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O-Zone: Coming up fast

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Dave from Duval:
No anger? No Fire? No Brimstone?!! But how will you motivate them without fear?
John: This is in reference to a recent question about Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley not yelling enough on the sidelines – and in particular, apparently not living up to a relatively famous YouTube video in which as defensive coordinator he yelled at Seattle Seahawks players to "Do Your Job." It irritates some Jaguars fans that Bradley doesn't yell in similar fashion as Jaguars head coach. Look, I get fans wanting to see emotional antics from a head coach. It's something that media likes to discuss, and it's something that plays well in television and movies. But it's not an issue in professional football. Fire doesn't win NFL games. Brimstone doesn't, either. Players make plays and motivate themselves in the NFL; it doesn't always come from the head coach.
Junior from Jacksonville:
Are we there yet?
John: We're close.
Al from Orange Park, FL:
From the NFL's perspective, the Packers in London seem to be a no-brainer. HUGE draw. But, I'd like to see London's home team, the Jaguars, win one for the fans there. That's why I like this year's Bills matchup. Of course, maybe by next season the Jags will be competitive with Aaron Rodgers?
John: That's certainly the objective. We'll know more after this season, but I expect the Jaguars in 2015 to take a significant step toward competing with the NFL's upper-tier teams.
Joe from San Antonio, TX:
Hey O-man! Can we have some pre-preseason Power Rankings? Because we all know how important those are...
John: In due time, Joe. In due time.
Doug from Jacksonville, FL:
Mr. O, I suppose this is a topic you don't want to stay on long, but please allow me my two cents. I am a season-ticket holder and own those tickets to see the Jags. The visitor adds some distinctiveness with their uniform, fans and marquee players. We were fortunate to see Peyton Manning, a certain Hall of Famer, once every year. However, don't you think perhaps fans of the Chiefs or Cardinals relished in the Colts game a little more than Jag fans? Having Green Bay in town, seeing Aaron Rodgers and that fan base for a home game, is a treat. I imagine Minnesota doesn't care too much as they see it every year – much like the Colts game for us. Losing that game with that historical franchise with that fan base and that player to London is a bummer.
John: I don't mind staying on the topic; this is a place where I answer fan questions and act like a buffoon, but it also – particularly this time of the offseason – can be a place for discussion. And this idea of fans being upset about marquee opponents in London is certainly a passionate topic for some. I don't particularly relate to the fans' anger over the issue, but I do understand that there are fans who don't like losing a premier home game to London. I understand it's disappointing. I understand people will continue to be upset. At the same time, the reality for right now is the London initiative is critical to this team working in Jacksonville. As such, one home game will be lost a season to London. Hand in hand with that is the reality that the NFL is trying to grow the sport internationally; the league is going to play higher-profile teams there from time to time. Sometimes that higher-profile opponent is going to be in a game against the Jaguars. At some point I expect the Jaguars will be "premier" and "marquee" enough that the fans here in Jacksonville will care less about the opponent. Until then, we'll keep discussing this.
Nick from London:
In your reply to Brian from Jacksonville recently you claimed it's impossible to give answers to questions you don't get asked. I only wish my wife agreed.
John: I stand internationally corrected.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
Can I get one for David Duval playing solid golf in tough conditions and making the cut at the Open Championship? Do you have any David Duval stories from high school or your time at the T-U? #DavidDTWD
John: I didn't cover Duval too much personally, though working at the Florida Times-Union through the 1990s I did cross paths with him on occasion. I wrote a story on him when he was a senior at Episcopal; I also covered an amateur event in which he played late in his senior year. Most of my dealings were covering The Players Championship when he was playing. I remember being impressed with how he dealt with the pressure/expectations/demands of playing that tournament as a prominent local player. It indeed was good to see him play well this weekend. I always enjoyed watching majors when he contended.
Mandy from Section 414 and Tallahassee, FL:
Well Mr. O, this girl just got her season tickets in the mail for the eighth year. Is it wrong that my excitement gets diminished every year a little when I see tickets with one less home game? You can tell me it's for the greater good all you want. It still hurts to lose a game no matter who my beloved Jags play away in another country. I don't see this changing ever, do you? It seems to be the standard schedule for my Jags for decades to come. No need to tell you that I'm one sad Jaguar. But I'll be in my seat as usual cheering away, just one less time for the rest of my days... :(
John: I learned a while that it's difficult to know what "always" or "never" will happen. That's true in a lot of areas in life, and it's darned sure true in professional sports. If you listen to Jaguars Owner Shad Khan there's little question he sees London as a very important part of the team's equation. He considers the international presence important and the boost to local revenue is important, too. That means he wants to continue having a home game in London each season for the foreseeable future. How long that will be the case remains to be seen.
Seth from Prosper, TX:
How does the NFL decide who plays in (and hosts) the Hall of Fame Game? Does Jacksonville ever make an appearance – and, more importantly, I suppose, would they want to? Pro: extra week of camp, Con: higher risk of contact injury, as I've heard it.
John: The NFL pretty much decides the Hall of Fame game participants on a rotational basis, with the Jaguars' lone appearance in the game being the 1995 season when they played fellow expansion team Carolina. Generally speaking teams don't lobby to get into the game. It does give them an extra week of preparation, but four preseason games is enough; teams don't feel a terrific urgency to get another. It also doesn't really matter who "hosts" it. Both teams play two home and two away preseason games after the Hall of Fame Game.
Blake from Jacksonville:
Am I the only one who thinks the Jags will end the season second in our division? It doesn't take a brain surgeon to see we've upgraded on all fronts since the new regime took over. With that said, where do you think the Jags are the weakest? Defensive back?
John: I'd say the Jaguars do have a chance to finish second in the AFC South. It's hard entering the season to envision them pushing the Colts for first place, but could they push the Texans and Titans for second? Sure, if the Jaguars improve as many believe possible. As for position groups, it's hard for me to rate defensive back as a "weak" position because I think the corners have a chance to be a very good young group. Let's go with linebacker because the depth there needs to prove itself in the preseason and early season.
Ronnie from Jacksonville:
O-zone, Gus specifically praises Ace Sanders' offseason workouts on multiple occasions and then he gets cut. Is this the first crack in the Bradley/Caldwell relationship that will be tested this season?
John: Uh, no.
Rabbit from Jacksonville:
I pretty much have an idea of who our starting defense will be this year. However, I have heard a lot of talk about LaRoy Reynolds and Craig Loston possibly competing for a starting spot. Last year, these guys were hyped up and really only amounted to good special teams players. What do you think the chance is this year that they get some real time reps? And stop about the best football movie.....we all know it has always been "Little Giants."
John: I haven't heard much talk about Reynolds and Loston starting, though I've heard plenty of talk about Reynolds being one of the team's top special teams players.
Hunter from Jacksonville:
Are you ready? (for some football)
John: Soon, Hunter. (Soon).
Scott from Jacksonville:
Yay! Season tickets arrived! Can we go ahead and start the season now?
John: Yay! Soon.

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