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O-Zone: Deja vu... or not

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Mike from Jacksonville:
John, the NFL came out and said the play at the end of the game Sunday shouldn't have counted and the Ravens should have won the game. Should I care? What do you know about this?
John: I have no idea what you should or shouldn't care about. I do know the NFL said on Monday that the Jaguars' offense was not entirely set at the snap of the final offensive play Sunday. I also know that a review of the play shows left tackle Luke Joeckel not entirely set. I know that while Joeckel wasn't moving blatantly, a penalty could have been called. I know I've seen that not called a lot. I know that if it had been called, there would have been no facemask penalty on Elvis Dumervil and there would have been no 53-yard field goal by Jason Myers on the ensuing untimed down. I know this must irritate the Ravens and their fans to no end. I know it would irritate me if I were them. I know a lot of calls have gone against the Jaguars over the years that have irritated them and their fans to no end. I know I get irritated when I don't sleep well and I haven't been sleeping all that great lately. What I mostly know is Sunday's result isn't going to change, so I know the Jaguars are 3-6 with a very big game coming up Thursday. And that's what I know.
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
Okay, winning is great, but let's slow our roll here. We won on a defensive mistake and while that was nice, it was pure luck. You are not going to make the playoffs (usually) on luck and catching breaks. The test will be Thursday against the Titans, who we should beat soundly. We are a much better team than they are and we need to play like it. If the Jags can do that, then we can start talking some playoff scenarios, but let's all acknowledge what this win was: lucky.
John: Wow, downer alert … but I'm trying to find where anyone said there wasn't luck involved in the Jaguars' victory Sunday. Obviously there was luck involved, just as there was luck involved in how the Jaguars lost some earlier games this season. They won Sunday because they were in a game and had a chance to win, then a break – or two or three – went their way. They have been good enough to be in eight games this season and I see no reason they can't be in seven more. I don't think they will be ahead by a lot at the end of those games, so I think a lot of games will be decided by a play or two. What will that mean for the final record? I honestly haven't the faintest idea.
Bill from Springfield:
John, watching the broadcast Sunday, the announcers said, "We are watching the maturation of a young second-year quarterback." I thought this was not only cool (respect), but accurate as well. How high is the ceiling?
John: Very.
Stephen from Glorieta, NM:
John, how do you feel about kickers? I think it's the worst position on the team ... except when it's the best (you win a game). Do they really feel like a part of the team? Does another player have that kind of concentrated pressure on them? Hey… nice kick, Myers. Hang tough.
John: I honestly don't have intense feelings about kickers one way or the other, although they are certainly a unique position. They don't really practice like the rest of the team, and they don't really prepare like the rest of the team. They are often seen by teammates as necessary oddities with quirks and routines significantly different than so-called "real players." I wouldn't go far as to say they're not part of it, though: the Jaguars, for instance, were clearly happy for Jason Myers on Sunday in Baltimore. As far as another position having that kind of pressure … yeah, I can think of at least one. Quarterback. What kickers feel on kicks, the guy behind center feels on pretty much every play.
Aaron from Jacksonville:
John, I may be wrong, but when healthy the Jaguars may have the best top-to-bottom receiving corps in the league. Hurns and Robinson are lights-out awesome. Lee showed some flashes Sunday. Walters is a beast, man... he's clutch. And Greene's got some great potential. I like these guys. After a lot of years of middle-of-the-pack guys due to bad drafting and free-agency choices... I hope to see our talented young quarterback connect with one of our many talented young wide receivers for years to come!
John: The Jaguars' wide receiver corps has the chance to be very, very, very good.
Chad from EverBank:
Let's assume Joeckel is average and has peaked. What do we do with him? He's somewhat effective, so unless we have someone to replace him we shouldn't release him. However, with his contract coming up for negotiation soon, what would you do? Re-sign him to left-tackle money? Do you switch him to guard, or another position (I've read your thoughts on Brandon Linder and A.J. Cann, but go with me on this)? If we keep him, does he automatically negotiate for left-tackle money since that's his current position, or is it free reign based on players' worth? Of course, he would have to also agree to the terms, too. What would you do?
John: The first thing I wouldn't do is assume is he is average or has peaked. The second thing I wouldn't assume is that he is significantly worse than a lot of NFL left tackles. The Jaguars also aren't exactly up against a time issue here, either. Joeckel's contract runs through the 2016 season, and then – as is the case with all first-round selections according to the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement – they have the option to extend his contract a year. Basically, I wouldn't gnash teeth too much over this year. Joeckel is playing OK for the most part, and there is a lot of time to figure out his future.
Scott from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
This is probably a basic question but can you explain to me again the difference between strong side and weak side when it comes to both offense and defense? Secondly, what is the difference in general on defense when they talk about a strong-side and a weak-side defender?
John: The strong side typically is the side where a blocking tight end lines up, and it often is the side to which teams tend to run because of the presence of that tight end. A strong-side defender – think Jared Odrick, Dan Skuta – usually is going to be stouter against the run whereas a weak-side defender such as Telvin Smith is going to be more speed-based and athletic.
Nimrod from Toronto, Ontario:
Wow doesn't describe this game ... I was there sitting two rows behind the Jags' bench after driving for nine hours and I was surrounded by Ravens fans. After Myers missed the chip-shot field goal he was taking a lot of heat from the fans but I reassured him and yelled to him he was going to make the game-winner ... I turned around and told the fans the same thing ... 53-yard game-winning field goal later.... you're welcome #fieldgoalkickerpsycheguru #DTWD
John: #GameballtoNimrod.
Brian from Ponte Vedra, FL:
In Sunday's game, Blake scrambled for 16 yards and slid. There was contact to his head after his slide. If I remember correctly this has happened a few times this season – some with, but mostly without, a penalty on the defense. I also remember a penalty on Chris Clemons for a hand to the head of the quarterback. That played seemed minor in terms of contact compared to the slide plays. Why wasn't this (or the others) called?
John: The way I understand the rule, if Bortles was contacted to the head – even outside the pocket – a penalty should have been called.
Tim from Jacksonville:
Bortles said after the game they generally need about 16 seconds to run two plays without a timeout. We had 14 seconds and he got the second play off anyway, but some of the players looked like they didn't know what to do. Shouldn't they have an emergency play for that situation? You can't always rely on having two plays ready when you only have about 15 seconds. There ought to be signal Blake can call that means, "Run the emergency play!"
John: They have an emergency play. On it, Bortles takes a shotgun snap, slips and when he gets up, he puts his facemask where a defensive player can grab it and …
Chad from Yulee, FL:
If the improbable happens and the Jaguars win the division – and maybe even a home playoff game – it would be cool if a couple of local writers got together and chronicled the story. It could be titled "Jags to Riches" or something like that. Wow I just had a déjà vu all over again moment there.
John: Nah … sounds like a lot of work.

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