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O-Zone: Hello goodbye

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Zach from Ocala, FL:
Regarding the starting quarterback for the Texans in Week 1, I hope they start Deshaun Watson. Yeah, he's a rookie, so it may be different to game plan for. But look at like this. Our defense versus their offense led by lightweight rookie. Calais Campbell will crush him. Our secondary will pick him off. There isn't that consistency with DeAndre Hopkins yet. Tom Savage was pretty savage to us. He came in and kinda ran our defense, Jalen Ramsey included ...
John: I hesitate to dive deep here, lest I encourage more questions about a subject – the Texans' Week 1 starting quarterback – that's not yet particularly critical. Still, I always assume a quarterback with zero NFL experience will make mistakes in his first professional start, so I would say it's probably an advantage on some level for the Jaguars if Watson starts in that game. Is that edge guaranteed? No. Would an edge guarantee a Jaguars victory? No. Do I think there would be rookie mistakes that could help the Jaguars? Yeah, but how much it would help remains to be seen – and I just don't know if there would be that much of a difference between he and Savage.
Scroll on Gary:
Ready for Football. #deadzone. So many music, other non-football questions, I just scroll on!
John: That's the spirit, Gary! And I'm guessing now that what's done is done, all that scrolling didn't take all that much out of you spiritually or emotionally.
Tom from Loughborough, England:
Hi John, after a promising rookie season with 14 passes defensed and two interceptions, what would you say are realistic targets for Jalen Ramsey – clearly a very important player to the franchise – to achieve in the coming season? Also, on the topic of Ramsey, would you say after watching him for one season that he has the caliber to become a Jaguars great or an all-time great/Hall of Famer? He definitely seems to fit into one of these two brackets for me ...
John: Ramsey in 2017 has a chance to emerge as one of the NFL's top cornerbacks, and to potentially have a Pro Bowl-caliber season. I don't know what that will mean in terms of interceptions or pass breakups, because I don't know yet if teams will continue to challenge Ramsey or begin to throw away from him. That's obviously out of his control. After watching Ramsey for a year, there's no question he has the ability to be a Jaguars great and an all-time great. It takes a lot more than that to achieve greatness, but that's absolutely his caliber.
Mike from Atlanta, GA:
So John, you're telling me that you don't miss waking up to a gray, dreary day to snow-blanketed cornfields, your 10th consecutive day without any sunshine while the temperature peaks in the single digits? You don't miss that? You know you need provisions, food and beverages and such, but you really don't feel like getting out because on top of the high temperature of six degrees and the wind is kicking up to 30 mph. On top of that, several inches of snow have fallen and you know you have to shovel the driveway and walkway. You don't miss that? I assume Indiana was similar, but in Iowa, the winter was about four or five months long with brutal cold and not a lot of sunshine. I think of about only two words when I think of winter up there: bleak and dreary. I always felt proud when I came out alive at the end of winter, like I had achieved something. You don't miss that?
John: Indianapolis winters weren't quite that extreme, but there absolutely were moments … and no, I don't miss them.
BunchaClowns from Jacksonville:
Holding a gun to Oehser's head, forcing him to post nice things about him repeatedly in the O-Zone. #ShadrickSighting
John: Why would I need to be forced into saying nice things about J.P. Shadrick? J.P. Shadrick is a fine, upstanding member of the staff and he deserves – nay, commands – our respect. I'd appreciate it in the future if our readers remember this.
Rhonda from Jacksonville:
In regards to fairness of players' contracts, is it not true that when a player is on the roster opening day he gets his year's salary, regardless of how well or how much he plays, whether he gets cut or injured on the first play? I wish my employer had that plan.
John: The rule applies to vested veterans – i.e., players with four or more NFL seasons. That rule does provide those players a measure of security, but remember: the careers of professional athletes are significantly shorter than most careers. Injuries also can end those careers at any time. At the same time, it's also true that NFL players make significantly more than people in many other careers. What's the point of all this? Mainly that it's just impossible to compare contracts and job circumstances of professional athletes to many other professions. Fair or unfair, they're just different worlds and the ground rules for one often don't apply to the other.
Tommy from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Johnny-O, I see you as a fan of Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders?
John: Guilty.
Logan from Wichita, KS:
Dave brings up a good point, O-man! You are always messing with my fee-fees. Why you got to step on my feels to get your kicks? Am I your O-Zone stress ball or are you just trying to keep me from taking your job when you take over as the ESPN guy for the Jags??? I smell your fear! GO JAGS! Run O-man! RUN!!!
John: I have no desire for the job currently held by Mike DiRocco (whoever he is), or any other job for that matter. It would be nice to close here by saying I fear no man, but that's not true. I fear most men, and a good majority of women, too. Except you, Logan. Except you.
Marc from Oceanway:
All the Staubach bashing got me wondering who I despised as a young football fan. Living in Dallas while in grade school from 1970-1975, I lived and breathed the Cowboys. I obviously hated Billy Kilmer and Joe Theisman, but another NFC East rival that came to mind was Terry Metcalf, who played for the St. Louis Cardinals. I remember him driving me crazy over several years. He was such a graceful and dynamic running back who seemed to have a knack for breaking the long run, and I despised him. I looked him up and was surprised he only played five seasons with the Cardinals and had a career total of 3,489 rushing yards. My memory of him frustrating me and the Cowboys seemed more substantial. John, do you remember Metcalf and did he annoy you like he did me? PS: Moved to Jax in '95 and have never looked back, that and the firing of Tom Landry left a foul taste in my mouth.
John: I haven't been bashing Roger Staubach. He was a fine quarterback worthy of his Hall of Fame status. I simply believe Staubach and all other Cowboys from the 1970s are inherently evil; such is the penalty for those men routinely stepping on this young man's Redskins-filled dreams. I indeed remember Metcalf well. All-too forgotten in NFL lore, he was a critical player on a few St. Louis Cardinals teams that were really, really good under Head Coach Don Coryell from 1974-1976. The 1970s were an NFL era in which teams such as Dallas, Minnesota, the Los Angeles Rams, Miami, Pittsburgh and Oakland dominated for long stretches at a time with other teams rarely breaking through. Teams such as Washington, Baltimore and Cincinnati, Denver and Houston had moments, but they were relatively rare. The Cardinals won the NFC East in 1974 and 1975 with a pass-oriented offense that was in a lot of ways a precursor to the more wide-open offense that were to follow. As a Redskins fan of that era, I don't have the quite the intense dislike for Metcalf and the Cardinals because they weren't nearly as good for nearly as long as the Cowboys. But they were good, and the 1974-1976 Cardinals Redskins games mattered on a similar level to Cowboys-Redskins. One such game was in late 1975, when a wide receiver named Mel Gray was thrown a pass from a quarterback Jim Hart. Officials ruled Gray caught the pass, which eventually led to the Cardinals winning in overtime. The game led to the Redskins missing the playoffs, though there is no doubt that Gray dropped the #$%&*@% ball.
Kemoy from Port Charlotte, FL:
John: Goodbye.

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