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O-Zone: Fancy footwork

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it… Josh from Statesboro, GA:
Honestly, John, how much of this is real? I get the talk of the coaches and owners and those respected around the league. I feel it and I think it's real, but do you honestly believe they are truly building a winning program that is going to be around for many years to come?
John: I think I've been pretty consistent on this issue. What's going on around the Jaguars is real in the sense that it's a sound approach that should give the team a chance to win. The players drafted must develop and a quarterback must develop. The Jaguars also must have players stay healthy and perhaps have a few players hit that they don't expect. Can I guarantee that the Jaguars will have a winning program for years to come? No. Does this have a chance to turn into that? Yes.
Erica from Duval:
All kidding aside, O-man, you look like you slimmed down. Those weight-room upgrades are not just for the players now are they? Great job with the site, keep it up!
John: Down, girl. This one's taken.
Quinn from Tampa, FL:
Do you think Ace Sanders will be too valuable to our receiver corps to have him be our punt returner? I don't think he had the support/opportunities to really shine last year, and I really hope he gets another crack at it. One fer Ace?
John: Absolutely, one fer Ace. He's a good, likable kid who had a better year as a rookie than anyone could realistically have expected from a fourth-round selection. I do think he'll wind up as a punt returner next season because I think he'll wind up being significantly better at that than anyone else on the Jaguars' roster. The decision could be made significantly easier if Cecil Shorts III, Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee are all healthy and contributing.
Pete from Pratt, KS:
Must disagree with you, O-Man. Coleco's Electronic Quarterback was better than Electronic Football.
John: Everyone is entitled to their wrong opinion.
James from Westside:
Hi "O." I get the feeling Stephen Morris is here for a practice-squad position more than a backup role. Sure, he knows Coach Fisch's coaching style and plays (since he played for Fisch in Miami) but he seems to be more a "plug-and-play" quarterback that can help the younger wide receivers get used to the playbook quicker. Your thoughts?
John: There's a short-term and a long-term answer here. The short-term is that, sure, the most likely landing spot for Morris this season is the practice squad. It would stand to reason he won't start over Chad Henne or Blake Bortles, and that he probably wouldn't be ready to be on the active roster. In that vein, he does bring value because his knowledge of the offense can help not only the young receivers, but – perhaps as importantly – to Bortles. That said, it's not fair to Morris to say he never could develop into something more than that. If he is on the practice squad this season, it's far from unreasonable to think he could play a reserve role or more in the future.
James the Navy Brat:
In hindsight, our 4-12 record last was pretty impressive, wouldn't you say? We had nothing. O-line was a mess. D-line was a mess. WRs were a mess. RBs underperformed. CBs were oft-injured. We had a first year head coach. Going 4-4 in the second half of the season was, like I said, impressive.
John: Yes, it was.
Todd from Jacksonville:
HUGE hypothetical here... Henne has been starting, and we're 6-4 at the Bye. Bortles is doing everything and appears "ready." Do we start Bortles, or keep Henne?
John: Alas, I see this is a topic that will not die and I sense it will only get worse in the upcoming dead zone. People have offered up every twist on this question imaginable, with no end in sight. It most likely will be a feel thing on when Bortles enters the starting lineup, but if the Jaguars are 6-4 at the break with Henne playing well, they probably keep starting Henne.
Clint from Richmond Hill, GA:
John, a few weeks ago during an Atlanta Braves rain delay, they showed a special on Chipper Jones and his rise to fame as a young baseball player. They showed some newspaper clips, and a certain senior writer was the writer for said articles. Do you have any stories to share covering Mr. Jones?
John: It has been a long, long time. I remember Chipper being clearly physically gifted, and the ball sounded different coming off his bat – as is usually the case with special hitters. Jones was a pleasant kid to deal with and confident in his abilities. Mostly, I remember we were both a lot younger then. A whole lot younger.
JoeK from Jacksonville:
Using a stale, two-pound fruitcake as a doorstop. #Shadricksightings
John: … and keeping an eye on it for later.
Mark from Jacksonville:
My friends and I were at OTA practice Thursday. After practice, it was a pleasant surprise to see how many players took time to sign autographs and talk to fans young and old. Paul Posluszny was one of the last players though the walkway, just ahead of Coach Bradley. He not only talked to and signed autographs for anyone who asked, no matter the age, but took time say thank you for coming out. It was refreshing to see him show genuine appreciation for the fans in attendance. Please let Paul know that not only do we fans appreciate his on-field effort, but his off-field interaction with the fans. By the way, Coach Bradley, who was the last one through the walkway, was the same way. Please tell Coach thank you for opening up the OTA for us.
John: This is far from the first time I've heard this about Posluszny and Bradley. Their appreciation of fans is genuine.
Donny from Heathrow, FL:
It's surprising to me to see the number of fans who can't see the big picture regarding how this team operates and how transparent they are in their player dealings. Despite what many seem to think, Alualu, Geno Hayes and even Marcedes are in the team's plans moving forward no matter who else we signed or drafted. Obviously, Rackley, Nwaneri, Gabbert, etc. weren't in their plans and they gave them the chance to move on with their careers.....what's so hard to understand here?
John: A lot, apparently.
Joseph from Statesboro, GA:
I thought Blackmon's contract was structured in a way to specifically allow the Jaguars to recoup their investment.
John: We won't linger on this because in the context of the 2014 season, Blackmon appears a non-issue on the field for the Jaguars. He appears likely to forfeit his 2014 base salary and he also missed out on a March roster bonus. Those totaled about $3.7 million. There were also guarantees for 2015 that will be forfeited if Blackmon is not on the roster. If he never plays for the Jaguars again, the team can attempt to recoup part of the original signing bonus. Historically, that recouping can be difficult.
Bill from Jacksonville:
John, how true do you think Ryan O's assertion that Ace Sanders will struggle to make the roster is? After the rookie year he had, this seems almost laughable. Go Jaguars!
John: I would be very, very surprised if Ace Sanders isn't on the Jaguars' roster.
Ray from Vernon:
I was in panic mode like some other fans about all of the injuries to our receivers, but you have addressed those concerns so I will ask something else. What do you think of our linebackers so far in OTAs? I'm hoping with our free agents and the upgrade to the defensive line we can be a Top 5 defense again … your thoughts.
John: My thoughts are while your hopes are noble and good, they may be a touch too high too soon. The Jaguars have a real chance to be improved, and a big reason is the depth along the defensive front. But a Top 5 defense typically is a mature unit operating at a high level at all levels. The Jaguars are headed in the right direction, but I don't know that they will be a mature, fully-developed defense next season. Regarding linebackers, it's difficult to tell much because the team is resting Geno Hayes at times and Dekoda Watson is out with an injury. As far as the receivers, I'm glad I could address your concerns. It's organized team activities. There was a time these didn't exist and a time not too long ago when few people paid attention to these. There is very little that happens in June in the NFL that is cause for panic.
Charles from Bangalore, India :
Evidently we may have one of the lightest and youngest O-lines in the league. Does this factor into Henne starting? Don't mean to be brutal here, just curious.
John: No, Henne is starting because the Jaguars don't believe Blake Bortles is ready.
Tom from Jacksonville and Section 106:
I love all the "Inside the Jaguars" videos, even with the JP Shadrick closeups. When I heard him say your footwork was fantastic, I was surprised he hasn't mentioned your hand movement. It kind of reminds me of watching Ricky Bobby do his first interview.
John: Congratulations on your perfection. Enjoy. It's a rare gift.

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