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O-Zone: Home, sweet home

JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . . Ryan from Jacksonville:
I know it's early, but I must ask, do you think we'll pick up Aaron Hernandez when he goes on waivers?
John: No.
Michael from Jackson de Ville, FL:
John, you stated the new coaching staff would need to see what they had in Mojo this season to determine how to negotiate a new contract. But when it comes to younger players, you advised that there are hours and hours of tape showing what skills a player possesses? What is this year for MJD possibly going to determine for Caldwell that they don't already know about him?
John: Jones-Drew enters his ninth NFL season, which is not young for a running back. In fact, in NFL running back years, it's pretty darned old. He also missed 10 games last season with a significant foot injury and had microfracture knee surgery following the 2010 season. There is little doubt what Jones-Drew has been able to do in his NFL career. There is little doubt what he has meant to this organization. What the Jaguars need to see – and what any team with a ninth-year running back entering the final year of his contract logically would want to see – is what they think he will be in the future. That's what makes this a very important year for Jones-Drew.
JT from Columbus, MS:
Have you and/or the IT crew considered putting a "LIKE," "Agree" or "Disagree" button next to each O-Zone entry? There are a lot of times I want to "LIKE" a question or response!
John: We considered putting a "Gosh-I-hate-this-column-and-the-oaf-associated-with-it" button on the site, but we were concerned about overloading the server.
Jared from Cantonment, FL and Section 116:
I love that we have Marcedes (Lewis) back to playing tight end; an offensive line healthy and upgraded; young, growing receivers; MJD back; and a player listed as an OW that will keep the defense guessing when on the field. Depending on the quarterback play and a young defense making a play or two, I'm gonna do like I do every year and cheer my team on and predict a playoff berth. Can't help it, love my Jags.
John: And the Jaguars love your enthusiasm. Actually, the reasons you cite give the Jaguars hope for an effective offense. This is a team with more offensive weapons than it has had in the past, and with Luke Joeckel around, the offensive line should be improved. There's nothing written in stone, but depending on quarterback play, the Jaguars' offense should be better – maybe even a lot better. That should mean improvement. I'm not predicting the playoffs, but I do project that by the end of the season the astute fan should feel better about this team than it did at the end of last season.
Hugo from Las Cruces, NM:
I don't get why people get so bent out of shape by the "reporting" that goes on in different websites. People just have to figure out the difference between columnist/columns and journalists/reporters. Mainly, that one is real stuff while the other one is one dude's opinion.
John: No doubt!
Shane from Bethesda, MD:
What happens if the Jaguars one day put the franchise tag on Denard Robinson? Will he get the average of the top 10 salaries of his made-up position? (Kind of joking, but also curious as to how "official" that position is.)
John: He won't be able to be registered with the league as "offensive weapon." He would have to be designated as one of the official positions for tag and official league purposes. For now, he is officially "running back," though he is listed as "offensive weapon" on the Jaguars' roster.
Mike from Section 271 and Vero Beach, FL:
Why is the black-to-gold fade different on the practice helmets from the one I purchased from Riddell?
John: I dunno.
Sean from Arlington, VA:
In regards to the third-quarterback issue, I always saw that as an opportunity to groom a raw project with too much talent to stash on the practice squad. If, for example, Jordan Rodgers or Matt Scott flash in the preseason while not ready for a backup role, wouldn't it be worth a roster spot to continue their development rather than risk having them snatched up by another team looking for more talent at the position?
John: Yes, that's unquestionably a reason for keeping a third quarterback. I won't say there's "no" reason for ever keeping another, but that's the most logical reason. In the salary cap/free agency era, the chances of your third quarterback being at a level to lead the team to the postseason is pretty slim. Actually, it was pretty slim in previous eras, too.
Richard from Jacksonville Beach and Section 242:
I've been doing my own experiments at home in the tub. If the Jaguars begin their home games with navy blue pool water, by the middle of the third quarter, they should have the perfect shade of teal.
John: Wow.
Matthew from Neptune Beach, FL:
Jacksonville is home to so many Southern Rock stars and bands. What are the top three bands that you would ask to play before or at halftime for the Jags games?
John: My Jacksonville list wouldn't be all Southern Rock, and it would make a lot of people mad. That would be a lot of the fun of it. I'd ask Lynyrd Skynyrd, of course, then I'd ask Blaine Crews Band (hey!) with Chris McFall on bass and I'd ask the Philters with Steve Bauknecht killing it on drums. Give me a fourth, I'd ask Stevie Stilletto and the Switchblades (Thommy Berlin era). I doubt everyone would enjoy all of the shows as much as I would, but I wouldn't really care.
Tom from Jacksonville and Section 102:
I doubt that the announcement of the new scoreboards etc. was done just to coincide with the JAGS 20th anniversary season, but do you know of any other events planned for this specific purpose?
John: Not yet. We're 13 months out. Stay tuned.
Peter from Section 106:
Can you explain why the Jaguars thought Gabbert was a better draft pick than Andy Dalton? As I recall, Dalton was available if the team had wanted him.
John: Yes, Dalton was available to the Jaguars in the 2011 NFL Draft. Being a second-round selection, he was available to pretty much all 32 teams. The Jaguars at the time believed as most teams did – that Gabbert was the better prospect because of size, arm strength and because of how he worked out at the combine and his Pro Day, as well as what they had seen from his college tape. There wasn't much argument at the time for Dalton over Gabbert. That has changed based on the first two years of their NFL careers. How will it look in another two years remains unknown.
Skillet from Fort Lauderdale, FL:
How short will Blaine Gabbert's leash be IF he wins the starting job and doesn't win games? Personally, I think Henne is a much better pocket passer and if the O line can give him a little more time, maybe he can eliminate those crucial picks he is famous for. Who do you think should start?
John: I think if Gabbert wins the job he will get upwards of half the season – maybe more – to show what he can do. He may get a bit more. I think he has to show progress, and has to start playing well more often than not. I'm not ready to tie that to winning games, because I don't yet know what will be happening around Gabbert. As for who I think should start, that should be whoever wins the job. That will be whoever plays better in the preseason and in training camp. My guess is that will be Gabbert, but I've guessed wrong before.
Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
Really, Andy? The Germans, dude? Please tell me you weren't being serious. You may want to go for Nissan instead of Porsche on this one, bro.
John: Really, bro?
Michael from Jackson de Ville, FL:
Forget politics/economics, etc. It's a sad state of affairs in the USA when every red-blooded male doesn't pick up on a movie reference from one of the greatest of all time. TOGA! TOGA! TOGA!
John: Yes, it is.
Ross from Pooler, GA:
What's the status on Rodgers? Much can be said for the kid. Didn't he play through the groin injury during rookie camp? I think he's gonna be good. At least better than Jake Jocker. Whatcha think Big "O"pinion!!!
John: Rodgers does appear to be a tough kid, having played through his sports hernia in rookie camp. Still, he played only a short time that weekend, and I'd like to see more before trying to determine how he compares to anyone, even Jake Jocker.
Robert from Jacksonville:
If no one really cared what you had to say, you could call it The So? Zone
John: I already have a place where no one cares what I have to say. I call it, "Home."

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