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O-Zone: Bonus baby

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Chad from Savannah, GA:
John, every year I have very optimistic thoughts and feelings about the Jaguars. The talent seems to be there this year, although we're thin at some positions. I feel very good about this season, yet nervous at the same time. Blake Bortles has a lot to prove, but I feel this is the most talented roster we've had since the late 90s from top to bottom. The players just have to perform at the level they're capable of. Would you agree with that?
John: Your feelings seem to mirror those of many Jaguars fans entering this season – a mix of optimism and anxiety – and that makes sense. Not only are nerves common before the start of any season, the Jaguars have struggled long enough that it's hard for many to believe they could possibly do well. That's OK; it's part of the growth process. At some point, the franchise must break through and have winning be the expectation. And yes, I believe the talent is now there to start moving significantly toward that. Is it the most talented Jaguars roster since the 1990s? I have tough time saying that. I wasn't here through the 2000s, but there was some serious talent on some of those teams. This year's Jaguars appear to be a good, young roster that could develop and continue to improve. Let's leave it at that until things develop on the field.
Charles from Midlothian, VA and Section 410:
I truly am a fan of Sen'Derrick Marks, but I find the image they use of him on the website to not be intimidating as much as it looks like someone with intestinal distress … Surely, they can find a better picture. It's hard to even look at for all the wrong reasons.
John: #DTWD … and stop calling me Shirley.
Biff from Jacksonville:
After watching the Bortles video it appeared that: 1) He is very comfortable with the media folk, 2) He was ready for every question, 3) According to him everyone on this team is hard working, 4) Adjusting to butt size is an offseason challenge and 5) it's fun. Your thoughts?
John: My thoughts are that you are seeing Bortles pretty clearly. Look, after 15 months being around him, there's little doubt in my mind that he can handle this job mentally. There's little doubt he's an enjoyable guy to be around. There's little doubt his teammates like and respect him – and there's little doubt they want to play for him and with him. There's little doubt he's comfortable with the media and all of the periphery things about being an NFL quarterback. The only doubt about him is whether he can perform on the field at a franchise-quarterback level. That remains to be seen, and only will be seen over time.
John "Hendo" from Knoxville, TN:
O- Any way I can arrange to slap JP before each Knights episode to get him ready for the segment?
John: Only if you gut-punch Sexton, too.
Andrew from Section 410:
Why does the NFL allow quarterbacks to come to training camp early? What are they allowed to do with rookie wide receivers who are allowed to arrive early? Did Peyton Manning arrive early and if so how did he utilize his time? Thanks for all you and the team do to keep us informed and entertained.
John: The NFL allows quarterbacks to report early because they're integral to everything an offense and a team does, and it's difficult to get much out of any football-related situation if they're not involved. They are allowed to throw/practice in non-padded work. As far Manning, the rules governing reporting dates were different when I covered him with the Colts, although I feel safe in saying that he – like most quarterbacks – certainly would have arrived at the earliest possible date to prepare.
Paulo from Salvador, Brazil:
Hey Mr. O … What kind of e-mails do you think you would receive if the league put the Vikings game in London and the Packers trade Aaron (Rodgers) to the Vikings? Or, in a more possible scenario, Aaron breaks a finger in the previous game? Way too many people are complaining now about a thing that could happen in the future?
John: Yes, and my head sorta, kinda really hurts.
Groggo from Jacksonville:
Do they call you senior writer because you forget things quite often and have increased the amount of fiber you eat and your bones are creaky?
John: They call me senior writer because a professional of my stature who carries himself as I do naturally commands respect … I think … I don't know. I can't remember. What's fiber?
T.J. Yeldon from One Stadium Place:
O-Zone, 15 years from now that best running back answer is going to be T.J. Yeldon.
John: Wow, first Fred Taylor is reading and writing to the Ozone – and now T.J. Yeldon. I guess my reach is finally widening. As far as your prediction, T.J. … good luck. Your sights are set very, very high.
Alan from Jacksonville:
As the talent on our roster improves, how beneficial is it for our players to be practicing against better players?
John: It doesn't hurt.
Kyan from Cedar Falls, IA:
O-Man, many fans continue to expect at least eight wins this season and are complaining that the Jags need to get better faster. I would rather see a few rough years like we have had and build a solid team the right way (through the draft) with a chance of being a great team for a long time like the Packers versus spending a ton of money in free agency and having two, maybe three years, of eight-to-10-win seasons and then being bad again. Am I alone??
John: You're not alone, but you're probably in at least a little of the minority. That's because most fans rightly want to win now even when a quick fix is impossible. What you have outlined indeed is the Jaguars' plan under General Manager David Caldwell. Will it work? That remains to be seen. The players – particularly the quarterback – must still develop; if that doesn't happen, very few NFL plans work. I realize many people are impatient with this plan, but while I can't tell you if it will work, I can tell you I don't know of any other approach that would have had as realistic a chance to turn this franchise into a long-term winner.
Ray from Jacksonville:
I am having trouble with the new emoji keyboard. There doesn't appear to be a moodachay emoji, What?
John: I say someone's got some 'splainin' to do.
James from Yulee, FL:
Hey O … how good can this Sample kid be? Do you feel like he has the talent to be possibly great?
John: James Sample played well enough last season at Louisville to be selected in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. The Jaguars think he has the talent to switch from strong safety in college to free safety in the NFL. He appears to have significant athletic ability and hitting ability. I've seen Sample at a few offseason, unpadded practices, so I'll need some more time to figure out if those things he did in college will translate to being great professionally.
Jamaal from Duval:
Zone, do you think Michael Bennett will make the 53-man roster? How many defensive linemen will they keep? I think another team would sign him if he is on the practice squad.
John: I do think Bennett will be on the 53-man roster. I think that would be true even if Sen'Derrick Marks was fully healthy, but I think it's even more true with Marks returning from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. And yes, I think there's little doubt some team would sign Bennett if he is signed to the practice squad.
Evan from Tallahassee, FL:
So does Sen'Derrick Marks being put on the PUP at this point in training camp mean that he's going to have to miss the first six games or can he be taken off the list before the start of the regular season? I'm hoping for the latter because no Marks = not happy fan.
John: Marks rookie safety James Sample both were placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list Tuesday. What it means is they won't be ready to start training camp. It is quite possible each is ready for the regular season. Either player can begin practicing at any time once camp begins.
Redmond from Jacksonville:
Assuming they all stay healthy out of Yeldon, Robinson, and Gerhart who has the most carries and the least carries?
John: I'd guess T.J. Yeldon leads the Jaguars in carries this season, and that it will be close between Robinson and Gerhart with Robinson perhaps getting a few more carries. That's not to say Robinson will play more; Gerhart could have a major role as a third-down back out of the backfield. This is a significant area to watch during training camp. Stay tuned.
Chris from Palm Beach, FL:
Seen collecting his offseason bonus in quarters, dimes, and nickels from the mall water fountain. #shadricksightings
John: Is this wrong?

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