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O-Zone: Bold prediction

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Dave from Jacksonville:
Winning is the positive to take from Thursday night's game. It reaffirms all the other positives the Jags have built this preseason. Would you take a .500 season as a positive future?
John: It appears you're asking if I would take a .500 season for the Jaguars this season as a positive. Yeah, I think a .500 season this season would be a positive, particularly if two key areas – Blake Bortles and the offensive line – solidify the strides they seem to have taken in the preseason. I don't know how on-board I am with taking winning Thursday in Washington as some sort of reaffirmation … it's fine, I suppose, but it still was the fourth preseason game with a lineup not remotely similar to what the Jaguars will put on the field in the regular season. Will they take the victory? Sure, but the positives from the preseason are the strides this team took in the first three preseason games. That's what makes that .500 season seem not quite so out of reach as before.
Justin from Jacksonville:
I hope we keep five running backs on the roster, Sir O-dude. My five would be T.J Yeldon, Denard Robinson, Toby Gerhart, Bernard Pierce and Corey Grant. Does that sound pretty close to what you expect?
John: Yes.
MrPadre from Kingsland, GA:
I'm a little concerned with the reaction we could get after the first four games of the season. Even if this team is much improved, with the first four against Carolina, Miami, Indianapolis and New England there's a good chance we could be 0-4 or 1-3. How patient will Mr. Khan be? I know one thing … the "fans" will no doubt start going off about how we are the "same old Jaguars" and "haven't improved at all" unless we win at least two of the first four. I just know I'm already dreading all the comments. Does the schedule to start the season worry you as well?
John: Breathe, MrPadre, breathe. I understand your concern, because this is a big season for Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley and General Manager David Caldwell. But I don't worry about comments from fans (if I did I would have little time for … well … life) and I tend not to worry too, too much about schedules. You can't control them and you don't know before a season begins about the quality of teams. (You think you know, but seasons often play our differently than expected). I do get your point that there aren't any gimmes in those four games. Can the Jaguars play well against Carolina, Miami, New England and Indianapolis and not win? Sure, that can happen. But the Jaguars are better. If they play as if they're better, people – including Owner Shad Khan – will see the improvement and victories will come.
Jeremy from Wise, VA:
Grant just broke a huge run. I think he just won his roster spot. That lil' dude can scoot!
John: I think Corey Grant was on the roster well before a 40-yard run in the second quarter Thursday because … yeah, he can scoot.
David from Oviedo, FL:
O-man, I see some articles that have Josh Evans on the bubble. I for one, hope he makes the team because I think he is one of the more punishing tacklers in the secondary. Do you think he will make the team?
John: I do, but I don't think it's incorrect to say he has been on the bubble, either.
Bman from Hoodbridge, VA:
So much for Myers...good call fellas, good call. Best of luck #scobeeyourself
John: I got this email after Jason Myers missed a 56-yard field goal Thursday in the first quarter. I kid you not.
Renee from #DTWD:
Johnny O! I do believe that was a 47-yard game winner. GO JAGS!
John: Was it?
James from Orange Park, FL:
No disrespect to anyone, but anyone who thinks just anyone can play in the NFL is clearly not with anyone who has a lick of sense in that regard. For evidence, look no further than Preseason Game No. 4.
John: I suppose this is in reference to a relatively recent O-Zone email in which I was accused of being … well, something not nice … for writing on occasion that NFL players have special skills and special abilities. I don't know that Preseason Week 4 proves that point; a lot of those guys will have NFL careers. But while I'm not always right, I don't think it's exactly being boastful to suggest I was probably right when I said not everyone can play in the NFL.
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
Not to be mean, but I would feel a small amount of guilty satisfaction if Myers doesn't turn out to be what the front office thought and Scobee takes the Steelers to the Super Bowl. It has happened in the past. You say winning is all that matters; I disagree, loyalty matters also. Fans love certain players and sometimes that is important, especially if the performance gain is minimal.
John: Not to be mean, but if the Steelers make the Super Bowl there just might be factors in their favor beyond Josh Scobee. But you're right: if the NFL career performances of Jason Myers and Josh Scobee from this week forward are only minimally different, then the trade was unnecessary. In a few years, maybe we'll have some closure. And of course loyalty matters; winning and making correct roster decisions just matters a lot more.
Jason from Falling Waters, WV:
Allen Hurns is the most underrated player on the Jaguars. He has proven last year and is proving this year that he's a threat on the field. Until Lee proves himself further, gotta go w/ A-Rob & Hurns w/ Evans in the slot. Doesn't sound bad to me. What says you O?
John: I say it sounds awesome. If the Jaguars had a wide receiver named Evans it would sound even more awesomer.
Bill from Melbourne, FL:
Hey John, here's a scenario for you: Scobee plays out the last year of his contract in Pittsburgh; Suisham comes back next season and wins back his job. Myers doesn't work out as planned in Jacksonville and Scobee re-signs with the Jags. Jags get Scobee back and a sixth-round pick. Ya never know……
John: Let it go, Bill. Let it go.
T.J. from Orlando transfer from Duval:
O-Man, they just announced the $30 million practice facility this week and they are already planning to move the team to St. Louis. So, they are still building the facility, right? Maybe they'll rent it out for birthday parties or something. #StLTWD
John: Birthday parties are cool. I like them. Will they have a bouncy house? How about one of those face-painter ladies?
Patrick from Jacksonville:
Can we go ahead and put Shad in the Pride now?
John: The team will probably wait a while for appropriateness' sake, but suffice to say they'll find room on the wall at some point.
Taylor from Ellicott City:
Hey John, future owner of the Jaguars here (20 years down the line or so)... The question is, has Dave Caldwell ever traded FOR a player during his time here?
John: He has not. Trading for players usually means acquiring older players in exchange for draft selections. That's not the direction Caldwell wanted to go earlier in this building process.
William from Savannah, GA:
O-Man: Don't go back to Rockville? Good time to sneak in a little REM. Well played, sir. Well played!
John: That's what happens when everybody else in town wants to bring you down, but you know what? That's not how it ought to be.
James from Jacksonville:
John, The Jags picks of Bortles, Lee, and Fowler will forever be compared to Oakland's selections of Carr, Cooper, and Mack, and I am wondering your thoughts on Khalil Mack being selected as ESPN's number-one on their list of the top 25 under 25, Amari Cooper as everyone's pick to be offensive rookie of the year, and the favorable projections of Derek Carr's development by QB gurus and media pundits relative to the players the Jags elected to bank their future on instead?
John: Will those picks be forever compared? I don't know … maybe. I suppose my thoughts are that if Blake Bortles is a franchise quarterback around which a team can build then very few Jaguars fans are going to spend much time worrying about the Raiders. If he's not, then the team is going to have to go find one at some point.
Tyler from Jacksonville:
The Steelers didn't need the holder to go along with the kicker? Actually I don't even know if Henne was the holder last year but I'm sure he'd be great at it for the Steelers.
John: That'd be funnier if Henne … you know … held.
Lee from Jacksonville:
If you had to make a prediction about this year's Jags, what would it be?
John: I predict my security code works every day … actually, I'm not that confident in that prediction – just, ya know … hopin'.

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