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O-Zone: Memorable effort

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … O-Zone Subscriber:
Can you please answer the question about our left-tackle battle for the 16th time although the competition currently is being completed by one guy and a guy recovering from injury and the team is working in shorts and helmets instead of answering fun questions intermingled to add some fun to the 'Zone? C'mon, O man!! I pay good money for this column and I expect mindless ramblings about the same topic that can't be resolved for months every day.
John: I get your point, and I indeed included an email in Friday's O-Zone wondering why I answer non-football questions. I included that email Friday in part for fun and in part because there are people who get annoyed with questions I do or don't choose. I suppose Memorial Day Weekend is as good a time as any to step back for a few sentences and address that "issue." Yes, I answer many non-football questions in the O-Zone. There are also times the topics get somewhat silly and veer far away from football. If people care enough about the O-Zone to care why this is the case – and I'm flattered that it seems to be the case – here's the reason for the veering and the non-football stuff: this column runs literally every day, which means there are going to be times when a topic has been covered more than once. In some cases, there are topics covered far, far more than once. The objective of the O-Zone is not to have every question/answer explore a different topic, then move on. The objective is to give people a place to talk Jaguars every day and hopefully to enjoy themselves while doing it. That often means questions that have been answered before because not everyone reads the O-Zone every day; if that seems odd, misguided and ill-advised, it's nevertheless true. It also means I'm going to allow things to veer off football and perhaps into silliness at times. But the O-Zone is at its heart is driven by two things: the Jaguars and the fans. People ask questions and I answer them. Sometimes they are about the Jaguars and sometimes they are about topics far removed from the Jaguars, but always they are from the readers, which leads me to assume that at least some faction of readers enjoy it all on some level. My suggestion: if you have read something before or don't enjoy a question, skip it! So far, there always has been another question – either that day or the next day. If that doesn't work, I'll try to work out a way to get you a refund. Just let me know how much it cost you to read that day.
Hunter from Orlando, FL:
Technically, isn't asking the question "Why do you answer non-football related questions in the O-Zone?" a non-football question?
John: If you want to get technical about it … yes, it is. Technically speaking, anyway.
Bo from Dresden, NC:
After a few practices, what is your take on Arrelious Benn and Chris Ivory? Barring injury do T.J. Yeldon, Ivory and Jonas Gray seem locked?
John: Arrelious Benn looks as Benn usually looks – like a player who absolutely can make this roster and contribute provided he can stay healthy. That has been his issue and will remain his issue until it's not. Chris Ivory looks as physical and impressive as advertised, though it's difficult to get a real gauge until hitting begins. I wouldn't call Jonas Gray a lock, but certainly T.J. Yeldon and Ivory qualify.
Ross from Jacksonville:
Jalen Ramsey wore No. 8 at Florida State. Can a cornerback wear No. 8 in the NFL? Could he wear that number or has it been retired with Mark Brunell? Can the retired number be granted by the player who used it? Was curious. Not a fan of retiring numbers.
John: No, Ramsey cannot wear No. 8 in the NFL. Defensive backs must wear Nos. 20-39. The Jaguars haven't officially retired any numbers, though 8, 28, 32, 71 and 82 are not used.
Paul from Jacksonville:
I see the TOTO position as more of a really aggressive pass rusher. You know, one that says to opposing quarterbacks, "Gonna take a lot to drag me away from you! There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do!"
John: Hurry boy.
Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
A great example supporting your point about player's tones in interviews versus their performance on the field is DeMarcus Ware. He is the most soft-spoken, kind and mannerly player I've ever heard in an interview ... but on the field, well, you know.
John: There are examples after examples of this and most of the best players I've covered have been courteous and well-mannered off the field. Perhaps the most ferocious defensive player I ever covered was Bob Sanders, who when healthy was as good as any safety in the last 15 or 20 years. He was polite, courteous and mild-mannered off the field, and the same was true of Jeff Saturday, Tony Boselli, Jeff Lageman – any number of really good linemen who needed on-field ferocity to excel at their jobs. Interview demeanor just doesn't have any effect on on-field play.
Mike from Des Moines, IA:
I have to agree with Shad Khan about the Super Bowl in Jacksonville. Many cities have made their downtown the central business district, so hotels and bars and restaurants follow people downtown. Jacksonville has decentralized everything and made it very spread out. This has pros and cons, but is not conducive to hosting massive events downtown. I'd say keep doing what you're doing and check back in five-to-ten years.
John: Other cities have more event-oriented, downtown hotels than Jacksonville. This does not make Jacksonville an "un-great" place to live. It does not make the people who live here "un-great." It simply, as you note, means that for right now it's a difficult Super Bowl city.
Steve from Denver, CO:
O- Please thank J.P. for having the decency to wear long pants for Jags of the End Zone. How soon will Mr. K impose a dress code for Jag writers?
John: You liked that look, Steve. Deep down you know you did.
Hunter from Jacksonville:
I'm curious about your thoughts on the Ravens practicing when they shouldn't have. I know you don't work there, but would you say a team would be more likely to try something like that because there's that much to gain from one extra type of practice? Or is it more like they probably just didn't think they were going to get caught? I'm struggling to find a risk vs reward in their favor...
John: You're right that I don't work for the Ravens, so I don't know what motivates them – or how they approach the offseason. My experience around OTAs leads me to agree with you: I don't know what would motivate anyone to want more of them. I typically vote the other way, after which I'm reminded that I'll never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever have a … you know … vote.
Mike from Jacksonville:
O, I know it's ridiculously early for this question, but what positions do you see the Jaguars targeting in the 2017 draft? The only positions where I see a potential need are offensive line, tight end (Marcedes Lewis is getting up there) and linebacker. Also, these positions have the potential to be just fine in 2016. It feels as if we've filled all the holes in the roster now; seems like a great problem to have. Help us out O: what holes do you potentially see by the end of the season?
John: There are no words.
Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire:
Cor blimey Guv'nor! I've only gone and seen Scotty Jag has started followin' our footie or soccer as you call it. And love a duck, up the apples 'n' pears, if 'e don't fink that all of us over 'ear speak cock-er-knee. Strewth Guv, I was in a right two and eight weren't I? Who'd da fort that all us over 'ere in da UK speak like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. Pip, pip and strike a light me old china. He's got it all Pete Tong as 'e. Give us a butchers, knees up muvva brown, down the Old Kent Road, he stitched me up like a kipper, good and proper. I'll go right chicken oriental. Cherrio!
John: I once read an article in which a book editor said he wasn't sure whether he actually liked a submission or not, but that the book in question was structured so complexly, intricately and impressively that it seemed to set a new bar for the structure and possibilities of a novel. He was in awe of the kind of mind – and indeed, the effort and planning – it took to create such a work. In that respect, he asked, "Who was he to not publish that book?" I felt the same way about this email. Sort of. Except not.

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