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O-Zone: House rule

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Marcus from Jacksonville:
I imagine there are at least 32 quarterbacks out there right now that have a "tired arm." Blake Bortles seems to be the only one who has been benched because of it. I know you generally like to wait until something is something before you say it is something, but can we at least agree a quarterback getting sat down mid-practice after a couple bad interceptions is slightly more than a non-story? This wasn't a guy getting a veteran's day off, or being held out of an entire practice for some reason. He was good to go at the beginning of practice and then was no longer good after those passes. Seems fishy to me.
John: Chad Henne taking first-team reps in place of Bortles Sunday is not a non-story. That's why Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone talked about it Sunday and it's why he talked about it again Monday. It's why it was written about and discussed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. It's why it's still a topic in this Wednesday O-Zone. It's why people are still speculating and discussing it. So, we know it's a story. How big a story? What does it mean? That remains to be seen. I think it's fair to say that Marrone won't hesitate to change quarterbacks if Bortles throws an inordinate number of interceptions. I don't think anyone around the Jaguars doubts that, Bortles in particular. But was Sunday a message? Was it the first sign that Bortles is on the decline in Marrone's eyes, and that Henne is ascending? Marrone isn't saying anything remotely close to that – and at this early juncture, it's not fair to assume that's the case.
Attila from Dunakeszi, Hungary:
John, how fast was Corey Grant when he entered the league if he still stands out with his speed after three years, even from the rookies? He surely did not slow since then, did he? And can you tell what were the causes why he went undrafted even being this fast? Also, I am curious what is wrong with Amba Etta-Tawo? Before OTAs and training camp there were reports from many different sources, saying he was one of the most serious candidates to earn a roster spot. However, we have not heard a single word about him since then. Was he hurt or just simply could not seize the opportunity?
John: Grant was very fast when he entered the NFL. He was the Jaguars' fastest player then and it's pretty safe to say he remains the Jaguars' fastest player. He went undrafted for the same reason he sometimes is still considered a long shot when people – this writer, included – break down rosters and analyze things in the offseason. He is not your prototypical back in terms of size, so many question whether he can be an every-down back in the vein of Leonard Fournette, Chris Ivory or even T.J. Yeldon. As for Etta-Tawo, I imagine the reports from different sources based their projections on his productive college career in a major conference. He hasn't flashed during training camp, so he – like many undrafted rookies – apparently isn't standing out at a bigger, stronger, faster level. That's not unusual. It's when the opposite occurs that it's unusual.
Jeremy from Wise, VA:
Is Jason Myers in danger of being replaced due to his struggles so far?
John: Not at this time.
My arm is tired as well:
First a pitch count, then a tired arm. He is 25 and it was after the first preseason game. Come on, O. Does the head coach really think so little of the fan base to feed us this bull?
John: Age has little to do with arm fatigue, and the number of preseason games played doesn't, either. It's more about long-term practice repetitions – and because the Jaguars have run a high number of first-team reps in training camp, Bortles has thrown a lot of passes this offseason. Alas, we may never have all the answers to Armgate. Some mysteries are meant to remain mysteries.
John from Jacksonville:
Run the ball, play tough defense, limit turnovers and have a quarterback that doesn't lose the game, but has the ability to make a play when needed. That's the Jags' formula for success. Does Blair have what it takes to make this a reality?
John: Blair Brown appears to have had a good camp for a rookie selected in the fifth round. He's working as a reserve linebacker and on special teams. I suppose he'll factor into the Jaguars' formula for success, but he may not be the key point in making it a reality.
Chris from Mandarin, FL:
Do the Jaguars now need to think about drafting a new middle linebacker or acquiring one by other means – or do you think in a year that Myles Jack will be ready for the move again? Is this a situation of a talented college player simply not having the 'It' factor to handle the responsibilities of the position in the NFL?
John: I think Paul Posluszny is back in the middle in base situations with Myles Jack on the strong side simply because Posluszny is really, really good as a middle linebacker in base situations.
Ralph from Jacksonville:
I just read your response regarding Jason Myers and Robert Aguayo and it is clear to me you are pushing Blake Bortles to be starting quarterback.
John: I'm sneaky that way.
Mike from Vero Beach, FL:
Why is it that Blake Bortles is the root of all that is wrong in the Jaguars' universe? Wasn't it you and many other journalists that referred to him as a Franchise Quarterback last season about this time? Isn't it true he has thrown for more than eight thousand yards the last two seasons? Completed over seven hundred passes out of a whopping twelve hundred plus attempts because of the lack of anything resembling a run game. Is it not also true the lack of a running game allows defenses to focus on stopping our passing game? So, would it be more probable the 35 interceptions were more likely created by the well-above-average attempts and tighter coverage than a young quarterback that was being asked too much of but still managed 63 touchdowns? How many leads did the Jaguars defense blow because they could not get off the field on third downs? Lastly, is this why Tom Coughlin and staff addressed the run and defense and not the quarterback this last offseason?
John: Bortles is the No. 1 storyline around the Jaguars because he is the quarterback – and last year around this time I wrote often that there were some serious, serious steps he needed to take to achieve the level of Franchise Quarterback. Those steps involved decision-making, turnover reduction, pre-snap awareness and pocket awareness – key details that his game too often missed in 2015 even while he was beginning to compile a lot of the impressive statistics to which you referred.
Josh from Pensacola, FL:
I watched the Jags run Maurice Jones-Drew up the middle until his career was over when it was clear that he had more success on sweeps and screen passes, etc. Leonard Fournette also seems to have success on toss sweeps and plays to get him outside in space. Do you think that pounding Fournette up the middle every play is the best use for him? If not, do you think the Jags will give him opportunities to make plays in space instead of running him up the middle every single time he gets the ball?
John: Fournette has had nine carries in one preseason game. I think we probably should wait until the end of his first regular-season series – shoot, maybe even the end of his second series – before we determine that the Jaguars are hurting his career with stubborn play-calling.
Jeremy from Dodge City, KS:
I'm sure you already got at least 30 emails about this but it's very discouraging to see A-Rob getting frustrated with Bortles. I was trying to be optimistic about Bortles, especially because he worked out at QB3 over the offseason but I guess we'll see if the '18 quarterback draft class is overhyped or not.
John: You're referring to a video that went viral on Tuesday when Allen Robinson expressed frustration with a pass out of bounds from Bortles. It wasn't a good pass. It took Robinson out of bounds. Robinson expressed frustration. He didn't express frustration a bit later when Bortles hit him with a good pass on a similar route late. My point isn't that it's great to see receivers frustrated with a quarterback, or that frustration isn't at times merited. But let's not assume that the frustration from one training-camp video will define the season.
Jimmy from Jagsville:
Did anyone notice we were the only AFC South team to win last week and we are in first place after Preseason Week 1? Can I get one fer leading the division?
John: Someone apparently noticed, but no … no one fers for preseason standings. House rule.

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