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O-Zone: Dreams come true

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Aaron from White Hall, AR:
The other day some guys on ESPN were talking about Andrew Luck. One of them mentioned Blake Bortles and the other guy dismissed him being brought up. The guy that brought up Blake made a great point – that if you swapped Blake's numbers with Luck's from last year, then everybody would be raving about Luck; but Bortles put up those numbers and everybody dismisses him. It was nice just for those few seconds Blake getting a little national recognition.
John: I liked the second guy's point … or was it the first guy? Or the third guy? No, wait … Either way, whoever it was, he made a good point that Bortles' numbers would be lauded had they been put up by a quarterback already perceived as elite. But you know what? Bortles has received more than his share of lauding and national recognition this offseason – and I really don't get a sense that "everybody" is dismissing him. It's not as if every pundit who covers the NFL has fallen over himself to pat Bortles on his back, but plenty of national types have heaped a lot of praise Bortles' way. I'd say the national media's take on Bortles is that he's a quarterback with tremendous upside who has a chance to be very, very good – and who needs to improve in some key, key areas to reach the next level. I'd say in that respect the national media for the most part has this one right. That doesn't always happen.
Greg from Section 233 and St. Johns, FL:
John, for all the frustrations, I have never though seriously about giving up my tickets – and I've had them since the beginning of the franchise. The Greg Hardy thing might (if it happens).
John: I hear you and I know you're not alone. The people making the decision understand signing Hardy would not be popular. They also understand this is professional football and sometimes unpopular decisions get made. Signing Hardy is not imminent. We'll see what happens.
Todd from Jacksonville:
A friend of mine just started following football and thought the Jags might be a pretty cool team to follow. Although I agree with him, all I could do was point and laugh because he will only ever be a #dayseventhousandsixhundredandsixtyfivelitFan … what a noob, but as long as he's #DTWD I shouldn't complain.
John: I had a friend once. It was awesome and then it wasn't.
Charlie from Jacksonville:
I remember what I was doing when the Jaguars' franchise was awarded. I was working a desk job that permitted radio listening with headphones, and I think it was Sam Kouvaris who was covering the NFL announcement. I was so elated that I ran around the office like a demented franchise fairy delivering the good news to everyone in sight. Fortunately, my management was on board with this admittedly unprofessional activity.
John: It sounds as if you behaved perfectly appropriately given the circumstances. #DTWD
Clyde from Sanford, FL:
Looking forward to how the 53-man roster shakes out. I believe there are only five-to-six spots up for grabs, barring an unforeseen injury. Any thoughts on this estimate?
John: That's probably about right. You're probably looking at a roster position "up for grabs" at most of the position groups, but probably no more than one at most of them. Most of those decisions will come down to special teams and one will depend on whether or not the Jaguars want to invest a roster spot in Brandon Allen as the third quarterback.
Bob from Jacksonville:
Mr. O: This isn't a question, but a "Day One" story. I was delivering pizzas at the time we were trying to get a team in Jacksonville, and took a large pizza with everything on it to the team that was trying to get an NFL franchise in Jacksonville. This was the night before the final decision was made. I asked the gentleman how things were. He said "If St. Louis BLINKS, we have it." (Those are in caps because that's the way he said it.) I told him if we got a team I would bring them another pizza like the one I just delivered, on me. The next day we got the team and I took them a pizza. I've never been a season-ticket holder, but do attend games from time to time, but I will never forget that memory.
John: I don't know if you're Day One or not, but I know that's a great story.
Blues Man from St. Johns, FL:
He nearly knocked my head off! The first one flew over my head and I could hear it literally whistle by. I know that NFL quarterbacks and MLB pitchers have guns, but at the pro level is there still any coaching that goes on to improve arm strength/velocity? Or, are they just born with that gift?
John: You can improve arm strength marginally, but the sort of velocity that almost knocked your head off? Nah, you can't teach that.
Frankie from Providence, RI:
Do you see the Jaguars wearing teal in the near future? We're three seasons past since the last time we wore teal. What's the deal, O man?
John: The deal is I don't see the Jaguars wearing teal this season. I don't have a feel for the teal after that.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
How important was the addition of Dom Capers for the Jaguars' improvement from the 17th-ranked in total defense in 1998 to No. 1 in 1999? Could the Jaguars have finished 14-2 without him joining the coaching staff?
John: Capers did make a difference in that 1999 defense. The play of players such as Kevin Hardy, Tony Brackens and Gary Walker – all of whom had big, big years – made a bigger difference. Players matter far more than coaching, but Capers' addition that offseason did help enough that it almost certainly made the ranking better than it would have been otherwise.
Tommy from Pensacola, FL:
So I've noticed a considerable lack of angst and despair regarding our offensive coordinator and the direction of the offence in general in comparison to last year at this time. Funny how people making decisions sometimes know what they're doing and things work out alright.
John: Yes, that is funny.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
Realistically, with again three new starters on the offensive line, might we see the same offensive struggles this season as last? How long is it going to take for this group to find cohesiveness? Should we expect any kind of run game improvement or is it going to be pass-heavy for the first few weeks of the season?
John: I'd be a little surprised if the Jaguars' offense is anything but pass-heavy for the foreseeable future – and though the Jaguars do want to improve the running game, I wouldn't expect this to become a ground-and-pound offense. That's OK, because you don't need that type of running game to win in the NFL these days. The Jaguars' first step in this area is to run effectively enough to make defenses believe they are a threat to run. They also need to be able to run when they need to run, which is on short-yardage and late-game situations. I think it will take a while to get to where they need to get in this area, but I think they'll at least be improved early.
Rob from Brunswick, GA:
John, I had a prophetic dream in 1991 where I watched the press conference that awarded us the franchise in Jacksonville. I remember waking up so excited that we were finally getting a team, and I've been a fan ever since. My friends and relatives thought I was crazy but now they realize that true Fans are bound by linear time. Day One Minus Four Years Fan!
John: That's a cool story. It'd be cooler if you dreamed about lottery numbers.

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