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O-Zone: Daily education

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Tom from Jacksonville:
How do you get a veteran's day off when you only work 40-some-odd days a year? I would think as little practice time as is available, the staff would try to make the most of it.
John: We wore out the ridiculousness of thinking NFL players are underworked last week – or maybe it was the week before. Either way, I won't waste people's time rehashing that. As far as the veterans' days off, an NFL coaching staff would like nothing more than to have players on the field in full-contact work as many days as possible. Such is the workaholic nature of the NFL. "Veterans days off" aren't about rewarding players; they're designed to prevent wear-and-tear and soft-tissue injuries. They're not something coaches inherently want to do. They do them in an effort to maintain a competitive, fresh roster over what is potentially a 24-game season. So if you're going to complain about the team not doing enough to prevent injuries don't complain about the team trying to minimize injuries by resting players' bodies.
Isom from Jacksonville:
I had binoculars on Boselli in his first game against Green Bay. He consistently knocked All-Pro defensive end Sean Jones off the ball. He was good from Day One.
John: Yes, he was.
Aaron from Chantilly:
John, what is the one the thing the Jaguars will do well this year? What's our identity moving forward? If I had to guess, youthful overachievers with a solid D-line?? Idk ...
John: It's wa-a-a-a-a-a-y early to even try to answer this with any certainty. Based on the first preseason game, it's clear the Jaguars want to be a team that can run the ball – with a young quarterback who's growing and showing he can be a playmaker. If that plays out, this team can improve significantly. We'll see.
Sean from Arlington, VA:
Is there a player you feel is going to be HARD TO HOLD off the active roster? I GET EXCITED about the undrafted guys; why don't you? You better LOVE SOMEBODY (it's late), because the rookies enable the Jags to CELEBRATE YOUTH. Surely, there's a guy whose SUCCESS HASN'T SPOILED (him) YET, isn't there? WHAT KIND OF FOOL doesn't know the undrafted guys reveal the STATE OF THE HEART of a team? In terms of keeping this Rick Springfield nostalgia alive in this question, I'VE DONE EVERYTHING FOR YOU John. We're really two SOULS looking for each other. Where are you going? DON'T WALK AWAY! Are you avoiding me because you DON'T TALK TO STRANGERS?
John: You win. How unfortunate for you.
Mike from Jacksonville:
All the talk about Luke Joeckel being a "bad" left tackle is bunk. There are probably only a handful of left tackles considered "elite" in this league. ALL can be beat on any given play. What I have seen is progress in Joeckel to become one of the best in this league. One "miss" does not make for immediate action, but makes for learning opportunities. It's NEVER the successes that make a great left tackle, but it's the failures that they learn from.
John: I'm not ready to say Joeckel is on his way to being one of the best in the NFL. We have to see more progress than what we've seen. I think he'd be the first to tell you that. I also think he would be the first to tell you he must eliminate the glaring mistake or two that seem to occur too regularly. But you're right that the talk about Joeckel being bad is bunk. He's going to start at left tackle for the Jaguars this season and the feeling around the Jaguars is he will play well and be improved by season's end.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
After watching the Jags-Steelers game several times, I noticed that Luke Joeckel had only one bad protection. I also saw where he put their defensive tackle on his rear end and provided really good run blocking. I just do not see where he is as bad as a lot of people think.
John: He's not.
Lawrence from Omaha, NE:
I understand the voluntary workouts are just that, and that Clemons has the complete right to skip them. But to me, it just seems like when it comes to the team being "bought in" to Gus and the team's strategy … there's all of the rest of the team, and then there's Clemons. Do you think he'd still be on the team if not for the injury to Fowler? I don't dare say that Clemons is a locker-room cancer; it actually sounds like he does a good job of keeping his teammates in the loop of what's going on with him. But he just seems like he doesn't feel like he needs to buy in... Am I way off?
John: There's no question that Clemons doesn't feel the need to attend the offseason. If he felt that need, he would … I don't know … attend the offseason!! And there's no question his status with the Jaguars would be more tenuous if Fowler was healthy. But I guess I just don't get as worked up over this issue as many others do. When I worked for the Colts, Marvin Harrison rarely if ever attended voluntary offseason workouts. Edgerrin James and Reggie Wayne weren't there a lot, either. Those guys did OK, and the team didn't seem to be hurt by their offseason absence. I'm not putting Clemons on the level of those three players, but I also can't portray Clemons' offseason absence as having a real big effect on what goes on during the regular season.
April from Pooler, GA:
I have a theory about the rash of hand/finger injuries plaguing the Jaguars. DON'T DISMISS ME WITH A SNIDE QUIP! Could it be the injured players are wearing out or weakening their digits with excessive Madden play during their down time?
John: Seeing as how my son's fingers are very, very healthy, I'm pretty confident dismissing your theory.
Andy from St. Johns, FL:
If Tony Boselli were to get elected into the Hall of Fame, would he go in as a Jaguar or a Texan? Likewise with Fred Taylor … would he go in as a Jaguar or a Patriot?
John: This isn't really an issue in the NFL. Unlike baseball, where players' plaques include a cap from a team, Pro Football Hall of Fame busts are sculpted without a helmet. But it's safe to say Taylor and Boselli each will be far more remembered for their Jaguars accomplishments than what they did with any other organization. This is particularly true of Boselli, who never played in a game with the Texans.
Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
The Hall of Fame discussion made me wonder: if you're enshrined in the Hall of Fame and then you do something really screwed up, like say cut up your wife (looking at you Orenthal), can they remove the person from the HoF for really messing up?
John: In theory, they could. They never have done it.
Chris from Heath, TX:
I, for one, will be happy when this team is in a position to move on from Chris Clemons. He claims he just does what the coaches ask him to do, but refuses to participate in voluntary workouts. He's not all in and, if the coaches are truly fine with him missing all of these workouts, what message does that send to the rest of the team?
John: It sends a message that this is the NFL, and if an NFL player is good enough to play his role effectively without participating in non-required activities, then he's going to have a job. Look, it would be great if all players had 100 percent attendance in all football-related activities year-round. It would be great if the word was perfect and we could all live as one in perfect harmony. It would be great if I had desk as big as Shad Khan's and an assistant to wipe my nose whenever I sneeze. It doesn't work that way. If a player performs, he's valuable. If he doesn't, it doesn't really matter how many offseason workouts he attends, he's not. Quarterbacks need to be at voluntary offseason workouts no matter how many years they have played in the league. If a player at another position with as much experience as Clemons doesn't attend voluntary workouts, it's not a crisis. It's an issue, but it's hardly a crippling one.
Quinn from Tampa, FL:
D-Rob/Yeldon, Gerhart, and Bernard Pierce? Storm looks destined for the practice squad, and Denard does everything Grant does but better.
John: Sounds about right.
Drew from Toledo, OH:
Can you give us the roster trim down schedule? I think they make gradual cuts until they get to 53.
John: The NFL mandates that teams trim their rosters to 75 players by September 1 at 4 p.m. Eastern time. Teams must then trim the roster to 53 players by September 5 at 4 p.m. Eastern time.
James from Orange Park, FL:
My wife, then girlfriend, now fiancé thinks my reading your column makes me dumber.
John: Huh?

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