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O-Zone: How to deal

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
I know you are tired of hearing this, but I want to prove this NFL bias regarding prime-time games. It is not bottom-feeders who don't get prime-time games; it is small markets that don't. Monday has the following teams with home games: Redskins, two (9-7); Bears, two (6-10); 49ers, one (5-11); Saints, one (7-9); Eagles, one (7-9); Cowboys, one (4-12). So, these teams have one thing in common: Large markets – and not the greatest records in the world. Especially since Dallas has a worse record than us and got a Christmas game ... again. I'm sick of the traditional-give-certain-team-perks stuff from the league. Let some new blood in the mix.
John: I'm not going to argue this blow by blow, but really the best answer may be, "Welcome to Real Life." Of course larger markets are going to be on prime-time television more than smaller markets if most else is equal. The NFL doesn't care as much about "new blood" nearly as much as drawing eyeballs to television screens. When in the world did anyone ever think that wouldn't be the case? Remember, too: all of those teams you mentioned have been competitive – and in the playoffs – since the Jaguars were anywhere close to competitive. Shoot, most NFL teams have been competitive since the Jaguars have been anywhere close to competitive. The reality for the Jaguars is they will solve this issue by winning their way into the mix. That's the solution. That's what they must do. There's no other way.
Scott from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Hi John, "I say bring it on Denver, bring it on KC, bring it on Packers, bring it on any good team!" If we want the Jags to be considered a good team, gotta beat good teams! Can't be scared!
John: Fear is a big part of my life, but on this subject you are correct.
Levi from Bloomington, IN:
Hey John, my question is about our first pick in the draft. Some people seem to be divided; some want to take Joey Bosa, while some want to take Myles Jack, who is perceived to be the better overall talent. If the Jags wanted to select Jack and use him as a pass rusher for the first couple of years until we find a legit pass-rushing defensive end, could they? Do you think Jack has the ability to do that and could it be effective in our defensive scheme?
John: Jack is a very talented player and he is outstanding in coverage. I'm not saying he never could get a sack, but I don't know that he's a player that you "use as a pass rusher" to solve that issue to the extent that the Jaguars want it solved.
Mac from Neptune Beach, FL:
What would you say to picking Roberto Aguayo in a later round?
John: I'd say it would surprise me.
Benjamin from Jacksonville:
So, is Luke Joeckel expected to be a better guard than A.J. Cann? Is that an indication on Joeckel's talents or a knock on Cann?
John: I've honestly never heard anyone compare Cann to Joeckel, though Cann's body type certainly fits the guard position more than Joeckel's body type does. But really, I don't know that one has much to do with the other – and I don't know that you'll see a Joeckel-Cann competition. I believe there is a chance Joeckel could play guard next season if he does not win the left-tackle job over Kelvin Beachum. If he does, I think he and Cann both would start at guard with Brandon Linder starting at center.
Andrew from Duval:
Am I the only one who thinks it's a little dumb and nitpicky to get upset over the schedule? Everybody gets eight home games, eight away games, and six division games. The order seems irrelevant. If you get a long stretch of away games, you're getting a long stretch of home games at some point.
John: Yeah, but if you look at things that way what are you going to worry, whine and complain about?
Adam from St. Johns, FL:
So we're really striving for mediocrity, aren't we? We just want those eight wins. I see what's happening. You are trying to convince us that eight wins is a good thing, that winning two more games than last season is an improvement. How about winning for real? Why can't we expect a winning team? Why does the organization have such low standards? I really don't understand it.
John: I suppose you're referring to some previous O-Zone answer, Alan, but I honestly don't worry much about "convincing" anyone of anything, and I can't control expectations about this team. I look at this roster as it stands now and for the first time since David Caldwell and Gus Bradley took over I see a team I believe has a good chance to win eight games. How much better can it be than that? We'll see. Here's how the O-Zone works … People ask questions. I answer. The answers here don't necessarily reflect what the team is "striving for" nor are the answers to be used as the overreaching goals of the organization.
Poetry from Vacaville:
Which Jaguar defensive lineman reminds you of Myles Jack? Is it safe to say Mike Peterson is a good comparison?
John: This is the most confusing poem I've ever read.
Don from Macclenny, FL:
John, do you remember the good ol' days when every single day you could field questions about the quarterback position? You had a refrain about the fact that the quarterback position would be the main topic of conversation until it wasn't a topic anymore. Well, it's starting to look like it is not a topic of concern anymore ...
John: I won't go so far as to say quarterback isn't a concern. I believe Blake Bortles has some significant improvements to make in some significant areas – and on that front, I believe next season is important for him. But yeah … it looks like he's going to be pretty good.
Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
That is too bad about Myles Jack. He seemed like a good fit. Do you think the Jags could trade down with Laremy Tunsil on the board or would they be forced to select him? Not a bad problem to have either way! Go Jags!
John: I think it's premature to talk about Jack in the past tense, and I also think it's incorrect to think the Jaguars will be "forced" to take anyone at No. 5. If they opt to take Laremy Tunsil it would be because they think he's too good to pass – and that he will help the offensive line. If they don't want to take Tunsil or Jack and Joey Bosa/Jalen Ramsey are gone, they can take DeForest Buckner. Or Vernon Hargreaves III. Or …
Brian from New Hamsphire:
The more videos I see of Tashaun Gipson the more I like him. He seems really humble and excited to be here and mentor the younger guys. On the field if he's healthy he's just an animal. Jackson may be the big splash signing but I think Gipson will be the biggest impacted free agent.
John: OK.
Matt from Duval:
Aren't certain players allowed to attend rookie minicamp who aren't this year's draft picks? Who on the roster would be included?
John: Yes, under league rules first-year veterans and players who haven't appeared in NFL games – or who have appeared in minimal games – can attend rookie minicamps. But in the case of the Jaguars this season it won't be a huge issue. According to Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley at the recent NFL Annual Meeting, the team plans to decrease the on-field work in rookie minicamp pretty significantly in light of last year's minicamp injury to Dante Fowler Jr. Look for the sessions to be more orientation and meetings and a whole lot less on-field work.
Stephen from Gatlinburg, TN:
How many defensive coordinators would you imagine will have fits over game-planning for Blake Bortles, Allen Hurns, Allen Robinson, Julius Thomas, and a strong backfield of Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon? There is so much angst about the other teams among Jaguars fans, but are the Jaguars not packing their own brand of "angst?"
John: They're getting there.
Tom from Melbourne, FL:
With the Titans' draft pick surplus, Colts having a healthy Luck and the Texans having a decent QB; does the AFC South look to be one of the better divisions?
John: We'll see. I wouldn't expect the Titans draft-selection surplus to have a dramatic impact this season because most rookies don't have a mammoth first-year impact, and we'll see how much Brock Osweiler helps the Texans. As far as Luck being healthy … yes, that should help the Colts. Does all of that make the AFC South one of the NFL's better divisions? It could, but it has to happen on the field – not in the offseason.
Geno from Jacksonville:
John, what if all the players are gone when it is our turn to pick? What then, Zone?
John: Deal with it, I guess.

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