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O-Zone: Flair for the dramatic

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Richerd from West Texas:
All right, I get it: every quarterback throws different, but I hate seeing these slow-mo videos of Blake Bortles throwing. Why slow mo? They should speed up the video to make his throw look good. For one, it's OTAs, so there's really no reason his throws shouldn't be on point – and they should look good! This is the highest level of professional sports, and he just seems like an unnatural thrower of the football! Did you take my anxiety medicine? I can't find it. I'm going to need it for this season, John!
John: My best advice for your anxiety is to not worry so much about Bortles' motion. That advice isn't to ignore his mechanics. Rather, it's to point out that the motion isn't his No. 1 issue – and his motion isn't going to prevent him from being successful. As you note (or as I think you noted, anyway): NFL quarterbacks have succeeded with a variety of motions. Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin also said this week he liked Bortles' results in this area this offseason, and it's not Coughlin's style to lie about or even sugarcoat a situation. My thought continues to be that Bortles' 2017 season will turn more on his decision-making, pocket awareness and command of the offense than mechanics-based accuracy or inaccuracy. Maybe that will help your anxiety. Or you could just self-medicate. One's probably as good as the other.
Jim from Jacksonville:
Are there actually people in Jacksonville who would allow Colin Kaepernick to play here? I believe that would be the worst mistake this organization could make. My favorite part of all football games is listening to our National Anthem. I do not agree with what he did in the past. If he was to ever become a Jaguar, I would burn every one of my T-shirts, Jerseys, hats, flags and posters. I have been a season-ticket holder for over 15 years. Having Kaepernick here would be a disgrace to our city, our military and our team.
John: I understand many people feel this way, and the feeling is to be expected. Kaepernick took a high-profile stand on an emotional issue; when you do that, there will be fallout. I don't believe this is an overriding reason the Jaguars haven't pursued Kaepernick this offseason, but I don't think any NFL team discounts the reality that it would be an issue.
Aaron from Bethlehem, PA:
If Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler Jr. both become double-digit sack guys in the future, do you think we can afford to keep both of them? Assuming we re-sign Blake Bortles and a couple of other key players?
John: Yes.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
I may be in the minority, but I'm not down on Fowler because his play didn't live up to lofty expectations. I am down on him because of the high number of stupid and immature mistakes he made throughout the season. Lack of production is expected with a young player learning how the NFL game is played, but mistakes due to lack of discipline are unacceptable. I think he can get past that, especially with this new regime, and hopefully his future will be bright.
John: Fowler must cut out the silly mistakes and improve as a pass rusher. The two don't necessarily go hand-in-hand, but they're both issues that could improve with time, maturity and experience.
Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL:
This is not a negative comment on the O-Zone, but the more I read the more I get this sinking feeling that we will not be any better than last year? Do I need therapy?
John: I don't take that as a negative comment on the O-Zone, because the O-Zone in recent months shouldn't be interpreted as saying the Jaguars wouldn't be better than last season. It is correct to interpret what I've written in recent months as saying I'm not buying this team as a double-digit-victory, postseason team. I don't think it's there yet. But do I think it will be better than last season? Absolutely.
Craig from Jensen Beach, FL:
I know David Caldwell said he wasn't going to address the offensive line but there are still some solid veterans on the market that would at worst-case scenario give our guys a push. So, why are we not going after them? Guys like Nick Mangold and Ryan Clady, for example, would make a significant difference. Do we not have the cap space?
John: I haven't heard Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell say he wasn't going to address offensive line. If he had said that early in the offseason, he would have been lying because the Jaguars traded for left tackle Branden Albert and they selected offensive lineman Cam Robinson in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Those moves, by any measure, are "addressing the offensive line." Forty percent of the line figures to be new. The Jaguars do have ample cap space, but they're not going after Mangold or Clady for the reason most teams don't pursue players: they do not believe they would make a significant enough difference to merit doing so.
Joe from F:
Assuming Robinson is one of the top five offensive linemen and he can move into guard, then it seems the question remains: is A.J. Cann a better guard than Tyler Shatley/Luke Bowanko is a better center? What is it about Cann's game that has made him susceptible to losing his spot? Run blocking, pass blocking? Does it seem to be a more physical issue, technique or mental issue? I know you are not an offensive line expert, but your insight is probably more informed than mine.
John: There are many people trying to dig very, very deep into all issues regarding the Jaguars' offensive line. That's understandable, because it's the offseason and we need a topic in which to dig. But there's not really much to discuss here. Cann in general struggled last season, but if he plays to his potential there's not much about his game holding him back. He's a physically gifted guard capable of run-blocking and pass-blocking at a high level. Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone believes Cann's capable of being a good NFL player and I think he'll get a chance to prove it this season at guard.
Hunter from Jacksonville:
Do you get the impression that Jalen Ramsey will look to receive treatment on par with his talent – i.e., special?
John: Not particularly, no.
Kyle from Pensacola, FL:
Hello, Mr. O! No question, just a comment in regards to the previous question in regards to the Stroud-Henderson era: While quarterback surely mattered, David Garrard played well enough to get us to the Super Bowl in the 2007 season. We were just a couple of dropped passes away from beating the then-undefeated Patriots in the postseason. We also could not get to Tom Brady from the edge. Playmakers at defensive end and wide receiver might have done it, that year.
John: OK.
Keith from Palatka, FL:
Brian's (from Charlottesville, VA) concern about the health and depth of our offensive line is a legitimate concern. We potentially have three starting-caliber tackles: Albert, Jermey Parnell, and Robinson. In a pinch, Patrick Omameh or Jeremiah Poutasi could play tackle. The odd-man out among Albert, Robinson, and Parnell could play left guard (Cann should be on notice) if Brandon Linder stays at right guard. Center is now a mystery. If Albert does show up, Robinson and Parnell may be battling for right tackle. Which five do you think will start on the offensive line (I know you have answered this previously, but that was before Linder's switch to right guard)?
John: I don't actually think center is a big mystery because I believe Linder will play center. I believe the Jaguars' starting line will be Albert, Robinson, Linder, Cann and Parnell with Robinson being the obvious option to kick outside and play tackle if Albert or Parnell is unavailable. I project Shatley and Omameh to be the top backups on the interior with perhaps Bowanko, Chris Reed or Josh Wells in the equation. And I'll repeat this: yes, line depth is a concern on the Jaguars – just as it is for pretty much every team playing professional football.
Tim from Jacksonville:
What type of surface will the flex field have?
John: It's field turf designed by Hellas Turf System.
John from Jacksonville:
O, why does the NFL abide by this NCAA rule that prevents some rookies from attending NFL offseason activities? Seems to me that once the kids are drafted or signed, they wouldn't be bound by any NCAA rules any longer.
John: It's an NCAA/NFL rule not an NCAA rule.
Other Mike from Atlanta, GA:
…offseason mini-drama." Don't you mean, offseason melodrama?
John: No. When referring to Albert not being in organized team activities, I meant to write what I wrote: "mini-drama." Had I meant melodrama I would have written something that meant something closer to melodrama – like "melodrama."

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