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O-Zone: Coping mechanism

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Day One of the NFL Annual Meeting.

Let's get to it …

Tom from St. Augustine, FL:
Great teams have a player or players you MUST game plan against. The Jaguars' wide receivers are young and will get better, but it's hard to think one is going to be a guy you must double team. Maybe Julius Thomas, but I doubt he is double teamed. Running back … well, let's look at the defense. No one up front warrants a double team and there's no defensive back a team is going to be scared to go after. We seem to have added a lot of good players but to win we MUST have a couple of DIFFERENCE makers. We have hopes for Blake ... but in reality who on this team do you think will become a true game-plan changer?
John: I can tell you're SERIOUS about this topic from your use of CAPITAL letters (good play, by the way). A couple of thoughts on this one … One, if those hopes you have for Blake Bortles are realized then you have the best answer to your question. If the quarterback is a difference-maker it makes everyone else on offense, defense, special teams that much better. Your question also assumes that no receiver or defensive player is going to improve. Are Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson difference-makers right now? After less than 15 games each? No, they are not. Could they develop into difference-makers and players who draw the attention of defenses. Absolutely. Rookie aren't often difference-makers, but rookies do often develop into being difference-making players.
Rick from Callaway, FL:
I am reading the Jags might be in the running for AP. Would you trade the 3rd pick for him?
John: No.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
If signing OJ Simpson made the Jaguars a better football team, I would be fully supportive of the decision. Honestly, who really cares if you have a roster full of criminals so long as they play on Sunday? These guys aren't role models. They're just people looking to make a paycheck. The Jaguars would have more fan support, tickets sells, and revenue if they started winning football games. Professional sports are all about winning and making money. I'm not trying to be argumentative or critical of any team's decision but, in professional sports, I don't think anything else really matters.
John: O.J. Simpson is 67-years old and incarcerated in Nevada. I highly doubt signing him would make the Jaguars a better football team, but who knows? I'm just a writer.
Sean from San Bernardino, CA:
Ok, I admit. I'm officially excited about something about this team. While my expectations remain neutral, I've found myself frequently checking this app for more articles or videos or browsing YouTube for Julius Thomas and Blake Bortles highlights. Save me Johnny O, save me please.
John: I think you're in good shape emotionally and mentally. Keep at it. Stay strong.
Troy from York, PA:
Hey, O-man … I know that we need a running back and people are saying about us addressing it through the draft, but I hope it's in the later rounds because I was wanting to ask your opinion on Paul Dawson. We got burned so many times by the other team's tight ends last year because we didn't have a backer athletic enough to cover them when they dropped backed to pass. So, I was thinking would it be smart to take a player like in the second round of this year's draft to fill a huge need and upgrade?
John: With so many players in the draft, it's impossible to accurately predict who the Jaguars will select where after the first two rounds. It's even hard to predict the second round because you simply don't know what will happen before the Jaguars select. I think the Jaguars over the course of the next several drafts will continue to address speed on defense, very much including the linebacker position. Linebackers who can cover certainly are a premium and I expect that to be a focus. Could that happen in April? Absolutely.
Jack from Albuquerque, NM:
I have to start by saying you are a great read because you are funny, but brown-nosing aside, if I see another question about the Jags taking a wide receiver at No. 3, I am going to break something. (P.S., I am open to suggestions for what the victim should be.)
John: Whatever you break, make sure it belongs to you. We need to keep insightful, intelligent readers like yourself out of prison.
Jimmy from Jacksonville:
How much say does the position coach have when it comes to the general manager either signing a player through free agency or the draft? For instance, if Todd Wash was not a fan of some prospect like Shane Ray, how much does that weigh in the general manager's decision to draft or avoid him?
John: It really depends on the team, the circumstance and how much the general manager really cares about what the position coach thinks. In the case of the Jaguars, there is good communication and respect between the personnel staff and coaching staff. The personnel staff listens closely to and takes into account the coaching staff's views on skills needed to play positions well in the Jaguars' scheme. If Wash and David Caldwell each felt passionately differently about a player, it would be notable because they are theoretically looking for the same things in a player. If that happened, there almost certainly would be communication between the two and something reasonably close to a meeting of the minds. If they couldn't reach that meeting of the minds, I doubt Caldwell would take the player. At the same time, he could do so if he wanted. Once it gets down to signing or selecting a player, those decisions are Caldwell's.
Matthew from Clermont, FL:
Being a fan, I understand that "fans are gonna fan," but what I don't understand is the value that fans place on the "national press." Help me out here, O!
John: Honestly, I wish I knew. That's the short answer. The slightly longer answer is that I guess I understand it in the sense that people do tend to get upset when other people's opinions don't reflect well on something about which they feel passionately. In the case of Jaguars fans, that is heightened significantly when the opinion of people nationally for several years often has been to make fun of and to take cheap shots at the thing about which many Jaguars fans most passionately – in this case, the Jaguars and Jacksonville. I understand how much thought national-media types often put into their opinions on things, and understanding that it's often not much at all, I tend not to worry about those opinions much. But I do see how people feel differently.
Mike from Jacksonville:
Even with all the comments about how Caldwell is doing things the right way and how patient Khan has been, do you see Caldwell given another three-to-four years if Blake doesn't pan out? Can a general manager be right on all his non-quarterback picks and survive a miss on a quarterback that is drafted high?
John: Sure, he can. If there is improvement elsewhere on the roster and if it's evident the team is well-run and going in the right direction a general manager can survive a quarterback not succeeding. As far as how this situation plays out if Bortles doesn't pan out, who knows? There's no win-X-number-of-games mandate now – at least not that anyone seems to know of – and there's no reason for such a mandate. The Jaguars' roster has improved in three offseasons and there seems to be the sort of stability that should yield on-field results. There's no reason right now to assume those results won't come.
Ed from Danvers, MA:
John, I think you may need to talk with someone. The picture I have of you has been indelibly enhanced by the image of little O-Zone sitting alone eating a Sno-Cone. This, on top of the well-documented lack of respect at home and the "lonely man" videos which have you crying out for attention have me worried. How do you face these dark days of the dead zone?
John: I do what anyone who faces the future with a less-than-idealistic past would do – or should do. I assess what has gone on before, blame my parents, teachers, persons of authority – anyone, of course, but myself. I then take stock on where I have been, where I am going and draw on the Descartes' Meditations (of course), beginning with Cogito (again, of course). Upon realizing Descartes doesn't apply to the situation and is something I only mention as a transparent way to make people think I am more well-read and intelligent than I really am – and realizing that by doing so I only have worsened the problem of loneliness and lack of respect and the accompanying self-loathing – I again reassess and reflect that perhaps this crazy world we live in is all but a dream. And then … I dance!!!!

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