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O-Zone: Creativity in action

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Rob from Section 122:
I don't understand the worry over the Green Bay game. I would say all games in the first three or four weeks are even match ups for every team. You see it every year: teams start 5-0, then play terrible or start 0-4 (everyone panics) and play extremely well. Every team is still trying to "figure out" and "get a feel" for their team. I'd rather play the Packers in Week One than, say, Week 10 when they're a finely -tuned machine. Thoughts?
John: There's no ideal time to play any team. It might be best to play the Packers or any other good team in Week 1 if you believe they won't be fine-tuned yet. At the same time, injuries and attrition are a factor in the NFL – and perhaps the match up would be favorable to the Jaguars in Week 10. Teams also improve and digress during a season; considering the Jaguars' youth I expect them to be better in Week 10 than Week 1, so maybe that's when you want to play better teams. One thing about Week 1: more unexpected things happen in that week than any other. This is for a couple of reasons. One, teams haven't established tendencies, so it's more difficult to game plan and know what to expect from the opponent. Two, NFL teams sometimes change significantly from season to season, so what you expect based on the previous season isn't pertinent. I tend not to think of anything that happens early in the season as an upset because nothing is established until Week 5 or 6. After that, you can have upsets. Before that, it's just stuff happening.
Tudor from Saint Augustine, FL:
Sooo, why was Bryan Anger released? A 46.3-yard average on punts is awesome. This is news to me; I'm curious what possible valid reason there was to get rid of such a consistent cannon leg. Field position matters, dude; remember the mess Matt Turk caused?
John: The Jaguars signed unrestricted free agent Brad Nortman in March. That's six months ago. Nortman will be fine. Worry about something else.
Jerell from Columbia, S.C.:
Ryan Davis is another player the Jaguars' coaching staff couldn't use correctly and will go on to be very good elsewhere – i.e., Brandon Marshall.
John: I think a pretty strong case can be made that the Jaguars got a lot out of Davis over the past two or three years, but who knows? Maybe he'll make a huge contribution somewhere. We'll see.
Keith from Jacksonville:
Hey John, I believe the Jags should move on from Luke Joeckel at any position. He's just not as physical as he should be and doesn't set his base right. Since they named Kelvin Beachum the starting left tackle, they should go out and find – claim or whatever – and get a guard who has been playing that position for four or five years. That's about in the 25 –to-28-year-old range. They're showing too much bond with Joeckel and it's costing our line pressure on the quarterback.
John: This stance regarding Joeckel is common among fans. It's understandable because of his high-profile struggles. But the Jaguars aren't going to move on from Joeckel. He's going to start at left guard for many reasons, with the biggest being that the Jaguars think he's going to be a very capable left guard. This may be difficult for fans to grasp, but that's real.
Joe from Jacksonville:
If the Jags beat the Packers by 35, do you think Gus will get a 40 year extension? #everynowandthensomeoneneedstothinktheotherway.
John: #welldone
Tom from Jacksonville:
Why is the official Jaguars site the LAST place to announce cuts and practice squad signings? Do they make ya'll wait until ESPN, NFL, CBS, NBC etc. share the information first? #Fail.
John: reports roster moves when roster moves officially happen – and in the case of the annual trim down to 53, that is when they are turned into the league. That occurred Saturday afternoon, which not coincidentally is when we at reported the moves. It is true that a lot of these roster moves are reported by agents and other outlets before they occur, but the site's policy is not to officially report until they're official. Those are the rules, and that's our terrain.
Will from Jacksonville:
Not to jinx us, but is this the healthiest Jaguars team going into the regular season you've seen since returning? Seems to me the injuries have occurred, but none have held over into the regular season for any of the starters. Certainly a positive for the team heading into Week 1.
John: The Jaguars indeed are healthier entering the season than any time in the last few years. That's important. The NFL often is about attrition and avoiding injuries. Stay tuned.
Kyle from Palm Harbor:
"Ok." That's what you sound like.
John: OK.
James from Jacksonville:
What do you think about players sitting for the national anthem? I think every single one should be cut! They should think without this country (greatest in the world!!!) and rights they would not have the rights to do what they are doing.
John: I'm personally not in favor of players sitting for the anthem. But while this indeed is the greatest country in the world, that's exactly why they're allowed to sit for the national anthem. If they weren't allowed to do that, the country wouldn't be as great.
DW from LA:
Fans are up in arms about Telvin Smith losing snaps. Is his status as a fan favorite causing an overestimation of his value? I don't think coaches make changes without reasonable forethought, and they know more about their roster than we do.
John: Your third sentence is dangerously logical and well-thought out. FYI, I may have to ban you.
Brian from Section 238:
Excited is the wrong word: Anxious …this town is anxious. It's because they think the Jaguars, if they play up to their potential, can beat the Packers. I have to agree with the feeling. I'm usually pretty negative about the team (sorry about that) but for some reason … it feels different this time. Agree?
John: I do think the Jaguars can beat the Packers if they play to their potential. I try to never tell fans what they should or shouldn't be excited about, but if I were prone to do that I would suggest being excited about the long-term possibilities for this team. I don't know what September 11 will hold at the 'Bank and I don't know what the early part of this season will hold, either. But I am pretty certain that the future is bright for this team, and I am sure exciting seasons are coming soon.
Bob from Sumter, SC:
I think 8-8 is a realistic expectation. Anything less would be very disappointing. Anything more would be great. So many games come down to a field goal, fumble ... it could go either way. It's fun to root for the Jags again with all the new roster and young talent. The arrow is pointing up - time to see how far. Go Jags!
John: I agree.
Rob from Brunswick, GA:
Now that the season is upon us, what is your biggest takeaway of the preseason? Mine is that Shad Khan looks great singing in a pool, but I imagine you have something more relevant to the team.
John: That's a good takeaway. Another is that I liked heavy Boselli more than tiny Boselli, and I think I'm on record that I didn't like heavy Boselli that much. Overall, I'd say a few of the biggest few takeaways are that Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack are for sure going to be really good – and that Dante Fowler Jr. has a chance to be really good, but that he still has some maturing to do. I also like how Blake Bortles and the skill players are coming out of the preseason. I think the offensive line will be improved and I think overall this offense is going to be better and more balanced than last season. I think pass rush remains a concern. If the Jaguars' can generate pressure and get movement in the running game offensively, I think the record improves significantly. If not …
Rob from Brunswick, GA:
John, care to make a way-too-dang-early prediction on what positions will be looked at first in next year's draft? My guess is O-Line (left side) would top that list.
John: If Kelvin Beachum indeed is the left tackle for the next few seasons I don't think the left side of the line would be addressed in the first round. Strong safety? Pass rusher? Left guard? All of those could be possibilities sometime early or perhaps the Jaguars really could just take the player they thought the most talented at the moment. That's still the ideal and the team seems to be getting closer to being able to do that.
Erich from Jacksonville:
What's gonna be the Jaguars slogan after they win the Super Bowl?
John: "Go Jaguars."

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