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O-Zone: My own fault

JACKSONVILLE – We're six days out from players reporting. The fog is lifting. The sun is beginning to poke through those clouds in the distance. We'll make it together.

Let's get to it … Armando from Vacaville, CA:
Can Storm Johnson be a better version of Maurice Jones-Drew? I mean, he is both stocky and a bruiser, two qualities that made MoJo fun to watch.
John: Storm Johnson? Maurice Jones-Drew? This is not meant to be: a, snide; or, b, a criticism of Storm Johnson. But Johnson is a rookie who was selected in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft, which means he almost wasn't drafted and he has yet to play an NFL game. Jones-Drew for six years was very, very productive and for three years was as good as any running back in the NFL. He was by any measure an elite player, one of the best in franchise history. Let's let Johnson make the team, then let's let him play in the NFL a while. Then, let's let him show he deserves to start. After that, he'll still have a long way to go before being compared to Jones-Drew, much less being a better version. It occurs to me after writing this that perhaps you meant, "Can Toby Gerhart be a better version of Maurice Jones-Drew?" and you know what? We have to wait a while for that, too.
Tom from St. Augustine, FL:
Now that Marqise Lee has signed his contract, what will we complain about in the dead zone? Why couldn't he hold out longer? Arrrrgh! Wait, about those new logos.......
John: Yes. Now, you're thinking.
Phil from Anchorage, AK:
Since David Caldwell took over as general manager, has there been a lot of turnover in the scouting department?
John: There has been change, but not dramatic. Caldwell said upon taking over in early 2013 that he liked the Jaguars' scouts, and that any changes would be more about approach than people. The personnel changes he made included the hiring of Director of College Scouting Kyle O'Brien, Assistant Director of College Scouting Paul Roell, Eastern Regional Scout Mark Ellenz and Director of Pro Personnel Chris Polian. These changes all occurred in the 2013 offseason.
Scott from Jacksonville:
Why do you think Geoff put "professional writer" in quotes?
John: Because like most of my readers, he's just so darned clever.
Jonathan from 10 more months in Korea:
Sun's Out … Guns Out! That's the truth right there. I once had a shirt that said, "Don't fake the funk on a nasty dunk." That's pretty deep, huh?
John: I once had a shirt that said, "I'm with Stupid" and I had an arrow pointing next to me. I always laughed at that, sort of the way I still laugh when I'm watching golf and someone yells, "Get in the hole" real loud. (Heh, heh …)
Doug from Jacksonville:
I wanted to get your opinion on NFL roster size. I feel like the final roster # of 53..... never mind. My real question is can they put up that pic of you as a kid in Seattle on the new scoreboards? Maybe when the opposing team is trying to kick field goals in an effort to break their concentration?
John: This has come up in meetings. I'll keep you posted.
Steve from Stevensville:
I have a majestic beard, and I plan to start a fantasy football podcast. For one of the segments I am debating shaving my beard off and starting a Jaguars Super Bowl beard. I won't be allowed to shave it until they win it all. Do you advise me to continue with that plan, or keep the current beard intact?
John: Yes, shave the beard off and go with your plan. It's not that I can guarantee the Jaguars winning the Super Bowl any time soon. A team can be really, really good and not have that happen. It's just that I'm not remotely invested in your facial hair and if you're inconvenienced or even miserable for an extended period it won't bother me. Actually, it might be kind of funny; other people's discomfort often is.
Nick from Lubbock, TX:
I was reading the O-Zone written by this guy named John Oesher. He's cool. I like him.
John: I think you have the wrong guy. I know for sure you have the wrong spelling.
Joe from Charleston, SC:
So I just looked at EverBank Field using Google Earth and I couldn't see the video boards. What gives?
John: I don't have the exact answer to this question. One reason might be that I …. DON'T WORK FOR GOOGLE EARTH!!! … but my guess is (shhhh!!!) the photos just may not be in real time.
Jim from Chuluota, FL:
"I'm too young to remember Walter Payton." ... am I getting old …
John: I feel ya, Jim.
Quinn from Tampa, FL:
Who will be in with the lightning package this year?
John: The lightning package is the Jaguars' pass-rushing package that features three Leo defensive ends at various spots on the line of scrimmage, so I would guess the lightning package would include Chris Clemons and Andre Branch and perhaps rookie defensive end Chris Smith. If I'm projecting now, I'd say they're the three Leos that make the team along with perhaps Ryan Davis.
Barry from Jacksonville and Section 214:
All of this talk about the greatest games in Jaguars history has made me feel nostigalic. Where can I watch some of these games? I'd love to re-watch some of those early playoff victories.
John: The NFL controls rights to games past and present, so there's really no way to watch full past games. On another note, nostigalic really isn't a word, but the more I reread it and say it out loud, the more I wish it was.
Nicholas from Fort Hood:
Leaving Jacksonville to head home. The last thing on my list was to visit the stadium before walking to the bus stop. All I can say about the scoreboards are that they are impressive. Thanks, John, for keeping fans across the nation attached to the Jaguars.
John: They are impressive. Safe travels.
Matt from Grand Rapids, MI:
In regards to the best goal-line players, how good was Jim Brown? I would also toss Jim Brown into the most athletic category. Most people forget how talented an athlete he was. You could also toss in Jim Thorpe, but that is truly going to the early days of the NFL. Great job O-man!
John: Hey, one for Jim Brown and one for Jim Thorpe! And taking exclamation points out of the equation, yes, people forget a lot about Jim Brown. Actually, I should say "people of this generation forget about Brown." Few who watched him play forget him. As I have said often, I was too young to see Brown play, but people whose opinion I value swear by Brown as an all-around football player/athlete. I can't vouch for him being the best short-yardage back in history, but I'm certain there are many more knowledgable football minds than mine that would feel comfortable giving him the ball on 4th-and-short.
Tom from Waycross, GA:
The e-mail about the '96 Buffalo game brought back some good memories. The franchise chartered a flight for fans to our first playoff game, and the greatest thing was all the Jaguars fans had seats together. It was a sunny, clear day in upstate New York. Bills fans couldn't believe that many Jacksonville fans made the trip. The Bills fans were very gracious, sharing their liquor and opinions very freely. Anyway, it sure beat watching it on television.
John: It has been sort of the last few days the way a thread about biggest Jaguars games has evolved into a whole lot of people writing in about that Buffalo game. The game gets forgotten because the Jaguars pulled a more remarkable upset the following week, but the victory over the Bills was every bit as impressive – and every bit as unlikely. I remember in the press box thinking the game would be over quickly; the team, after all, had won five consecutive games but winning on the road in the postseason was an entirely different matter. Then, Clyde Simmons returned an interception for a touchdown and suddenly Pete Mitchell and Mark Brunell and Jimmy Smith and Natrone Means and so on and so on were making plays. Somewhere during that game the Jaguars started going toe-to-toe and it wasn't as much underdog-versus-favorite as two good teams playing. It was as much of a coming-of-age game as the following week, and it's good it's being remembered as such.
Brad from Section 115:
Most athletic NFL player of all-time? That's easy. Jim Thorpe
John: Hey, one fer Jim Thorpe!
Tony from Jacksonville and Section 118 Blinded by the Light:
Everyone is overlooking the absolute best goal-line specialist ever - Mike Vrabel of the Patriots. Lifetime stats say it all: 10 receptions, 10 touchdowns,14 total yards. You guys can pound it into the line all you want. I'm putting in my linebacker!
John: Jim Thorpe!!!!!!
Joel from Yulee, FL:
I'm just curious, how expensive is your son's therapy?
John: It ain't cheap. Then again, I have no one to blame but myself.

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