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O-Zone: Boom, baby

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Scott from Aurora, IL:
Why don't people understand scarcity relative to demand is what drives market price? I chuckle every time I see someone claim an athlete should "show they deserve a raise." There are few things more showing than when someone needs your particular expertise, it isn't available to them, and your replacement doesn't come close to rising to your level. That said, we don't even know if Branden Albert is holding out yet. But if he is, good for him.
John: You'll rarely if ever hear me say a player shouldn't try for every dollar possible. One reason is the one you cite – that professional athletics are a supply-demand businesses. Another is that high-profile professional sports are entertainment, and the rules are different in entertainment. Do actors or high-profile singers "deserve" what they make? No, but people will pay to see them perform. Another is that the NFL is a brutal sport and players have short earning potential compared to people in other fields. Their method of seeking a raise and making their points often is staying away from offseason voluntary activities. Because these activities are voluntary, they have every right to not attend. If they stay away during mandatory events in the offseason or season, that's different. Then, you're in violation of your contract and hurting your team.
Mark from Archer:
John, if Blake Bortles can play the first game of the regular season without any turnovers or boneheaded throws he has made the last three years I will be hopeful for the season. But if he comes out and plays the same way he has been playing, I fear we are in for a very long season. I know one game does not define a season but if we are going to have a chance we need to see improvement from Bortles right away.
John: That's fair.
Jags Fan 818 from Jacksonville:
Here's one for Poz!!! I really hope he doesn't ask to be released and go to another team and play his position. If he doesn't, I have no doubt that he will put his all into his new position. Poz has done so much for this team. I'd hate to see what this team would be without him. He is an asset in every way. Go Jags!
John: I don't foresee this being an issue. My impression from speaking with Posluszny in recent seasons is he doesn't have much desire to play for another team at this point in his career. That could change with the position change, but I'd be surprised if it does. As far as your bigger point about how Posluszny will approach the change from middle to strong side … yes, I have no doubt Posluszny will dedicate himself to learning this new position. It without question will be difficult and there's no guarantee he will succeed. But if he doesn't, it won't be because of a lack of effort or commitment.
Peter from Orlando, FL:
John, I realize things are voluntary right now, but it would be somewhat thoughtful of Branden Albert to return Doug Marrone's phone call. I would think it important for the team to know before the draft if he is planning retirement absent a new long-term deal with huge signing bonus or something crazy like that?
John: There's no indication Albert is planning retirement, and there's no indication that him not being at voluntary offseason workouts is anything but a statement about wanting a new contract. But yeah … he should have made contact with Marrone. If he indeed didn't do that, that's a misstep.
15-1 from Jacksonville:
Honestly, I see a 15-1 record. It's possible with the improved team, and avoiding key injuries. Only tough game is playing in Pittsburgh.
John: Hater.
Jason from North Pole, AK:
I don't understand why everyone is so bent of shape about Branden Albert missing voluntary workouts. The practices are optional, but so is his playing time. He isn't getting younger so the Jags hold all the cards here. What's the big deal?
John: It's a big deal because some time in the last 15 years voluntary offseason workouts have morphed from things that were once low-key and rarely reported upon to part of the discussed/analyzed NFL calendar. When that happened, it suddenly became a big deal if all not every player attended. Somewhere during the last 15 or 20 years, fans and perhaps media forgot that "voluntary" meant "not mandatory" and attached pariah status to non-attendees. Would players ideally attend? Sure, but missing them doesn't make them bad people or bad players. In specific reference to Albert, remember: the Jaguars are still in Phase 1 of the offseason, so he's missing lifting and meetings. I imagine as a veteran he will report in shape and I imagine as a veteran left tackle he will pick up the offense just fine.
Rob from Orange Park, FL:
I'm writing in to validate the "POZ-being-a-good-dude sentiment." I, being the rabid, voracious-for-any-and-everything Jaguars fan I am, recognized him walking out of a store on the Southside as I was walking in. I got his attention by saying "excuse me, sir (though we're probably the same age), just wanted to tell you go Jags and be blessed." With a welcoming demeanor he smiled, reached out to shake my hand, said thanks and that he appreciated that. I in turn wanted to high-five each person I passed for my remainder of time in the store and on way out to the car. One and his family 'fer POZ and his - while a Jaguar and beyond.
John: Posluszny seems to genuinely appreciate fans and what they mean to this team – and what the team means to the community. He also seems to be a genuinely good person. He's not alone on the Jaguars in this, but he undoubtedly represents the team well and has throughout his tenure here.
Matt from Erie, PA:
Is it just me, or do I seem to be one of the only people who believe Bortles can win us some games? He has shown flashes of greatness with a – to be frank – fair-at-best offensive line and no run game. He's still young, doesn't make excuses, and puts in the work. Why all of the negative talk, O-man?
John: The reason for the negative talk has been pretty well-documented, and it's overkill to rehash every last detail here again. The concerns around Bortles center on decision-making and accuracy – and the fact that he either regressed or failed to improve in many areas his third season. As you note, he hasn't had enough help in his first three seasons, but he also hasn't made strides. When you couple that with a lot of losing, you get a lot of negative talk around a quarterback.
Thrill from the Ville:
It seems that Dave Caldwell's biggest flaw to date may have been his approach to free agency. Conventional wisdom says you build through the draft and patch holes with free agency. Dave's "ascending-young-player" approach to free agency makes it seem that he was also trying to build for the future with free agents rather than merely patching holes. Considering the state of the roster when he took over, I can't say I blame him for trying, but it doesn't seem as though that worked out well, does it?
John: The Jaguars went 3-13 last season, so it's hard to say that too much in recent seasons or offseason has "worked out well" for the Jaguars. I don't necessarily see Caldwell's philosophical approach to free agency as an issue, though. The Jaguars didn't partake heavily in veteran free agency the first two years of Caldwell's tenure; in the last two years, they focused on veterans in the 26-to-28-year-old range entering their second contracts. That's pretty much the accepted NFL free-agency formula.
Robert from Rochester, NY:
Did you know the Jaguars only have ONE more win that the Browns since 2010? I sure didn't know that and it blew my mind ... maybe I'm blind, but we seem like a more organized 30-82 than the quarterback-revolving, talentless, 29-83 Browns. Man, we need to turn this around.
John: I actually didn't know the Jaguars since 2010 were one game better than the Browns. I didn't know this because I hadn't thought about it. Now, I've thought about it. Thanks, Robert. Thanks very much.
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
I don't understand something. All the money and improvements being poured into this stadium seem to make NO difference to the NFL when it comes to exposure of our team. Team has a new stadium … BOOM, instant Super Bowl. Is it going to take playoffs for us to get some recognition? If I was Shad Khan, I would be having a conversation with the league and voicing a complaint.
John: I'll assume you're talking about the Jaguars not having a prime-time game. Those games are about ratings and eyeballs, and eyeballs typically don't care about money and improvements. Ratings and eyeballs just care about winning. In other words, "Team wins more than three or four games a season … BOOM, respect." That's the way it is.

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