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O-Zone: Coping mechanism

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Adam from Saint Johns, FL:
I think the answer to the 8-8 comment is a little off. We're tired of it, man. Every year it's the same song and dance. When are you going to stop saying we're still building? When is it going to come down to real answers? It's excuse after excuse. When are the people getting PAID going to be held accountable? I don't want to fire the coaches, but you can't tell me they have put a product on the field worth a damn.
John: I remember the question in question. And the answer was perfectly fine — although that's not what makes me perfect. The question had to do with the Jaguars supposedly not striving for a Super Bowl and instead striving for 8-8. I wrote that the Jaguars were striving for the Super Bowl, but that I believed pushing for 8-8 was a more realistic, achievable goal. As for what appears to be the gist of your question, I suppose I'll stop saying the Jaguars are still building when they are done building. I believe they're closer to a roster that can compete against the best teams and I think they're a roster that has a chance to push for .500. I think there's an expectation for that within the building and within the coaching staff and from the players. I also think that would be an accomplishment and a positive step. A Super Bowl following a 3-13 season would improvement on a historical scale, so I can't sincerely say I expect that or see that. But I can see a team that's improving and building a foundation, and I think we should see the first on-field signs of that this season.
Ty from Jack Town:
I went to your schools, your institution...and I like your taste.
John: To each his own.
Mike from St. Mary's, GA:
Why was Ace Sanders at the rookie mini-camp? Is it just optional for veterans?
John: Ace Sanders, a third-year veteran wide receiver, was not at the rookie minicamp. Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley discussed Sanders at the rookie minicamp and said Sanders had been impressive in the first week of Phase Two of the offseason program, which had been held the week before.
Khris from Richmond, VA:
Well that answers one question about Justin Blackmon but opens up more......
John: I don't know that we're significantly further along in the Blackmon story than we were last week. There have been rumblings on Twitter and there have been stories written off those rumblings. There has been more than a bit of ado and hullabaloo over the matter and after all the ado and hullabaloo the bottom line remains that there isn't much known about Justin Blackmon's status – and until there is, the Jaguars will move forward without planning or acquiring personnel based on his status.
Clint from Section 106:
John, after reading Tim's question about the Jags not fielding six of their last 10 first round draft picks, scary thoughts popped in my head. Caldwell's plan was to draft a left tackle, a pass rusher, and quarterback in the first round - not necessarily in that order - to build the core of the team and he's done that. Well, it occurred to me that Gene Smith must have had a similar plan when he picked Eugene Monroe, Tyson Alualu, and Blaine Gabbert. You know what they say about insanity John? But seriously, does it all really come down to luck of the draw – or in this case the draft? Here's to the Jaguars being luckier this time around. #DTWD
John: It's not surprising there would be some similarity in approach. That's because generally speaking there are a few positions that are generally going to be considered worthy of Top 5-10 selections. Those are pass-rushing defensive end, quarterback, left tackle, wide receiver, cornerback and defensive tackle. Yes, Caldwell and Smith each used early selections on left tackle and quarterback, but whereas Fowler is a pass-rushing defensive end/linebacker Alualu was more of a defensive tackle/strong-side defensive end. But whatever ... this isn't an issue or debate over what is or isn't insane, but it is a matter of having early draft selections work out. When they do, your chances of succeeding as a franchise increase dramatically.
Mike from Irvine:
I'm curious why Nick Marshall decided to go back to cornerback in the NFL, since his college performance at quarterback was pretty good (and relatively speaking better than his stats at cornerback since he hadn't played in a few years.) What did he see as the deal-breaker at quarterback? Or, from the other side, what positive attributes did he have at cornerback that would make teams consider him as an undrafted free agent even over other people who actually did play cornerback in college, but weren't quite drafted?
John: The deal-breaker was that he showed very little of the skill set teams see in an NFL quarterback. The attributes he showed at cornerback were pretty much all of them – size, quickness, speed, agility, athletic ability … About all he doesn't have at cornerback is experience. The Jaguars hope that with time to develop he can be a real find and potentially a quality corner.
Ric from Jacksonville:
Hi, John. Now that Fowler has signed his contract and with him being out for the year, does the money from the contract go against our salary cap this year? I thought it would be strange to take a salary cap hit from someone who isn't even playing.
John: Yes, Fowler's contract counts against the Jaguars' salary cap this season.
Keith from Jacksonville and Section 436:
I guess I've never thought about this question until now, but will DFJ be allowed to work with the trainers next offseason prior to the start of the conditioning program? What are the rules for players rehabbing as far as access to trainers?
John: Dante Fowler Jr. will be allowed to work with trainers year-round – during the season and during the offeason. Rules limit players access to coaches and the practice field, but not medical and training staff.
Jake from State Farm:
Do you think Fowler will be back before or after our third win against the Colts this year?
John: After.
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ:
O'man, have you ever felt deflated and do you expect to receive a suspension for it?
John: If I got suspended every time I felt deflated I'd never work … wait … what?
Steve from Nashville, TN:
Dave Caldwell said that negotiations were underway with Fowler's representatives before minicamp and then the Jags give him a "max" contract, apparently negotiations did not go all that well for the Jaguars?
John: The Jaguars did the right thing on all fronts. It sounds to me like the negotiations went fine.
Paul from Jacksonville:
I know about the rule requiring teams to negotiate "in good faith" but that phrase can have a wide range of interpretations. It's great to see the Jaguars simply do the right thing.
John: The Jaguars did do the right thing. I wouldn't have expected anything different, which isn't to say it wasn't a good thing, but it is to say it's not a big surprise. Either way, maybe you should discuss this with Steve. He's down on the whole thing.
Kyle from Ponte Vedra, FL:
What sort of season do you envision from Rashad Greene? He's not the most physically intimidating receiver but has been a part of a pro-style system and brings a lot of experience playing multiple receiver positions.
John: I envision Rashad Greene being one of the Jaguars' top four receivers and quite likely playing extensively in the slot sooner rather than later. I wouldn't normally project a fifth-round receiver to make a significant contribution, but the Jaguars believe Greene is coachable and relatively advance in terms of route-running. That should get him on the field early and often.
Kalam from St. Johns, FL:
I realize that the new offensive coordinator is being brought in to help bring along Blake Bortles at a slow pace. But do you think Bortles having to learn a new system will slow his development down?
John: Who said Greg Olson was hired as offensive coordinator to bring Blake Bortles along at a slow pace?
Steve from Nashville, TN:
Any chance the Jags go up to a Brady-less Foxboro in September and come out with a win?
John: Yes.
Herbert MidState Office Supply Accountz Receevable:
DBT or Jason Isbell? Did JP wear his Bama hat to the show? Nobody likes that guy but somebody's gotta be that guy. He might as well be that guy.
John: Both, and as hard as it is to fathom for someone so undeniably, irreversibly and proudly "Alabama," J.P. Shadrick isn't particularly big on the Drive-By Truckers or Isbell. When we discussed this Wednesday before LIVE he mumbled something about liking DBT but not being overly zealous about it. I don't remember if he actually said "zealous," because I was so thrown off by a hard-rockin', hand-shakin', chip-dippin', whiskey-sippin', lady-lovin', beemer-drivin', Southern gentlemen such as Shadrick not being passionate about DBT that I couldn't focus. After a while, I lumbered off and wondered how to revoke Shadrick's "'Bama Card" as I settled in at my desk for a nice, long "coping nap."

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