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O-Zone: Head-turner

JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . . Bob from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Perhaps I misunderstood. If so, my mistake. However, I understood Gabbert was working with the ones and Henne with the twos. If so, I don't see that as fair competition. In my view, competition would be letting Gabbert work with the ones half the time and Henne work with the ones half the time. Otherwise, it's tilted towards Gabbert.
John: No, you didn't misunderstand. Right now that's the setup, but here's what people seem to be having a difficult time grasping: the Jaguars' coaches are with these guys every day – in meetings, on the field, in one-on-one conversations. The Jaguars' coaches are also motivated by one thing: trying to find the best player at each position. The Jaguars' coaches also have absolutely no reason to tilt anything toward one player or the other. No one in the organization has a so-called "dog in the hunt" at the quarterback position. If Chad Henne deserves to start, there's every reason to think he will start. If Jordan Rodgers deserves to start, there's every reason to think he will start. I keep going back to the Russell Wilson-Matt Flynn situation in Seattle last offseason. Flynn signed as a high-priced free agent in the offseason and Wilson was a third-round draft choice. Few outside Seattle thought Wilson had any chance to start, yet Wilson earned the job in training camp. Gus Bradley was not only there to witness that, he is a diehard believer of Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll's philosophy of true competition. Considering all of that, what reason is there to worry about tilting? I just don't see the logic.
Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL:
So, let me get this straight, the coach wants to win? And the best players playing is the best chance of winning?
John: Let's start over . . .
William from Savannah, GA:
The Chargers signed Dwight Freeney to a two-year contract. I do not know how much he has left, but I am curious about one thing. Why are his sacks per game so much higher on artificial turf than on grass? How much of it was because he played home games in a dome? How much of it was because of his speed and quickness? I am curious because you watched him play. When we talk about the "new" football and its metrics, I would have guessed he would have been much more successful in a place like Atlanta or Minnesota where you play at least nine regular-season games a year on artificial turf.
John: Freeney played his first six seasons with the RCA Dome and its artificial surface as his home turf. There's no question that played to one of his strengths, which was phenomenal quickness off the edge. But Freeney also had one of the best spin moves of all-time, so his success wasn't all based on surface. He, like many pass rushers on dome teams, was better at home than away. This is because of crowd noise as much as surface. In a loud environment, offensive linemen often most go on the snap of the ball rather than the count of the quarterback. In that situation, their heads are turned to the ball and not the defensive end. That split second reaction time can give a defensive end on the level of Freeney a huge advantage. Also remember: the Colts were good in Freeney's prime, and good teams are often ahead at home late in games. Teams that are ahead in that situation give pass rushers more opportunity.
James from Socorro, NM:
Which team did Joe Montana retire as a member of? The answer is: who cares? We all know his accomplishments and which team he did them with, just like Garrard retiring as a member of another team doesn't diminish his time with the Jaguars.
John: Yep.
Rick from Annandale, VA:
On the most recent JTW radio show there was a brief statement attributed to either you or Dave Caldwell that that the Jaguars felt they drafted the two best safeties in the draft. Did I hear that correctly, and if so can you elaborate on the circumstances where you heard that and what in particular has them feeling that way?
John: The last time I heard Dave Caldwell say it was at the recent booster rally in Nassau County this past Wednesday. As far as what has the Jaguars feeling that way, my guess is that they like Johnathan Cyprien and Josh Evans an awful lot.
Malachi from Lebec, CA:
I seem to remember something about Blaine Gabbert getting benched last year for "performance reasons" and not for injury. Was that legitimate, or was it all about the offensive line, or was it just a bunch of malarkey?
John: A little bit of this, a little bit of that and realistically, a whole lot of everything.
Darren from Jacksonville:
What's the best time to "Ask John?" Seems like I can never get my question answered on this wonderful blog. I just want to pick the brain of the best blog in the nation, is all!
John: Write in at 11:20 a.m. I'm up from my mid-morning nap and prepping for lunch. I'd say hit me right after lunch, but I usually take off out of here around 12:50 if all goes well.
Darren from Jacksonville:
I agree that the Jaguars linebackers look good (not great), but my question is what's going on with Daryl Smith? I was inundated with these emails over the weekend. Right now, I have heard nothing to indicate the Jaguars are considering re-signing Daryl Smith. The thought is to move forward with the players on the roster. Could that change as time moves on? Perhaps.
John: Remember that with the exception of the signing of Marcus Trufant, who knows the details of Gus Bradley's defense, the overriding theme of the offseason acquisitions have been young and as healthy as possible. Smith is entering his 10th NFL season and missed 14 games last season.
Boselli from Jacksonville:
Hey wimp, me and Gil are tired of your lip. Meet us behind the bleachers after work.
John: I'll call security. So help me I will.
Patrick from Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan:
What would you say is a "successful" year for the Jags? I personally think 8-8 would be awesome based on how the team is in rebuilding mode.
John: That would be an awesome year for the Jaguars, and would be considered phenomenally successful. Not that Gus Bradley is going to preach that, nor should he. Gus Bradley's approach of not talking record and staying focused makes perfect sense, and I can't see him coming off if it this season. What this team needs to do is improve, and at the end of this season it needs to feel as if it made significant strides. He needs to establish a core and a style of play. I'm on record saying I think there's a possibility that could mean seven or eight victories – maybe more if things break right. But for now, improvement is the goal, and if they show it, the Jaguars will have had a successful season.
Chris from Boston, MA:
Sorry John, The helmets are absurd. I've spoken with all of my friends who are long-time Jaguar fans and we all agree that while the uniforms are nice, the helmets ruin them. I live in Boston and people who know I'm a Jags fan constantly ridicule the team. To them (and me) it's just another example of the Jaguars' inability to deliver a solid product. It's too gimmicky and bush league. Most fans of the Jags that I've spoken with wish that they'd pick one color or the other. My question is: When is the earliest that the team can get rid of the stupid things? Not everything about this team should have to "grow on us."
John: No need to apologize. Under NFL rules, unless there is an ownership change, uniforms can be changed every five years.
Andy from Roswell, GA:
I guess predicting Babin, Poz, Monroe, MoJo, Meester, Shorts, Lewis and others will start is also hypocritical. That, or just an opinion based on what seems relatively logical.
John: We're pretty deep into the offseason, which means deep into the time where we have too much to analyze and things start going off in tangents. We'll spend this time tangenting, speculating and arguing, and then in training camp we'll start cooking with grease.
Ed from Jacksonville and Section 433:
Since the Jags have the No. 2 waiver position, they get the second crack at every player going on waivers. I see that as their due diligence to grab those who may help without risk. What's to lose?
John: Nothing, and considering Gus Bradley's approach of competition, competition, competition, it's a trend you can expect to continue.
Erik from J-Ville, but currently at Camp Pendleton, CA:
John Little or should I call you Little John, you know, from Robin Hood Men in Tights, it's as simple as this.... I am all in and have been since Day One. I love this team and I support any and all decisions the head shed makes. I feel good about this year and I think we are going to turn a lot of heads. Standby Little John, we are headed up. Go Jags!
John: If I'm wearing tights, you're darned right a lot of heads are going to turn.

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