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O-Zone: Dinner conversation

JACKSONVILLE – (Preseason) game day at the 'Bank.

Let's get to it … Alton from Jacksonville:
I know you get super-annoyed with our younger viewers' questions, especially when they jump the gun with a highly touted player not giving immediate gratification. I used to be like that back in '98 ... Did you?
John: I actually don't get "super-annoyed" with too many O-Zone questions. I don't expect fans to be patient, or to necessarily understand the NFL's details and nuances. This perhaps sounds arrogant. It's not meant that way. I just mean that fans are supposed to be excited about a player such as Jalen Ramsey and they're supposed to expect huge things from him – when in reality it almost always takes even the best, most-talented players a season or so to start reaching an elite level. I also mean that fans are supposed to want their team to win now even though a building process might mean losing while players develop enough experience to have a reasonable chance to win more games than they lose. As far as if I used to feel differently, the only frame of reference I have is my time as a Washington Redskins fan growing up. Did I crave immediate gratification then as fans do now? My first thought is that it was a different era then. The draft wasn't hyped, so perhaps I expected less of rookies? Perhaps I didn't scream and yell if a rookie didn't get three sacks in a game? Yes, my first thought is to say that I was a far more reasonable fan than my dear readers. At the same time, I know that when the Redskins won I thought Joe Gibbs was the greatest coach in NFL history. I also know that when they lost I wanted Hall of Famers like Ark Monk and Darrell Green cut … like immediately. So yeah, I guess I get the whole instant gratification thing.
Shawn from the Mean Streets of Arlington:
How fine is the line that the line will be fine?
John: Damned fine.
Scott from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Hi, John. Sounds like the joint practices with the Bucs were a good thing. Good enough to expand next year? Seems like a good way to ramp up the intensity a little heading towards the regular season. Seems I used the word good a lot. Have a good day.
John: Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley seemed to think they were good practices. Buccaneers Head Coach Dirk Koetter seemed to think it would be a good idea to do it in Tampa next year. So yeah … good plan.
Amiel from Duval:
Any ideas on what the current practice fields will be when the new flex field is done?
John: The Jaguars will continue to use the current practice fields with usage of the flex facility worked in for weather purposes. So, the current practice fields will still be the Jaguars' practice fields. They'll just be used a bit less.
Spraynerd from Bali:
Dad? Are you my dad, O? #keepthedisappointmentcoming #daddyissues
John: Here's five dollars and a soda … now, get lost.
Aaron from Jacksonville:
Is Dante Fowler Jr. eligible for DROY? In basketball you are eligible if you missed your entire first season. Why not in football?
John: Being a second-year NFL veteran, Fowler is not eligible for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Why? Pretty much "just because."
Chad from Yulee, FL:
Tom Brady cut his thumb. If the Patriots claim it to be serious enough that some sort of rehab is called for, does the Collective Bargaining Agreement or the NFL's rules during a suspension allow him to be in the facility for "rehab" while he otherwise would be banned from contact of any kind with the team? (Just trying to anticipate the next conspiracy theory that would give the impression the "cheaters" were back at it.)
John: Under NFL rules, only players suspended under the substance-abuse program are allowed to be around the facility during a suspension. Other suspended players must rehabilitate away from the facility if injured.
Aaron from Stone Ridge, VA:
Given the lack of playing together of the offensive line, should we expect the ground game to be more emphasized against the Packers?
John: I think the running game will be emphasized against Green Bay, but not because the offensive line hasn't played together much. If a team was concerned about continuity in that area, the team actually would more likely lean the other way and pass more because a line typically takes longer to gel in the running game than in pass protection. So, why emphasize the run against Green Bay? Because this team wants to run, and I think it will try to emphasize it more than last season in pretty much every game – no matter the opponent.
Miguel from Section 145 and Duuuvalll:
Sooooo … do you think we will name a street or a bridge or a building after Shad Khan? This is some serious city-changing effects going on!
John: I have little doubt that many things will be named after Khan as time goes on. He indeed is changing not only the look, but the image and the future of this franchise and this city.
The Third from Boston, MA:
Just when I think you've settled into a rut with your question selection and answer creativity, you raise the bar with "Mason" from "Palm Bay." Well played, sir. Well played.
John: Your choice of "settled into a rut" implies I once soared somewhere above – perhaps somewhere beautiful, clever or hopeful. This is not that. What you're seeing here is just a daily offering of mediocrity that will continue until death or dismissal, whichever comes first.
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
People forget this team has an almost completely new defense this year after all the free agents and draft picks on the squad from just two years ago. It will take probably about half the season before they start showing some signs of jelling. This year is about getting the defensive experience. Next year the training wheels come off and we should be solid on both sides of the ball.
John: I agree that the defense will be much better late in the season than the beginning – and I think the defense has a chance to be very, very good in 2017. But I also believe the defense will show improvement from last season early in the season – and I believe that improvement will be significant enough to make the Jaguars better rushing the passer and better on third down than they were a season ago. If that happens, this defense can help win games.
Alton from Jacksonville:
Did my eyes deceive me or did it look like Chris Reed could start at left guard if not for Luke's first-round status...? Your honest thoughts.
John: I thought Chris Reed played OK against the Jets. I don't know how to compare it to how Joeckel plays at guard, because I've yet to see Joeckel play guard in a game. From seeing Joeckel practice and from knowing his skill set I'm confident that if Joeckel ends up starting at left guard it will be more because of his level of play than his draft status.
Tom from Orlando, FL:
I agree with your list of players who could make the Pro Bowl, but I would add one more. I think Rashad Greene has a legitimate shot at making it on special teams. The guy is a beast returning punts.
John: You're right.
Patrick from Jacksonville:
You recently wrote "Fowler is going to have to improve his pass-rushing technique and he's going to have to continue learning about the NFL game." What is Fowler's biggest technique-flaw? I know Tony Boselli said during practice that Yannick wasn't deciding on his approach until after the snap, something he said held him back on the particular play. Is that common, and are there other common missteps rookie rushers make?
John: It's not so much specific "technique flaws" that hinder rookie pass rushers as much as just an overall need to improve technique and use pass-rushing moves rather than get by on athleticism. Pass rushing in the NFL is about detail, knowledge of opponent and use of hands to break contact with offensive linemen as much as it is athleticism and power. Experience and knowledge matter at the position. It's why you often see pass rushers play a long time and it's why you often see more experienced players outperform less experienced ones.
Lori from Jacksonville:
Not really a question. I just wanted to say my boyfriend and I have a ritual of him reading me your funny questions and responses each night at dinner. I don't know the ins and outs of football, but I do enjoy watching the Jaguars and learning. Thank you for making a sport that I thought wasn't really for me, enjoyable to learn!
John: Thanks.
Dakota from SD:
Zone, you're kind of a funny guy. Who knew?
John: Lori and her boyfriend, apparently – mind-numbingly dull though their evenings may be.

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