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O-Zone: No pay, no play

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Jim from Middleburg, FL:
John, after a big draft for the defense – and a less obvious one for the offense – we hear a lot of concern about the offense not being improved. Does our desire for high scores blind us to the fact that no one can beat you with a score of zero? Great defense makes your offense better.
John: I actually haven't heard too, too much concern from fans over the offense not having improved; considering the additions of not only running back Chris Ivory but offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum in free agency, it's hard to make a case that the Jaguars didn't do much to address that side of the ball in the offseason. For those reasons and others, I'm entering the season with the assumption the offense will be better. There are no guarantees in life or in the NFL, but considering the core of young talent – and the expectation that players will improve with experience and continuity – I would be very, very surprised if the offense doesn't improve to some degree. How much will it improve? How much will the running game progress? How much can Blake Bortles improve his efficiency? Those are key questions that must be answered, but it would be surprising if improvement didn't happen – at least marginally. As far as the Jaguars' defense being great and pitching shutouts ... let's let it get good first. I think that can happen this season, and that's the first step.
Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL:
The Jalen Ramsey injury was reported as possible four-to-six weeks or possible four-to-six months. Can we dismiss them now with the good news that it is weeks and not months?
John: Nah, probably not. Fans gonna fan, after all.
Kurtis from Jacksonville:
Phew, back by training camp. Can I step off of the ledge now?
John: Yes. There actually wasn't all that much reason to be there to begin with, because the original thought was that Ramsey's recovery would be on the shorter end of the time needed to return from a torn meniscus, but sure … step in from the ledge. Relax. I'm sure there will be another crisis soon enough; this is, after all, the O-Zone – and, you know … life.
DimeJag Darrell from the Grave:
I often take this website for granted, but I'm appreciative of the work that you – and others – put in so the fans have a place to hang out. Your consistency in answering questions every day is particularly impressive. However, do you ever get tired of it? Don't the questions you receive on a daily basis exhaust you? You want a break, John? How about some Jim Beam?
John: No, I don't want a break, though I rarely turn down a Jim Beam. Or four. As for answering questions every day … no, I don't get tired of it. At least not so much that it's bothersome. Remember, this is answering questions about football. I'm sure there are better jobs, but this ain't bad.
NotaKop from Somewhere in PA:
How do we think Ryan Davis is going to look at LOTTO? Would he add speed to the linebacker group? I like adding a means to get him on the field more, especially with our "influx" of pass rushers.
John: Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said this week Davis has transitioned to Lotto pretty comfortably – and yes, he would add speed to the position. It remains to be seen how well Davis will do in the position once real – or even preseason – games begin, because playing the strong side of the defense is a different beast than rushing the passer. Davis has done the latter almost exclusively in the NFL.
Tym from the Southside:
Hey O-Zone, after hearing your response about putting Ryan Davis at 'Lotto', I became confused. I remember Davis not being great at defending the run. I thought that was the reason the Jags went with Chris Smith at right end, instead of him, during that span when Chris Clemons/Andre Branch weren't very productive. Am I wrong?
John: Davis certainly seems to be a better pass rusher than run defender. Now, playing the run from the linebacker position is a different task than playing it as a down lineman and trying to hold the point of attack from a hand-in-the-ground stance. Either way, it will be interesting to see how Davis plays the run from the Lotto.
Dustin from Clovis, CA:
With the Jaguars' seventh-rounder getting hurt and presumably out for the year, how is his salary affected given he was not guaranteed to make the team? While not happy, is there a silver lining for him now that he will get paid? Does the team look bad if they cut him now? Can they cut him?
John: The Jaguars theoretically can release players pretty much any time, with the caveat that an injury settlement must be reached before releasing an injured player. In the case of seventh-round defensive end Jonathan Woodard, he indeed seems likely to go on injured reserve at some point before this season. A torn Achilles is a long enough recovery to make that true. But if the Jaguars liked him enough to draft him there's no reason to release him now before he has played a down. Why not allow him to rehab and see if he can reach the potential they liked in the first place?
David from Grand Island:
Do you see both Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack getting solid playing time this season to where we could expect to see them to start in some way for every game, or could you see the team being more cautious with both of them having knee concerns heading into training camp?
John: I think if Ramsey and Jack are both healthy they will play extensively with front-line roles. That doesn't have to mean both players starting 16 games. But early indications are that their respective knee injuries shouldn't limit their availability once training camp begins.
Dwayne from Jacksonville:
Still confused. Myles Jack had a knee injury, fell to the Jags in the second round and fans are ecstatic; Jalen Ramsey fell to the fifth pick, then had a less serious knee injury and fans call it a tragedy? What am I missing?
John: You're ignoring the roller-coaster ride that is the rise and fall of offseason NFL expectations. Don't fight it. It's unreasonable, ridiculous and will make you sick to your stomach at times, but it's also what makes being a fan so darned much fun.
Adam from Jacksonville:
It's been pretty cool to see Allen Hurns, Telvin Smith and Chris Ivory voted in the NFL Top 100 for 2016. I would have to think both Malik Jackson and A-Rob will be in there as well, possibly in the top 50. What say you?
John: I'd say there's probably a pretty good chance.
KC from Jacksonville:
Maybe I have misunderstood, but it seems a lot of people expect the offense to not be as statistically good as last year, and yet more efficient. My thought is, better efficiency means more time on the field for the offense, thus more opportunities to score because of the lower frequency of turnovers and three-and-outs. Same can be said for defense: if we get substantially better on third down on defense, we get the ball back sooner and more often to the offense, thus allowing them to score more. Am I misunderstanding somewhere?
John: You're right that better efficiency could in fact lead to more scoring. The point people are trying to make saying it not might be as good statistically if it is more efficient is that it's OK if that's the case. For instance, while the Jaguars could improve or digress statistically in total yards passing or touchdowns passing, neither matters as much as the team getting better in the red zone or on third downs. Some of the Jaguars' total yards, passing yards and even touchdowns in 2015 came with games having long been decided. If those yards go away in favor of clock-killing drives that produce fewer yards but, say, game-clinching first downs or field goals then the offense could be better even if it's not producing as many yards or points. And that would be a good thing for the Jaguars.
Thin-skinned from Homerville:
Hi, John. I appreciate the work you do, and admire how thick-skinned you are. Personally, I'm afraid of differing viewpoints; they frighten me. Can you tell me how to get thicker skin? Also, I can't stand when people critique this team. They aren't true fans – more like whiners.
John: Nah, it's OK for fans to criticize the team. Differing viewpoints – wild, irrational and extreme though they sometimes are – are what makes following a team interesting. They're also what keeps this daily exchange that we call the O-Zone interesting. As for me being thin-skinned, I put on a pretty good front. Differing viewpoints frighten me, too. As a result, I cry. Often.
Alex from Los Angeles, CA:
You should start an O-Zone map of all the different places you get DUUUVVVAAALLLLL's from. I bet you can hear #DTWD from every corner of the globe.
John: That's a good idea. And if I ever had been burdened with the slightest inclination of putting forth extra effort without the promise of being compensated for said effort financially, I'd probably do it. But …

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