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O-Zone: Joy to the world

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Hunter from Laconia:
Let's say Blake Bortles throws a couple of picks, but is improved from last season. Let's say 28 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, but the picks are from a dysfunctional offensive line. Would Bortles stay another year? Or be cut even if it's not completely his fault?
John: The Jaguars' assessment of Bortles won't be based solely on statistics. It will be on his overall performance with all factors considered. If he's playing winning football next season that merits him being the long-term starter, they won't let a few interceptions caused by pressure bother them. Either way, we can list statistical-oriented scenarios about Bortles from now until the regular season – and I understand the inclination to do so. If he's playing better – i.e., throwing more accurately, making better decisions, showing more awareness in the pocket – the results are going to show up in the form of a more efficient offense. If not …
Marc from Oceanway:
Did I read correctly that Dante Fowler Jr. has been suspended by the team for four games? If so, are you surprised? Is this a Coughlin/Marrone-ism?
John: You did not read correctly.
Touchdown Tony from Festus, MO:
We have an anemic offense, grossly so. It stands to reason, following Jags logic, that we have the highest-paid running back and center. .... Really? 3-13.
John: The Jaguars' offense indeed has been anemic in recent seasons; no question. I suppose the way to have changed that would have been to not draft a running back this past offseason or to not have participated in free agency a couple of years back – and then to not have re-signed Brandon Linder and allowed him to leave as a free agent. Yes, yes … that would have been the better plan.
Flounder from Delta Chi:
Oh, boy. Is this great!
John: I know you think that, but try telling that to Tony.
Steve from Sunroom Couch:
John, tell Richard from SS that the Jaguars are already penciled in for a prime-time slot on 10/15 at 4:05 p.m. against the mighty Rams.
John: I'll definitely tell him, but he probably will tell you that 4:05 p.m. is not a prime-time slot – and he will be right.
DUVAL DOOM from Section 217:
I told you not to say it. I'll see you at training camp, punk. Shadrick can't be with you all the time.
John: You know where to find me.
Nate from Atlanta, GA:
With training camp finally here, I was looking through the roster and realized with all the talk about Poz and Jack I know virtually none of the backup linebackers. Is depth a concern with the Jags linebackers?
John: It's a concern to many fans because they haven't heard of a lot of the backup linebackers. It's not as concerning to the team because the backup linebackers are a lot about backing up the position and a lot about special teams. Players such as Audie Cole, Josh McNary and Hayes Pullard III are experienced special teams players and rookie Blair Brown has the skill set to be a factor on special teams. That's a primary focus for the Jaguars at those spots.
Mac from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Telvin Smith, Jalen Ramsey, Dede Westbrook and Corey Grant line up to race a 100-meter dash. Who you got coming in first, second, third and fourth?
John: Grant wins, and I'd guess Westbrook is second followed by Ramsey and Smith.
Mike from Section 408:
According to Pro Football Focus, Patrick Omameh graded out as our best pass blocker last year. What odds do you give him at supplanting A.J. Cann in the starting lineup?
John: I think there's a chance this happens, though I would give a slight edge to Cann. That could change dramatically by next week because the Jaguars will have practiced in pads several times by then. So, the odds? Three to one. No, wait: three-and-half to one.
Gavin from Jacksonville:
How many yards do you think Leonard Fournette will gain this season?
John: Eleven hundred fifty-one.
Glen from Orange Park, FL:
Who do you think will line up where regarding our wide receivers and is there much chance that could change during camp and preseason?
John: I can't see Allen Robinson not remaining in the "X" role he has played the last two seasons. That means he will play the majority of snaps. It remains to be seen how reps/positions are split between Allen Hurns, Marqise Lee and Dede Westbrook, though I anticipate Lee starting opposite Robinson with Hurns/Lee/Robinson all moving into the slot at times. Westbrook as a rookie remains something of an unknown – and how he performs in camp could go change the position's dynamic.
J.E.T from Jacksonville:
How optimistic should I be this year? Or should I watch the upcoming season with bated breath to finally believe this is the season things turn around?
John: I suppose you should maybe just watch and see how things turn out. These things have a way of working themselves out.
Fred from Jac:
I must admit, I feel it too. But all 32 teams' fans have an immense amount of hope just before training camp commences. Coming out of the gate quickly is critical: 0-4 to 0-8 just cannot happen. The lousy starts are what have collectively pummeled the fans the past few years.
John: Yeah, 0-8 wouldn't be good.
Kyle from Pensacola, FL:
Johnny O, I gotta side with The Dude from Clermont. Defensed is informal and should only be used when the word is spoken, not written (or typed). So it's OK for sports announcers to say " was well defensed," but sports writers should always use "defended." Even lowly bloggers and menial website guys. I joke ... sort of.
John: This is not a topic about which I am passionate, but because "passes defensed" is commonly used as a statistical category, I have no qualms about using it when referring to that statistic.
Holger from Zurich, Switzerland:
What does your normal day look like on a training camp practice day?
John: Hot.
Logan from Wichita, KS:
IT'S HERE!! Training camp us here!!! Football is back!!!! Wait ... now what?!?!
John: Now, we sweat. And stink of sweat.
Tom from Marlton, NJ:
I saw on ESPN that Von Miller had a pass-rush camp and many players from around the league were there. I was wondering if you heard about this and if you knew, why it looked like Malik Jackson was the only Jaguar there. I would think Ngakuoe, Fowler, or even Smith would have benefited from a camp like this.
John: It's my understanding that the camp was known as the "Von Miller Pass Rush Summit" was something to which Miller invited certain players. So, maybe the players you mentioned weren't invited, or maybe they had previous engagements. Or, in the case of Smith, maybe they're not really a pass rushers. But whatever … Camps and summits are fine, but they're hardly the only way to work and improve in the offseason; attendance or lack thereof isn't a defining commentary on a player's career or work ethic.
Dan from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
O, what are your theories on what is going to happen on Game of Thrones? I know you watch.
John: My wife watches Game of Thrones. I do not.
Marius from Stuttgart, Germany:
Zone, in last year's training camp, Dante Fowler Jr. didn't only look like a pass-rush monster, all the other players (especially defensive linemen) said so in interviews. Was our offensive line that bad last year or is he really that good – and just couldn't do it against other teams? How good does he have to be after this training camp to be a starter?
John: Fowler looked devastating in non-padded work last offseason because that's when his athleticism and intensity shone through. He is impressive in those situations, and he is impressive in games when he gets off blocks. His issues began when pads went on, because that's when technique and pass-rush fundamentals moves are at a premium. How good does he have to be to be a start this season? Better than Yannick Ngakoue.
Jags from Jag Town:
Joy to the world … O-Zone is dead … We barbecued its head … What happened to its body … We flushed it down the potty … and round and round it went … and round and round it went … and round, and round, and round it went.
John: I can get on board with this.

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