JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Zeleznoc from Jacksonville:
I couldn't go to the scrimmage Saturday, so it was great to watch online. I tried to watch the offensive line. It seemed in the first few series Luke Joeckel did not look great and seemed to be overpowered. I know it's early and preseason but should we be concerned? He did appear better later in game.
John: I have received many, many – did I say "many?" – emails about Joeckel since the scrimmage Saturday at EverBank Field. He is and will continue to be a topic, so we'll lead today's O-Zone with it. This email pretty much describes accurately Joeckel's night Saturday and just where he is in his development. By his own admission he didn't play well early. He did play better late. The reason the Jaguars aren't panicking or writing Joeckel off because of the early series is because they also took time to watch the later series. The thing I've heard most often about Joeckel is that as he gets more comfortable and gains experience with what he's being asked to do in offensive line coach Doug Marrone's gap-blocking scheme he's going to improve. That should mean more consistency. Joeckel said Monday that he is feeling stouter and more solid with his extra weight and strength and that he is still working on hand placement. He also said he is working on balancing playing with that added power/strength and playing in control. Bottom line on Joeckel right now: He's not bad and he's not yet great. It would be ideal if Joeckel was so advanced and so dominant he didn't have to work or improve. He's not there yet; then again, very few NFL left tackles enter the league at that stage. Joeckel is where he is right now, and he's going to get every chance to develop. We'll see what he does with that chance.
Spence O Matic from Jacksonville:
You know, O, some of the comments regarding Lee and his strained hammy have me reminiscing on how we handled previous players with the same issues. And in that clear hindsight, we should DEFINITELY have given up on Fred Taylor early in his career. If you don't learn from history, you are doomed to (not) repeat it.
John: Yeah, the fans hit it pretty much on the head with that one.
Tom from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
What's the normal progression of the ones for the four preseason games - first quarter, two quarters, three quarters, rested?
John: That's pretty close, though there's no hard, fast rule. Generally speaking coaches have a general number of plays they want to see units play during the preseason, and those plays typically translate to the quarter breakdown you mentioned. The first team usually plays a couple of series in the first game, then into the second quarter in the second game and a series or two into the third quarter in the third preseason game. The third preseason game is the most important because coaches like to use the game as a dress rehearsal; that makes it a chance to see starters versus starters into the third quarter. The fourth preseason game is when you see the most variation. Some teams will play their starters a quarter or so while teams with more established veterans will sometimes play almost no starters. More and more teams in recent seasons have veered toward not playing starters at all in the preseason finale. The risk of injury is simply too great and teams want to have as healthy a lineup as possible entering the regular season.
Duval Doom from Section 217:
"This is ridiculous! I am outraged!* … *Please save and republish when something happens, like Scobee getting cut, or the concession stands switching to straight cut from crinkle. Just looking out for ya, Johnny.
Kim from Indianapolis, IN:
Do you see Tandon Doss playing a lot this season?
John: I think Tandon Doss has a chance to make the team as a punt returner, and if that happens, I think you'll see him on all punt returns. I don't know that you would see him a whole lot on offense unless there are injuries to a couple of the front-line receivers.
Jason from Jacksonville:
Wow, so a legitimate battle between Josh Scobee and Jason Myers? How real is this? Honestly, I don't want to let Scobee go because he has been such a town favorite and he has been with us through everything. He hasn't lost a touch, and in my opinion, why should we give up on a guy who's always reliable when all he's done was over-exceed in his job, and stick with us through all the crap? I know plenty of teams that would love to have his leg. So tell me … is this real or will it die out at the end of the preseason?
John: It's as real as it could be three days after a scrimmage and three days before the preseason opener. What I mean by that is it will play out during the preseason. The feeling here is Scobee will be the kicker here until he shows he shouldn't be the kicker here. There absolutely is a lot to be said at his position for a history of reliability and showing you can get it done when the lights are on. Ability in the clutch is as important for a kicker as any position in sports, and Scobee unquestionably has shown he is clutch. At the same time, Myers' "leg talent" is undeniable and he appears almost certain to get ample opportunities in preseason games. If he shines for four games as he did in the scrimmage on Saturday that will make for a difficult decision. If he kicks as he did Monday, when he missed a few field goals and looked more like a rookie, then the decision will be easier. Stay tuned.
Craig from Orange Park, FL:
Why do people doubt the potential of this roster outside of Florida?
John: Because the team has won seven games in two years, and when a team has won seven games in two years people don't want to put in the effort and mental energy to see how it could be improved.
Bryant from White Plains, NY:
Obviously, red-zone offense is huge and it looks like this team will score more. I think being able to sustain drives that may not lead to points is what will really help this team. There were way too many low-play drives last season.
John: There were way too many not-good things for the Jaguars' offense last season – and I get your point about needing more long drives. But points matter a lot in the NFL (#hottakes) and the Jaguars left too many of them on the field last season. They didn't have an incredible number of long drives, but too often when they did have long drives they couldn't score. That caused situations when they would have been in games at halftime to become situations when they were down by double digits. With the offense struggling, those halftime leads often felt bigger than they actually were. Score touchdowns in a few of those situations and you're in games – and if you're in games late, you have a chance to win them.
Carl from Jacksonville:
I see a lot of similarities between the Zane Beadles story this year and the Brewster/McClendon stories of the past. We (the fans) all knew they weren't capable starters because capable starters don't get cut before midseason. And I do understand the difference in that we didn't have many options back then, but in this situation we have A.J. Cann sitting right there. Do you think it is more a staff being stubborn or just wanting to make guys (Cann) continue "competing?" Thanks.
John: This is a good question, and it certainly has some merit. There also might be some similarities to past situations, but I can't put Beadles in quite the same category as McClendon/Brewster. Those players had little-to-no-playing experience and therefore were projections. Beadles is a five-year NFL starter, so clearly on some level he is a capable NFL starter. Also, while Beadles perhaps didn't live up to preseason expectations last season he wasn't awful and played better late in the season. To address your question more directly, the staff isn't being stubborn. When Cann is ready and deemed to be the better option than Beadles, he will start. I believe that will be sooner rather than later. At the same time, there is something to be said for experience on the offensive line and Beadles has that.
Dan from Shelton, CT:
I gotta say A.J. Cann looked really good Saturday.
John: Yes, he did. The coaching staff thought so, too. Stay tuned.
Strnbker from Dothan, AL:
Guess I am a day or two late. Thanks for four years of daily O-Zone. The streak continues #Ozonedaily
John: You're actually three days late, and in the spirit of representing all humble, spotlight-avoiding, credit-others-and-not-thyself types everywhere … well, HOORAY FOR ME!!
O-Zone: Hip, hip...
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Zeleznoc from Jacksonville: