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O-Zone: Enjoying my bliss

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it . . . Dane from Jacksonville:
I'm starting to see more and more writers claim Gabbert versus Henne was never a true quarterback competition. I seem to recall many of the national heads predicting Henne as the Week 1 starter, even as recently as a week ago. What has the coaching staff done to hint that a true quarterback competition never took place? Or am I just seeing the pundits practicing their backpedaling?
John: The coaching staff from the beginning has done nothing but answer questions about the competition, and the answers typically have been that the two quarterbacks were competing, that there would be more involved than statistics and that the decision would be announced late in the preseason. As for why the national media interpreted things as it did, I have no idea. I do know I was pretty consistent about how I thought the quarterback situation would play out, which was that I thought over the course of the competition Gabbert would do enough to win the job. Part of the reason I believed that was it just made sense that Gabbert would start if it was close because the team needed to get a look at him, but part of it was because I believed Gabbert was likely to look better through camp and in the preseason. I honestly can't provide much insight about why the pundits write about the Jaguars as they do. It's a topic that interests me on various levels ranging from a little some weeks to not at all others. This week, I'm somewhere between.
John from Jacksonville:
I read the article concerning analytics and the Jaguars. It seems Bradley was desperate to find any reason to say Gabbert had played well last season, so he got the owner's son to come up with some dubious stats. No scout has said this about Gabbert and no former pros, just the owner's son.
John: I read somewhere once that the difference between what is written and what is read never ceases to amaze.
Terry from Jacksonville:
Let's say the Jaguars go 8-8 this year, three games out of the playoffs. Which scenario would the fans be happiest with: 1) BG plays very well all year but the defense let us down; 2) the defense is solid all year, the QB situation lets us down. I would be very happy to know we had a solid quarterback and just needed more help on defense myself. Your thoughts?
John: I don't know that fans are going to be happy with either scenario, because my experience is fans find something not to like in most scenarios. Any scenario under which Gabbert plays well and establishes himself as an NFL quarterback is a good one for the Jaguars, and the front office and coaching staff would like that. It's easier to find any other position.
Chad from Savannah, GA:
John, my boss gets mad at me for reading O-Zone at work.
John: Do what I do when Mark Lamping is mad at me. Run around the office in your undershorts and a "Charles in Charge" T-Shirt with a pot of coffee in one hand and a Hot Pocket in the other whispering loudly, "No one understands but Willie Aames, no one understands but Willie Aames . . ." I do this and I'm asked to go sit in the stadium for a while. In your case, you may get fired, but if you don't, your boss probably won't care if you read the O-Zone, either.
Herbert from MidState Office Supply Accountz Receevable Supervisa:
Does Gabbert start if the regular season began this week?
John: No. He's not expected to be ready until at least Week 1 of the regular season.
Scott from Chelsea, NY:
A comment from an ESPN article where the Jags' Uni's were ranked last: "Paul Lukas will be stunned if the Jags stick with that helmet for the entire season." Under league rules would it even be possible for the Jags to change helmets midseason or is this just yet another case of a national pundit not doing their research?
John: It would not be possible to switch, and even if it were, they wouldn't.
Jared from Madison, WI:
Now that we sorted the top pair, who's the No. 3 quarterback, Kafka or Scott? Which one is the most likely one to get cut?
John: The two are still competing, but I'd expect Scott to be the third quarterback.
Ryan from Orange Park, FL:
I read somewhere that the offense ran Saturday resembled what Gabbert ran at Missouri. That seems like a logically simple idea. Do you see that having a lot to do with his success this year?
John: If Gabbert is successful this year, I think that will have something do with it. You'll likely see a lot of game plans with Gabbert moving in the pocket, getting the ball out quickly and making quick reads. He did do a lot of that at Missouri, and it's a logical way to use a young quarterback who is building confidence.
Bill from Jacksonville:
It's been written recently that Gus Bradley's defense is designed around stopping the run. Why would a HC/Defensive Coordinator today design their defense around a part of the game the NFL is phasing out with almost every rule change? How does this type of defense benefit the Jaguars? Go Jags!
John: Hey, Bill! I can't speak for what has been written, but usually when Bradley talks about the defense, he talks as much about playing press coverage – and effective press coverage being a way to give the pass rush more time to get to the quarterback. Another key to the defense is having big, space-eating defensive tackles to stop the run on early downs, but in seven months around Bradley, I've gotten the impression that stopping the pass and attacking the quarterback on passing situations is every bit as important as stopping the run on early downs. Still, you'll rarely hear defensive coaches say they don't believe stopping the run to be important. Even in a passing era you have to get it stopped, because if you don't, it becomes that much easier for teams to pass. Go Bill!
Shane from Pensacola Beach, FL:
Is Fred Taylor going to have any assistance with coaching this year?
John: Not with the Jaguars at this time.
Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
"Watch the build begin?!" Dude, I've been watching the build since Game 1 of 2008. Time to deliver.
John: I hear you, Tudor, but David Caldwell and Gus Bradley are starting this thing this year. I don't know that they're all that concerned about 2008. I get that you are. I do. But that can't be their clock.
Josiah from Jacksonville:
Please answer this, John. Not that I am a Massaquoi fan, but how could we cut him, yet retain Tobais Palmer? Palmer's awful and wasting fellow players' reps with his turnovers. Did they at least take him off returns?
John: Slow down, Josiah, please – for your sake as well as ours. Massaquoi didn't perform in practice or games, and he really was a no-brainer release. Palmer is a rookie with talent, and while the fact that he's a unpolished talent showed up in a couple of muffed punt returns, it's not always wise to part ways with a player because of a couple of early mistakes. Remember, the Jaguars had a young wide receiver who struggled mightily on punt returns a couple of years back. That same player also struggled as a receiver enough throughout his entire rookie season that most fans and observers thought he was a bust, with many calling for his release and ridiculing a certain senior writer who had lauded his ability in training camp. That receiver's name? Cecil Shorts III.
Brian from Bold City Brigade, Atlanta Chapter:
"The difference between what is written and what people read never ceases to amaze." Beautifully put, John. I want that on a T-shirt!
John: Stay tuned. #Moodachay
Laurie from Neptune Beach, FL:
Is Gabbert's injury keeping him out of practice, too, or just the final two games?
John: It's keeping him out of practice, too.
Matt from Amarillo, TX:
Can we expect Henne for the first three quarters this week, then Scott and Kafka splitting the fourth?
John: It's more likely you will see Henne for the first half and the first series of the second. Most teams approach the third preseason game by playing the starters into the third quarter so they can have a dry run of preparing for the game and then making halftime adjustments.
Tommy from Jacksonville:
Is there concern that the coaches have seen very little of Justin Forsett? Is Todman playing well enough to take a roster spot, or do the Jags keep all three? With Denard Robinson, it seems like a bit of overkill.
John: The Jaguars know what they have in Forsett. I think Todman is worth keeping in the roster, and I don't know that you release him because of the presence of Robinson because I don't know that Robinson can yet play as a feature back for a stretch of series in succession.
Matt from Miami:
Don't you find it a little sad that most of Blaine Gabbert's best statistical games come in the preseason and not the regular season? That's not the sign of solid starter. Henne had the best statistical game of any quarterback last season during the regular season and most of his great games have come in the regular season. There's a reason why most former pros believe Henne is the better quarterback and should start, why don't you listen to them? Do you enjoy being ignorant?
John: Not as much as some people, evidently.

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