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O-Zone: He doth not jest

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Jessie from Orlando, FL:
John, well, Thursday didn't help decide who will be the starting quarterback. Do you think Shad Khan was sending a message about being fine with Colin Kaepernick?
John: You're correct that Thursday's game didn't decide the Jaguars' starting quarterback. Neither Blake Bortles nor Chad Henne seized the position, which was what Head Coach Doug Marrone wanted in that situation – and which is what any head coach wants in that situation. Will the Jaguars sign Kaepernick? I still doubt it because the team clearly doesn't believe Kaepernick is an upgrade over Bortles or Henne. If they did, he would have been signed already. Now, I suppose the Jaguars could take the approach of, "Well, we have to try something." That wouldn't be unreasonable and that would be the one scenario that could lead down the Kaepernick path. As far as Khan, no … I don't think he was sending a message when he told Mike Dempsey of 1010XL that he would be fine with signing Kaepernick. I think he was answering a question and saying if his football people thought Kaepernick an upgrade, he would be fine with Kaepernick despite the off-field issues. And remember: even with the unbelievable uproar and social-media din over Kaepernick's beliefs and off-field actions, the fact remains that if Kaepernick was perceived in the NFL as a franchise-saving – or even a franchise-improving – player, he would be in the NFL. Teams don't leave players they believe to be franchise-changing talent by the wayside. They just don't.
David from Maplewood, NJ:
Start Bortles. How are the numbers produced by Henne any better than what Bortles did against arguably a better defense in less than a half last week? If not for a fake punt and an interception, would Henne have produced any points? If not for the pick with two minutes to go in the half, Henne's halftime stats would have been 6-of-9 for 30 yards on pace for a whopping 60 for the whole game. I know it's bad, but it is what it is, we are where we are. He may not be good enough – heck, I'd even say it's likely at this point – but it doesn't change the fact that as he was in his third week as a pro, Bortles is better than Henne.
John: Hey! One (very kinda reluctant) fer Blake!
George from Drummonds, TN:
Dear O, unconventional as it may be, why not play both as starters? Start a "Quarterback Controversy" and make the defense adjust. To think different just might be key to winning a less-than-average division.
John: Hey! One fer both.
Chris from Goodnight, TX:
Do you agree that Brandon Linder and Jermey Parnell are the only offensive linemen who aren't major liabilities heading into Week One? I find it very frustrating that the only thing we did at the guard position is let Luke Joeckel walk – he wasn't great, but he's better than A.J. Cann, Luke Bowanko and Patrick Omameh right now. Now, whoever is starting at quarterback Week One is going to have a heckuva time dealing with Watt, Clowney, and Mercilus.
John: I think Marrone wasn't kidding when he said "we've got a lot of work to do" when he was discussing the offensive line Thursday night. I also think while Cam Robinson struggled at times Thursday – and while he gave up one quick sack early – he's going to be OK this year. The guards? They seemed at first glance to struggle Thursday, and Cann had a particularly difficult game. I agree that the Jaguars could regret letting Joeckel go. He wasn't great, but he wasn't nearly as bad as many fans wanted to believe. So, yeah, that Week 1 Texans match-up looks tough on paper. Maybe it will be better in real life. We'll see.
TJ from Orlando, FL:
So ... now what?
John: Now, we dance.
Jorge from Edmonton, Alberta:
Can they really afford to let Chad Henne start behind this atrocious O-line? Don't they need Bortles' mobility back there to bail them out a bit?
John: I'm not ready to say the offensive line is going to be atrocious. This offensive line pass blocked OK most of last season, and I have to believe Robinson's presence at left tackle eventually will solidify the spot. But if the Jaguars' line does struggle, then absolutely Bortles' mobility could come into play. It needs to factor into the conversation.
Alex from Orlando, FL:
A.J. Cann isn't looking like the third-round steal we all thought he was …
John: Not most of Thursday night, he didn't.
John from O'Fallon, MO:
Do you think A.J. Cann is going to make this team?
John: Yes.
Otto from Ponte Vedra, FL:
I'm sad to say that we were watching the result of the Jaguars' brain trust standing pat and not going out to sign a quarterback and offensive linemen in the offseason. (Please don't mention Branden Albert). We must look at Kaepernick.
John: You can ask me not to mention Albert all you want, but the fact is the Jaguars didn't stand pat on the offensive line in the offseason. They did trade for Albert (they just did) and they selected Robinson in the second round of the draft. Now, the Albert trade didn't work out, but that doesn't change the fact they made an effort to get him. As for the Jaguars having to look at Kaepernick, who knows? I seriously doubt they will, but stranger things have happened.
Tony from the Land of Confusion:
It seems to me like the big quarterback question was rendered unanswerable by the poor play of the offensive line and the running backs in pass protection. Henne was pressured on just about every down and neither quarterback had access to a functional running game until the fourth quarter. Do you think Doug will make his decision about Blake and Henne anyway or will he actually play the ones next week in Atlanta to try to get a better sample?
John: You make a valid point about the quarterback play being tough to evaluate because of the struggles of the offensive line; Marrone mentioned this prominently after the game Thursday. Marrone on Thursday also mentioned the possibility of Henne and Bortles playing next week. I'd be surprised if that happens, but I was surprised Thursday when Marrone played the offensive line nearly the entire game, so I'm hardly beyond being surprised.
Superman from Supertown, USA:
I feel like we saw exactly what we can expect from each quarterback. Henne is safe but doesn't really make exciting plays. Bortles makes exciting plays, but also some really bad ones ... which is better, Mr. O?
John: This pretty much defines both quarterbacks. I would probably go with Bortles because I like his mobility and ability to create, particularly considering the offensive-line play thus far. I also have to think once the regular season begins he would have at least a chance to get back to the level he played the last two games of last season. But I still think the Jaguars go with Henne. He just seems to have the momentum.
Frank from St. Augustine, FL:
I guess it wasn't Gus after all.
John: No, it's always coaching in the NFL.
Glenn from Fort Leavenworth (not the prison):
You're right ... he scores if he's got the 'stache. I read once that the unique aerodynamic characteristics of the Fu Manchu can take a full tenth off a man's 40.
John: This was written in response to a tweet of mine stating that Henne would have scored on a first-half run Thursday had he still had his famous/infamous Fu Manchu mustache he sports each November. I stand by the tweet.
Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Why do some fans that read the O-Zone think that if you give your opinion or analysis, it's like set in stone? I benefit from your insight. But if I say we are going to beat Houston and we don't, at least nobody wants to stone me at the plaza.
John: My 51-year-old eyes aren't what they used to be, and when I first read this email I thought it read, "Stone me with pizza." I laughed at that.
Derrick from Jacksonville:
O-man, you wrote: "If I were a general manager, I personally wouldn't have a problem with the Kaepernick's politics or off-field actions; I tend to care very little about a player's off-field actions when considering his ability or right to play in the NFL. What would concern me as a general manager would be the potential distraction that Kaepernick could create." Aren't you contradicting yourself? I tend to lean toward the Al Davis thought of "Just win, baby!"
John: I lean that way, too, but I wasn't contradicting myself. I personally care little about a player's off-field actions when considering his ability or right to play in the NFL. Just because I feel that way in no way means a player wouldn't be a distraction.
Mike from Atlanta, GA:
This season will be an unmitigated disaster unless dramatic improvements/changes occur in a very short time.
John: Marrone said Thursday, "We have a lot of work to do." He didn't say it like he was kidding.

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