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O-Zone: In the first person

JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . . Nick from Fort Benning, GA:
I have been noticing a lot of respect from the national media since the draft. They all seem to be buying in on Caldwell and Bradley. They still take shots at Gabbert a lot, but that will change if he starts winning.
John: Yeah, I guess. I'll say the same thing about the national media as I've said for the past two years and as I'll say whenever the national media starts consistently covering the Jaguars more regularly. What the national media does is great. A lot of guys in the national media know what they're talking about and just as many don't. It's fun for fans when their team gets mentioned positively, and it's angering when their team gets criticized. Fans also get irritated when their team gets ignored. All of that's fine, but what the national media writes really does not matter when it comes to the big picture: fielding a competitive, playoff-contending team. Right now, a lot of national guys are praising Bradley and Caldwell. If you like those sorts of thing, enjoy it, but keep it in perspective. It means comparatively little, and the same would be true if they were being critical. Besides, if you want to know what's going on with the team, you have your source right here in Jacksonville. His name is JP Shadrick.
Johnny from East Palatka, FL:
Consecutive days of really good questions and answers. Good stuff.
John: Eehh.
Brandon from Key West, FL:
I know our secondary is going to be very young and inexperienced. It seems a lot of people see it as us going to be burned a lot, but isn't it more of us getting a fast, young, and healthy group of guys to grow together in our rebuilding time? I can't help but get more excited that I'm going to see a young and aggressive defense grow into something special. This southernmost Jaguar appreciates you and this website, keep up the good work.
John: Has this become a "thing?" This idea of the young secondary being burned? I got an email about this and answered it late in the week, but I didn't realize a lot of people were thinking the group was going to get burned a lot. I don't think that's necessarily the case, and it sure doesn't have to be true.
Howard from Homestead, FL:
Not sure if you've noticed what's going on down here in Miami-Dade County, but the Miami Herald has a story on the front page today about the need for the Dolphins to reduce the size of their stadium, which they deem too big for their market. If MIAMI has to start covering seats, maybe our stadium was oversized after all.
John: Hmm . . . how about that?
Mike from Jacksonville:
What's with the spread-out home schedule? Two games in September, one in October (thanks to London) only one in Nov and THREE in December? Brrr. Let's face facts: this team could be 2-10 heading in to that December stretch, especially with Gabbert at quarterback, and that won't bode well for attendance at those games, especially with one on a Thursday! I know the league makes the schedule, but sheesh, they could help us out a little better than that after giving up London....right?
John: I never get too caught up in the whole "the schedule makers did this team or that team no favors" storyline. Good teams negotiate their schedules and win while weaker ones struggle with it. The NFL's schedule-makers have to come up with 16 regular-season games and byes for 32 different teams. They have to make sure a lot of those games don't conflict with baseball and goodness knows how many monster-truck events, state fairs and Taylor "No, This Single Really is Different from My Last One, Honest" Swift world tours. It's impossible to make everyone happy. Specific to the Jaguars' schedule, the presence of the London game as a home game is by definition going to mean a stretch during each season when it will seem the Jaguars are away from home a lot. It's the nature of the situation.
Dereck from Jacksonville:
I think this team needs two premier players to become a contender. One of them may already be on the roster, but in my opinion, the other is not. That player is a five-star defensive end. I know Gus is a defensive guy, and I know the top player on most boards for next year's draft is the guy he needs. What do you think Caldwell would be willing to do to bring Clowney to Jacksonville?
John: Draft him?
Matt from Cape Coral, FL:
Not to knock our former coach, but I love the fact Bradley practices in the rain. Last year all we heard about was moving practices indoors and such and here, Bradley steps in and takes the field on the first day. He just seems like a man's man. I'm not sure about our talent level, but I think we got a great coach.
John: I think Bradley will do a good job, too. I think he already has. At the same time, there will come a day – probably soon – when the Jaguars practice indoors. That won't make him any less of a man.
Keith from Palatka, FL:
Have you read the article from "Examining Pressure: Are Left Tackles Overvalued?" by Steve Palazzolo? Along with the article "Analytics Drove Jags Selection of Joeckel" from by Chris Wesseling, they explain why the Jaguars selected Luke Joeckel. The NFL has evolved into a passing league and with a division in which you have the likes of JJ Watt and others coming off the left defensive end, right tackle is as important as left tackle. I am glad to see that the Jaguars' new staff is keeping up to date with the modern game and selected a RT so that we now have a chance to actually run an offense. What is your opinion now of the right tackle position?
John: My opinion is that the NFL's evolving into a passing league does seem to have teams reconsidering the importance of the right tackle position versus the left tackle position. Certainly, the idea that the positions are more equal in importance than they were 10 years ago influenced the Jaguars' selection. The next twist in this story comes when it's time to renew Eugene Monroe's contract. If the Jaguars opt to pay both Monroe and Joeckel after this season, then it's a huge nod to the importance of both positions.
Keith from Jacksonville and Section 436:
The question with minicamp is are the players such as Cyprien and Robinson standing out because they're actually that good, or is it because they're decent players who look great compared to bad competition? If you recall, everyone was raving about players in camp last year and it turned out the quality of the roster was so bad that good, but not great players, looked great because they were not playing against good competition.
John: Obviously that's the question about minicamp, Keith. You have 53 players here this weekend and it's a safe bet two-thirds of them will not make an NFL roster. That's implied, and I tend to think many people – even, perhaps, most people – understand the level of competition in a minicamp featuring 19 players in town on a tryout basis is probably a touch different than when they line up against the 49ers in October. I was asked who stood out on Friday and I said Cyprien and Robinson. Cyprien looked like he belonged and I said, "I don't pretend to be able to project a player's career off one minicamp practice, but it's hard to look like you belong in the NFL more than Cyprien did Friday." Of Robinson, I wrote "There was no hitting Friday, so it's hard to project how Robinson will do against NFL defenses, but it's clear he has special speed." This was an assessment of a minicamp practice, not an order form for bronze busts.
Box from Jacksonville:
I'll tell you who was a third-round draft pick cornerback with no trouble locking down elite receivers: Derek Cox. And Caldwell decided he was too good for the Jaguars and let him go.
John: Box, I like Derek Cox as a person and a player. And when he was on the field, he definitely made the Jaguars better the past two seasons. But let's not make Cox into something he wasn't. He wasn't a "lock-down-the-elite-receiver" corner, and I say that meaning that guys who can truly shut down the elite guys are very few and very far between. He also was a player who had trouble being on the field for 16 games, the latter of which was a significant reasons the Jaguars did not try to re-sign him.
Andrew from Panama City Beach, FL:
John: At the bottom of the Ozone today there was a link to a column entitled, "The secrets to a gorgeous face are the eyebrows." Do you write that column as well?
John: I can't claim that one. I wrote the post that was in the link next to it, "How to have the toned body of a young Spaniard at age 46." It's a first-person account.

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