JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Chris from Mandarin, FL:
Do you think we'll basically know what Dante Fowler Jr. is going to be this season based on how practices with the Buccaneers go given the way he disappeared during them last training camp?
John: We'll know how Fowler is going to be this season based on how he plays this season. We may have a vague idea during training-camp practices if he has improved as a pass rusher because that's where Fowler struggled against Tampa Bay last August. But remember: Fowler is still a young player. No matter how he fares in training-camp practices it's very possible he will improve overall and as a pass rusher after that. It actually would be surprising if he's as good in the preseason as he is in the regular season, particularly considering the things on which he is focusing are techniques that should be honed and improved once padded work begins.
John from Jacksonville:
I keep seeing that Barry Church, Tashaun Gipson, T.J. Yeldon, etc. "missed" OTAs? Is that true, or were they just not active during the on-field practices due to injury? OTAs also involve a lot of position rooms and install meetings as well as rehab on the sidelines, correct? Were they in attendance each day or did they truly miss?
John: I don't know where you keep seeing Church, Yeldon, Gipson and the like missed OTAs. It probably wasn't here, where I have been pretty consistent writing that the aforementioned players as well as players such as cornerback Aaron Colvin, tight end Neal Sterling, etc., in fact attended OTAs and worked on the side. The only Jaguars veteran not at the facility for any significant time during OTAs was left tackle Branden Albert.
Tom from Orlando, FL:
Out of left field … but if Fred Taylor doesn't make the Hall of Fame, we should burn that place down. Just kidding; I don't advocate violence. Just look at the tape. I can't look at my wife with a straight face and explain half the stuff the man did. She just stares at me looking for answers and I shrug because there isn't another person on this planet aside from Fred Taylor himself that can even attempt to rationalize what you see on film. HOF or bust!
John: Taylor was cool. A lot of people liked watching him, though it sounds as if you and your wife are perhaps more passionate about the topic than most.
Jaginator (formerly of) Section124:
There are few more misleading "stats" than the idea that 40 percent of our line will be new. Yes, there will be two new starters – but we let one starting-caliber player walk who was arguably our second-best blocker last year. So, from a unit that was one of the weakest parts of the team last year, we managed to upgrade a net total of one position. One hundred percent of the right side of our offensive line remains intact – and A.J. Cann and Jermey Parnell were borderline awful last year. I lost track of how many times I watched d-linemen simply run around Jermey "Statue" Parnell.
John: The statistic that 40 percent of the Jaguars' offensive line will be new is in no way misleading. If Albert and Cam Robinson both start, two of five starters will be new. That by definition is 40 percent. Now, it appears from your email you don't believe that newness upgraded the line; you are certainly entitled to that belief. The Jaguars obviously saw former left tackle Kelvin Beachum much different than many Jaguars fans and believed left tackle needed to be addressed in some capacity – either through free agency or the draft. They also saw Parnell and perhaps Cann differently than most fans and many observers. Were they misreading the situation? Perhaps. Did they do enough? Perhaps not. Either way, to say they didn't address the offensive line is simply incorrect.
Richerd from Texas:
Which position groups do you think have the best backups on our team? I feel safe with our linebackers, tight ends and running backs (Watch out for Blair Brown). Quarterback, offensive line and cornerback are, umm, up in the air, meaning if one of the starters from those groups gets injured we will be hurting bad. Now to my actual question, if you had to choose two-to-three position groups with great backups, what would you choose?
John: I don't think the Jaguars have great backups, because few NFL teams have great backups. They are relatively deep at running back, wide receiver if you consider Allen Hurns or Marqise Lee a backup and along the defensive line. The Jaguars aren't so extraordinarily deep at any spot that they can afford injury there. Then again, few NFL teams have such depth.
Bryan from Portland, OR:
Freedom of speech is not just for those you agree with. There's a reason it's the FIRST amendment to the Constitution. It's that important. Colin Kaepernick represents everything American democracy does BEST: the right to stand (or kneel) for what you believe in, and to say so publicly. And he has backed up his protest with charitable efforts in his community. For people like Jim to threaten financial hardships, however small, on a corporation if it employs Kaepernick is downright un-American. Of course, the ironic thing is the First Amendment also affords Jim and his ilk the right to make such ridiculous statements. I would hope the team would not pay any attention to Jim, or to me for that matter, and make a decision based on whether the player would be a better option than Henne (which he clearly would).
John: I ran this email to make the point that not everyone is anti-Kaepernick and not everyone is pro-Kaepernick. I actually have received far more emails supporting Kaepernick's right to express his views in the manner he did than I received emails threatening to disassociate with the Jaguars if they were to sign him (something I don't see happening). Bottom line? Many people disagree with Kaepernick's actions, but most O-Zone readers support his right to express his beliefs. That pretty much covers this aspect of this conversation. Moving on.
Josh from Jacksonville:
O, everyone has been very high on putting Cam Robinson at left guard, but at the draft Nick Saban seemed against it, believing it would be a waste of talent. It's not as if Jermey Parnell has been so stellar to have a solid hold on the right tackle. So, why do people believe it to be such a crazy idea to put him at right if he loses at left tackle? I mean moving our last left tackle to guard worked so well.
John: Nick Saban is a fine college football coach, but his thoughts on where Robinson should play in the NFL matter not one iota. And when I write that I believe Robinson will play guard this season, that's what I mean – that he might play there this season and for the very short term before moving to a tackle position, probably left. Many young soon-to-be tackles have spent a year playing guard in the NFL. There's little reason that can't be Robinson's path.
Mike from Eagan, MN:
Hey John, you said that the Jaguars don't want to kick the tires on Nick Mangold because of his age … did you know that Mangold is only 10 months older than Branden Albert, who you've assured us ISN'T actually old yet? And Mangold has played at a much higher level than Albert as well … so, why is Mangold too old but Albert is A-OK?
John: First off, I don't know that I've assured anyone that Albert isn't old. I know the Jaguars believe he's an upgrade at left tackle and that his run-blocking can provide a dynamic there they didn't have last season. As for who's old and who's not, football is a violent sport that ages different players at different rates. Some NFL players are old in their late 20s; others are young at 34. Maybe Mangold is still young. I suppose we may find out. But I doubt we'll get a first-hand look in Jacksonville – at least not with Mangold in a Jaguars uniform.
KD from McAlester, OK:
There is a saying, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results." I'm applying this to the offensive line. For the last few years they have shuffled the line around with the same result. Insanity. Isn't it time to allow the starting five to jell instead of waiting until Week 3 of the preseason to decide?
John: The definition of insanity actually is "the state of being seriously mentally ill; madness;" or "extreme foolishness or irrationality." It was Albert Einstein who uttered the thing about "same thing over and over again …" and while that theory-of-relatively thing worked out well for him, he never learned to swim – or to drive – so should we really trust him with the Jaguars' offensive line?
O-Zone: Learning to drive
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Chris from Mandarin, FL: