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O-Zone: Mysterious ways

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Let's get to it … Brian from Charlottesville, VA:
I heard on the Jaguars Today podcast a comparison between Blaine Gabbert and Blake Bortles. They said when both walked into a room, both looked like quarterbacks. They also said after talking to both for 10 minutes, you would know the better quarterback based on mental makeup. They said Gabbert would blame others for his inefficiencies whereas Bortles would gladly shoulder the blame. Considering you've likely talked to both, can I have your thoughts on these comments?
John: I indeed have talked to both, though I really have no motivation to kick Gabbert now that he's no longer with the Jaguars. I always honestly thought he could have been more successful with this team under different circumstances, and always thought if he had played more in college – or gotten more repetitions somewhere not in the difficult circumstances he faced in Jacksonville – he might have had a chance to be better. I have heard the stories about him blaming others, but never heard it from reliable people here. I will say this: Bortles certainly seems to have more of the quarterback 'It' factor and more of the intangibles you're describing than Gabbert did. It's one reason the Jaguars aren't worried about playing him as a rookie. He appears mature enough and confident enough not only to withstand adversity, but to lead older players. Not every quarterback has that. I think Bortles will do well and believe he has the ability to make those around him better. That's one trait I will say that Gabbert didn't show in Jacksonville, whatever the reasons may have been.
Tony from Grangeville:
This app is cool. I like it.
John: I prefer the potato skins, but this is cool, too.
Jamers from Jacksonville:
I hear the whole "in and out of plays" a heckuva lot... It's still football. Can you explain what it means?
John: Yes, it's still football. When people say a quarterback can get his team "in and out of plays," they mean he has the ability to check out of a bad play and into a better one at the line of scrimmage. It's a pretty critical component of playing quarterback these days.
Steve from Hudson, FL:
I recently saw a feature on All-Pro tackle Joe Thomas. He spoke of trying to playing with "flawless technique" and it also showed the communication between offensive linemen as they waited on the bench for the next series. I wish some fans would watch it, because he is a guy who has never missed a snap and is still working at his craft. Do we really think our offensive line can come together so quickly when they all just started working together just a couple months ago? I can't imagine how hard this could be, can you?
John: Yes.
Keith from DUUVALLL:
Why does it seem like Toby Gerhart can't find the obvious running lane? Too often this season I've noticed he'll run into the back of a lineman for a one-yard gain when he could have easily cut to the left or right and picked up a solid chunk of yardage.
John: I haven't seen that when watching the games, and I haven't heard a lot of criticism of Gerhart about this from coaches. I have seen Gerhart not getting a lot of blocking, and I've seen that be the case for most of the Jaguars' running plays this season.
Mike from Virginia Beach, VA:
O-Zone, we all know about the starters for defense and at quarterback, but who is going to start at tight end this week?
John: Clay Harbor, and if the Jaguars start the game in two-tight end sets, it will be Harbor and Nic Jacobs. With Mickey Shuler ill, they will be the only active tight ends Sunday.
Chris from Mandarin, FL:
I notice that every time you address injuries with Cecil Shorts III, you fail to bring up the five games he missed due to injury during his rookie season. Granted, he was a non-contributor, but he did play in some games and caught two passes. Is there any particular reason you do not address his entire body of work when referring to his injury history? If he had not been injured for those five games, he may have had a chance to contribute after catching the touchdown pass against the Chargers that season.
John: "Granted, he was a non-contributor …"
Rob from Orange Park, FL:
I think it is a bit unfair to essentially make fun of fans by saying they had to wait a whole two-and-a-half weeks for Bortles to start. The Jags have said over and over for months that 'Chad is the starter,' which affected organized team activities, training camp, preseason, AND the first 2 1/2 games. Give us a break, aye?
John: I wasn't making fun of the fans – not for that, anyway. And goodness, we wouldn't want OTAs affected now, would we?
Bobby from Salt Lake City, UT:
So I am a big Aaron Colvin fan, even in college. When I found out he was drafted by us for the long-term I was pretty excited. I'm one of the only patient people who knows when he gets his chance to play, he will be a force. What's the update on him? How close is he to coming back?
John: Colvin passed a significant strength test this week, meaning the knee he injured at the Senior Bowl now could allow him to begin practicing during the window allowed for players coming off the Physically Unable to Perform list. That window opens after the sixth game of the season, with teams able to allow players to practice and return at varying paces after that. I expect Colvin to be able to play later this season.
Greg from Jacksonville:
Watching Washington get drummed by the Giants puts the current state of our rebuild in a very clear, disappointing perspective.
John: Did you feel better when the Redskins almost beat Philadelphia last week? Not that the Jaguars have been good yet this season, but comparative scores aren't an accurate gauge of anything in the NFL.
Ryan from Duval:
I hate people. What about you?
John: Depends.
Adam from Jacksonville:
According to a Jaguars Wise Man: "the build by any definition does start when a general manager arrives." But according to a Jaguars Apologist, "it is still Year One". We should get those two in a room together to debate how long the rebuild has been underway.
John: Cute. That guy can probably figure out that while the build began last season that with the offense entirely new you're probably going to see some Year One things offensively. He wouldn't need to debate it. It would be pretty clear.
Tom from Charleston, SC:
The organization (you included) keep making references to players, especially free agents, who aren't playing up to expectations. Is not this the same issue that the previous regime had? What makes it more acceptable for this group to under preform than any other? If we are going to be satisfied with a group doesn't meet expectations, we could have kept what we had. The pools and boards are nice, though.
John: Who said it was acceptable?
Al from Orange Park:
"Theres no computer program where all factors are entered and a scientific answer emerges." We should invent that. We could call it "analytics".
John: You could call it that if you want, but that's not analytics. Analytics is a tool to help provide information about those kinds of decisions, but eventually, a human must make the decision.
Jag Guy from Mayport, FL:
I have heard that Gratz isn't playing as well as expected and that he was even pulled for a series or two. What is your take on his performance this season?
John: He's not playing well as expected, and he was pulled for a series or two. He has had a few too many plays where he left the receiver wide open. I thought for a time after Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley's Monday press conference the Jaguars might move Demetrius McCray into the lineup there – at least temporarily. Everything you hear is that the Jaguars still like Gratz and see him as a part of this defense moving forward, but also that he needs to play better.
Ryan from Dearborn, MI:
John, I've got a struggling Tom Brady and a promising Blake Bortles on my fantasy team. Which should I start this week?
John: I have no idea.
Joseph from Statesboro, GA:
I don't know why this is so hard for people to understand. The previous rebuilds failed; that's why we fired the general managers. This is yet another rebuild; will it succeed? Who knows, but it's certainly way too early to tell.
John: I don't know why it's so hard for people to understand, either. I don't know why electronics are so hard to open sometimes, either. I mean, why do they have to make the plastic so you have to saw at it with scissors? It's just a tape recorder. Life is full of mysteries.

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