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O-Zone: Breaking down barriers

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it . . . Robert from Fernandina Beach, FL:
David Caldwell and Gus Bradley both have strong convictions and PATIENCE, which will make their "Building-Through-the-Draft" philosophy ultimately successful. Many current Top 10 NCAA quarterback prospects have star potential, with Manziel possibly better than the more highly touted Bridgewater. The future looks bright for the Jags if we fans live long enough for us to enjoy it! Do you agree?
John: I do agree. And I again find it intriguing how "patience" has become such a hot-button word among O-Zone readers. Some readers admonish the senior writer for preaching it despite him rarely if ever doing so and others tell other readers they must have it. Again, this isn't about patience. Be impatient. Be angry if you like. But at the same time, understand that to get where the Jaguars want to go will take time and won't happen this season. That's difficult to hear, but it's unavoidable. The Jaguars aren't trying to win three games this season, or five. They're trying to win 10-plus games for long stretches at a time, and from where the franchise was at the end of last offseason that wasn't going to happen in one offseason. That doesn't mean the Jaguars are trying to lose this season. It does mean they have had to make decisions based more on the long-term than the short-term. As for patience, I don't see Bradley and Caldwell as being patient. They're not. They want to win now and they hate losing. I do see them as knowing enough about the league that although they are impatient and want to win they also know there is a right way to do things, and a way to long-term sustainability. That's not always an easy path, and it indeed does require sticking to convictions on a daily basis in very difficult times. That may or may not be the same as patience, but it's important.
Mike from Jacksonville: says Tebow coming to Jags will sign soon. Say it isn't so.
John: It isn't so.
Sal from New Jersey:
You wrote about how Bradley has greater support for Blaine Gabbert. This is the NFL, so please explain how much more support a franchise can give a quarterback who isn't performing.
John: I wrote that Bradley voiced stronger support for Gabbert Monday than Sunday. Again, this is about the long-term having more importance right now than the short term. The Jaguars want to win now, but they want to see over a significant stretch what Gabbert can do. However the fans may feel about that, to the decision-makers that means letting Gabbert do it with THIS group of coaches and THIS group of players. When Bradley supported Gabbert Monday, the point was that after watching video, he had more support than he had the day before. As for how much support a franchise can give Gabbert, I believe he'll get most or all of this season to show he can be the quarterback with which to move forward. I don't think he'll get longer than that unless he plays better than he has his first two-plus seasons.
Chad from Orlando, FL:
Is there a limit to how many picks a team can have in a particular draft?
John: No.
Mario from Zapata, TX:
"O," settle an argument for me and my friends. They keep saying that the best college team ('Bama) can beat the Jags. Can a college football team beat professionals?
John: Absolutely not, and it wouldn't be close. It would be a 30-point margin, at least, and probably more. Every player on an NFL team is by definition in the NFL while 10-to-15 players off the best college team might make it in a given year. There also is a huge difference in physical size and strength between a 27-year-old NFL offensive lineman and, say, a 20-year-old NFL defensive lineman. Luke Joeckel, for example, was as good an offensive lineman as there was in college football last season and he has talked repeatedly this season of being surprised at the difference in speed, skill and technique from the Southeastern Conference to the National Football League.
Herbet from MidState Office Supply Accountz Receevable:
If the communication between Gus and Dave is so good then why did Gus say he found out about the Monroe trade a few hours before everyone else? Clearly this was something Dave was working on for a while. He didn't just wake up and say I think I'll shop Eugene around today.
John: First, Caldwell didn't exactly "shop" Monroe. The Ravens and Jaguars talked about the possibility, and eventually came to a deal that made sense. Second, while Bradley didn't find out that the deal had gone through until Tuesday, he indeed was aware throughout the process that it was a possibility.
Trey from Jacksonville:
Seen hiking through a national park during the shutdown as to avoid the park entrance fee. #ShadrickSightings
John: Hiking?
Patrick from Cincinnati, OH:
John, you're losing your mind. "John: One has nothing to do with the other. I understand that people are making the connection, and I understand the logic to a degree. But Blaine Gabbert is probably going to get most of the rest of the season." If they wanted to see Blaine with a Swiss cheese line, they could've just watched last year's film. Doesn't make any sense.
John: First, don't assume that the line is going to get worse now that Eugene Monroe is gone. Perhaps it will, but I'm getting the idea that that may not be a foregone conclusion. Second, I may be losing my mind, but the trade of Monroe doesn't figure into how the Jaguars feel about Gabbert. It just doesn't.
Julian from Fernandina Beach, FL:
At what point does Lewis' injury situation become like Daryl Smith's
John: When he misses 14 games.
Jason from Jacksonville:
You said in one of your questions that we won't trade for Freeman. I thought he was released? Mistake on your part?
John: I answered the question before Freeman was released. I didn't make a mistake, though I have before and likely will soon. And I don't think the Jaguars will pursue Freeman now, either.
Marcus from NYC via Jacksonville:
While the offensive line seemed to pass protect a little bit better against the Colts, Will Rackley seemed to continue struggling. Knowing that he isn't 100 percent healthy, might we see some rotation at the left guard position. The team has signed a couple of guards in recent weeks, right?
John: I do think Will Rackley needs to play better. I don't sense that there's any immediate change coming at left guard.
Matt from Jacksonville:
Do you think Ricky Stanzi will ever see the field this season with a healthy Gabbert and Henne? Why not see what they have and give the kid a shot?
John: It's possible, though I don't think it will happen in the next few weeks. The Jaguars want to see what they have in Gabbert. They want to try to give him some semblance of consistency at wide receiver and stability in terms of players around him playing for more than a week or two together.
Tracy from Jacksonville:
Why won't the Jags start Denard Robinson instead of allowing Gabbert to stay and get worse?
John: Because Robinson isn't an NFL quarterback.
Hogfish from Mayport, FL:
I do not understand the fans bashing Ace Sanders. The man is a fourth-round wide receiver who is starting and on track to get 648 yards this season. That's only 217 yards less than Blackmon had last year, and he was a Top 10 pick! If you told me that our fourth-round wide receiver would have four yards less than Coby Fleener, I'd take that all day. I think he'll be good as a second wide receiver, but will be a great third/slot receiver. Lay off the man: he's a rookie, and a darn good one at that.
John: Sanders is fine. The Jaguars drafted him in the fourth round to return punts and be a reserve/third/slot receiver. Because Mohammed Massaquoi didn't work out and because Justin Blackmon missed the first four games, he was asked to do a lot more. He is performing well for what is expected of him and the Jaguars have every confidence he will perform better when Justin Blackmon returns.
Michael from North Charleston, SC:
If the right situation came about do you think MJD would be traded? I ask this because I did not see the Eugene Monroe trade coming leaving me to believe no job is safe at this point!
John: I don't think Jones-Drew will be traded. David Caldwell said as much Thursday and also said there are no plans to trade either Jones-Drew or middle linebacker Paul Posluszny.
Hunter from Orlando:
Who cares?
John: You know who cares, Hunter? You, and deep down, you know you do. Oh, I know you walk through life with this nonchalant, no-one-can-hurt-me emotional armor, but there's a person under that hardscrabble exterior, Hunter – a caring, soulful, gentle, good person. So yes, Hunter, you care. And it's OK to cry.

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