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O-Zone: Model American

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it . . . Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville, FL:
If they can get Maurice Jones-Drew an extension until he retires, I think that would be the first Jaguar player to spend his entire career in Teal. How special would that be? #standunited
John: Well, Tony Brackens did it – and it certainly appears Brad Meester will, too. But your point is well-taken: it's rare for a player to spend an entire career with one team, particularly a skill-position player. If Maurice Jones-Drew does it – and there's a good chance he will – it would without a doubt be special.
Charles from Midlothian, VA:
I pointed out during the bye that statistically coaches that go on to middling careers have coached a teams that finished with less than four wins while almost all great coaches never have had a season with less than four wins. I know stats may lie, but history does repeat itself . . . and in this case, I believe the stats are right.
John: Perhaps you're right, but I wouldn't get too locked in on that statistic. Bill Walsh went 2-14 in his first season with the San Francisco 49ers in 1979 and Jimmy Johnson went 1-15 in his first season with the Dallas Cowboys a decade later. Those two franchises went on to dominate the NFL in the ensuing decade. I'm not saying the Jaguars will dominate the NFL for the next 10 years, but there are situations in which very good coaches take over franchises in disarray and it can take time to dig out of those holes.
Scott from Vienna, VA:
It seems teams are quick to write off a struggling quarterback. Last year, the 49ers did it with Alex Smith. This year, the Texans are doing it to Matt Schaub. Do you think teams look back on a decision to move on when the quarterback goes somewhere and has a great career?
John: The 49ers' situation really wasn't as you describe. Smith by any definition was playing well, but the 49ers believed they had an elite, franchise quarterback in Colin Kaepernick and made the move. It was considered risky when they made it, but so far, it has worked out. Do teams look back on it if a quarterback goes somewhere and is great? Well, of course they do. If your ex-girlfriend shed her cocoon and blossomed into Giselle you'd reassess some things, too.
Michael from Fruit Cove, FL:
Going into the game against the Texans, Cecil Shorts III was on pace for about 1,020 yards receiving. After getting just 13 this week, he is still on pace for 956. His chase of 1,000 yards was a big story last year, but I haven't heard much about it this season. What's the difference?
John: A couple of things. One, there is a lot more to talk about around the Jaguars this season than last. Two, there are still three games remaining. If Shorts surpasses the 800-yard mark Sunday, that would leave him needing to set less than a 100-yard pace the last two games to reach 1,000. It would certainly be a storyline at that point; actually, it almost certainly will be this week, too.
Greg from Jacksonville:
Are the Jags still likely to draft a quarterback in the first or second round of the next draft?
John: Yes.
John from Neptune Beach and Section 409:
I don't get it. If you're the best team in the league, aren't all your victories against lesser competition? And aren't you supposed to win them? Take every win for what it is: a win in the NFL.
John: Yes, it is. I don't completely discount those who say the Jaguars' victories have come against inferior competition. That's because compared to the first half of the season, the second-half schedule has been significantly easier. One reason I was convinced throughout the first half of the season that the Jaguars wouldn't go 0-16 was that not only were the Jaguars going through growing pains, they were doing it against a very, very difficult schedule. The schedule in the second half of the season has featured teams with quarterback issues, and teams with quarterback issues are always vulnerable. But that doesn't diminish what the Jaguars have done this season. They went 2-14 last season and tore down the roster. They struggled mightily for eight games this season and have shown significant improvement since. That's success and that's the growth the team wanted this season.
Adrian from the UK:
So, when do we get Scobee an attempt at a 65-yard FG?
John: When the circumstance is right. That means the Jaguars being on the opponents' 48-yard line down by one, two or three points at the end of the game. Or it means being at the opponents' 48-yard line at the end of a half with Bradley feeling the conditions are right for a gamble. You probably would never see it except at the end of a game or half because a miss gives the opponent good field position and even considering Scobee's leg strength it's a low-percentage kick.
Kent from Jacksonville:
I wanted to further the comment about this year starting to feel like '96. You said you weren't there, but I remember like it was yesterday. I was 16 years old and I remember that the winning wasn't pretty, but they were winning (similarity one). Nobody really took them seriously because they were a young team with an un-established coach (similarity two). And by season's end the light had turned on and the team had bought into what the coach was teaching. Whether the rest will be history like back then is up to them, but I may be a little older, a little more creaky, and a little rounder, but watching this year's Jags makes me feel 16 again.
John: I said I wasn't there from 2001-2010. I was there in 1996. There is written proof somewhere, and yeah, there is a similarity in terms of the energy and excitement. It's not exactly the same because you're only a two-year-old franchise once, but it's fun right now and it bodes well for the future.
Austin from Atlanta, GA:
When Ace Sanders has the ball at the end of a play he tends to shy away from contact. Do you think that is his decision of trying to preserve his body, or was that something that Gus or Jedd specifically told him to do?
John: That hasn't stood out to me, but perhaps you're right. If Sanders or any other player protects his body at times, I have no problem with that – particularly a player such as Sanders who is smaller than most other players on the field. Sanders probably isn't going to overpower a whole lot of linebackers; if he can protect himself and stay healthy he should do just that.
Jay from Panama City, FL:
I'm in the doghouse with the wife. I need some kind of "wow" Jaguars gift for Christmas to make up. Any ideas?
John: I am a man of many answers. I am not a god.
Nelly from Section 132:
John, you have the patience of Job. There are quite a few pessimists out there. The Jaguars are clearly making progress in the right direction. Surely, we have to be realistic in that we are far from an elite team. But can't we live in the moment and celebrate the positive strides being made by the Jags?? #StandUnited
John: Some people can; some people can't. There's nothing wrong with those who can't. They're impatient to win. Fans aren't supposed to be logical, and they're not supposed to understand every nuance. They're supposed to want to win big sometimes even when logic says it's not yet possible or realistic.
Will from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Ever thought of using your ability to say what people want to hear to sell used cars?
John: (Yawn).
Vallen from GCS, FL:
They'll come in bunches. They will come in bunches!" Coach Gus Bradley, 09/23/2013 after losing to the Seahawks. The stars would have to be in perfect alignment for the Jags to make the playoffs. O'man, how realistic are the Jags' chances to win the AFC South?
John: The Colts clinched the AFC South Sunday. I would be very surprised if that changes.
Chad from Yulee, FL:
If the Jags win out, Gus has to get some votes for Coach of the Year. They would be 5-1 inside of the division and 7-5 in the AFC, having accomplished both of those feats after starting 0-8. I'm sure someone else will win it, but I would love to see him gets some votes to "recognize" his efforts and those of the entire staff. What they have done with what is widely regarded as the thinnest roster in league is very impressive (even without winning out).
John: If the Jaguars finish 7-9 it would be one of the most remarkable coaching efforts I ever have witnessed or heard of. I don't know of that would garner Coach of the Year votes for Bradley or not. I don't care, and I'm certain he doesn't, but it without question it would be impressive.
Phillip from Lake Mary, FL:
You forgot Scobee is "One Hell of a Model American" …
John: Oh, no I didn't.

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