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O-Zone: Lonesome loser

JACKSONVILLE - Let's get to it . . . Mike from Jacksonville:
I know the league controls scheduling. But seriously, our home schedule is terrible – not because of the opponents, but because of the calendar. After our two September openers, we have exactly one game in October (because of London) and one in November – but three in a row in DECEMBER??? That is detrimental to attendance, not only because it's the holiday season, but because when that run starts Thursday, December 5 with four games to go, we're "expected" to be 3-9 or 4-8 at best. That won't bode well for our bandwagon fan base. So the league is doing us no favors on that front, especially with all the endless national relocation talk. Just sayin . . .
John: I'm sorry, but I just don't much get into good or bad or fair or unfair schedules. And I certainly don't buy into the league "doing teams favors" in that area. The league must schedule 32 teams nationwide, and it's difficult if not impossible to be aware of the details of each team through all 16 regular-season games. Generally speaking, the league tries to limit stretches of three games road or home and it does try to accommodate teams' individual circumstances whenever possible. But with so many teams involved, I've just never bought into the idea that there are schedule-makers somewhere in a basement with a computer trying to help or hurt certain teams. Fan bases believe this and team officials do sometimes, too, but it just doesn't add up.
Keith from Summerville:
I'm not a fan of soccer, but because of some of the nice comments Fulham fans made on the story about Mr. Khan's purchase of their team, I found their website and bought some of their merchandise. Go Whites!
John: Good stuff. I sense you are not alone.
John from Gloucestershire, England:
We play Seattle in Week 3 of the regular season, another team that plays a Leo-type defense. How does the offense counter a team playing the Leo-style defense?
John: Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley's defense indeed includes a Leo, which is a hybrid end/linebacker whose role primarily is to rush the passer. So, you have to be aware and get him blocked. The trademark of the defense is aggressive, man-to-man coverage in the secondary, so receivers have to beat that coverage and quarterbacks need to get rid of the ball in timely fashion. As with any defense, its effectiveness largely depends on the personnel. The Seahawks have spent several offseason drafting, acquiring and developing players for the scheme, and their corners cover very well in press. Their pass rush emerged as one of the league's best last season. So when the teams play in September, whoever is starting at quarterback for the Jaguars will need to make good, quick decisions and mix in the run when needed. Mostly, the Jaguars need to play fast-paced and the quarterback needs to play well. That's pretty obvious, but the Leo-based defense isn't necessarily overly tricky. As in most things football, it's about execution.
Nelly from Jacksonville:
I'm ready for some football! I'm tired of all this speculating!! Go Jags!
John: Whoa, Nelly.
Eric from Manila, Philippines:
It feels kinda weird that the sixth-round pick remains unsigned at this point. Isn't this a bad omen for the former Florida safety?
John: No. Josh Evans will get signed before training camp, and when he does, he won't be any further ahead or further behind because he isn't signed July 14.
Jared from Downtown O-Town:
Since you brought it up, what was your 40 time at the Sportswriter's Combine?
John: Like a lot of front-line prospects, I opted to not run at the combine. I did run at my Pro Day, where I tripped and stumbled out of my stance. I made it 30 yards, tripped again, and then crawled across the line. A few scouts timed me, but mostly it was a moment for disinterest or derisive laughter.
Jeff from Starke, FL:
Hmmm, I think I now have a favorite Premier League Football team. I've never gotten into U.S. professional soccer although I love watching the National Team. This is actually exciting.
John: Yes, it is.
Chad from Jacksonville:
How many defensive ends do you expect to make the roster, and who do you expect them to be.
John: I'd expect five or six. Jason Babin, Tyson Alualu, Andre Branch and Jeremy Mincey would appear to be favorites, along with Brandon Deaderick. Keep an eye on J.D. Griggs, Paul Hazel and Pannel Egboh. You'd think an unknown is going to get a chance to make the roster at that position.
