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O-Zone: Making a list

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Jamaal from Duvaallll:
Zone, why hasn't David Caldwell thought about signing any free-agent veteran linebackers for depth? If Skuta, Poz, or Telvin goes down we could have real issues. I don't think we should place our trust in UDFAs if someone gets hurt.
John: What makes you think he hasn't thought about this? Not doing something doesn't not mean you haven't thought about it. I think about walking over to J.P. Shadrick's office every day and whacking him on the back of the head with my notepad. I don't do it often … but, man, do I think about it. For now, Caldwell clearly believes the players on the team are better options than the options on the street. At the same time, it wouldn't surprise me a bit if there are one or two veteran linebackers signed after teams release players. That wouldn't be a shock at all.
Bob from Dellwood, FL:
As a fan, I have been encouraged and patient. Come on John-boy, is this the season to expect 7-9 wins? Come on JOHN, work with me here!
John: I won't go as far as "expect." I will go as far as to say there's a far better chance than I thought there was last season. But hey: it's only June. Give it time.
Ron from Jacksonville :
TWIMC, Knights of the Round Table were Knights of the Round Table no matter where they were...square tables included.
John: #DTWD
Bo from Dresden, NC:
Do the undrafted free agents stay at the facility? Does the team provide housing for any of the players at all?
John: Though on occasion I have been known to sleep under my desk, there is no "official" housing at EverBank Field. Therefore, undrafted free agents, other rookies and new players do not stay at the facility. The team does provide housing for many of those players at nearby hotels.
Sunil from Jacksonville:
The tension in the Jags of the Round table segment is nothing like what we see during "this or that" during the LIVE Wednesday segment. I think sometimes JP throws Sexton a bone to make him feel good. Otherwise, you totally dominate him in that segment! I am starting to look forward to it every week!
John: Life around is an intense, emotional experience. And that's just in the offseason.
Dave from Duval, FL:
Hey O-Zone, I agree Buddy Ryan, the 1985 Chicago Bears and their vaunted "46" Defense was arguably the greatest NFL defense of all-time. But remember what Dan Marino with his quick release and Mark Duper and Mark Clayton did to that defense on a Monday Night Football Game in the Orange Bowl? Marino carved the Bears up like a Thanksgiving Turkey! Too bad Miami fumbled it away in the AFC Championship Game to New England. The Bears vs Dolphins rematch in the Super Bowl would have been one for the ages!
John: Dolphins-Bears 1985 indeed was one of the most memorable regular-season games in NFL history. And Marino and the Dolphins did have a huge game. I've always sort of believed that the Bears would have won the rematch rather easily had it happened, but unfortunately, we'll never know. As for the Bears, they never achieved the dynasty status many believed possible. Teams soon enough began to adapt to the 46 with maximum protect and multiple tight-end schemes, and the Washington Redskins eliminated them from the playoffs in 1986 and again in 1987. But for one season … well, for one season they were as dominant as any team ever.
Aqui from Portsmouth, VA:
What's going on with Justin Blackmon?
John: Justin Blackmon is indefinitely suspended by the NFL for violation of the league's substance-abuse policies. Beyond that – despite fan desire for there to be something new to the situation – there are few details known.
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
I am glad to hear that Blake Bortles is confident and appears to be growing into his role. My concern is what I call "The Gabbert Factor" now. Where you have someone that shows tremendous talent and skill in practices/OTAs, but once on the field their performance is quite the opposite. In your opinion O-man, is Blake the real deal or practice star?
John: Let's not make up things about which to worry. I say that because while Bortles is far from a fully-developed NFL quarterback, your concern is certainly not an issue with him. It was, in fact, pretty well-documented last season that by his own admission Bortles is not a "practice star" and typically plays better in live situations. That's not to say Bortles is awful in practice, but it's just not a case where Bortles looks the part in shorts and shells and then struggles in games.
David from Orlando, FL:
O-man, do O-Zone fans ever come up to you and talk to you like an old friend? Also, does the little misses think it's cool when you're recognized by fans or absurd that these people actually seem to value your opinion?
John: I struggle to know when and if people are talking to me like an old friend. This is partly because I have so few friends myself (actually, this is pretty much the whole reason). As for the second part of your question, Mrs. O-Zone has been Mrs. O-Zone for a while. She finds very little about me "cool" and understands that anyone who values anything about me is by the very definition of the word "absurd."
Fred from Naples, FL:
Do you have any idea if Shad Khan reads the O-Zone?
John: I'm sure Shad Khan has some idea of the existence of the O-Zone. I'm also quite sure he has significantly better, more productive things to do with his time.
Rob from Pittsburgh, PA:
John, what gives with all these analysts? I know outsider opinions don't really matter much, as they're usually uninformed, but I'm tired of the Bortles bashing. Did he play well last year? No, absolutely not, but he also didn't look like he was scared and unable to handle himself and kept his composure. To me I see a mature, hard-working, tenacious, competitive kid who wants to win. Not to bash Gabbert, but I always had a weird feeling about him. Not with Bortles though, he seems to have what it takes, just needs to develop a bit and get on the field to prove it. No matter his stats last year, I think he played better than some national types remember. Mind giving us your two cents?
John: If all you do is analyze statistics it's easy to say Bortles struggled as a rookie; it's even easy to say he was bad. What that analysis doesn't take into consideration is Bortles indeed showed composure and never seemed to get rattled. It also doesn't take into consideration that Bortles was surrounded by a remarkably young offense. Watching Bortles, I have a hard time saying he played well most of the season. He must improve a lot. But I I think the fact that he kept his composure and kept the confidence of his teammates through a difficult season will help him to do that.
Armand from Duval:
After OTAs and minicamp, can Blake Bortles and all the receivers get together again or is it against the CBA?
John: The Collective Bargaining Agreement doesn't cover work away from the team's facility. Just as the receivers and Bortles were allowed to work together away from EverBank Field in March they could work in the same capacity in late June and early July. I wouldn't think they would, though – and I don't know that they should, either. The football season is year-round enough; Bortles by the end of veteran minicamp later this month will have done all that could be expected this offseason – and actually a little more than probably should have been expected. Give him a chance to rest. That's OK to do, too.
Cam from Ottawa, CA:
How is Johnathan Cyprien performing in Organized Team Activities? Do you expect him to improve from last season? Also, who do you think will win the starting spot for free safety, James Sample or Sergio Brown?
John: I didn't watch Cyprien closely enough during the first week of OTAs to tell if he was performing well or not, though it's difficult to observe a strong safety doing poorly in three days of such work. As for the free safety spot, I would guess Sergio Brown will start the regular season because he has the veteran experience, but we're a long way from that being decided.
Kent from Jacksonville:
Aside from being arrogant and overrated, what is it about Boselli you seem to have an issue with?
John: Boselli isn't arrogant. He darned sure wasn't overrated. My issues with him … well, let's just leave it at that for now.
John Originally from Jax and now stuck in PA:
Besides Tony Boselli or Josh Scobee, who else would you not want to be locked in a room with?
John: That's a pretty comprehensive list.

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