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O-Zone: My guy Gil

JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . . Bob from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Gene Frenette's column Saturday nailed it when he said you can call it competition, but unless Blaine Gabbert screws up big-time, he is the No. 1 quarterback . . . I think that is an obvious fact, and it makes the sales job of "competition" at all positions seem hypocritical. Don't you think we should just quit with this "competition at quarterback" verbiage, and recognize we are going to have to live with Gabbert again?
John: I didn't see Gene's column, though from knowing him over half my life I am sure it was awash in insight. Gene apparently believes what many of us believe – me included – that Gabbert probably will be the starter in Week 1. I believe Gabbert will look good enough in preseason and training camp to earn that, and I believe his off-field approach to learning the offense will earn him that. If training camp rolls around and Gabbert is getting outplayed by Henne, Matt Scott or Jordan Rodgers, I have no reason to believe Gus Bradley won't recognize that and act accordingly. But I don't quite get the hypocrisy and sales job references. What incentive do the Jaguars have for slanting the competition in Gabbert's favor, and what gain would anyone have from misrepresenting or selling anything? These guys are concerned about trying to field the best team. There's no hidden agenda, and I'm hard-pressed to find any hypocrisy.
Alex from New York, NY:
Can you name an offensive coordinator who does not want to get the best, most-dangerous players on the field in multiple situations?
John: Theoretically, of course, all do. In practice, there are coordinators who stick more to scheme at the expense of gearing the offense around the players. Gus Bradley and Dave Caldwell said after the draft that offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch will look for different ways to get Denard Robinson touches, so in reference to that situations, it seems as if Fisch will in fact be focused on getting the best, most-explosive players on the field.
Marjorie from Jacksonville:
What is this nonsense that David Garrard cannot retire a Jaguar? The team would have to cut someone just so one could retire? NFL owners can get this modified - as not only is it illogical, but also unfair to the retiring player. David laid out his all on EverBank Field for the Jaguar Nation and he deserves to retire a Jaguar. It is my opinion for an organization to succeed long-term, it must do the right thing day in and day out. It is my hope the Jaguar Organization will become known throughout the league and land as a "doing life right" team. Let's give David Garrard the credit he is due.
John: It seems this whole retiring with a team thing has taken a life of its own and gotten a bit blown out of proportion. While it's nice for a player to retire with a team, not doing so shouldn't diminish the player's accomplishments. Garrard is loved by a faction of Jaguars fans, and what he did here was special to many people. Whether or not he is on the team for a day to retire or not doesn't change that.
Robert from Palatka, FL:
Can a reporter plant an idea by asking the coach a question? As a fan, I would like to see a true open competition during the preseason. I believe the typical NFL preseason game pattern of playing quarterbacks does not allow good evaluation of competing quarterbacks. Could you ask the coach if he could alternate quarterback series (or later pairs of series) until he knows his regular season starter? Think of the increased fun of preseason games and subsequent O-Zone chatter.
John: I could ask, but I would certainly hope he wouldn't listen. Gus Bradley is as serious as is possible about open competition at every position. He saw it work in Seattle, where not incidentally Russell Wilson surprisingly won the starting job over Matt Flynn last preseason against a lot of odds. Bradley has no interest and nothing to gain by not giving all quarterbacks a fair chance in the competition. It may not be the pattern you like, necessarily, but it will be a system that Bradley believes identifies the best quarterback. Besides, what motivation does Bradley or General Manager David Caldwell have for doing anything differently? They didn't draft Blaine Gabbert and they didn't sign Chad Henne. Neither Caldwell not Bradley have emotional or career attachment to either quarterback. They want the best player to play. Why would they want anything else?
Lance from Orlando, FL:
I got a feeling that John Cyprien will be the next superstar performer for the Jags. How do you see his game translating to the NFL?
John: It's only fair to preface the answer the same as I have for many such questions in recent weeks – that until we see the rookies with pads on, it's difficult to predict their NFL careers. But if you're analyzing speed, instinct for the ball and how much a player looks like he belongs, you have to predict that Cyprien's going to be very, very good.
Bo from Dresden, NC:
It seems it is difficult for people to understand the term "re-building!" When players are picked up off waivers is it little or no risk to the team that acquires them?
John: It is no risk.
Zach from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Word on the street is that Gus Bradley is telling the team to "get better"... The Jaguars need to repair some infrastructural leaks. Information is getting out.
John: On it.
Dane from Jacksonville:
Is Alualu a core player moving forward?
John: He has a chance to be, but this season will probably tell that story. That's true of basically any player on the Jaguars' roster, particularly any veteran. There has to be concern over the knee issues that have bothered Alualu in three seasons, and he is moving positions. There is a lot of unknown there.
Vanawsum from Abingdon, VA:
I've heard you feel this team has potential to win six or so games this year. I feel there's major potential for the team. With high speed and physicality, I think we can surprise many naysayers this year! I'm not expecting a Super Bowl, but would love to shut some naysayers!!
John: This is why I hesitate to make projections in the offseason. I don't want this to become "O-Zone Picking Six Wins This Season." I believe the Jaguars have a chance to get out of the double-digit loss range, but with nearly four months remaining before the season opener – and with preseason and training camp not yet playing out – it's just too soon to get a true idea of the capabilities of this team. Can the Jaguars surprise the naysayers? Sure. Let's see how it plays out.
Mark from Jacksonville, FL:
I'm curious about your response that the linebacking corps looks good. While Poz is indeed a stud, I am of the opinion that Allen is just a guy, and Geno Hayes (who I admittedly don't know a ton about) hasn't been a consistent starter in the league. Just curious if you can elaborate on why you think the linebackers look good.
John: I said the linebackers look good. I didn't say "great." I didn't say "awesome." I didn't say the trio was going to the Hall of Fame. I think this group, largely because of the presence of Posluszny, has a chance to be a good trio. The Jaguars aren't great at every position group, and realistically, this may not be the group that forms the linebacking corps for the long term. Does it have a chance to be good? Yes.
Matthew from Egan, MN:
Regarding the helmets you said, "But when you see them on the field, especially when a group is close together facing the same direction, that's when you see the full effect." That right there is my problem. The only time the helmet looks good is when a group is facing the same direction. That means it's a bad DESIGN. In order for it to be a good DESIGN, it has to look good from all angles. This helmet does not. It's a bad design. Needs to be all black or all gold. As it looks now, it's a bad design.
John: Matt, a lot of people like the helmet. There's no good or bad in this, just opinion, and you're certainly entitled to yours. A lot of people like the helmet. A lot of people don't. That's what happens with change.
Gil from Atlantic Beach, FL:
John, really still can't stand you, but as far as Montell Owens goes, the roster is full of fast, hungry guys. Thanks for everything, Montell, and I hope that you catch on with another NFL team. Please enlighten us on why a former Pro Bowler doesn't have a job any more. And also, have you ever thought that you might be next? Wishing only good things for the Jaguars.
John: Gil! How are you?! Good to hear from you again! As always! I've touched on why Owens doesn't have a job with the Jaguars. Done it a couple of times, in fact! He's an eight-year veteran who probably wasn't going to play extensively on offense, and it's difficult for a building team to keep a veteran player to play exclusively on special teams. Sorry to hear you can't stand me, though, Gil. FYI, I always speak highly of you when people ask.

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