JACKSONVILLE – Fourth of July O-Zone.
Let's get to it … Joe from San Antonio, TX:
Serious question this time: I am a big believer that respect is earned, not given. So, when national writers beat down our franchise for not winning, it is nothing less than I expect. What I don't get is why Shad Khan gets bashed for trying to improve the overall fan experience on game day. I see statements like "the Jags' owner will do anything to distract the fans from their losing team" – as though that is a bad thing. On the business side, the Jaguars are probably one of the NFL's most improved franchises over the past few years. Let's hope we can soon say that about the football side of things!
John: Lines such as "the Jags' owner will do anything to distract fans from their losing team" are written out of laziness, ignorance and the desire for a cheap laugh. I'm a big believer in the cheap laugh. If I haven't revolutionized certain versions of it, I like to think I at least have pushed the envelope a time or two. What I'm saying is I understand a lazy, stupid joke. Look, this whole perception thing is all wrapped up together. As long as the Jaguars have double-digit losing seasons, it doesn't matter how well they are run on or off the field – they're going to be the brunt of national jokes. It's just the way it is. Win enough games, the perception changes. Win enough games, then writers start writing about the Jaguars and Jacksonville as a great turnaround story. And if the writers don't change their ways when the Jaguars win? Well, if that happens, then just enjoy the winning and don't worry about what "they" are saying so much.
John from Fairfield, PA:
Best football movie? "The Replacements."
John: Not the one I saw.
Joshua from Grand Island, NE:
John: LOL. No.
George from Drummond, TN:
Best football movies? Honorable mention to "Brian's Song" and "Everybody's All-American."
Willis from Jacksonville:
I guess it ended up on the editing-room floor, but who played you in "Draft Day"?
John: Denzel … I forget his last name.
Nate from York, PA:
Best football movies - "Rudy" and "We Are Marshall!"
John: Was I really the only one who rooted against Rudy?
Kalani from Oakland, CA:
Please, John – help a brother out. I don't understand why there's concern over Ryan Davis' size (6-2, 261) at Leo, yet it's an asset for Dante Fowler Jr. (6-3, 261). Oh – and did LaRoy Reynolds receive anything in return for the 5-6?? Thanks!
John: I've never been concerned about Ryan Davis' size at the Leo, and maybe I've missed it, but I haven't heard much concern over it from anyone around the Jaguars. He's a pretty prototypical Leo – he's just better at pass-rushing from the interior than some Leos. Reynolds indeed allowed Fowler to have No. 56. Fowler said at the time the two talked out a deal. He also joked at the time that he gave Reynolds the gold shoes he wore at the NFL Draft in exchange for the number, but later said that was just a joke.
Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
I think Maurice Jones-Drew's situation with the Hall of Fame is the prime example of a player's potential being bottle-necked and cut short by the crappy team he plays for. Had he played for the Steelers, Ravens, or Packers during his time, I bet he'd be a Hall of Fame lock. Your legs can't last very long when you're the only person on the offense producing for the better part of five years.
John: Maurice Jones-Drew was a very, very, very good player for six years. I don't know about "lock," but can players be helped by the circumstances of the teams for which they played? Sure. There are many Hall of Famers who might not have been so honored had they not been on Super Bowl teams. If the Jaguars had made and won a Super Bowl in the 1990s, it's quite likely Tony Boselli would be in the Hall of Fame. That's part of the nature of the process, for better or worse.
Jeremy from Jville:
I think the streak ended ... today.
John: This email was sent mid-afternoon Friday during a time when the day's O-Zone was stuck in the netherworld of our content management system. I long had finished writing, and though the Supporting Cast had diligently done the back-end work to present our daily gift to the readers it was stuck in "pending status." For some, something close to panic ensued. The most over-hyped streak in the history of streaks was suddenly a topic of concern for a suddenly anxious throng that was at least five or six strong. Alas, the issue was resolved and all returned to normal in our sad, twisted little world.
Nate from Visalia, CA:
John: 'Twas indeed a long afternoon for "many" …
David from Maplewood, NJ:
Noooooooo, say it ain't so! It's like the earth stopped spinning or something!
John: … "many" …
Jeremy from Jacksonville:
O-man, it's 2:24 pm. I'm worried.
John: … "many" sad souls.
Paul from Fruit Cove, FL:
John, I can understand your optimism about Brandon Linder and Luke Bowanko's potential improvement from last year to this year. I share it. But why should we lump Zane Beadles into that group as you suggest? Why would we expect an NFL veteran in his sixth season to suddenly be any better than he was before?
John: Fair question, and it's also fair to say out of the players I've mentioned with a chance to improve or develop, Beadles is the toughest to project. There are a few reasons to think Beadles could improve. First, it can be difficult sometimes coming to a new team where you're suddenly asked to be a leader and a stalwart on the offensive line if you haven't played that role before. Perhaps he'll be more comfortable in his second season here. Second, coaches were optimistic about Beadles in the offseason after he made some adjustments as the line began to emphasize gap- over zone-blocking a little more. Perhaps that will help. Third, the NFL doesn't always happen in a vacuum. A player who struggled one year can improve as things around him improve and players develop. That could be the case with Beadles. We'll see.
Brian from Charlottesville, VA:
I understand the Jags are counting on some relatively unproven players to come through in a big way this year. They're planning on players taking a big step forward or starting for the first time in their career. Players like Skuta, Parnell, Cyprien, Joeckel, House, etc. Let me throw some names out: Bradfield, Watson, Rackley, Cox, Pasztor, Brewster, etc. The second list includes players from Caldwell's regime, not just Smith's. My point is we've been in the position of counting on unproven commodities before and it panned out awfully. Do you feel like the players we're counting on this year are positioned better to succeed than those from years past? If so, why? Talent, scheme, culture? I know there are no sure things in football, but some reassurance wouldn't hurt.
John: I'm not going to get argumentative here, but the second list really includes one player from Caldwell's era – Dakoda Watson – while the rest were indeed originally brought in by Gene Smith. But whatever … I honestly don't know how to reassure you on this. You build a roster and stock a team signing and projecting players the best you can. Players aren't sure things until they have proven themselves as such, and many of the players on whom the Jaguars are counting this season are indeed unproven. The Jaguars believe the players they have added are the right fits. They feel a good percentage of them – not all, necessarily, but a good percentage – can be effective players. Stay tuned.
Redmond from Jacksonville:
So it's 2nd-and-6 … a guy gets pressure and forces an incompletion; now, it's 3rd-and-6. You're saying that is equal to getting a sack in 2nd-and-6 and making it 3rd-and-11. I gotcha.
John: Nope. Never said that. I have said often that it's unfair sometimes to judge a defensive end solely on sacks when sacks can be beyond a player's control. A quarterback can dirt the ball and an offense can double-team or chip a defender to take him out of the play. If quarterbacks and offenses have to do those things often, then it absolutely can hurt the offense. That means a pass rusher can have a huge impact on a game without necessarily having a bunch of sacks. I absolutely said that and have said it quite a bit. But you knew that already.
Dominance is overrated. Let her have it. I'll drink beer and not care about anything related to "being in charge," thank you very much.
Big Millz from DaVille:
Any special plans for the holiday weekend?
John: Not really, but it sounds like DUVAL DOOM has a few things figured out. Maybe I'll ask him.