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O-Zone: Memory lapse

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Brandon from Atlanta, GA:
Surely Dante's time with the team last year in the meetings and becoming familiar with the defensive system has given him a big advantage over a typical rookie. In the grand scheme this is only a minor detail, but how do you set an expectation for a player who missed his rookie season due to injury, similar to Kevin White of last year or Shaq Lawson of this year?
John: I have no idea how to set expectations for Kevin White or Shaq Lawson because I'm not close enough to their situations to know the extent of their injuries or – in the case of White – how he has looked this offseason in his return. I am close enough to the Jaguars to know that Dante Fowler Jr. has looked very good in OTAs – and to know that there is more optimism about how he will fare next season than there was early this year. That's not to say there was pessimism before, but any uncertainty/worry that surrounded him appears to be fading quickly. As far as being around last year for meetings … sure, it helped. Familiarity is better than unfamiliarity, but what will really help is being confident in the knee; Fowler appears very, very confident. And don't call me Shirley.
Anthony from Waycross, GA:
How can I get practice tickets?
John: Hold on and I'll ask someone. No, wait … I'll just click here.
March from US Assure Club:
Highlight of the year so far: watching Prince Amukamara ride that tricycle wearing that goofy grin. I was having a hard time deciding which player's jersey to buy this year. Prince just pulled into the lead.
John: Amukamara seems like a good guy who appreciates being in the NFL. That doesn't make him a lot different than a lot of players on this team, but it's still cool to see.
Dane from Jacksonville:
You say you expect Dan Skuta to start at Otto in pass-rushing situations. So does that mean you anticipate Myles Jack sliding over to middle linebacker and Paul Posluszny coming off the field on third downs?
John: I've talked and written about this so much that I may have misspoken somewhere, but what I've mostly said was I expect Skuta to start at Otto in base situations and to play Leo in some passing situations. I absolutely expect Jack to play middle linebacker in passing situations, though it remains to be seen where he will play in base packages.
Arianna from Pooler, GA:
With the increase of international games I was wondering if a player (who recently moved to a new team, perhaps) wasn't able to make the trip because his passport wasn't ready in time? Thanks.
John: I've never heard of a player actually missing a trip for this reason. I do know that that the people whose job it is to make travel go smoothly spend a lot of time making sure it doesn't happen.
Sonny from Melbourne, FL:
Are the fans who are worried about cap space for our future stars the same fans that got upset when we didn't spend more to get those free agents a few months ago?
John: It's not unreasonable to assume there may have been crossover.
Steve from Jacksonville:
Is it fair to say that Blake Bortles is generally known as a "gamer" as opposed to shining in practices? Not complaining … it'd be nice if he were both, but I've seen it myself over the decades. Some guys just go up a level when the bullets are live.
John: Yes, that's fair to say. Bortles himself has said this, and while there's no question he has improved in practice over the course of two-plus years, he is still a better player in games than practices. That's OK; it's a lot better than the reverse being true.
Steve from Ponte Vedra Beach and Section 215:
Great news the London game will actually be on TV. Last year six of us huddled around a 7" tablet in North Carolina trying to watch the game. Glad they have realized most of us are not 13-years old with our noses permanently stuck in our phones.
John: I'm glad you're happy. I would point out that while the live streaming of last year's Bills-Jaguars game may have found you huddled around a tablet, there are many, many people who stream broadcasts to a variety of devices. A lot of those devices have really big screens and many are not phones. I'd also point out that streaming looks like it's going to be the norm sooner rather than later. That's true for your 13-year-old and a lot of other age groups as well.
Thomas from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Did you ever think you would have to answer a question about a dude getting nailed in the marbles by a fastball from Bortles?
John: Who did what?
Mike from St. Mary's, GA:
I for one like the Allen Hurns deal, and hope he gets another one after that, but it's partly because I bought a jersey with his name on it and don't want to have to buy a different jersey if he leaves.
John: I passed Hurns in the hallway Thursday … no, it was Friday. Anyway, what was weird is he told me that's one of the big reasons he was jacked about his deal, too.
Bo from Dresden, NC:
Just wanted to say how great it is to see the Jags get out into the community. Watched the video of the coaches and players going to the four facilities around town … that's real special!
John: You're talking about Thursday when Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley gave players the day off practice and they instead as a team visited four area hospitals. Yeah, it was cool. Players liked it.
Mike from Jacksonville:
O, skipping Day 9 of OTAs for charity is awesome … glad to be a fan of a team that gives back. That being said though, this is still a football team skipping practice. I suppose the coaches feel good enough about how they're playing in underwear to skip a day?
John: Really? We're criticizing hospital visits now?
Chris from Jac:
What has been the feel and look of Yannick in OTAs? David Caldwell has been very successful with drafting third-round picks. Would be nice to have some depth behind Fowler. Also, is he still the last 2016 Draft pick to sign his contract?
John: Ngakoue has looked athletic, and it looks as though he will be heavily involved in the pass-rushing rotation next season. Yes, he is the last 2016 draft selection still unsigned.
Steve from Woodbine, GA:
I read where you were talking about the reduction of two-a-days. It appears the fundamentals of the game, blocking, tackling, etc. have diminished. The last Collective Bargaining Agreement included shorter practices and less practices in pads per season. Am I right to say that the fundamentals are suffering from this change?
John: It sure doesn't help.
Benjamin from Jacksonville:
Hypothetical question for you O-stradamus: let's say you finish the season with top units on both defense and offense, but you can only afford to keep one unit together. Assuming your franchise quarterback is already locked up for the long haul, do you keep your offense or defense together? Or do you try to balance your losses evenly?
John: This obviously is very hypothetical because you never would have a situation where an entire side of the ball was leaving. In theory, I'd opt to keep the offense together around the franchise quarterback because that way you'd have a high-functioning unit that would give you a chance to win. You probably wouldn't win as much as you did the previous year when you had both units, but you would give yourself a chance.
Steven from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Whoa!! According to NFL Network's Michael Silver, Blaine Gabbert is the "heavy favorite" for the No. 1 role of 49ers starting quarterback?? "He's loved in this locker room," Silver said of Gabbert. What next? A realty TV star becomes President? Grab hold, and please walk me back from the edge, John!!
John: 'Tis indeed a cyclical league.
Frankie from London, England:
Let's talk Julius Thomas. What can we expect to see from him this season? Am I right in saying a Broncos-form Julius Thomas plus a purring Marqise Lee with Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson on top of T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory gives the Jags a real good opportunity to elongate our offensive plays?
John: Would having all of those players play well give the Jaguars a chance to elongate plays? Of course. But let's focus on Thomas: he has looked very good in OTAs. To listen to teammates and coaches you get the idea he's going to play a huge role in the offense. I'd be surprised if that's not the case.
Mike from Middleburg, FL:
I wanted to ask the O-Zone an important question, but I forgot. Thanks, though.
John: No worries. I wasn't going to answer it anyway.

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