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O-Zone: Big first day

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Mandy from Section 414:
Hey, Mr. O! Training camp is finally here. My husband and I have been sitting in our seats for 12-plus years now and we have seen many losses – as you know – and I'm trying to find something, anything, to make me feel good about this season. I know Blake will never be a Tom, Big Ben, Peyton, etc. But, is it too much for me to ask for him to be like a Brad Johnson or Trent Dilfer? They were middle-of-the-road quarterbacks that managed games and had strong defenses to add up the wins during the year that eventually led to Super Bowl victories. My question, "O" Great One, is this: can Blake do something similar, or were Brad and Trent that much better at the quarterback position – and is our defense comparable to the defenses they played for? Be honest with me O, this Jags girl can take it ...
John: I don't know that we know Bortles' ceiling yet. He has shown he is capable of making big plays, and making plays "above the Xs and Os." He also has shown he is capable of committing game-turning errors that prove very, very costly. He has not yet shown he can be a game manager, but it should also be said that the Jaguars' defense and team as a whole has not during the last three seasons shown themselves good enough to be "managed" to a successful level. I don't know that Dilfer or Johnson were that much better than Bortles, but they did prove capable of managing the Super Bowl teams for which they played. The most important answer to your question may be this: I can't place this current Jaguars defense with the 2000 Baltimore Ravens or the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers because those two defenses were among the best of recent decades; the Jaguars have to prove they belong close to that category. It's hard to manage your way to a Super Bowl if you don't have a defense on the other side that is capable of doing some of its own managing.
Merriam Webster from Jacksonville:
Zone, I like the way you Defensed yourself in the O-Zone against the critics. I think you may have Defensed yourself into the lead in the Defensive player of the year so far, as you have Defensed well ... or Defensed Good ... or Defensed well … or Good. Is it well or good? Well, you were good – and Good, you did well?
John: Your question is indefensible.
Glen from Orange Park, FL:
Dante Fowler Jr.'s arrests and tickets are not a good look but it could be much worse. I'm encouraged by the way his teammates talk about him and hold out hope he can turn things around. He seems to have a high motor and a bigger desire than most to really be great on the field. Let's all hope he can achieve greatness on and off the field. You're closer to the situation. Do you think he will?
John: Fowler does have a high motor, and there's little reason to question the energy and desire with which he plays. The question around Fowler is can he hone that motor, energy and desire – and package it with improved pass-rush technique and discipline necessary to be an effective, disruptive defensive end at the highest level of football. I think he has a better chance to do this than many people seem to think, but we need to see some serious signs of it this season. We'll know relatively soon.
Midlife from Winston-Salem, NC:
Back in high school in Tallahassee in the mid-1970s, I took three years of journalism and considered a career in sports journalism. At that point, it was an extremely poorly compensated profession, so I chose another field. With all the changes since then and all the money in sports now, I am questioning my decision. Not asking for specifics, but is your guaranteed money from the Jaguars north or south of the Linder line?
John: You made a good decision.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
There may not have been a unit that generated more groans per play last season from the fan base than special teams. Do we finally have the depth to put a formidable special teams unit out there? Who do you project to be our two best return men for kickoffs and punts? Would you rather have a returner with great speed/elusiveness but sometimes bobbles the ball, or a returner who will never botch a catch but isn't much of a touchdown threat?
John: Depth may not be as much of a factor when it comes to special teams as previously was the case; Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone has made clear he has no problem using offensive and defensive starters extensively on special teams. He said Thursday he has reduced offensive and defensive players' reps in the past for not performing well on special teams; I doubt he would hesitate to do so again. My guess is Marqise Lee will return kickoffs this season with Dede Westbrook returning punts. As for the qualities I want in a punt returner, I would (slightly) prefer a guy with sure hands to a game-breaker. I'm conservative that way, but a lost fumble on a punt return is mega-deflating and a sure way to lose games. A similar case can be made the other way about the lift a team gets from a punt return for a touchdown, but I would still rather know I'm getting the ball after every punt.
Greg from Section 122 from Jacksonville:
So, I watched the premier of "Ballers" Season 3. Again we are subject of jokes and cheap shots. The first mention of the Jaguars is the suggestion we are moving to London in line with the NFL's expansion plans. Seriously, these writers or whoever creates content for the show really should do research. Just amazes me we still get this garbage even with all the improvements in the facilities and moves made by Shad.
John: I guess I now have one more reason to not watch "Ballers."
Steve from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Mr. Khan has had great success BUILDING his international corporate enterprise. He has had great success BUILDING improvements at EverBank field. The same is true of his getting Daily's Place done. I am sure he will have great success in BUILDING-OUT the Shipyards. So what does it tell us that he has not had any success so far in BUILDING a winning NFL franchise?
John: Wow. You are serious about the BUILDING part of this question. I know his because I noticed you used CAPITAL letters whenever writing the word BUILDING. What does the Jaguars' comparative lack of success compared to Khan's success in all things business tell us? That BUILDING a winner in the NFL is hard. Very hard.
Turd Ferguson from Duval:
Yo O, when do you expect the Jags to decide on the starting O-Line? Will this be in training camp or sometime during the preseason?
John: Marrone has said he expects to have a good idea about the offensive line before the team goes to New England for the joint practices August 7-8. I expect the Jaguars to pretty much know their starting line around then or soon thereafter.
Scott from Jacksonville:
So let me get this straight, you are afraid of Boselli, respect Shadrick but are willing to just tell Malik that he's straight up wrong?
John: Pretty much.
Matt from Las Vegas, NV:
Hey, John. What's the word on Branden Albert's performance? Did he arrive in better shape as Coughlin demanded?
John: Albert appeared to be in better shape on Day 1 of Jaguars Training Camp Thursday than he did in the mid-June mini-camp. I don't consider this due to Coughlin "demanding" anything as much as to Albert wanting to show up in shape so he can play at a high level. He's a 10-year veteran. He understands what he must do.
Jerry from New York, NY:
You're using the fork that fell on the floor?!
John: Why wouldn't I?
Keith from Palatka, FL:
Does anyone know why the Jaguars did not sign Gary Barnidge?
John: It's usually safe to assume when teams don't sign available players that they assume those players won't be improvements over players already on the roster.
Chris from Duval:
I think the Jags should start Cam at right tackle, look for a starting left tackle in the next draft: second or third round, so he can develop behind Albert for a season. What say you?
John: I say the Jaguars see Robinson as a left tackle, and I say that his status as a first-round talent according to many analysts could give him a chance to play at a high level in the NFL. I also say there's nothing wrong with playing Robinson at guard if that's how it plays out.
Micky from Section 408:
Is there anything you want to share that wasn't in your Day 1 recap?
John: No, I left it all on the field.

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