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O-Zone: Mad respect

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Kevin from Duval:
I'm all for optimism, but why does nobody seem to remember the many times last year that our young quarterback simply did not play well?
John: This is a fair question, and there indeed were times last season Blake Bortles didn't play well. And that indeed has been lost a bit at times this offseason because there were so many positives – even beyond the 35 touchdown passes and more than 4,000 yards passing. He showed signs of developing into an elite quarterback, showed a flair for the big play and continued to show outstanding leadership qualities – not to mention calm in pressurized situations and winning poise. His potential is encouraging, enticing and exciting – and that potential is very real. And for a second-year quarterback, Bortles' 2015 season was remarkable. But I've said many times this offseason that the biggest storyline for this team in 2016 remains the development of Bortles – yes, a bigger storyline than the defense, running game, pass rush or offensive line. He must continue the maturation process and that means developing in key areas such as consistency, efficiency, pocket presence and field vision. There's no reason to believe he won't develop in those areas, but the development must happen. It's the key to this franchise's immediate and long-term future and it's in no way decided yet.
Mike from Palm Bay, FL:
Hey, John. I have three boys ... 8, 7 and 5 and two girls ... 4 and 7 months. I'm so excited they get to grow up in this era of the Jags!!! That's all. Keep being awesome.
John: Goodness gracious, man … do you not sleep?
Cdub from St. Augustine, FL:
I like Jarrod Wilson over Peyton Thompson for the final roster as a backup to Tashaun Gipson. Agree or disagree?
John: Disagree. It's possible that Wilson could win the job, but he's an undrafted rookie free agent who has yet to participate in a full-contact NFL practice. Until he does – and until the competition plays out a bit in training camp and preseason – I'd give the edge to the veteran.
Ralph from Jacksonville:
Please tell Rik from Jax he does not speak for all who keep up with the team. At least not as it pertains to Paul Posluszny.
John: Okey doke.
Steve from Jax Beach:
What about local bands? Steve Stiletto and the Switchblades or Mike Angelo and the Idols?
John: I was in college during a lot of the Switchblades' time, so while many people I knew followed the band – and while close friends of mine knew people in the band well – I can't say I was a hardcore Switchblades follower. I do admit a strong bias to bands in which my good friends Chris McFall (bass) and Steve Bauknecht (drums) played, so I'd have Big Velvet Elvis, The Evil Maracas and The Philters on my list. And, of course, the Blaine Crews Band (Hey!)
Eric from De Bang Em:
Aaron Colvin returns from suspension and appears to be in solid form. Prince Amukamara and Davon House are playing lights out. Who starts at nickel, Jalen Ramsey or Colvin?
John: This will be an area to monitor during training camp. I imagine the Jaguars will start the season with Amukamara and House on the outside with Ramsey playing the nickel. After that, I don't think it will be very long at all before Ramsey moves outside to start opposite House with Colvin in the nickel. The Jaguars have at least four really viable options at corner entering next season. That's a serious improvement from recent seasons.
Scott from Jacksonville:
What's a panache?
John: Put syrup on it, taste it and let me know.
Arianna from Pooler, GA:
I could see Dave Caldwell trying to trade Sen'Derrick Marks, Michael Bennett and or Tyson Alualu for help at Otto linebacker or back-up safety considering the depth at defensive line. What you think, O'sir?
John: I can't imagine Caldwell trying to move Sen'Derrick Marks; if healthy, Marks should have a significant role in passing situations as an interior pass rusher – and that's a critical role on the defense. Remember: the biggest thing this defense must do is improve pressure on third downs and if it does that, the overall defensive improvement could be dramatic. Could Caldwell try to trade a player such as Bennett or Alualu? Perhaps, but it probably would be late in the preseason – perhaps after the final preseason game – and I sort of doubt this happens.
Jags Fan 818 from Jacksonville:
Xanax and Prozac aren't working anymore!!!! I have watched the highlights from all the games last year over and over and over. I could just about tell you word for word from the commentators. I have football dehydration!!!! Sadness is ... well, with everyone on vacation, I hope you're doing something fun as well as appeasing us poor souls!!!
John: I'm not.
Bill from Jacksonville, FL:
John, what do you think the response from the NFL if the NFLPA approached them with the following offer: We will sign off on an 18-game regular-season, but there no longer will be franchise tags. Seems like a fair tradeoff, no? Thanks! Go Jags!
John: I suppose it's not an "unfair" tradeoff, though I don't know that one issue actually has much to do with the other. My first thought is that if you're representing all NFL players you wouldn't want to sign off on an 18-game regular season to get the franchise tag removed. The 18-game regular season puts every NFL player at further injury risk and adds further wear and tear to the body of every NFL player while the franchise tag affects a few players a year.
Michael from Middleburg, FL:
Tired of the sniveling "I-was-a first-or-longest-fan" babies ... enough.
John: Well, that's not nice.
Dalton from UCF:
After drafting Myles Jack in the second round, Dave Caldwell mentioned how he was one of four guys that he was considering taking with the No. 5 pick. With that said, it's hard to believe Gus and the staff don't have a definite plan for his role in the defense.
John: The Jaguars' plan with Jack is sort of the same as it is with Jalen Ramsey – have him learn the defense as quickly as possible and see what role he's prepared to play as a rookie. That's really the role you typically want to have rookies playing entering their first NFL training camp. It appears likely the plan at first is to have Jack learn the defense in the middle linebacker position and quite possibly play extensively in coverage in passing situations. If he plays a key role in passing situations – which I believe he will – he will play a key role in the defense. Remember: it's one thing to plan and another thing to actually see how a player fits into the scheme and what he is ready to do within the defense. Jack practiced three times in mid-June. That's pretty much the extent of his NFL career. Once he has practiced for a couple of weeks the plan will get a lot more "definite" in a hurry.
Todd from Jacksonville:
Well, O, I need to say something that I don't think is said nearly enough. John, you were right. I think the new Jags Logo is pretty cool. It has definitely grown on me.
John: Thank you. I know that was difficult.
Al from Orange Park, FL:
OK, I'm sure that I'm prejudiced, but I rank the Jags' second-season AFC Championship game appearance as more impressive than Carolina's because of the different way those two teams were built. Like the current Jags rebuild, the Jags had mostly young, ascending players. Carolina built "the other way" with a lot of seasoned veterans. If I remember correctly, Jags did better for several years thereafter than Carolina, too, as a result, did they not?
John: The expansion Panthers of the early-2000s were built more with veterans than the Jaguars – and yes, the Jaguars sustained their success a few years longer than Carolina. Within the context of that one season, though, it's difficult and inaccurate to put one team's season ahead of the other. They both entered the NFL in 1995 and both were contending for a Super Bowl a little more than a year later. It was an incredible story, and one I doubt we'll see again.
Jay from Morristown, NJ:
Similar story to Bill from Dansville: I was six years old in 1994, at the holiday boutique my school held in the cafegymatorium for kids to buy "world's greatest dad" mugs and such. Already big into the NFL and a third-generation Giants fan, I gleefully reached into a bucket of NFL pencils and blindly pulled out a teal pencil with the mysterious new logo of some imaginary team. My little mind was blown. Bye bye, Giants. Been a fan since first grade!
John: My son bought a World's Greatest Dad mug a few years back. It was an awesome moment until he broke it over my skull.

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