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O-Zone: Get up, stand up

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Josh from Pensacola, FL:
I don't agree that Blake Bortles is the best running quarterback in the NFL. However, I do think that needs to be part of his game. He seems to have gotten away from it. When he carries the ball, he usually gets a good chunk of yardage. I'm not saying make him a running quarterback, but why not take advantage of that and make defenses worry? It just adds another dimension to the offense. Agree?
John: Not particularly – or at least I'm not "all in." But that's because I'm not big on building a large part of an NFL offense around a quarterback's ability to run. The league more often than not is about quarterbacks winning from the pocket, though there obviously are exceptions. Should Bortles run more? Perhaps a bit more. He rushed about three-and-a-half times per game last season, averaging 6.19 yards per carry and gaining 20 first downs rushing. Bortles does have good awareness once he leaves the pocket, and he has been effective on designated runs. Considering this effectiveness, I wouldn't mind seeing the Jaguars work quarterback runs into the offense a time or two more a game. Still, you don't want to see the Jaguars and Bortles get overly dependent on quarterback runs. You need to win from the pocket in the NFL.
Adam from Jacksonville:
Do you play golf?
John: No.
Bryce from Waterloo, IA:
John, if you could take any former Jaguars player (not named Tony Boselli) and insert them into the starting lineup, who would it be? For me, it would be John Henderson. Calais Campbell, Henderson, Malik Jackson, and Yannick Ngakoue/ Dante Fowler Jr. would be a solid defensive front. Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye would thrive in the secondary if we had a front like that. I miss the intensity that Big John brought each and every game.
John: I didn't cover the Henderson/Marcus Stroud era, so I'm a bit biased toward the Jaguars teams I did cover in the 1990s. Acknowledging that, I suppose my answer to your question would be Mark Brunell. I can't put Brunell on a par with Boselli, Fred Taylor, Jimmy Smith or even Tony Brackens from that era, but reliable play at quarterback trumps all else.
Craig from Jacksonville:
John, thankfully we are near ending the dead zone for some football. I wanted to ask, do you look forward to game day or is just another day at the office?
John: Game days are cool. I like them.
Cliff from Jersey City, NJ:
Yo, O. A while back you mentioned it was about time for CBS to move on from Phil Simms, or something along those lines. What gave you that sense, and what do you typically look for in game-day announcers? I am interested to see how Tony Romo and Jay Cutler do and how it will ultimately impact their football legacy.
John: I don't recall saying that about Simms; if I did, I wasn't passionate about it. I don't actually pay much attention to CBS or FOX broadcasters because I'm usually covering the Jaguars Sunday afternoons and not watching/listening to the other games very intently. I typically like announcers who can mix insight and humor and make the game a bit more interesting. It's why I liked John Madden in his prime. He had the ability to entertain and inform in a way that made the casual football fan feel like an insider.
Thommy from Miami, FL:
The Jags are a talented team. While many are gun-shy because of unfulfilled promises, I don't see the point in not recognizing this. I believe Coach(es Doug) Marrone and (Tom) Coughlin get the best from their people, and IF your roster is better than the other teams in your division, why NOT make the playoffs? There, I said it. I'm glad I did, I'm tellin' ya! I'm GLAD I DID!
John: #DTWD
Sam from Edgewater:
Cutting ties with Daryl Smith, Reggie Nelson put us further behind than a lot of people want to acknowledge. Hindsight is never 20/20 but those two moves STUNK.
John: I agree the Jaguars made erred not re-signing Smith in the 2013 offseason. He would have helped this young defense during a couple of pretty dark, rough rebuilding seasons. I never covered Nelson, but my understanding was few questioned cutting that tie when the move was made. Either way, I don't know how much those moves really hurt in the big picture. Would the Jaguars have been better defensively for a few seasons with those two players? Sure, but it's unlikely they would have been a playoff-caliber team. Would those two players make a huge difference now? Doubtful.
Charlie from Cliff's basement:
Do you ever plot revenge?
John: A better question is, "Do I ever not plot revenge?"
Marty from Jacksonville:
You said if Blake can't overwhelm people, he can at least whelm them. Interesting that "whelm" is actually a word. It means "engulf, submerge, or bury." That's a tall order for any quarterback.
John: OK.
Nathan from St. Augustine, FL:
If any Hall of Fame voters are on the fence about Tony Boselli, I wish they would watch the tape of him against Hall-of-Famers Bruce Smith and Jason Taylor. A good measuring stick for the Hall of Fame should be how you performed against Hall of Fame players.
John: Performance against elite players is a good measure of a player's ability, and Boselli more than stands up to that test. It's something that gets brought up quite a bit when discussing Boselli's credentials with Hall voters. But it's difficult to quantify one-on-one battles against Hall of Fame players for all positions, and it's pretty near impossible for every voter to study every game candidate played against great players. But the more memorable games you have against great players, the better your argument when such things get discussed. Boselli fares well in that area.
Spencer from Birmingham, AL:
I forgot about the green-helmet dots. I, too, was wondering why we didn't leave Poz at Mike and just have him exit in nickel situations leaving Telvin Smith and Myles Jack. How do the dots work? I assume all quarterbacks active on game day have them since only one will be on the field at a time. Can only one defender come to the stadium with a radio in his helmet? What happens if that guy gets hurt? Does someone pop one in the new guy's helmet on the sideline? Does the backup Mike already have one? If that were the case, am I to assume he and Jack couldn't be on special teams at the same time? Poundsigngreendotponderings
John: Two defensive players may wear the helmet-to-sideline device in their helmet – a starter and a designated backup player. It's typically the middle linebacker and his backup. It doesn't come into play on special teams as much because the headset is for communication between plays and special teams don't often play back-to-back plays.
Doug from Jacksonville:
This year Bortles will have better numbers than Marcus Mariota and whomever the Texans roll out. This is a take-it-to-the-bank statement. Oddly enough, Andrew Luck will have better numbers than Bortles but the Jags will have more wins than the Colts. This needs to be earmarked and brought back in a story come January. These two are free … the next ones will cost ya.
John: I guess we'll all look forward to that.
Brian from Orlando, FL:
Do Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Ben Roethlisberger have summer quarterback camps? Maybe Blake Bortles should attend. Just sayin'.
John: Many NFL quarterbacks work at facilities with personal quarterbacks coaches during the offseason. Bortles works with quarterbacks "gurus" Tom House and Adam Dedeaux in Southern California. He did so early in the offseason – as he did a couple of offseasons ago – and again for much of the last month. Bortles put in more than ample time this offseason. However his season turns out, it won't be because he didn't put in the time to work and prepare.
Gavin from Jacksonville:
Who will be the best Jacksonville Jaguar player in the year of 2017?
John: Jalen Ramsey.
Keith from Woonsocket, RI:
Man I hope Blake has an amazing upcoming season so all these babies can stop crying over this.
John: So, one not fer the babies?
Keith from Summerville, SC:
I'm sure you don't have any say in this but please, please stop showing advertisements in front of videos on this site. I know you need revenue but I refuse to watch any video clip that has an advertisement in front of it. Put them on the sides of the screen all day but stop putting them in front of videos. Thank you.
John: You're right that I don't have say in that, and I have remarkably little say in a remarkable number of areas with this team. I doubt the Jaguars stop showing advertisements in front of videos on this free website, but … hey, take your stand, Keith. Stick it to the man.

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