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O-Zone: Happy ending

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Redmond from Jacksonville:
I think Brian is being too much of a fan to see this team has a few weak/unproven links such as running back, the secondary and our outside linebackers. All are unproven, as is an offensive line that boasts only one lineman in Beadles who has started a whole season. Everybody else is a question mark. What say you all powerful, O Man?
John: I say, "True." You are referring to a recent email from Brian, who maintained that the Jaguars have few holes and that that's an indication Gus Bradley and David Caldwell have done a good job in two offseasons. There are, in fact, a lot of serious questions about the Jaguars remaining unanswered and I think most people see that. The overriding point of Brian's email was the Jaguars are improved from last season and the year before – and on paper, there are fewer holes and more potential to be improved than there were two seasons ago. The roster is stronger; the team should be more competitive. That's progress and a sign that things are moving in the right direction.
Andrew from Harkstead, UK:
Mr. O, as you have mentioned often in the last few months, the team looks to have improved in lots of areas but still has quite a way to go. For the season, I'd settle for further improvement and growth by some of the younger players, a few more wins and, OK, far fewer games where we were out of it before halftime. My best-case scenario is 3-5 at the halfway point of the season, 4-6 on the flight home from London, then we'll see what the run-in brings. My head tells me this is still way too optimistic, though - am I being too negative?
John: I think that's a good goal, particularly considering the Jaguars have what appears to be a pretty difficult early-season schedule. Sitting here a week before training camp, I can't predict how the season will play out; factors such as injuries, player development and the rise and fall of other teams on the schedule make it difficult to predict records. But I believe the Jaguars will be a more competitive team to start the season and they'll be in a better position at the end of games in September and October. If they can win close games to start the season, then sure, they can push for .500 at the midway point.
Tyler from Oradell, NJ:
John, feel free to let Darius, and any other Jags fans in the NYC/NJ area, know that the New York City Chapter of the Bold City Brigade is up and running. We'll be meeting at Legends NYC for all Jags games, and I'm sure at least a handful will be making a trip, or two, to some of the closer games this season. In fact, were actually holding our Launch Party at Legends next Saturday (7/26) afternoon. Darius, and all other local Jags fans, are more than welcome to attend*), *meet the group and keep the excitement growing for the upcoming season. #DTWD
John: #DTWD
Levi from Bloomington, IN:
So, most people are champing at the bit for Blake Bortles start this year, but I am kind of on the other end of the spectrum. Do you think that one year will be enough for him to sit and learn, and correct all the things that he needs to fix?
John: It should be, and the reality is it will have to be. Bortles is working on some footwork and fundamentals. And while he is doing so he is going through the process of familiarizing himself with the Jaguars' offense and all things NFL quarterbacking. Everyone involved here gets that that's a process. The Jaguars seem to be in no hurry to start Bortles this season. That has been made clear from the start, but by the start of the 2015 season there seems little-to-no debate that he will be in the lineup.
Nicholas from Fort Hood, TX:
I am headed home to Jacksonville for the first time in over three years by Greyhound bus at 4:45 a.m. I can't wait to see the new video boards. Even if they are not on I will be so excited for the direction the team is headed.
John: The new video boards are cool. You'll like them.
Monkeywizard from The Dead Zone/Sarcasticville:
So, are the video boards going to be done in time?
John: Yes.
Nick from London, England:
I found this from October, 2011: Matt from Jacksonville Beach, FL: "I am no football genius, but it seems to me Cecil Shorts has done absolutely nothing positive all season for the Jaguars. Am I way off here?" John: "You are not. I have had emails calling for Shorts to be cut. We're not close to being there yet, but he has not contributed much so far." Even if we do have two potential stud wide receivers in Lee and Robinson, this is a nice illustration from the not-too-distant past for why we may need to keep a sense of perspective and have some patience with them both early this season, isn't it?
John: I don't know if that was the email interaction it its entirety – and it certainly doesn't paint a full picture of Shorts' rookie season – but your point is a good one that I try to stress often: that it takes time for most rookies to contribute significantly in the NFL. There are exceptions, but there are more very good starting players in the NFL who contribute relatively little as rookies than there are players who enter the league and immediately play at a high level. Will Lee and Robinson need time to make an impact? Quite likely. Will all fans understand this? Certainly not. I do think they'll be more productive than Shorts was as a rookie, though. His circumstance – coming in after the lockout from a small school with no training camp – was extremely difficult. Lee and Robinson will have better circumstances.
James from the Westside:
John, if I set it free will it come back?
John: Probably not.
Jahmal from Paxon High School:
My high school is formally known as Paxon School for Advanced Studies, but I usually just consider it another high school in Jacksonville. I went to Florida Atlantic University and had to be entertained by the Miami Dolphins for about six years. The Jags and O-Zone were a huge part of my college success. I want to thank Austin for asking "What is the (Jaguars') most memorable play?" It brought back the feeling of Fred Taylor's run, David Garrard's run and Mark Brunell's run. That same feeling somewhat feels like what this current team is building toward. Shout out to Mr. Khan; glad to have him as an owner. Shout out to J.P. Shadrick; he is a hustler. Shoutout to Duvallll County. #GoJags.
John: Welcome home. #hustler
Shawn from The Mean Streets of Arlington:
I'll take William "The Refrigerator" Perry.
John: And his eight career carries?
Alan from Mandarin:
Hard to believe there's no love for Herschel Walker or Bo Jackson. I worked with an ex-Gator linebacker. He squared up to take on Walker; next thing he knew Herschel was making a cut off his chest.
John: There's plenty of love for Walker, just not a real strong inclination to put him among the best short-yardage runners in NFL history.
Greg from Daytona, FL:
I was out running this morning in Daytona and the video boards looked awesome!
John: Oh, goodness …
Scott from Honolulu, HI:
I was hiking Diamond Head this weekend and when I got to the top I could see the video boards lit up. They're pretty cool, I kinda like 'em.
John: … I have a bad feeling about this …
Matt from Australia:
I was out running in Australia today and saw the scoreboards lit up from America. They're cool. I like them.
John: … yep …
Charles from Outer Space and Section 141:
I was recently doing my job tweaking a communications satellite just outside of the earth's atmosphere. Flashing lights and colors caught me out of the corner of my eye. The earth's orbit and rotation had us way above Northern Florida, if I recall correctly. It happened again and I must have looked startled. My colleague said to me over the headset (because outer space is a vacuum that doesn't transmit sound and we were wearing space helmets so we could breathe), "Don't be startled. That's them new video boards they're testing at EverBank." "Wow!," I replied.
John: … oh, all right now …
Chen from Jacksonville:
I was on vacation in the magical land of Narnia and the stadium boards were on and looked amazing.
John: … (sigh) …
Sun from Middle of the Milky Way:
Please turn the video boards off - I'm trying to get some sleep.
John: … I suppose in retrospect a lot of this is my fault.
Dave from Atlantic Beach, FL:
I was out at 5:30 Sunday morning, crawling home from a wild and rough Saturday night, and the scoreboards were on. It scared the heck out of me!
John: I think we're done here.

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