JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
James from Duval:
John, putting POZ at outside linebacker is just a way for the Jags to phase out a fan favorite without actually benching him. We all know he can't cover well. I know you have Tom Coughlin over your shoulder, but let's call it like it is, John.
John: I've called it like it is on this topic pretty much since the team moved Posluszny from middle to strong side a few weeks ago. I think there is some risk to the move because you're moving a reliable player from a position he has played well for a long time and replacing him with a young player with next-to no NFL experience – and you're doing so at an important position that affects a lot of other positions. I get why the move was made; it's time to get Myles Jack's talent, potential and athleticism on the field. The move wasn't made with fans in mind, and I'd guess there are as many fans who wanted Posluszny out of the middle as there are fans upset he's no longer there. As far as Posluszny not covering well, he likely will cover less now because he won't be on the field nearly as much in passing situations. Either way, I'm not on the Poz-Can't-Cover train as much as a lot of people. He's a lot better in coverage and has better ball instincts than most observers believe. He has far and away more interceptions than any other Jaguars defender since his 2011 arrival. I don't know if that's calling it like it is, but there it is.
Julio from Southern California:
O, the Texans will win the division? With a rookie quarterback?
John: The Texans won it the last two seasons with Brian Hoyer and Brock Osweiler. Is it really that smart to count them out with Deshaun Watson?
Glen from Orange Park, FL:
Could you share your thoughts on this team's floor and ceiling as far as wins are concerned for the upcoming season?
John: I don't see Jaguars winning fewer than five games in 2017 and I don't see them winning more than 10.
Russ from Jacksonville:
Under the CBA, if a player does hold out of mandatory training and regular-season games, does the team get any type of monetary damage awards for breach of contract? Thx, Big O.
John: The team can and usually does fine the player, though those fines sometimes are rescinded/forgiven when the player reports.
Trae from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Who is the starting left tackle for the regular-season opener?
John: I'm assuming you're asking for my prediction. That's Branden Albert.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
With running back Leonard Fournette, offensive lineman Cam Robinson and fullback Marquez Williams, the Jaguars are facing the possibility of having three rookies being counted on to solve the team's running-game woes. It has been well-discussed in recent seasons that expecting players to be finished products during their first season often leads to disappointment. If all three of these players have starting/major roles next season, how much improvement in the running game can we really expect?
John: Running backs can and should be ready to contribute as rookies, and it's actually the one position at which a player can and should be as good in Years 1-2 as he is in Years 3-4. Fullback also should be able to contribute relatively quickly. Rookie offensive linemen do face a learning curve, but one offensive lineman isn't necessarily going to be the major cause of a team improving in the running game. It must be a collective effort, which is what makes Brandon Linder important. And Branden Albert. And Jermey Parnell. And …
Travis from St. Louis, MO:
This season will have its ups and downs. However, Fournette will run for over 1,000 yards, and Allen Robinson will be in 2015 form. Blake Bortles will throw for 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The season will come down to Week 17 against the Titans, a game for the division: Jags win 27-24, and expel the demons of their past. Unfortunately, they will lose to a Steelers team poised for another shot at the Patriots. All in all, the Jags win the division, Titans in a close second with the Colts and the Texans unfortunately take a huge step back with no competitive quarterback play and a defense that gets nicked and injured all year long. Take it to the bank!! WHY NOT US!?
Luis from El Paso, TX:
Between Chris Ivory and Y.J. Yeldon, who would you keep for 2018?
John: You're asking about a scenario that could occur a year from now at a position where much can change in such a time span. I also haven't seen either player in the role he will be asked to play in 2017. Ivory is older, so if one of the two will be gone by that season, it likely would be Ivory.
Patrick from Victoria, Canada:
Hi John, first play of the season ... pass or run? Thanks, Patrick.
John: Option. You're welcome, John.
Ronald from Jacksonville:
Hi, John: With a better offensive line, and with Fournette in the backfield, do you believe that will give Blake more time and consequently improve his performance on the field? Being that he will have a core of great receivers to throw to, and being that the running game should get better also hopefully with the addition of Albert and Robinson. Saying all of this, what is your opinion on how well the Jaguars will do this year? Do you think maybe 8-8 or better?
John: If the offensive line indeed is improved, and if Fournette has the desired effect on the offense, there's no way that combination won't help Bortles. I'm not one who throws the around the word "great" with the Jaguars' receivers yet, though. It's a good group that has been productive in stretches, but great NFL receivers produce year after year after year and the Jaguars' group of receivers hasn't come close to doing that yet. And yes … I do believe if things fall into place this team can push for 8-8 or better.
Justin from Hampton, VA:
Dante Fowler Jr. was basically a rookie last year, coming off a season ending injury the year prior. People want to label him a bust, but I feel this will be his year to break out. Who do you believe will have a breakout year in 2017?
John: Dante Fowler Jr. and Myles Jack.
Mark from CP, MD:
The 2013 draft is all gone. The first three picks of the 2017 draft are the same positions as the 2015 draft class. With your infinite wisdom how would you grade all four draft classes so far?
John: I don't have infinite wisdom, but I can tell you while the Jaguars' 2013 draft was relatively unproductive, it also was a weak draft overall. Still, you would like to have at least one player from each class sign a second contract, so that has to be disappointing. I don't buy into your theory on the 2015-2017 classes, though. Dawuane Smoot's selection had less to do with Dante Fowler Jr. than trying to get young, disruptive depth on the line – and saying A.J. Cann and Cam Robinson are the same position is a stretch. Does the selection of Fournette reflect poorly on the selection of Yeldon? Yes, that argument can be made. Overall, I'd call it around a "C" with heavy lean toward incomplete.
Andy from St. Augustine, FL:
Stranded on an island with only one movie? Has to be Princess Bride – it has sword-fighting, pirates, a giant, a six fingered man, poisoning, rodents of unusual size and fire swamps - all wrapped around true love! Picking any other movie when stranded on an island would be … inconceivable!!
John: Not bad.
Mike from Navarre, OH:
How has Smoot been looking throughout rookie minicamp? Obviously it's not a completely accurate representation with it being in "pajamas," or even close to it, but I haven't seen much about how he looks. What's the word, O?
John: Jaguars rookie minicamp practices last weekend were closed to the media, as were Phase 2 offseason workouts this past week. Several organized team activities in the next three weeks will be open to the media, at which point I'll be able to offer more of an idea about how players are looking.
Tom from Jacksonville:
What is your over and under on this? Albert comes in late, overweight and out of shape, gets hurt early, goes on injured reserve and collects $8 million while sitting on his fat ass. We're Jaguars. It's what we do. I'd bet the house.
John: I wouldn't.
Logan from Wichita, KS:
Do you ever worry that posting our (the fans fanning to you daily; myself included sometimes) negative feelings has a negative effect on the team? Or do the players really never read the O-Zone?
John: I assume few players read the O-Zone, though I imagine some do on occasion. I further assume that those who do realize that fans are gonna fan.
O-Zone: Fans gonna...
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
James from Duval: