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O-Zone: Happy football people

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Rob from Brunswick, GA:
John, how many wide receivers are we expecting to keep this year on the roster? With the Brothers Allen and Marqise Lee all expected to make the team and Dede Westbrook and Rashad Greene Sr. in camp as well, can we keep all six? And if not, who do you feel has the best shot of being No. 5?
John: You actually listed five possible wide receivers, not six, but hey … who's counting? Wide receiver is one of the more intriguing positions of Jaguars 2017 Training Camp. Allen Hurns, Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee unquestionably will be on the team, and the same appears true of rookie fourth-round selection Dede Westbrook. It gets fuzzier after that. The question may come down to whether the Jaguars keep five or six receivers. I believe they will keep five because of needs at other positions. My best guess: Robinson, Lee, Hurns, Westbrook and Arrelious Benn will make the team – probably somewhat in that order. Benn is a very good possibility because he is a very good special teams player in addition to being a reliable receiver. Greene is something of an X factor. Can he earn his way on as a punt returner/backup receiver? That seems very much undetermined.
Mike from Cortland, NY:
Just maxed out my credit card on a 600-mile trip to EverBank Field for Week 13 vs Indy. I really hope we aren't 3-9 going in.
John: Goodness, I hope that, too.
Mason from Palm Bay, FL:
I agreed with your starting offensive line prediction prior to Branden Albert's sudden retirement, but how do you think things shake out now?
John: Left tackle Cam Robinson, left guard Patrick Omameh, center Brandon Linder, right guard A.J. Cann, right tackle Jermey Parnell. Tyler Shatley could make it interesting at right guard.
Keith from St. Augie:
By "throw that crap out" is Marrone saying the coaches need to call a system that highlights the strengths of the players? What a concept. We really might be on the right path. … Hume would agree, I believe.
John: When Jaguars Head coach Doug Marrone said "throw that crap out" following Blake Bortles' five interceptions on Saturday, he meant there might be plays the Jaguars need to not run if Bortles doesn't like them or if he doesn't run them well. I didn't get the impression he was making a broad-brushed statement on the Jaguars' offensive philosophy.
Just a Fan from Fanville:
Fans gonna fan ... yet, the Jaguars' front office is what gives us the motivation to do so. First big offseason trade was for a player who practiced just three times after holding out the majority of the voluntary workouts. We gonna fan, but the Jags make it so easy to do so.
John: Branden Albert actually missed all voluntary workouts during the offseason, then practiced six times with the Jaguars – three times in mandatory June minicamp and three more times in training camp. It's frustrating for the franchise, and a bad look. As for how the team was supposed to know Albert would be ready to retire … that's a tougher question to answer.
Jeremy from Jacksonville:
I can only go with what has been reported by the media since I am not in the front office or on the team, but with everything that transpired with Branden Albert, is it safe to say the perception is Albert's heart was never in JAX? Just seems like maybe he wanted to be released by the Dolphins and pick where he goes (I understand that sentiment, if true), but was traded instead and didn't dig it. Isn't that part of pro sports, though? Anybody can be traded ... as Hyman Roth once said, "This is the business we've chosen!"
John: I think it's reasonable to think Albert's heart wasn't into football anymore. That happens; these guys are human beings. I don't know that his heart not being in it had anything to do with the Jaguars specifically, and I have no reason to think that it did.
Travis from High Springs, FL:
Hi John, for years I've heard an old football cliché that says defenses typically start out better and faster than offenses because it takes a while for offenses to get their timing down and really gel together. Do you believe there's any truth to this? And if so, do you think that this could've played a part in Saturday night's practice?
John: I think it's reasonable to think the Jaguars' defense is ahead of the Jaguars' offense early in camp. That happens; these guys are human beings. I don't know the defense being ahead of the offense had anything to do with Blake Bortles' practice Saturday specifically, and have no reason to think that.
Keith from Palatka, FL:
I do not relish being right about Branden Albert. I predicted in the spring that his missing "voluntary" OTAs might be a bigger problem than just wanting more money. I thought he wanted to retire. He gave up too much ground to Cam Robinson during his absence and it was obvious in the one-on-ones Saturday night that he was not what he once was. That's good news for Robinson and bad news for the Jaguars. I am glad that Albert came to his senses and walked away with a modicum of his dignity still intact. Losing the competition to a rookie, and then getting cut because $8 million is too much to pay a backup swing tackle would have been, for a player of his stature, humiliating. I wish for him peace, dignity and prosperity in his retirement. He's a good man and deserves that.
John: When you're right, you're right – and if you sensed in the offseason that Albert wanted to retire … well, it's hard to say you weren't right.
Tom from Charleston, SC:
I have asked this question a number of times and will continue to pose it until I get a response. Blake can go to California or anywhere else for that matter and work on his mechanics. He can become the league's most mechanically fit quarterback; that doesn't mean a thing until he becomes mentally complete. He has shown every season that he has (can) not mastered the mental requirements to be a successful NFL quarterback. There is no Tom House for Blake to visit with over the offseason that can fix his mental shortfalls. What, if anything, can be done to fix his under-the-helmet shortfalls? The organization has already given him more opportunity than any previous quarterback including Blaine Gabbert, Byron Leftwich and David Garrard. How far do you expect them to go before they take a different route to success? Bringing in true competition would be a start.
John: Can you repeat the question?
Joshua from Jacksonville:
In light of the recent performance by Blake, and the fever to put in Allen last year, do you foresee Allen's performances in preseason to be a hot topic among the fans?
John: I think someone might bring it up. Fans gonna fan after all.
Sandro from El Paso, TX:
Every regular season game is important; we can't possibly let Blake tank two or three games before we move onto a new quarterback. Is it possible the Jaguars make a change if he shows no promise in preseason?
John: I don't think Bortles or any Jaguars quarterback will start if he throws five interceptions in a regular-season game with anything remotely resembling regularity. I think Bortles will start the regular-season opener for the Jaguars if he is healthy.
Mitch from Atlanta, GA:
Well, I thought it would be preseason before it was time to ask this, but after a night of practice where by all accounts bad decision-making by Bortles led to five interceptions, how are Chad Henne and Brandon Allen looking in camp so far? What are the odds right now one of them is the starter in Week 1?
John: Slim. Very, very slim.
Dave from Orlando, FL:
Johnny O - I don't question Blake Bortles' work ethic or desire to succeed. What I'm concerned about is his ability to overcome his shortcomings. If he knows he needs to cut down on interceptions, but he keeps throwing them, maybe improvement is beyond his ability? Are we really waiting for this penguin to fly?
John: We'll see. Waiting for quarterbacks to improve – or to "get it" – is part of the process with young NFL quarterbacks. How long will Bortles be a young quarterback? How long will he get to continue to improve? Well, again … we'll see.
Derrick from Jacksonville:
I remember reading a blogger who said the Jags would be sorry for drafting Blake Bortles because of the many interceptions and bad decisions he made while in college. Today, the guys seems to have pegged it correctly. My question is how do you teach one to be better decision maker at quarterback?
John: That's a great question. Find a good answer and you will have found a way to become very, very wealthy and make a lot of football people happy at the same time.

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