David from Mississippi River:
I just want to say that you, my friend, are amazing. I am a deckhand on a towboat that runs the upper Mississippi River and I never have a chance to write seeing as my phone is not high tech enough to allow me to. But seeing as I'm home now I want you to know that I do read the O-ZONE every day and even when my captain has me mad I know I can always brighten my day with a little Johnny O. . . .
John: You wrote more, but you could have stopped at "amazing." That sentence was brilliant, insightful and well, I'm man enough to admit that I cried a bit. Then again, I cry a lot.
Brian from Staten Island, NY:
Here goes nothing... Moodachay, all my troubles seem so far away. Now it looks as though it's here to stay, oh, I believe in Moodachay. Let's see you do better, O-man.
John: I can't.
Josh from Jacksonville:
I want to say my opinion of Khan buying the Fulham team. I'm not scared of him moving the team to London. I think it helps increase the Jaguars brand recognition with him as the face. If everyone over there knows him but knows nothing of the Jags, that and the fact they will be there once a year for the next four years gives them a reason to cheer for the Khan and the Jags.
John: There's a lot of truth in what you write. Look, I get that anything associated with Khan and London makes some people nervous. People don't like innovative, outside-the-box thinking, and a London series and an overseas presence is outside the box enough to make people nervous. The Fulham purchase will do nothing but raise Khan's profile and that of the Jaguars, and if that's the case, the Jaguars and Jacksonville each benefit.
Brian from Atlanta, GA:
There has been a lot of talk recently about how highly the team thought of Josh Evans before the draft and how he has performed well throughout the offseason. Do you think we could be seeing a team that tries to work in a few more three-safety sets with two playing more in the box?
John: That doesn't seem to be Bradley's mode-of-operation, but honestly, if I knew the answer based off of minicamp practice, I couldn't tell you. Well, I could tell you, but then I'd have to . . . wait . . . wait . . .#MOODACHAY!!!
Jack from Jacksonville:
Some writer wrote that the Jags were in the bottom of the AFC (of course) and that Luke Joeckel was the only player on the roster that could start for all three others teams (Colts, Titans, Texans). The guys on the radio (1010XL) didn't seem to disagree entirely. I don't follow the other three teams as close, but that seems a little harsh. I think Blackmon, Monroe, Shorts, Anger, Posluszny and maybe Scobee would start for all three of those teams. What are your thoughts?
John: Well, throw Anger and Scobee out because they're not technically "starters." I don't know that both Jaguars wide receivers would start for all three other teams, but I do believe that Shorts would start for all three, and that a strong argument could be made for Monroe and Posluszny. Not covering the other teams, I don't know exactly the value they put on the players they have starting at those positions. Quite possibly, they bring attributes to the spots specific to what those teams do, but the list you mentioned is a strong one, and before season's end, you might include a player such as Johnathan Cyprien at safety on there, too. We shall see.
Gary from Broken Arrow, OK:
Uncle Otto, shuffling south, napping, drinking, broke and happy, dying, Moodachay . . . I was on the edge of my seat!
John: I have no idea what you're talking about.
Fred from Naples, FL:
Elton John or Billy Joel?
John: Billy Joel released "Turnstiles," "Piano Man," "Stranger," "52nd Street" and "Glass Houses" in a seven-year period. That's strong. Very strong. He also high-fived me while singing "Big Shot" in a December 1 show at the old Coliseum, a show I regrettably attended while wearing my treasured, red Olivia Newton-John "Grease" T-Shirt. That disturbing memory aside, I have to take Joel, though I'm an Elton fan, too.
Tom from St. Augustine:
I submit that right here in (Little) River (Band) City it's: Time for a mooooooodachaaaaaaaay.... I know that it's time for a mooooooodachaaaaaaaay . . . and now that my life is so prearranged I know that it's time for a mooooooodachaaaaaaaay. Maybe setting it to music would really make it take off.
John: I saw LRB at the Coliseum in '79. I didn't wear the Grease T-Shirt, but I was still a Lonesome Loser.

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