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O-Zone: Eloquent

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Preston from Oakville, CT:
Solace in the Jalen Ramsey injury is the fact that we drafted him because he was the Best Available Player and not entirely out of need. So, even if he is not ready Week 1 – which we aren't even sure of – our secondary of Tashaun Gipson, Johnathan Cyprien, Prince Amukamara and Davon House is still pretty solid. That's when a roster as a whole improves. When I heard about Ramsey's injury, every Jags fan thought, "Here we go again..." But after thinking about it, even if he is out an extended period of time, our team is still much improved from last season.
John: You make a good point, albeit one that was perhaps forgotten in the immediate aftermath of the Ramsey injury: the Jaguars' secondary without Ramsey looks exactly like the secondary pre-draft when few thought they would be selecting Ramsey or any other starting-level cornerback. That indeed is a difference from last offseason, when the Jaguars absolutely needed Dante Fowler Jr. to start as a rookie. I'm in the minority, but I wasn't expecting too, too much from Ramsey, Myles Jack or any other Jaguars rookie in the first month of this season, anyway. That's an opinion gleaned from watching the NFL for more than two decades and realizing it's very rare for even the most-talented rookie to make a winning difference in the first few games. My projection that the Jaguars will be improved this season is based much more on a returning offense that should significantly improve and a defense that should be able to improve on third down that it is on a talented rookie class. So, yeah, even with a rookie out, I agree: this team should be better than last season.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
This may be a stupid question, but hear me out: Is there any way the Jaguars may not actually want Marqise Lee to develop into a top-tier wide receiver? My reason for asking is, if he does turn out to be a top-tier guy, it will require top-tier money to keep him. It looks like they potentially have two of those guys already, so keeping three wide receivers at top dollar will be impossible. Would the team rather him turn out to be a great wide receiver who walks because they can't afford to keep him, or a very good wide receiver who is a solid contributor and demands a reasonable salary to where they can keep Hurns, A-Rob and Lee?
John: I heard you out, Marcus, but I'm afraid in this case you were right from the start.
Bill from Jacksonville:
John, Jaguars fans and media were told last season that Julius Thomas injured his finger and would be out three-to-four weeks. The truth turned out to be that he broke his hand, and was required to miss eight weeks. Please tell me the team will be more accurate with the reporting of Jalen Ramsey's injury news. Thanks! Go Jags!
John: Bill, you seem to be seeking a conspiracy – or at least a wrongdoing – that simply doesn't exist. The human body reacts different ways to different situations – and contrary to popular belief, not every diagnosis can be exact. Your unhappiness with the Thomas diagnosis is precisely why many teams attempt to not give projections: because sometimes you just don't know. And know this while we're on the subject: You can criticize this team for many, many things, but to criticize its transparency is misplaced. I've been around the NFL 22 years and know many people who have covered many teams. I can safely say this is one of the most up-front, honest teams in terms of releasing timely information as any I have covered – or for that matter, any I ever have heard of.
Jimmy from Section 132 Day 1:
Say what you will, Johnny O: you can't debate the level-headed arguments so many rational fans are making. The Ramsey injury cannot be coincidence or just bad luck. Clearly, the training/conditioning staff, practice-field maintenance staff and coaches have been deficient and the end result is a practice environment that is safe for all rookies except first-rounders. Unacceptable! There is no way this is just bad luck! Heads should roll!
John: Yeah, maybe you have a point.
Neil from Gloucester, UK:
Dear Mr. O-Zone: Still new to the game. Could you help with the following: if players at a certain position are all injured, what happens? Thank you.
John: You move players from another position there during that game, then sign available players for the next one. For instance, if six linebackers are injured during a game to the extent they can't play, you would have to move a defensive end there and perhaps a couple of safeties. It's rare, but it does happen. And when it does happen, it's not … you know, good.
Richard from Myrtle Beach, SC:
Ugh, another first-round knee injury. Even if he returns soon we know it'll impact his speed and play. I'm mad as hell and I won't take it anymore.
John: I'm not sure you know what you think you know.
HJT from Jacksonville:
We need to quit drafting players from Florida schools.
John: Absolutely. And get rid of Blake Bortles, Telvin Smith and Allen Hurns while you're at it, too. Right? Right??
Kenny from Rochester, NY:
The media makes it seem like it isn't a given that a team would give a rookie as big of a contract if they get hurt before they sign a contract. Is that a precedent for some teams or would all teams handle a situation like this the way it seems the Jaguars are going to?
John: First, there's no indication Ramsey's injury is anywhere near serious enough to even think of altering his contract. Second, most teams would negotiate in good faith if for no other reason than not doing so would harm the franchise in the long term. Say, for instance, the Jaguars were to want to reduce Ramsey's contract? Why in the world would any rookie from that point forward ever participate in an offseason workout before he had signed a contract?
John from St. Augustine, FL:
How does film study work with the Jaguars? Is it one on one player and coach, or by position groups (i.e. OL, DL), or players on their own? And who puts together the films to study? Thanks.
John: It's one on one player and coach, by position groups and on their own – but mostly in position groups. The Jaguars have a video staff that puts together the films for coaches and players.
Jack from London:
Maybe not in 2016, but in 2017, if Yannick Ngakoue proves good enough on run downs and proves to be a quality pass rusher do you potentially see them moving Dante Fowler Jr. to OTTO permanently and making Ngakoue the starting LEO?
John: I've gotten more and more questions about Fowler playing Otto. I've heard nothing and sensed nothing to suggest that this will happen.
Sally from Duval:
Is it just me or does Jacksonville always seem to take an extensive amount of time to sign their first round picks??
John: It's not you, but although this is a commonly held view, it's a curious one – and it's also an unnecessary worry/criticism. Since the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement, first-round selections rarely if ever hold out from training camp and all rookies – even unsigned ones – participate in the offseason program. Because of that, it literally and absolutely does not matter when draft selections are signed so long as they sign before the beginning of training camp. An unsigned draft selection in May is the definition of a non-NFL story.
Frank from Jacksonville:
Curse of the Jags ... Mr. O, it has become clear to me we have a first-round curse on our hands. As sure as the Cubs and their goat, or Babe and Boston, or the cover of Madden, our first-round draft picks are doomed. It is our job as a fan base to pinpoint the timeframe this started happening and figure out what has cursed us. Then we can begin to turn this curse around and resolve it. So, looking back at our first-round picks, what was the last known good solid pick that worked out for us? Bortles comes to mind but clearly we have had bad picks prior to Bortles so we may need to dig deeper. Thoughts? Opinions? We need to fix this before next year's draft!
John: Stop.
Jags Fan 818:
Oh, come on people ... GET A GRIP! I am not happy about Ramsey getting injured, either. Who has the crystal ball and why wasn't it given to David Caldwell before the draft?? Anyone? … Seems to me the coaches and staff (and Miami) were trying to slow things down and let the players come into this in the best way. Injuries happen. It sucks big-time it has happened to us two years in a row. Why does someone's head have to be on a platter every time? Ramsey's injury isn't as severe as Fowler's. Ramsey: if you read this, know that I wish you a speedy recovery and can't wait to see you on the field. Go Jags!
John: Well said.

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