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O-Zone: How it is

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Mark from Archer, FL:
Am I alone in thinking that some of these quarterbacks' contracts are getting out of hand? The Alex Smith contract, the Andy Dalton contract … Why are teams giving such huge contracts to these quarterbacks? I feel that a quarterback should not be paid that kind of money unless they are able to carry a team on their shoulders to win the big games. What are your thoughts?
John: Many people agree quarterback contracts are and have been out of hand, and in theory you probably wouldn't pay a quarterback franchise money if he's not at the elite level you describe. And that theory is indeed fine – in a vacuum. But get out of the vacuum and get behind a general manager's desk. When you're there, you'll realize what any general manager realizes: that while it's wonderful to have an elite quarterback, elite quarterbacks in fact are rare. You also would realize that having instability at the quarterback position is a sure-fire way to not be sitting at that desk very long, so a huge contract to a guy who makes you stable all of a sudden starts looking pretty reasonable.
Renee from Section 104 and Jacksonville:
John! Did ya get any "We-should-pick-up-Champ-Bailey letters?" Or are we as a Jaguar fan base maturing, too? GO JAGS!
John: I didn't get any of those letters, but in terms of maturity … well, I guess I just wouldn't jump to any conclusions.
Mark from Ponte Vedra and Section 215:
Here are Manning's stats as a rookie: 26 touchdowns, 28 interceptions, passer rating of 71. The Colts went 3-13 that year. Manning probably benefited by playing, but the results weren't pretty even with an experienced offensive line and receivers.
John: We're still in Bortles-Henne mode, I see, and that's to be expected. We can hash and re-hash and re-re-hash history and statistics all we want and I suppose there are plenty more statistics and arguments to be hashed. The reality is the Jaguars aren't making this decision based on what happened with another quarterback on another team in another season. It's about their team and these quarterbacks right now. They're starting Henne, and when they feel the time is right, they will start Bortles.
Kyle from Clearwater, FL:
How does a player go from prospective starter to a guy who doesn't make the cut? I'm talking about Mike Brewster. He didn't look good at center, but now, it looks like we have two rookie offensive linemen who outperformed him. I don't buy that. What other factors led to Brewster's release?
John: What do you want to hear? That Brewster insulted Gus Bradley? That the coaches didn't like his hair? That he keyed my car? The Jaguars liked Brewster and were optimistic after the offseason that he would perform well enough in training camp and preseason to be the starting center. That didn't happen. As far not buying that two rookies outperformed him, Brandon Linder very much outperformed him and most Jaguars offensive linemen this preseason. The team is very optimistic he is a long-term answer at guard. The team also likes Luke Bowanko's athleticism and there is a feeling he can start at center at some point. Buy what you do or don't want, but that's how it played out.
Greg from Boise, ID:
I understand players on the practice squad can be signed by other teams. Does that mean they are allowed to contact other teams to try and get signed, or does contact have to be initiated by the teams?
John: Agents and teams contact one another about players constantly. It's a two-way system. This isn't college football recruiting where there are rules about who contacts who and when. It's professional football and guys are trying to get jobs.
Seth from Kalamazoo, MI:
Hey O-man, do you think the NFL in the near future will consider shortening the play clock? Seems like if they cut it down to 30 there would be more excitement at the end of games and promote up-tempo offense.
John: Teams are doing a pretty good job of promoting up-tempo offense on their own, but no … I don't sense any movement toward changing the play clock.
Tim from Jacksonville and section 213:
Do you get the feeling fans are getting a little overconfident? Being excited is great, but we are underdogs in every game for a reason. If every team could start two rookies and two second-year rookies on the offensive line and be confident they would be a decent unit by midseason, then every team would start rookies every year. I don't get the feeling fans understand the importance of having a veteran offensive line in this league. The coaches know what's going to happen but the fans are in for a rude awakening.
John: I don't know that fans are overconfident, but it's quite possible they are over-hopeful – for lack of a better-hyphenated word. Jaguars fans are rightfully optimistic about what's going on. If you look at this team's future, there's a lot to like at quarterback, receiver, even the offensive line. But you're right about the line and the same is true at receiver. Those are young spots. It's an incredibly young offense and that usually means significant ups and downs. And the quarterback that has most people excited also is a rookie, which is why the team is giving him more time to develop. Your ominous conclusion that "coaches know what's going to happen" may not be dead-on, but people around the organization do realize that it's going to take time for what seems likely to be a very good core to grow and reach potential.
Knolly from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
For those of us who are curious, would you please post a current roster status of ex-Jags released by our new management team. Eg, (Player Name - New Team - Status: released '14...on current roster, etc.) Thank you
John: Nah.
Mark from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Your best statement about not starting Bortles was that we have a young and inexperienced offensive line. Perfect. Why feed him to the wolves if he is to be our long-term quarterback? Also, Mr. Bradley and Mr. Caldwell are proving they are smarter than the rest of us on football decisions. Pay your money, sit back and enjoy the show.
John: My point on the Jaguars' offensive youth and the quarterback position is primarily about Henne's experience. It also extends to the youth at the receiver position. I don't want to paint this as the Jaguars saying, "Oh, the line is inexperienced so let's let Henne take a bunch of hits." It's far more about Henne's experience allowing him to see things Bortles can't yet and allowing him to lead a young group of linemen/receivers effectively.
Kyle from Davenport, IA:
I'm sleepy.
John: Sleep through it.
Doug from Jacksonville:
Almighty O, I understand coaches have no ulterior motive to start Henne, but my excitement for this season is nullified by the idea of three-and-outs, batted balls at the line, dump-down passes after the first read and missing wide open receivers on third down. I am a season-ticket holder, and I will still come to the games and cheer, but I just know I won't have as much to cheer about. An entire year, another whole season, Holidays, offseason, summer, draft, OTAs camp preseason until there is another glimmer of hope.
John: #DTWD
Brian from Mandarin:
Marcel Jensen is interesting. Big man and flashed good hands. Not so good balance. He caught a nice pass in open field then fell forward with no one near him. Another play he tried to throw a block, but it looked like he fell in front of the defender. Play was over but he walked over him to get back to the huddle. What are your thoughts on him?
John: The Jaguars like Jensen. He's a big, receiving tight end with potential. The concern from the time they signed him as a free agent following the draft was he hadn't blocked much in college. That will be a focus now if the Jaguars sign him to the practice squad.
Jarrett from Portland, ME:
What gives, O? No Nate Stupar? No Drew Nowak? I thought for sure these guys would be on the team/practice squad.
John: The Jaguars liked Nate Stupar and Drew Nowak, but in the case of Stupar they liked J.T. Thomas' ability to play inside and outside and special teams a bit more. Stupar was claimed by Atlanta and according to his Twitter account, Nowak may be joining the Seattle Seahawks' practice squad.
Robert from Ponte Vedra, FL:
I am really getting tired of reading about the disgruntled fan base that thinks Bortles should start now! Do they think Gus is not starting him to irritate them? I think not! I think Blake is going to be a great quarterback but I agree that he should not start until he can do everything that the coaches believe he should do. The last thing I want to see is our star quarterback confused about coverages and running around like Gabbert. Chill out people! If you were all so football savvy you would be on the coaching staff and not complaining here. We have a great new owner, head coach, and general manager. Show them some respect!
John: Fans gonna fan.

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