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O-Zone: Budding friendship

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Zac needsWs from Orange Park, FL:
The national media is hyping the Jags again. I've seen articles about how the Jags have the top cornerback tandem, a Top 10 defense, the No. 5-ranked wide-receiver tandem and the No. 13-ranked offensive line. It's time to get over the hump and get some Ws. What you say, O-man?
John: Sure, it's time for the Jaguars to win -- past time, actually. As far as where certain Jaguars players or position groups rank among the league's best, I'll repeat what I have said a few times since these rankings began being bandied about a few weeks back – that the projections, pontifications and praise about the Jaguars' talent level are based on the potential of many young players. Those young players indeed do have potential. What they don't yet have is a body of work that shows they consistently play to that potential. Whether those players can do that or not is one of the major storylines to follow entering the '17 season. Are the Jaguars as talented as many believe? Stay tuned.
Nate from York, PA:
I'm bored!
John: Read a book. Or get a run in.
CD from Fleming Island, FL:
While I think we can all agree the offensive line's pass blocking was improved last year, it was kind of a train wreck the two previous years. I can't help but wonder if it just took a while for Blake to truly trust that improvement. I felt like he had a much better pocket presence toward the end of the season, when he began to finally trust his blocking. Do you agree with that at all – and if so, do you buy into that as an excuse or reason for optimism next season?
John: I don't call it an excuse, because I've never heard Bortles say it – but you're right that Bortles seemed to settle in the pocket in the last two games of last season. He played better overall the last two games. The Jaguars apparently believe those two games – the ones played with Doug Marrone as the head coach – represent a foundation from which Bortles and the offense can build. They therefore apparently see them as reasons for optimism. We'll see.
Ken from Jacksonville:
What's with all the questions about Jalen Ramsey being able to catch the ball? There's a reason he's on defense. If he could catch the ball, he'd be a wide receiver.
John: Well, yes.
Gabe from Washington, DC:
Would it be that shocking if the Jaguars traded Poz to a team looking for an experienced, starting-caliber middle linebacker? I'd bet there are a number of teams who could use him as the "quarterback of the defense."
John: Yes, I actually would be shocked. There may be a number of teams who could use a player such as Paul Posluszny, but what would those teams be willing to trade? And would it be worth the risk to the Jaguars of not having Posluszny on the team? Remember: players get hurt in the NFL. It's a physical game and backups can matter. There are worse things than having a player such as Posluszny available if Myles Jack is unavailable.
Dan from Jacksonville:
Granted, fans fan – and a victory is a victory. But (there's always a but) don't you think that the road to becoming elite is paved with playing against the best your opposition has to throw at you?
John: Without question. Don't worry about who's starting or not starting for your opponent. Let them worry about you.
Robert from Oneonta:
Metallica was great Wednesday night in Orlando. Do you have any head banging in your music closet?
John: I liked metal, but didn't love it. I went through an AC/DC phase in high school, but hey … most of us did. It was the 1980s.
Tom from Loughborough, England:
Over/Under a 8-8 record next year for the Jags?
John: Over by one game, though if you ask tomorrow I might have a different answer.
Charles from Midlothian, VA:
Bill Belichick without Tom Brady? Great coach? Tony Dungy without Peyton Manning? I think Dungy is overrated and without Manning would not be in the Hall of Fame; Belichick on the other hand has proven that while Brady may be one of the greats, he may not have become one without Belichick. Y or N?
John: Very, very few Pro Football Hall of Fame coaches achieved that status without elite quarterbacks, and Belichick and Dungy certainly have relied on great quarterbacks for most of their success. But the facts don't really support your argument. Belichick clearly deserves his status as one of the best coaches in NFL history, but he made just one postseason appearance without Brady as his quarterback. I also believe Dungy deserves his status as a great coach, and while he won his lone Super Bowl with Manning, four of his career postseason appearances came as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where his quarterbacks were not exactly elite. As far as whether or not Brady would have been elite without Belichick, my guess is he would have been among the best no matter his head coach. His circumstances and path would have been different, but the great ones manage to achieve greatness whatever the circumstance.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
When kickers try for a field goal, their yardage is from where it's kicked but a punter's yardage starts at line of scrimmage not from where it was punted. Why is that?
John: I've never seen or heard a good explanation for this, though logically I assume it had to do with a field goal being kicked from a placement and therefore easily measurable whereas a punt could take place from a variety of spots behind the line of scrimmage. My best answer on this? Because that's the rule.
You know who I am from Jacksonville:
So, yeah: You got that 50 bucks you owe me?
John: Please hold for J.P. Shadrick.
Brian from Duval County:
Is it reasonable to expect 10 or more touchdowns from LF27? Marrone has been on record with his desire to run the ball more.
John: Sure, it's reasonable to expect 10 touchdowns from Fournette. That doesn't have nearly as much to do with Marrone being on the record about wanting to run as it does with the Jaguars selecting Fournette No. 4 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. That means he's going to get a lot of opportunities. And if the Jaguars do indeed run more in 2017 …
James from Jax:
You and "Zach" suggested Jags would have an advantage with Deshaun Watson starting. My question: When a defense is facing a quarterback with no film, can they really scheme a defense?
John: Yes. You can scheme based on what the offense has done in the past, and you can scheme against the tendencies of the coordinator. Scheming in the regular-season opener is always tricky because teams don't show their entire playbook during the preseason – and they presumably have spent at least part of the offseason preparing for the opener. That's also why there are a lot of upsets and unpredictable happenings in Week 1. And yes, a rookie quarterback is a trickier scheme challenge than a veteran in the regular-season opener. Still, the chances for rookie mistakes usually counteract that – so, generally speaking, you would want the rookie starting for your opponent in Week 1.
Mike from Jacksonville:
Who should be inducted into the Hall of Fame first: Joe Jacoby or Tony Boselli? Does Joe Theisman deserve to be in?
John: Boselli. No.
Mason from Palm Bay, FL:
I hate watching Bortles throw pick-sixes as much as the next guy, but I kinda miss Jerell this summer.
John: You make a valid point. It seems the last we heard from Jerell was when the Jaguars opted against selecting a quarterback in the 2017 NFL Draft. Considering his feelings regarding Blake Bortles, I assume that Jerell's silence in recent weeks is related to the aforementioned decision. Here's hoping we hear from him soon – if not incredibly often.
Luis from St. Johns, FL:
If the Jaguars don't make the playoffs this year, then I'm not renewing my season tickets until it's time to renew!
John: Go get 'em, Tiger.
Logan from Wichita, KS:
That's cold!!!! But I guess you aren't wrong for lacking fear of me; after all I'm about to get married and no one fears a soon to be married man. Right?
John: This email is a relief, in a sense. We at have wracked our collective brain for weeks – nay, for months – to solve the Logan Mystery, wondering why Logan from Wichita seems to have been prone recently to panicky responses, paranoid accusations, irrational ramblings and a hallucinatory outlook on the world. The pending nuptials have ended our wonderings. Mystery solved.
Dan from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
John, if we ever met I feel like we would be friends.
John: Cool. Call me. We'll hang out.
Dan from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Never mind.
John: Oh.

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