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O-Zone: Bring it on back

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … James from Jacksonville:
O, with the release of Dan Skuta, is it safe to say the Jags will be shifting to have Myles Jack take over that spot? He did show some great things when he did get playing time and I feel like he can add to the speed of the defense.
John: Jack actually already was at that spot, with him and Skuta – who indeed was released Tuesday – playing the strong-side "Otto" linebacker position last season. Though Jack started the final 10 games, the two essentially split reps. One possibility for this season is Jack moving to the middle; that has been speculated upon, though not confirmed by the Jaguars. Still, the Jaguars want Jack to emerge as a three-down player this season, and moving him to the middle and moving Paul Posluszny to strong-side linebacker is a way to accomplish that.
Jon from St. Augustine, FL:
Myles Garrett had a career total of 11 SEC sacks compared to Derek Barnett's 29! I'm with Eric from Yulee, FL. Barnett should be a serious candidate at No. 4. Any shot the Jags take him?
John: Sure.
Mason from St. Augustine, FL:
Zone, you have said you don't believe a quarterback will be taken at four. I agree. Any quarterback taken in Round 2 or later will have a tough task getting reps with the ones in training camp. However, Tom Coughlin made a remark a couple weeks ago about "wanting to see how Bortles practices." Do you think Coughlin will cut him less slack for "not being a good practice player," thus possibly opening the door for the young guy?
John: It's tough to say how Coughlin will judge Blake Bortles based on practice. It is true that Bortles has struggled at times in practice throughout his career, but he struggled in practice in 2015 when he also played pretty well during the regular season. My sense is Coughlin's focus in practice when it comes to Bortles will take into account preparation, knowledge of the offense, etc., as much as it does accuracy. I don't yet know whether it will be a deciding factor on whether or not the Jaguars start Bortles next season.
Drew from California:
Was it just me or did it seem from watching the Jags 365: Inside the Red Zone event that the Jaguars would rather trade out of No. 4 rather than draft there?
John: You're referring to Tuesday's Inside the Red Zone event, which featured Coughlin, Head Coach Doug Marrone and General Manager David Caldwell speaking to select fans at EverBank Field. Coughlin and Caldwell did joke about waiting for the phone to ring as the draft approached, and each smiled at the idea of trading down. I don't think there's any question the Jaguars would love to have the opportunity to explore the option of trading down. How wide would those smiles be if the phone did ring? And would the Jaguars actually trade down? That would depend on the quality of the offer.
Dan from Grimsby, UK:
I can't remember if it was catchable, but if it was how could you forget the interception after the pass deflected off Yeldon's foot? That is the first interception that springs to my mind when I think of the 2016 season.
John: You're referring to a recent O-Zone question about how passes deflected off receivers might affect the Jaguars' evaluation of Bortles. I didn't "forget" the pass Bortles tried to dirt that instead bounced off running back T.J. Yeldon's foot and subsequently became an interception, although I probably speak for a lot of Jaguars observers when I say forgetting it wouldn't be a bad thing.
John from Jacksonville:
John, I can't believe these fans who want POZ out of the starting lineup. He has played very well since he came here. I for one would give him as much playing time as I could get him. You don't come across his kind of play often enough in the NFL. Count me as one for POZ. How about you?
John: Count me as one who thinks Poslusnzy often is undervalued by Jaguars observers, and count me as one who believes he'll start somewhere on the defense next season and mean a whole lot to the unit. He has done that pretty much every season he has been with the Jaguars. I won't bet against him until he doesn't.
CC from Duval:
I have a question. Why are we suddenly believing the hype of a player like Solomon Thomas when he only had 8.5 sacks last year and 3.5 sacks the year before that? I may be wrong, but he has a lot of opportunities to rush the passer in that pass-happy PAC12. Nobody knew who he was mid-year; 8.5 sacks is OK, but why is no one bringing up the "one-year-wonder" conversation? They do it with everyone else (I understand it's not his fault; a player's light comes on when it does, but that's the case with every other player that got that tag as well). If we understand that Blake Bortles screwed us badly last year and the year before that with all of his poor interceptions and lack of first-quarter touchdown passes (we all know the terrible stats of BB), why is it hard to understand that with the defense built through the draft and free agency the past couple of years that the Jags would draft a transcendent player such as Leonard Fournette? He takes the ball out of Bortles' hands so we won't have to see him throw it 35-plus times a game and we let our defense and running game win the game. If we draft the Jonathan Allen kid from Bama, he won't contribute right away because we have defensive tackles already on the roster and if we get Thomas what are they saying about Dante Fowler? I get it he had an underwhelming year last year, but that was him coming off of a ACL injury. If the Jags want to move on from someone, it should be Bortles. Why are we having so much patience, but we're panicking and trying to draft Thomas when we already invested multiple high draft picks the past couple of years? DeMarcus Walker from FSU will be there in the end of third round. They can grab another defensive in the third round but we need a left guard with the second-round pick. People are already salivating over our defense; it's by far considered our strongest unit of our team before the draft and it did a good job last year even when BB played double agent with us. We need help on the offensive side of the ball and Fournette seems like the no-brainer pick to help settle BB down. Sleeper pick: Reuben Foster or Deshaun Watson, but I don't know why people act like Fournette isn't that guy. They'll say, "Well, he didn't do it against Bama." Name me one running back that did outside of Nick Chubb at the end of the game when he ran for an 80-yard touchdown once Alabama took out their starters because the game was already won. LSU never had a quarterback and 'Bama stacked the box and dared LSU to pass. Leonard Fournette never had a chance with Bama's talented Front 7 but then again name a running back that did? I'm tired of our offense only putting up two field goals until late third quarter when we are losing we have good players I believe Fournette to be a player to make everyone else great! DTWD
John: I once read an interview with a book editor who read a manuscript that was so complex in structure, its plot-lines so intricately intertwined, that when he finished didn't know if liked the book or not. He said he bought the book and approved publication because he didn't want to risk depriving the world of the writer's genius – even if he didn't understand the work. I don't know why I thought of that story just now.
Richard from Gainesville, FL:
Do you see Solomon Thomas or Jonathan Allen starting if drafted? Isn't the first round pick, ideally, supposed to be a starting player? Are the Jaguars really in a position to draft a player in the first round (#4 even) that is not expected to start?
John: You don't draft a player in the Top 5 in the NFL Draft based on the belief that he will start Week 1 as a rookie. You draft him based on the belief he can be an impact player and a potential multi-year Pro Bowl player for a half-decade or more. I don't know that Allen or Thomas would start, but either would play a key role early and seem to be players who could be really good for a long time.
Travis from High Springs, FL:
Hi John, Lynyrd Skynyrd was before my time, but I really enjoy their music. With you being a little older than me, I thought you might know the answer to this. Why do they have a song titled Sweet Home Alabama if they're from Jacksonville, Florida? Is there a reason for this or is it just one of those mysteries of the universe?
John: I, too, am a Skynyrd fan, though I wouldn't pretend to know enough about them to know all the details behind Sweet Home Alabama. I do know that Skynyrd had a familiarity with Alabama, having recorded at the legendary FAME Sound Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, -- and mentioning the musicians from the studio's house band, the legendary Swampers, in "Sweet Home." I also know it's a more complex song than many believe, which isn't surprising considering Ronnie Van Zandt's status as one of the great songwriters of the last 50 years. What I mostly know is the song – like upwards of 15, 20, 25 Skynyrd songs – is a classic. It also brings to mind a question: What has two thumbs and wants Sweet Home Alabama played during Jaguars home games again? This gu-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-y.

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