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O-Zone: #DTWD

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Clayton from Gambier, OH:
John, apart from lining up on the edge or in the slot, do you anticipate the Jaguars' offensive coaches putting Dede Westbrook in special situations such as reverses or backfield carries?
John: There is much excitement among fans and observers around rookie wide receiver Dede Westbrook returning to the Jaguars – or more accurately, debuting for the Jaguars. That debut could come Sunday against Cincinnati with Westbrook – a fourth-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft – having been on injured reserve all season after undergoing core muscle surgery in September. Why the excitement? Speed, athleticism, etc. And he dazzled at times in the preseason. But I don't know that it's realistic to think Westbrook is going to transform the passing offense immediately upon his return – or even that he will have major impact. Remember: this was a guy who was running with the second- and third-team throughout training camp and preseason, so he has yet to work with the first team. He also never has played an NFL game, and the transition from college to the NFL can be tricky for rookie receivers – even ones that won the Biletnikoff Award in their final collegiate seasons, as was the case with Westbrook. If Westbrook can give the Jaguars a few receptions a game outside and loosen up the defense a bit, that would be a significant contribution; I wouldn't count on more. As for your question, I suppose you could see Westbrook running the occasional reverse – but I would be surprised to see many situations when he lines up in the backfield. Westbrook, remember, never has played in NFL game. Let's not overload him just yet.
John from Medical Lake, WA:
Even the diehard Texans-hater in me has to feel for Deshaun Watson. Tough break for a good, talented kid.
John: True that. Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson reportedly sustained a torn anterior cruciate and a torn medial collateral ligament in practice Thursday. And while his loss undoubtedly will hurt the Texans, no way does anyone want to see that.
Rob from Jacksonville:
What causes a player to fail a physical? They're healthy enough to be playing on their original team and they're naturally physically gifted athletes. And they ... I don't get it.
John: Different teams sometimes look for different things in physicals. A knee issue that might not be a major concern for one team and its physicians, for example, may be seen differently enough by another team and its physicians to fail a physical.
Jess from Castle Rock, CO:
Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone: "That's what we look for in players – to play well. If they show us good things, we put it on ourselves to make sure they get those opportunities again to keep playing." He was talking about TJ Yeldon with this comment, but it applies to all players. Do you believe he'll stand by his comment with Bortles since Blake played well in that game also? Will he game plan to allow Bortles opportunities to make plays down the field?
John: If the coaches determine that's what's needed that week, yes.
Armando from Vacaville, CA:
Is Jalen Ramsey more like Deion Sanders, Champ Bailey or Merton Hanks?
John: I'd say Bailey if only because it's tough to compare anyone to Sanders – and because Hanks was a safety while Ramsey is a corner. The best comparison to Ramsey may actually be Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson, a player who is a phenomenal combination of speed, athleticism and size. Here's the thing about uniquely elite players; they often defy comparisons because players of their level don't come around often. Ramsey seems like such a player.
Chris in London, England:
In a recent O-Zone you stated, "Win the next two games and the team shows the fans they are a good team, lose them both and they show it's more of the same old Jags." This made me chuckle a little as I have the next two games as one win one loss.
John: That would be somewhere in between.
Derrick from Jacksonville:
The defense is the strength of Jags. While all phases of the team must play to expectations, I think the defense and offensive line must take full ownership in order for the Jags to win on Sunday. The defense has to set the tone and the offensive line must control the line of scrimmage to allow the Jags to run the football. Along with no turnovers, I think that will be the key to a Jags win. Your thoughts?
John: I think full ownership is better than partial ownership. Unless something breaks and you have to fix it. Then full ownership sucks.
Richard from Orange Park, FL:
One of my friends and I were debating about Dante Fowler Jr. I stated he could never be a four-down lineman because he lacks any moves but his bull rush/speed rush. I have seen him add a stutter step to this and a spin once, but these are variations of the same move. My friend came back with, "Why does he have five sacks?" My reply was the coaches are playing him in downs where speed is essential – second- and third-down passing situations – and with the back end covering the combination of his amazing speed and their coverage are leading to sacks, not that he has created an arsenal of moves. What is your take on this? Who is right me or Skip?
John: While it's true that he doesn't have an "arsenal of moves," that's not why Fowler isn't an every-down player. He's not an every-down player because he hasn't outperformed Yannick Ngakoue at the Jaguars' rush-end position and he's sure not going to play strong-side end over Calais Campbell. Fowler actually could be a very good every-down player because he's good against the run. Right now, the Jaguars are very deep and Fowler is a key part of the rotation. If the Jaguars weren't as deep and he had to play more, the feeling here is Fowler could handle it – and even thrive.
Mark from Archer, FL:
John, with the Jaguars' receivers not playing great at times, what do you think the chances are of the Jags starting to line up some of our running backs in the slot? T.J. Yeldon has good speed and hands and Corey Grant has good speed and hands. Heck, all of our backs can catch the ball. Why not start putting one of them in the slot to see if they can help the passing offense some?
John: I could see the Jaguars doing this on occasion, though not as a staple to the offense. The Jaguars typically want their running backs running, and unless a running back has great speed – or route-running ability – he often is used best while being covered by a linebacker out of the backfield rather than lining up on the line of scrimmage.
Josh from Fernandina Beach, FL:
John, I know you've done your homework. How do you believe the Bengals' offensive line will match up with our defensive front this weekend in the 'Bank? Should be a good one. Thanks, O-Man.
John: The Bengals' offensive line has struggled this season, and is considered an area Cincinnati must improve to make the postseason. Quarterback Andy Dalton has been under pressure consistently and the Bengals are averaging 3.2 yards per carry. The Jaguars this season have matched up well against struggling offensive lines. The key Sunday: the Jaguars must stop the run early and get the Bengals into passing situations. If they do that, they should be able to turn their matchup advantage on the line into pressure, sacks and turnovers.
Josh from Fernandina Beach, FL:
I live in Nassau County and am completely OK with DTWD. The team is in, you know, Duval ...
John: This is in response to an email this week from Jess from Castle Rock, CO bemoaning #DTWD – or, Duval 'Til We Die – as a Jaguars rallying cry. I essentially replied that I don't bemoan #DTWD and I think it's cool. Others feel this way as well. I'll let them take it from here …
Adam from Lynbrook, NY:
I have lived in Orlando, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Ronkonkoma, Chandler, Glibert, Babylon, Astoria and Lynbrook. In all of that time I have never stopped being Duval till I die. #DTWD
John: I see.
Winston from California:
If you are not from Duval or live outside of Duval you can be one with Duval if you believe it to be true. It is not solely a geographic location as my wife can attest from my drunken howls far from the river city.
John: Preach, brother. Preach.
Josiah from Fargo, ND:
Hey, John! I'm from North Dakota and I'm #DTWD! Can you let Jess know?
John: Yep.
Brandon from Duval:
Dear Jess: Duval is not a place, but simply a state of mind. Anyone can be "Duval" no matter their current location. Go out and about in Castle Rock and shout DUUUUUVALLLLLL!! at the top of your lungs and you'll understand. Sure, you'll get funny looks but they just don't know you livin' the Duval life. Feel it, embrace it, live it and spread a little bit of Duval wherever you are!
John: #DTWD

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