reasons than talent last season. They played together. They played focused. They made big plays at key times. They stayed healthy. They improved throughout the season. Most of those things need to happen for most teams to make the playoffs. Will the Jaguars do enough of those things to be better than last season? The thought here is they most likely will – and they certainly have a good chance. Stay tuned.

Ross from Mechanicsville, VA

Looking at the videos, it seems BB5 is throwing much tighter spirals than in previous years. I know this is not nearly as important as some would believe, but is it true and is it a sign of the improvement we are reading so much about?

You’re right that a tight spiral is not the end-all for any quarterback, particularly Bortles. More important for Bortles during this year’s offseason program was to show command of the offense – and Bortles indeed showed progress in that area while also looking more consistent and more accurate during the offseason. Still, a tight spiral doesn’t hurt – and while perhaps it wasn’t quite as noticeable as his overall command of the offense and confidence, the spiral this offseason looked improved along with the rest of his game.

Bryan from Tampa, FL

In your "What We Learned" piece Friday, you state that you think wide receiver Rashad Greene Sr. could be on the 53-man roster. That sounds to me like he is healthy and is showing the potential he flashed as a rookie. My question is, where do you think Greene fits on the field? Is he a primarily a slot guy with punt-return ability?

The reason it sounds as if Greene is healthy and showing signs of fulfilling his potential is because that’s exactly what he did throughout the Jaguars’ offseason program. This is notable for Greene because the main issue that has kept him out of the Jaguars’ receiving rotation the past few seasons has been injury; the Jaguars always have liked his skill set. The thing I kept thinking about regarding Greene all offseason was that the Jaguars haven’t been shy about parting ways with oft-injured players in recent seasons; for them to keep Greene on the roster after he had played just 17 games in his first three seasons indicated they liked something about him enough that he had a real chance to be on the team this season. Greene still must remain healthy during training camp – and he must show similar consistency to what he showed in the offseason. I do believe he primarily would be a slot receiver and his skill set matches that position better than any other Jaguars receiver, but his ability to return punts is the sort of versatility that earns NFL roster spots.

Doug from Jacksonville

I though Man II, as all true fans refer to it, was not to the standards of the first – and in reality who really thought it could? Caddy Shack 2 or Beverly Hills Cop 3 have to be considered two of the worst ever.

I get that this is a fascinating topic, but I’m pretty sure most people reading realize that when it comes to best sequels it’s pretty much Grease 2 and everything else a distant second. Let’s bowl, let’s bowl, let’s rock and roll; hey, come on, let’s get this show on the road … Oh, we’re talking about worst sequels? I’m sorry: I have nothing for you there.

Brandon from Jacksonville

How’s Dante Fowler Jr. been looking?

Fowler missed or was limited during much of the offseason program with an unidentified injury. Marrone said during this week’s mandatory minicamp that he expected all players to be ready for training camp on July 26, though he was specific to offer no guarantees when discussing Fowler. I wouldn’t worry too much about Fowler not participating in the offseason when projecting how he will play next season. Safeties Barry Church and Tashaun Gipson didn’t participate in much if any of the on-field offseason program last season, and cornerback Jalen Ramsey hasn’t done much in either of his two Jaguars offseasons. All three performed OK last season, if I remember correctly.

Brian Across from Taco Bell

Do you own any Jaguars jerseys? If so, which players?

Good gracious, no. Do you own clothes worn by co-workers or other people you know well and interact with on a daily basis?

Braddock from Actionville, FL

As a fan, I really believe the sky is the limit for the Jags this year and in the future seasons. As a rational person, I also understand that the difference between good and bad NFL teams is minimal – and the difference between great ones and good is also minimal. There is talent everywhere, including the Cleveland Browns. My question: What are your expectations for this team? Do you feel that we may have a better team without a better record or do you think this team is just beginning a period of dominance?

I expect the Jaguars to win between 10-to-12 games this season. I would be surprised if it’s fewer than 10 victories, and I think anything above 12 victories is difficult to attain no matter how good the team. There’s some good fortune involved in the NFL with reaching 13 or more victories. We’ll have to see about “sustained dominance.” Let’s let the Jaguars win a second consecutive AFC South title first.

Nick from Phoenix, AZ

Please tell JP from Mesa a couple of things from a fellow desert-dwelling fan: Stay at the Hyatt. It's within walking distance and the river view is awesome (I mean, water!??). Secondly, consider a Jags shirt instead of a jersey – dry heat vs. humid heat is a real thing after a couple of adult beverages. Thanks, King of Funk!

Word.

Rob from Jacksonville

I agree with Jim from Jacksonville. You definitely get used to the ads being there. I don’t even see them. I scroll, eyes to the next paragraph, not even are of what's being promoted. Always thought most ads were completely and utterly ineffective.

Let’s bowl, let’s bowl, let’s rock and roll…

Stephen from Jacksonville

What are your top five deli meats/cheeses? Are you a chips guy or a cookie man for your sandwich side item?

… hey, come on, let’s get this show on the road …

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