JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Mike from Navarre, OH:
In a recent O-Zone, Doug from Bronx, NY, brought up some great points in discussing the competitive statistics the Jaguars posted in 2016. The glaring problem is the minus-16 turnover margin. Turnovers translate to points, especially when they're committed in less-than-ideal field position. Can Blake Bortles' offseason work help fix this issue or do you think he still has a ways to go when it comes to his decision-making and it's going to be another long season?
John: Mike, I don't respond this way to be vague, but if I knew the answer to this question I would know in advance pretty much exactly how the Jaguars will fare next season. And if I knew that, then I have no doubt Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin would have me in his office predicting all things football as they pertain to the Jaguars. This answer is not meant to be facetious or condescending, but it is meant to point out that Bortles' ability to improve in the area of turnovers – interceptions and fumbles lost – is perhaps the most critical question surrounding the Jaguars next season. There's no doubt some of the turnover issues last season were caused by mechanics in the sense that mechanics led to inaccuracy, which often led to tipped balls that led to frustrating interceptions. At the same time, interceptions from poor or slow decision-making have been the major thing haunting Bortles through three seasons, so it would be disingenuous to say the issue can be fixed by two months in California this offseason. Yes, I believe Bortles has a long way to go in terms of decision-making. I say that based on the first three seasons of his career. But you can go a long way in that area in a short time. If Bortles can do that, the season could still be long, but it would have a chance to be a lot more successful than the past few.
Gary from Palm Coast, FL:
Your response to Daniel from Jacksonville omitted one important item. If the offense is in true hurry-up, it is difficult for the defense to substitute. If the offense makes a substitution, doesn't the defense have time to also make substitutions?
John: Yes, which is why my answer concluded with the sentence, "If the offense is hurrying but substituting on occasion, then it's possible sometimes for the defense to adjust personnel as well." So, yes … I indeed omitted the item – except in the sense that I did not.
Glen from Orange Park, FL:
Sometimes I read your responses and just think, "Wow, he is so awesome! I would be so honored to meet him some day in real life!" Can we have a drawing or something so one of your faithful fans has a chance to meet you?
John: No, and it doesn't matter how good a picture you can draw.
James from Duval:
That Daily's Place auditorium and surrounding areas currently under development would be a nice location to host upcoming NFL drafts. Have you heard anything from the Jaguars' brass about that? Do the Jags bid on the event like they would a Super Bowl?
John: Jaguars Owner Shad Khan is on record saying he wants to bring the NFL Draft to Jacksonville once Daily's Place and the surrounding facilities are ready. Philadelphia has the draft this year and in 2018. I would anticipate Jacksonville bidding on – and getting – the draft sometime after that.
Marc from Jax:
I'm guessing Dante Fowler Jr.'s best bet at getting snaps is playing strong-side end on some nickel downs and weak-side end on some base downs. Any thoughts on that from the O-Man?
John: My first thought is the question is phrased curiously. There's no question that Fowler is going to "get snaps" next season, and there's no "betting" involved. He's going to figure heavily in the Jaguars' defensive-line rotation, and he absolutely is going to be an important part of the plan entering the season. And yes, I anticipate he will play both end positions in various packages. Will he start? That is the question, and I don't yet have a feel for the answer.
Nathan from Provo, Utah:
John, wow. If the Jags are in a position to go running back with their first pick, then the success of this team will truly be measured by the quarterback. I would like your thoughts. Even before the latest free-agent acquisitions, I felt addressing the offensive line would be prudent in Round One. "What say you?"
John: I do think the Jaguars selecting an offensive lineman in Round 1 would be prudent – if they are able to trade back from No. 4 overall, or if they are able to trade up into the first round from the top of the second round. Offensive line at No. 4 of this draft? That would seem like a reach and wouldn't feel prudent at all.
Jeremy from Dodge City, KS:
Do you ever read the comments section on O-Zones?
John: What's a "comments section?"
John from Cape May, NJ:
If the Jags take Leonard Fournette at No. 4, I'll quit being a Jags fan. I have no faith, no matter who picks him, that Fournette will be a once-in-a-generation talent. I question his vision, his elusiveness and ability to make people miss. His tape shows it all. All of his highlights are of him running through a hole that a semi could fit through. Yeah, he's big. Yeah, he's fast, but so is everyone else in the NFL. Fournette would be an absolute disaster of a pick for the Jaguars.
John: So, you're saying the Jaguars should take Fournette, but trade up to get him?
Chad from St. Augustine, FL:
Zone, I am not a professional football player. However, when I look at Leonard Fournette he appears to be someone that I would not want to try to tackle. That guy is special. Do you think he is No. 4 overall special?
John: While John from Cape May certainly seems to think so, there are some legitimate concerns concerning Fournette that I share. He is physically imposing, and fast, but I agree with those who wonder if he has the miss-ability at the line of scrimmage necessary to be elite in the NFL. I understand the philosophy behind selecting Fournette so early. I get that he could be a build-your-offense-around-him player, and that such a player might be the quickest way to add an element to this offense. But I also am concerned about that miss-ability issue. I believe his NFL success will hinge on it.
Donald from Jacksonville:
when I go to jax.com there is no obvious place to sign in at?
John: when I go to Smoothie King sometimes I order the large and other times I order the small
David from Elgin:
Hi John, as you know, I was predicting and hoping blindly for drafting Fournette at No. 4, but now that the bandwagon for this is growing I am beginning to look at other scenarios. On hearing the RIDICULOUS possibility of us trading back into the first round for a quarterback, how would you feel if we took Fournette then traded back into first round for one of the top offensive line prospects such as Forest Lamp? Or if we pass on Fournette trading back into first round for Cook or McCaffrey? If Blake Bortles does not progress this season, surely the 2018 quarterback class would be the time to look for a replacement under center?? The running-back situation must, must, must be addressed by pick 36 or it will be yet another losing season.
John: I don't know if the Jaguars will take a running back in the first or second round, but I do know that the class is deep enough that all hope is not lost at the position if they don't address it until the third round or later. But I do find your conviction that trading back into the first round for a quarterback is RIDICULOUS. I sense you are passionate about this because of your use of CAPITAL LETTERS, but I don't see the idea of trading up six or seven positions to get into the bottom of the first round if you like a quarterback RIDICULOUS at all. In fact, because it appears several quarterbacks in need of a season to develop could slide to that position that it seems to be a year when selecting a quarterback early in the second round or late in the first makes a lot of sense. And don't call me Shirley.
Micky from Orange Park, FL:
I decided to log in and agree with one of the commenters' mock draft. I've never left a comment before, so I signed in using my Google sign-on only to get a message that I was blocked and black listed. I've never been blocked or black listed to my knowledge. Does this make me a bad boy that the chicks will dig?
John: Probably. If so, welcome to my world. Enjoy.
O-Zone: Common bond
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Mike from Navarre, OH: