JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Shepherd from St. Augustine, FL:
I recently read one of the best lines of national Jags coverage I've seen in a long time. It comes courtesy of Jay Busbee of Yahoo Sports in an article about a recent fan-base study that of course ranks the Jags last of all teams: "The Jaguars, meanwhile, are the current trendy bandwagon playoff pick, which, if it comes to pass, could both raise the team out of the last-place spot and bring about the apocalypse." Would you agree about the coming cataclysmic event?
John: This doesn't exactly address your question, but I know too much about the passion of the Jaguars' fan base not to be skeptical about a study that ranks it last in anything – and indeed the flaw of this study is it apparently is based on how much money fan bases spend on their teams. The Jaguars are in a small market and work to keep prices reasonable, so this fan base won't fare well in such a study. As for the whole "apocalypse" angle, I guess I'm a little bored with and disinterested in national media jokes about the world ending to end when this team begins winning. I get that it's an easy joke considering the team hasn't won in a while, but this isn't the first team in NFL history that has struggled for a long stretch – and honestly, a lot of the jokes about apocalypses are a bit worn out anyway. Still, would winning/earning a playoff spot raise popularity and therefore revenue? Yeah, of course it would. As it would for any franchise.
David from Maplewood, NJ:
John … nice. I you're gonna kill me, kill me with panache.
John: Will do.
Josh from Fernandina and currently in Fort Lauderdale, FL:
O-Man, with summer and the Florida rainy season officially here, I would like to ask you about the Jags' indoor practice facility. Where is it, how is it perceived by most (up-to-date or outdated) and how often is it used by the team? Thanks for all of the insight.
John: The team never has had an indoor practice facility and currently does not have one, but that is expected to change by the beginning of the 2017 season when the much-anticipated, much-ballyhooed amphitheater/flex-field project adjacent to EverBank Field is expected to be complete. Until that happens, the answer will remain that the indoor practice facility never has been used by the team. Once it's done I expect it to be perceived as the most-state-of-the-art indoor practice facility in the NFL because Shad Khan.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
Do you think Rashad Greene is talented enough to make the Pro Bowl as a punt return specialist in 2016?
John: I absolutely think Greene is talented enough to be a Pro Bowl punt returner, but there are many NFL players talented enough to be Pro Bowl players at their respective positions. They must be in the right situation and must have the work ethic and professionalism to succeed – and at a position such as punt returner, it helps to be fortunate to break one or two returns for touchdowns. But yeah, I think Greene can make the Pro Bowl this season. He showed last season he has a real knack for the position, and there are only handful of guys in the league at any one time about whom that's true.
Scott from Satsuma, FL:
Zone, I have cheered for the Jaguars since it was announced we had a team – did so every Sunday with my dad. This year I'll be doing it alone as I lost my dad July 2. I hope Blake Bortles and the Allens play their hearts out and this is from my dad: "We need some killer bees at safety.'' I believe that was before my time. Can you explain who are the killer bees? And for me, I say our team needs heart.
John: Your father almost certainly was referring to the Miami Dolphins' defenses of the early 1980s, a group nicknamed the Killer "Bees" because of six defensive starters whose last names began with "B." Those six players included safeties Glenn and Lyle Blackwood, brothers who were known as hard hitters – and yes, the Jaguars do need improved safety play this season. They believe they'll get it with the addition of Tashaun Gipson at free safety and they believe strong safety Johnathan Cyprien will benefit from Gipson's presence. #RIPDad
Mike from Des Moines, IA:
Tom Coughlin's nightmares consist of pony tails and sunglasses. On time is late! I'm sure he is a good person, but he seems like a football fascist. Considering that I am 'too laid back,' I doubt we would have gotten along. How does Boselli feel about the Tom?
John: Boselli feels the same about Coughlin as many, many former players do – that while some his rules and methods at times made life difficult, he considers him a great coach and values the time he spent playing for him. One constant when you discuss Coughlin with former players is they always, always felt prepared to play – and almost all said they would have played for him again given the choice.
Hunter from Jacksonville:
Sitting around with the day's O-Zone finished and ready to be posted, but waiting to do so and laughing maniacally about the shattered timelines and comfort zones of his readers. #OzoneSightings
John: Every day, Hunter. Every day.
Tony from Morrilton, ARK:
Hey John, I totally agree with the Boselli, Fred Taylor, Jimmy Smith trio for best Jaguars. But I'm surprised Big John Henderson and Marcus Stroud aren't in the discussion. Our D-line was a force with those guys. Great memories watching those two. Surely, they've got to be in the mix too? #number1faninArkansas
John: I certainly would put Henderson and Stroud in the discussion, though I must preface that statement by adding that I never covered the Jaguars during their careers. I do know that when the Jaguars were making their most serious pushes to challenge the Indianapolis Colts during the middle of last decade, there were four or five players about who the Colts were typically the most concerned. Fred Taylor was the offensive player most discussed, along with Smith and Maurice Jones-Drew. Defensively, the concern focused on Henderson/Stroud and the Jaguars' ability to disrupt Peyton Manning without sending multiple blitzers. They were special players and you had to game plan for them.
Bill from Dansville, NY:
The year was 1994. I was 9. I asked my dad if I could open his 12 pack of Coca-Cola to remove the Monsters of the Gridiron football card that lay inside for my collection. Instead of a player, I found a card showing a leaping jaguar wearing torn grey and gold pants. I asked my dad if that card was some kind of joke or something. He explained the card represented an expansion team that was going to be in the league starting the following season. I thought that was the coolest thing ever and from that day on I was no longer a Bills fan because the rest of my family was. I was a JAGS fan because I felt like I needed to be. Does that make me a fan from Day One?? #FFDO
John: If it doesn't, I'm not sure what does.
Bruce from Gotham:
Just to add to the answer to Ryan from Charlotte in regards to Justin Blackmon, I feel he could have been on Megatron level. Even in the short time out there he seemed like one of those athletes that look like a man among boys. You could just see the talent and physical intangibles. That is what adds to what happened to his life due to addiction and makes it a true tragedy as Mr. Khan rightfully put it.
John: What happened with Blackmon indeed was a true tragedy, though I'd stop short of saying he was headed to Calvin "Megatron" Johnson level. I'm not sure Blackmon had the speed or size to be on that level, a level that for a while made Johnson the best receiver in the NFL. But he could have been good. Really, really good.
Wayne from Atlanta, GA:
Yay … since you plugged your book, I thought I would write in. I do have the book. I think someone gave it to me for Christmas one year, but I do still have it. I also was a Miami fan that converted to the Jags as soon as we were awarded the franchise. Even though I now live in Atlanta, I had season tickets for the first 3 seasons before life took me away from Jax. I'm not even going to ask if that makes me a Day One fan because I know that I am – and I have THE BOOK! You and Pete really should do a sequel you know.
John: I suppose Jags to Riches for Christmas was better than getting socks. Unless of course they were really cool socks. Or one of those Pepperidge Farm gift boxes. Those are cool.
O-Zone: Nice socks
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Shepherd from St. Augustine, FL: