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O-Zone: Let 'em hear ya

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … KC from Jacksonville:
I am not concerned about Jalen Ramsey. He suffered a minor injury that a lot of guys play through during the season, and he'll likely be back 100 percent before training camp. I am not worried about his talent, either; if the biggest knock on him is his lack of interceptions in college, you're REALLY nitpicking. A pass defensed 20 yards downfield on third-and-10 is the same as collecting the same ball for an interception. My question: do you project him starting inside at nickel initially or starting immediately outside? I ask because I don't think his skillset would suffer from playing nickel. Thoughts?
John: The Jaguars feel about Ramsey pretty much as you do. You don't want the No. 5 overall selection sustaining a meniscus tear, which Ramsey did recently. But as you say – it's considered a small tear with the thought being that Ramsey will play a lot of football next season and that this isn't something that's going to be long-term or talent-diminishing. The Jaguars also aren't overly concerned about the interceptions. As far as where Ramsey will play – outside or at the nickel – he clearly has the skillset to play both. It wouldn't surprise me if in the long range he started on the outside and played nickel in some situations. That would enable him to be on the field all three downs and to at times take away the middle of the field in a similar way to a free safety – a position, not coincidentally, his skillset obviously also fits. But for now if Ramsey is healthy throughout training camp – and there's every chance that will be the case – I see him starting on the outside opposite Davon House.
Matt from the Mattcave:
O man, I have blindly taken everything you say as truth. But recently while watching the Jags of the Round Table I realized something … if you are calling it Jags of the Round Table when it is in fact a square table, then how can I ever really trust a word you say? #changethetable
John: It never dawned on me that people thought I was telling the truth. Let me rethink some things and get back to you.
Tommy from Fernandina Beach, FL:
John, last offseason all we heard about was Blake's mechanics and how he worked with his quarterbacks coach to improve them. Is it safe to assume he did the same thing this offseason since we haven't heard about it? Thanks.
John: Bortles did spend some time early in the offseason focusing on fundamentals with his offsite quarterbacks coaches. But the work wasn't nearly as extensive as last offseason. That's because for the most part Bortles' mechanics held through last season. Bortles' focus this offseason is far more on the mental area. He wants to take major steps forwards in his mastery of the offense and that has been his primary offseason objective.
Joe from Jacksonville:
I spent a day last week in an emotionally draining meeting regarding the dissolution of my 15-year marriage. Even though I'm coming out of it okay, I was feeling a bit down … until I realized there was a new O-Zone I hadn't yet read. Thanks for being there, man.
John: #DTWD
Camron from Longwood:
The Dante Fowler Jr.-to-Otto questions stem from Jaguars General Manager Dave Caldwell saying that they planned on moving Fowler around the defense. He never said Otto, but it is a logical jump considering Telvin Smith is an entrenched starter and the insane rotation/depth we have at defensive tackle/strong-side defensive end.
John: When the Jaguars talk of moving Fowler around the defense, they're talking about him lining up in different spots along the line in an effort to get better match-ups. That's something I anticipate happening, though not immediately. But moving around for match-ups is not the same as playing strong-side linebacker or end, and I don't anticipate Fowler doing either in the foreseeable future.
Earl from Middleburg, FL:
Observation … in a video recently we see Ramsey running forwards, backwards, forwards, backwards, etc., in a very short period of time. I don't recall seeing such behavior on game day. Can you explain to me why such practices are done by certified trainers that aren't conducive to "normal" game-day body movements? I think you see where I'm going here.
John: Are you serious, Clark?
Robert from Endsee, Bavaria:
Mr. Oehser: One day the Jaguars will win a playoff berth and the complainers will want heads to roll if they don't win the Super Bowl. Don't even reply to these clowns.
John: I will admit one reason I want to see the Jaguars win the Super Bowl is to read at least one email that evening questioning the margin of victory.
Mike from Austin, TX:
How much of a liability is Poz in pass coverage? He had more interceptions and passes defended than Telvin Smith. He also is a league leader in tackles, so how much longer do you think he can play at a high level?
John: Jaguars middle linebacker Paul Posluszny long has been criticized for his pass coverage, and there have been times his speed indeed has been an issue there. There also have been times he has played well in coverage and there have been far more times than not when he has been a huge asset to this team. That has been particularly true on first and second down. I don't think he's as much of a liability as others do, though I think he will play far less on third downs this season than in past seasons.
Nathan from Provo, UT:
Panic! In the O-Zone. This team lives and dies with Blake Bortles and his offense. My thoughts are that the unit will be improved from last season. The emphasis will be on Blake's interceptions. With the offense's ability, those 'picks' instantly translate to points lost for this team. Which in turn puts us in the loss column in the close games. I think the defense will be fine, and improved. After all, we did get Prince, and did not plan on drafting Jalen. That means we have depth at the position. I project our team going 9-7 this year. And 12-4 the season after that. As long as our quarterback is healthy . . . What say you, John? #nopix
John: I say there's a lot of truth in what you say. I've said several times in recent weeks that I still believe perhaps the major issue this offseason and entering this season is how much the offense improves. I see the defense improving and being better on third down. I don't know that it will be elite yet – that may not happen until 2017 – but I do think the defense will be better. The offense, because of the continuity of Blake Bortles/Allen Robinson/Allen Hurns/Julius Thomas, has a chance to take a major step forward. It was a good unit last season that showed potential. If it gets closer to being an elite unit, then the Jaguars could take a major step forward.
Mike from Middleburg, FL:
I think Marqise Lee has been held back for our secret weapon like Percy Harvin … you think?
John: For your theory to be true, the Jaguars would have had to have conspired to have Lee be injured – or give impression of being injured – on multiple occasions, hindering his career development and his career in the process as well as potentially hindering the franchise's growth and his own potential financial future. I guess what I'm getting at is I don't think the Jaguars have been holding back Lee.
Mike from Jacksonville:
O, someone we aren't talking about and I'm very curious about is Tyrone Holmes. Yes, he was an FCS player, but regardless: 18 sacks is 18 sacks. That's a lot of sacks for a 12-game season. Not to mention his Pro-Day stats were equal to or better than Joey Bosa, who many believed was the best rusher in the draft. I'm aware there's a huge difference in FBS and FCS play, but it's still football. What he did in college deserves merit, and I believe we found a large diamond-in-the-rough with a sixth-rounder. Your thoughts?
John: There's a chance you're right. If the Jaguars didn't believe that, they wouldn't have drafted him. The reason we haven't discussed Holmes much is there isn't a whole lot to discuss yet. Level of competition is the biggest concern for a player from an FCS program – and we won't know how Holmes fares against NFL competition until he actually plays against it. Holmes does have the two things you want from a small-school player: production and measurables. We'll get a feel for how he looks during organized team activities and minicamps in the coming weeks, but we won't know how he makes the transition until the pads go on – and maybe not for a while after that.
Cristiano from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:
I occasionally scream Duuuuuuuuvaaaaaaaaaaaal from down here.
John: Yeah, we heard you.

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