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O-Zone: Giddily gushing

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Mike from Clay County:
Help me understand these roster moves, Big O. I suppose I see Storm Johnson. But Cap Capi?? Say it ain't so.
John: Storm Johnson had slipped to the sixth running back on the depth chart, so no, it wasn't a huge surprise that he was among 18 players released by the Jaguars Friday. And really, the release of Capi wasn't a surprise, either. While he had three preseason sacks he had them against reserves and I never got the vibe that he was moving up in the team's Leo rotation. The most notable release Friday to me was wide receiver Neal Sterling, a seventh-round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft. He is a big, physical receiver who can run and he looked good against the Redskins Thursday in his lone action of the preseason. I'd be surprised if he's not on the practice squad and I wouldn't be surprised if he's a factor on this team at some point in the next year or so.
Nate from Dillsburg, PA:
I don't mean to drag out the Josh Scobee topic, but I just need to say that it would be a huge kick in the butt if we would meet the Steelers in the playoffs and Scobee kicks one of his game-winners against us to knock us out. God help you if that happens, O-man.
John: Is there any reason Myers can't kick a game-winner, too?
Mark from Green Bay, WI:
Sorry I keep harping on this but again the news is "rumoring" that the Jags will be leaving and going to, gulp, St. Louis! The thing I didn't like is they say the NFL can almost force Khan to move our team if it makes more money for the NFL. How could this even be possible?
John: Sorry I haven't addressed this, but I try to avoid addressing every rumor and report about the Jaguars/Jacksonville in the national media; if I did I wouldn't have time for … well, life. I specifically didn't address the St. Louis thing this week because I had just discussed a San Diego rumor the day before. Because this was in the wake of Shad Khan saying he planned to build a $30 million state-of-the-art – and presumably stationary – indoor practice facility adjacent to EverBank Field and because EverBank Field is in Jacksonville, it seemed OK to not discuss relocation. But as far as your question … this is Shad Khan's team. If he wants it in Jacksonville, it's going to be in Jacksonville.
Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire:
Hey, O Man, I can't believe someone thought Henne was the holder for kicks. Everyone knows that is the job of the puntastic Bryan Anger! Here's hoping that's all he has to do this season! #AngerForProBowl
John: #DTWD
Stephen from Jacksonville:
There's no doubt that Corey Grant is fast, but how does he compare to the fastest Jaguars running back ever, Tavian Banks? If not for his injuries, how good could Banks have been as Fred Taylor's complement?
John: I'd say Banks was faster, but that probably has a lot to do with old sportswriters having a tendency to remember players from days gone by as faster, stronger and better. If one was faster than the other, it probably wasn't something discernible by the eye test or memory. As far as Banks, he could have been an outstanding complement to Taylor. I doubt he would have been an every-down back, but with his speed and quickness … well, in that offense and surrounded by that talent he would have been special.
Bob from Jacksonville:
Is the playbook the same for the whole team or is there an offensive and a defensive playbook?
John: There is an offensive and defensive playbook.
Rob from Orange Park, FL:
Everyone says the score in Preseason Week 4 didn't matter but I bet it mattered a lot to Jason Myers. I bet he felt like that last kick was to win the Super Bowl. Fans should be thrilled to see him nail it pretty much for the win. Go Jags!
John: Myers seems like a very composed, mature kid who doesn't seem incredibly affected by the circumstances of the last week or so. For that reason, kicking a game-winning field goal in the fourth quarter of the preseason finale probably didn't compare to a Super Bowl walk-off … but yeah, I'm sure making that kick felt a whole lot better than the alternative.
Jay from Montreal, Canada:
O-sure, why do you believe Yeldon will be the Day One starter? Just because he was drafted high? He's had eight preseason runs, played mediocre and fumbled on the goal line in what was luckily ruled a TD. What have we seen that would justify starting him over D-Rob?
John: I believe T.J. Yeldon will start the opener at running back because he started in the third preseason game and because nothing has been said to indicate that he won't start the regular-season opener. I also believe it because he was drafted to be the bell-cow, go-to running back, and the whole body of work – practice included – suggests that should be the case. But just because Yeldon's starting doesn't mean anyone behind him – Robinson, particularly – is going to be relegated to a meaningless role. I expect this team's running back rotation to be a very real rotation, and Robinson is going to have ample opportunities to contribute.
Dane from Jacksonville:
If the NFL career performances of Jason Myers and Josh Scobee are only minimally different, I would say the trade was great call. That would mean we essentially got a freebie sixth-round pick and saved several million sheckles at a fairly interchangeable position.
John: I feel like we've about talked out this whole Scobee-Myers topic. What's done is done and it feels sorta past time to move on, though when I was making the point Thursday about comparing career performances of the two players, I said careers from *this point forward." While memorable and dear to Jaguars fans, what Scobee did in the first 11 years of his career won't determine whether or not this trade was the right thing to do.
Matt from Pueblo, CO:
Looking at the first three preseason games when the starters played on offense, the pass blocking appears much improved but the run blocking seems to have regressed. How is that possible? I know it's just the preseason, but it's an interesting trend. Could it be due to the new blocking scheme changing the strengths and weaknesses of the line?
John: We must be seeing and remembering different things. Yes, the Jaguars ran well for a few games last season, but it was mostly a four-to-five game stretch around midseason. Other than that, the run-blocking was OK but hardly spectacular last season. And while the Jaguars struggled to run in Preseason Week 3, I thought for the most part the first-team offensive line run-blocked pretty well in the first two preseason games. All of that said, the Jaguars certainly aren't where they want to be in terms of the running game yet. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson said this past week the reason for that is the team spent more time in the offseason and training camp focused on the passing offense. The priority was to help Blake Bortles develop, and Olson said the complexities of the passing offense are such that they wanted to focus there. Also, offensive lines typically can come together as pass-blocking units more quickly than they can run effectively. Continuity and communication is a little trickier in that area, so whatever your assessment of the preseason running game there are reasons to believe the Jaguars can improve.
Brian from Gainesville, FL:
Dang it Big O, I know you like to temper your words and you choose a more conservative approach to predictifyin,' but c'mon: this kid Blake Bortles is looking fantastic. Like the sun rising on a long, cold night of rookiedom. Other quarterbacks that are currently playing in this league have had very disappointing rookie seasons just to come roaring back as elite the very next year. I just feel that will be Blake's arc. Give me something on this, O.
John: Really? I mean, really!? It would be hard for me to have written or spoken about Blake Bortles more positively or more often than I have in the last month. Since the preseason opener, it seems to me I have ratcheted up my praise by the week – just as Bortles seemingly has improved by the week. I frankly have been stunned at his development; while I thought he would be improved, I didn't expect him to look this good so quickly. At the same time, I have continuously said that we can't anoint him as elite until he does this during the regular season. That's because defenses do many things in the regular season they don't do during the preseason; the game is faster and more complex. Once the preseason starts translating into the regular season, perhaps I'll get a little more giddy; until then, I'll keep gushing at my current level.

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