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O-Zone: Coming up lame

JACKSONVILLE – Ten days until players report for training camp. So, the countdown begins.

Let's get to it … Brian from New Hampshire:
The more you look it, now that it's the second year for David Caldwell and Gus Bradley, it is hard to find a true weak link on the Jaguars. I think we have one of the best young wide-receiver groups. At running back, I think Toby Gerhart is going to do better than anyone expects. Offensive line looks to be solid. The entire defense, if it progresses, looks to be a surprise to the national scene. Chad Henne is a good manager; he may not be great, but you can't count him as a weak link. I think it's safe to say Caldwell and Bradley have done their job well the first two years.
John: Caldwell and Bradley indeed have done their jobs well. The roster is better than it was following the 2012 season, perhaps significantly so. That's a credit to Caldwell, and Bradley has done a remarkable job changing the culture of the organization. Now, when it comes to your opinions on the Jaguars' roster, perspective may be needed. While the Jaguars' wide receivers are indeed a talented young group, it's also a group that still has to prove that it deserves to be called one of the best at anything. The defense should be better, but there are still questions. That's true of a lot of things around the Jaguars, of course. As good a job as Caldwell and Bradley are doing, there was a long way to go when they took over. The franchise has taken steps but a lot of steps remain.
Bill from Jacksonville:
Instead of fans complaining about the Live Cam being turned off, wouldn't it be something if they took a step back and said to themselves, "My NFL team installed a camera on top of the stadium so I could watch its transformation from the comfort of my home, my office, or on my mobile phone. Wow! I'm lucky to have a team that does so much for its fans."? Now, wouldn't that be something?
John: Yes.
Tony from Jacksonville and Section 344:
When the Jags had their inaugural season in 1995 they went 4-12. The following year was a magical and unbelievable 9-7. If the Jags could shock the world then it's not at all hard for me believe they can do it again. Shoot, they could go bigger. Thoughts?
John: Sure, history could repeat; never say never, right? And there are indeed some similarities to this offseason and the offseason before the 1996 season. There was a feeling among players and coaches that offseason that the team had improved. There also was a feeling that they were part of something that was going to have a chance to be good for a while, though I can't honestly say that anyone saw a season-ending seven-game winning streak and run to the AFC Championship Game coming. Even Pete Prisco and myself sort of smiled disbelievingly when writing playoff scenarios for the Florida Times-Union as that season wound to a close; it simply seemed far-fetched until very late in the process. But something else I can't honestly say right now is that the Jaguars will be ready by the end of this season to make a playoff run. I continue to believe that's a very lofty goal and it's probably an unrealistic one right now. The Jaguars have a chance to be better and a chance to take another step toward being competitive, but it's difficult to predict double-digit victories for this team this season, and that's probably what it will take to qualify for the postseason.
Rob from Madison, WI:
I was running around the capital square and could see the scoreboards in the distance!
John: And away we go …
Chris from Jacksonville:
I was out running Sunday morning in D.C. and the video boards were on. They're cool. I like them.
John: … and go …
William from Savannah, GA:
I was out running at 5:30 Sunday morning on Hilton Head Island and the video boards were on. They're cool. I like them.
John: … and go.
Andy from Pittsburgh, PA:
Alright, I'll play this game. To me, the most memorable play was the 50-yard, game-winning, David-Garrard-to-Mike-Thomas Hail Mary. At the time I still lived with my parents, not far from Philadelphia, and being a Jaguars fan in Eagle territory wasn't easy. I remember walking into school that Monday and everyone HAD to admit that the Jaguars did something special that week.
John: I lived with my parents a long time ago. I never worried about car insurance, where my next meal was coming from or how I was going to pay for gas. The cable wasn't very good and the first dog we had was a dachshund named "Boozer" who didn't like me much, but overall it was a pretty good gig.
Donnie from Melbourne, FL:
Just in case you don't get 100 other emails saying this: don't forget Scobee's 59-yarder to beat Indy as time ran out in 2010. Not as momentous as the playoff memories, but a great one all the same.
John: Something else that was cool about living with my parents? Rent – I never had to pay it. That didn't suck, either.
Darrick from Jacksonville:
I did a little traveling in and out of Florida over the last few weeks. I wore my Jags gear a lot. I was amazed by how many total strangers started up a Jags conversation with me. Lots of positive vibe out there right now. Really hoping we get the victories to match.
John: Here's a photo of me when I lived with my parents. This reminds me of another drawback I didn't mention, which I guess goes without saying was my mother's curious taste in boys pants.
Darius from New Milford, NJ:
I missed out on the Jaguars/Bills game last season due to a monster snow storm. On a side/even worse note, I missed out on an offer from the Bold City Brigade to join their tailgate. Luckily for me, the Jags are coming up this way in back-to-back weeks to play the Eagles and Redskins. I'll be at the Redskins game and maybe it will work out better for me. My question is, will there be any other Jaguar fans there? I'd love it!
John: I was going to post another stupid photo of me when I was a kid, but instead I'll ask, "Anyone out there wants to hang with Darius?"
Sunil from Jacksonville:
A game that gets forgotten in Jags history is the Buffalo Wild Card game at the end of the 1996 season. It had plenty of memorable plays...Clyde Simmons' Pick Six, Natrone Means' long touchdown run and a late Jimmy Smith bubble screen touchdown on third-and-goal down by 7. We also ended Jim Kelly's career that day. If we don't win that game...there is no Denver. Great memories for sure. Hopefully more to come.
John: That game indeed does get forgotten. It shouldn't. While the Denver game is more remembered, the Bills game was very close to being as big of an upset – and the level of shock nationally wasn't much less that week than the following week when the Jaguars beat Denver.
Stephen from Glorieta, NM:
I'm very excited for this season. I'm not thinking of playoffs or win-loss record for this year. I'm honestly just interested in watching the evolution of this team. I'm very hopeful for the future of the Jags. Do you get as bummed as me when so many just want it all NOW? What impact do you think it would have on the Jags to see the stands full and hear cheers vs. boos... and not emptying at halftime?
John: I'm sure the impact would be positive, but your email implies that someone Jaguars fans want too much from the team. In the three years since I started covering the Jaguars again, I've never found this fan base unfair. They want their team to win and they want the team to be competitive. They have booed at times when that hasn't happened. That's not unfair. That's just fans being fans.
Vishwa from Jacksonville, FL:
How about Refrigerator Perry? Dude could move a couple of buses.
John: I assume you're tossing Perry's name in the best-goal-line-runners-of-all-time conversation. I can't put Perry in there. He was a cultural phenomenon and very successful as a short-yardage runner for a year, but he had eight career carries, three after his 1985 rookie "cultural phenom" season. He was good when he was good, but the overall body of work is small.
Dan from Rochester, NY:
Who's your favorite team to be in Tecmo Bowl?
John: The Browns. Kevin Mack and Earnest Byner were awesome.
Ron from Jacksonville:
In soccer if you get two yellow cards, I believe you are disqualified for the remainder of the game and the following game. A red card will make your team play a man down and disqualified the player who received it for at least one game, possibly longer following a hearing by the World Cup committee. So, yeah, flopping can help your team a lot.
John: Well, now I know.
No from Jacksonville:
John, your jokes are lame, yet people keep coming back. Why?
John: Animal magnetism.

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