JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Bob from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Many fans have questioned why our general manager has not done more to build an elite offensive line. You have consistently answered that he has changed 40 percent ... the real issue, John, is that Dallas, Oakland and the Titans have all spent capital in building elite offensive lines – not just 40 percent – and the results are that each of these franchises have not only helped their young quarterbacks succeed, they have also built strong running games, and all of these teams are contending for the playoffs. In light of this, we continue to ask why Caldwell has persisted for the past three years in not building an elite offensive line?
John: Thank you for enlightening me about the real issue, Bob. I indeed often have said the Jaguars have addressed 40 percent of the offensive line this offseason. That's true, but the number represents just a small part of what the team has done in that area in recent offseasons. The Jaguars since David Caldwell's arrival as general manager have signed two offensive tackles in unrestricted free agency (Kelvin Beachum and Jermey Parnell) and also signed a UFA guard (Zane Beadles). They have acquired during that time a two-time Pro Bowl selection in a trade (Branden Albert) and have used a first-round selection (Luke Joeckel), a second-round draft selection (Cam Robinson) and two third-round selections (A.J. Cann and Brandon Linder) on the area. They have used this capital on the line while also attempting to build/rebuild every other position-group on the roster. I point all of these things out not to make a case that the Jaguars have an elite offensive line. There is little question the Jaguars' offensive line has struggled mightily at times the past four seasons, and you can debate whether the franchise has made correct decisions. But to say Jaguars they have not used capital and have somehow not focused on the area recently simply isn't correct.
Dwayne from Jacksonville:
The O-Zone has had an awesome and important career, so far. Would that be due to grit or talent?
John: I think you must be thinking of a different "O-Zone."
Hunter from Jacksonville:
Can you tell Coughlin and the boys to lock down Jalen Ramsey to a six-year deal sometime soon? I want to go ahead and get my jersey with full confidence he'll be around for a while. Thanks!
John: Teams can renegotiate contracts of drafted players after they have finished their third NFL season. That means Ramsey's contract will be eligible to be renegotiated after the 2018 season.
Ian from Avon, Indiana:
Is it true that J.P. has taken over the O-Zone over this dead period so that Johnny O can catch up on his Chevy Chase movies and draft beers?
John: J.P. Shadrick is a fine, upstanding member of the jaguars.com staff and he deserves – nay, commands – our respect. I'd appreciate it in the future if our readers remember this, but he is not currently writing the O-Zone.
Marty from Jacksonville:
Ozone, regarding the idea of playing Cam Robinson at guard, I vividly recall a game where the Ravens came into our stadium and tore us up playing a rookie Jonathan Ogden at right guard.
John: You're thinking of a 1996 game between the Jaguars and Ravens. It actually was a game the Jaguars won, 30-27, but the Ravens led by 11 points late in the game and finished it with 150 yards rushing and more than 400 yards total offense, so for a time at least … yeah, the Ravens tore it up with Ogden playing … guard.
Terron from Jacksonville:
Who will be the most surprising player of the year with the Jaguars?
John: I'll go with defensive tackle Michael Bennett. He missed last season – his second – and injuries slowed him at times while playing 13 games as a rookie. Coaches liked what they saw from him during OTAS and minicamp. It's a dangerous game picking a player to have a big season because of what he did in non-padded work, but you know me … I love to flirt with danger.
Dan from St. Johns, FL:
Nothing can be more flawed than the idea that if you play out of position you are going to fail. What position did Jalen Ramsey play in college? The position a guy plays is much more fluid than many understand. If you go to a team at any level and a stud is playing your position, you are going to play somewhere else or ride the pine. Adversity and challenges shape people and players; it does not destroy people and players. It's an even greater flaw to talk about confidence being born from never facing adversity. It is not only wrong, but the exact opposite is true. And, the last time I checked, the left tackle has to block the guy lined up across from him. I am pretty sure that is the same at right tackle and guard. Can we get one for "football players are not fragile?" Thank you.
John: Hey, yeah … one fer that.
Tim from Jacksonville:
Just a thought that I'd like your thoughts on … With emphasis on both Blake Bortles cutting turnovers and the defense causing more, I believe there should be an equal emphasis on capitalizing on said non-turnovers/turnovers. I know this mainly ends up on the offense because if they turn it over less, we should have more chances at scoring drives – and when the defense provides that same opportunity, the offense must take advantage. Over the last few years, it seemed like even when given the chance, the team showed it didn't know how to handle opportunities beyond the normal drives that come in a game. Is there a way to focus on capitalizing on those things that you believe this new regime will be trying to implement?
John: There is no satisfying answer to this. There's no "drill" designed to improve capitalizing on opportunities, and there's no specific set of plays to take advantage of a turnover or sudden change of field position. But there's no question the Jaguars must improve this area. How do you do it? Grow up as an offense, make plays when it matters and get clutch play from the quarterback position. But eventually you just have to do it. If there was a magic elixir or cure, everyone would use it.
Scott from Jacksonville:
There has been discussion about whether we would want to face Deshaun Watson or Tom Savage in Game One. On the surface, facing a rookie quarterback starting his first game sounds enticing. However, if Watson is good enough to beat out Savage right from the start, it could very well mean Houston has found its long-term quarterback solution. Personally, I would prefer they continue to suck at that position. Give me Savage in the season opener. What's your take?
John: I don't know that being winning the Texans' quarterback competition next month will necessarily be an accurate prediction of Watson's career. As for who a fan would prefer to face, rookies typically struggle early so maybe Watson is the answer. Given the relative inexperience of both players, I'm not sure there's a huge difference between the two.
Ryan from Apopka, FL:
With a few days till Wimbledon and in the summer dead zone – and a little bit larger of a following in the O-Zone with our friends over in the UK – I would love to hear your yearly thoughts on Wimbledon. Will Andy Murray play and defend his title? Can Federer win No. 8? Does the Joker come back after a rough start to the year and win three titles in four years? And of course, who do you think wins?
John: My Wimbledon/tennis thoughts are always shaped by loyalty to Federer. Yes, I believe he can win No. 8. Yes, the tournament for me and many other FedFans largely will be about whether or not he does win No. 8. If he plays as he did at the beginning of the year, I think he will do it. Murray is intriguing because he doesn't feel like he's at his best level, but he always is a tough out. Djokovic is intriguing because his issues this year seem all mental. Who do I think wins? Fed. Always Fed.
Jason from Orange Park, FL:
John, I am writing for the first time as a Day One fan of the Jags (my family has had season tix since 1995) and a long-time reader of the O-Zone. As it is the dead zone, I have taken the time this week to listen to, and add to my music collection, a couple of Jason Isbell albums. Fantastic. Thanks for helping to broaden my music interests and thanks for the consistently above average Jags coverage! #DTWD
Scot from Daytona Beach, FL:
Chris from I Know Better:
How could you leave my wife off your list of Top 5 craziest women?
John: I've been married nearly 25 glorious, wonderful years. I know better than to even joke about making a list like that.
O-Zone: No kidding
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Bob from Fernandina Beach, FL: