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O-Zone: Drop off the key, Lee

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Duh from Jacksonville:
Does Bortles have bad practices cuz he makes crazy throws (that go for interceptions) he wouldn't otherwise throw in games?
John: Not necessarily – and actually, this is a good time to offer some perspective on this ongoing theme that Bortles is a horrible practice player. That's not the case. It's not as if Bortles is throwing balls 10 feet over receivers' heads or bouncing passes 15 yards in front of Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson in practice. He has many good practices, and he certainly is a better practice quarterback than he was as a rookie. He completes many passes and has many good drives in practices. He also has a few interceptions from time to time, and some of that indeed is a willingness to work on things in practice to see if they will work in games. It's not that Bortles is simply awful in practice; it's that he's so much better in games. There are players who simply play better when it matters, when the adrenaline is flowing and when there is something real on the line. Bortles appears to be one of those players.
Jamar from Jacksonville:
O-Zone: Do you think Dante Fowler Jr. will be a stud or will the Maryland rookie and Myles Jack be more long-term studs?
John: I believe Fowler will be an elite player in the NFL based on what I have seen so far, and everything I have heard and seen leads me to believe Myles Jack has the chance to be that as well. Yannick Ngakoue has had a good camp and appears to be very capable of being a productive NFL player. There are so many factors that go into players excelling over the long haul that it's hard to predict that sort of success. What you want from young players is for them not to show things that make you think they can't succeed. Fowler, Jack and Ngakoue certainly have done nothing to make you think they'll fail and that's a great sign for their futures.
Jim from Vicenza, Italy:
I don't know enough to have a strong opinion about either Michael Bennett or Tyrone Holmes, but I am interested to see to what extent the Jags can find quality in the front seven from later rounds – as with UDFA Abry Jones a couple of years ago. Can you offer any observations on how Bennett or Holmes have performed, their likelihood of sticking on the roster, etc?
John: Holmes and Bennett realistically are both fighting for roster spots. I'd project Holmes on the practice squad and Bennett on the active roster. That's primarily because I think the Jaguars will keep five three-technique-type tackles (Bennett included) while I expect them to keep two true "Leo" pass rushers (Holmes being on the practice squad) with Dan Skuta and Ryan Davis also capable of playing the edge-rusher role.
Brian from Gainesville, FL:
Big O, I completely agree with you that a good offensive lineman doesn't need a nasty attitude. But is it possible for a lineman to go too far in the opposite direction of nasty? I'm thinking of Luke Joeckel and how is seemingly too open about the things he needs to improve. Is it possible he's lost his confidence? Can a lineman get his confidence back?
John: There's nothing wrong with a player being open about needing to improve. Joeckel to me doesn't seem like a player who has lost confidence. He seems like a player who struggled at times early in camp but who played pretty well in the preseason opener. I think he'll wind up starting at left guard most of this season and I don't think he'll do poorly there.
Evan from Ocoee, FL:
When Brandon Allen entered Thursday's game, the phrase "coach's son" was said on multiple occasions. What does this mean and how is it seen as a strength? Go Jags!
John: The phrase "coach's son" means the player's father was a coach. It's usually seen as a strength because the assumption is the father has passed down all sort of football smarts, thereby making the player a little further ahead mentally than someone without that sort of background. I've seen cases where coach's sons do appear more football savvy than might otherwise be the case. At the same time, sons don't always listen to fathers. My son, for example, laughs derisively at the very notion that a father could operate with even a sliver of intelligence. Fathers influence children in different ways is all I'm saying.
Mike from Navarre, OH:
Why didn't Jonas Gray play versus the Jets?
John: Injured quad.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
Given Jalen Ramsey's and Myles Jack's recent published comments about being passed over in the draft, (Ramsey by the Cowboys and Jack falling because of his knee injury), do they indicate disappointment with their selection by the Jaguars?
John: Considering the excitement both felt upon being drafted by the Jaguars, and considering both were very clear that this is where they wanted to be drafted … no.
Spence from UT:
You're in the room every day. What's the deal with Jalen and the media? Doesn't seem like he's a fan.
John: No, it doesn't seem Ramsey enjoys speaking to the media all that much. You know what? That's OK. Some players enjoy speaking with the media, others tolerate it and others don't like it much at all. Some are better at it than others. There are 53 players on an NFL regular season roster. Not all have to be great with the media.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
To the famous sportswriter who once said, "It was not me; I was behind my desk taking a nap," do you think that Brandon Allen has enough football smarts and physical ability to become a good enough quarterback to replace Chad Henne sometime in the next year or so? Thank you.
John: I do think Allen has a chance to be the Jaguars' backup quarterback in the foreseeable future. I don't expect him to be the backup this season, but it's conceivable it could happen in 2017. We'll see.
Michael from Las Vegas, NV:
I was just wondering what is the benefit of doing joint practices with the Bucs the same week we play them in the preseason?
John: The main benefit is logistics – primarily for the Buccaneers. Having joint practices with a team you're playing that week allows you to get three full days of work – the two practices and the preseason game – against an unfamiliar opponent and maintain a relatively similar schedule without throwing an additional trip into the mix.
Paul from Lohrville, IA:
Looking at what the Titans were able to do in their first preseason game, it is a humbling reminder that we need them big uglies. It is nice to talk about pass rushers and cover guys – and everybody plays down their importance – but Roy Miller, Jared Odrick and Paul Posluszny are key to the Jags' defense.
John: The Titans indeed ran well in their preseason opener, though I wouldn't say the performance did or didn't humble the Jaguars. It didn't change their thinking defensively, either. Head Coach Gus Bradley and defensive coordinator Todd Wash know well the importance of stopping the run. It's a big reason their scheme has a stop-the-run-first approach – something they did very well much of last season, incidentally.
Tremain from Mobile, AL:
Hey John, on those two busted pass plays? What was Puz thinking? He let the receiver run past him twice. It was obvious the Jets were going to pass.
John: It's vogue to blame middle linebacker Paul Posluszny for all that ails the Jaguars on pass defense in the middle of the field. What's vogue is not always correct.
George from Jacksonville:
Everyone is saying Poz got beat on the two big plays. Anyone looking at the replay could see that both times it was Telvin's man. These are the plays the coach was referring to in camp. Sorry, had to say something.
John: It's vogue to blame middle linebacker Paul Posluszny for all that ails the Jaguars on pass defense in the middle of the field. What's vogue is not always correct.
Garrett from Jacksonville:
Wow. You know we were impressive in the game when the top headline story of the Jags is the Julius Thomas drop. IT'S NOT THAT BIG A DEAL!!!
John: A dropped touchdown pass is not something you want, but in the big picture … considering how well the first-team offense played on pretty much every play … yes, there were more defining storylines on Thursday than Thomas dropping a ball that could have been thrown better. The miscommunication on the play actually was the more important thing. Timing and the ability to adjust quickly are key to red-zone effectiveness. This young offense is improving in that area and the fewer miscommunications in the red zone the more points the Jaguars will score.
Simon from St. Paul, MN:
So are there really 50 ways to leave your Oehser?
John: Minimum.

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