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O-Zone: Oh, the humane-ity

INDIANAPOLIS – Game-day O-Zone.

Let's get to it … Tyler from Jacksonville:
Either eliminate compensatory draft picks or change the system to be based on record. It would increase parity and the current system is whack yo. What say you?
John: I say the current system is very not "whack" or un-"whack" or something involving "whack" … yo? The compensatory draft system is indeed a bit confusing, even to some NFL people. That's because the process is shrouded in secrecy, with no real clear, spelled-out formula. It is released by the NFL office in March and … surprise! Here are your compensatory picks!!! But the spirit of it is correct. The spirit of the process is to allow teams that draft well and lose unrestricted free agents to the free-agency system to have at least some way to restock their rosters through the draft. That's why teams that lose more free agents than they sign one year receive compensatory selections the following offseason. It's not about parity; it's about not having the free-agent system unfairly deplete a team's ability to compete. It essentially rewards teams for doing a good job, and if you're going to reward a team for anything, why not that?
Tom from Section 141 and the Mean Streets of Nocatee:
Hey, John … sticking it to the man?
John: No doubt.
Clay from Jacksonville:
How does this year count for the term of Justin Blackmon's initial Jaguars contract?
John: This year does not count. That means if Justin Blackmon is reinstated next season he can't become an unrestricted free agent until at least the 2017 season.
Jason from Falling Waters, WV:
Based on college production Aaron Colvin could become the Jaguars' new shutdown corner over Gratz. Or am I being obtuse?
John: Well, based on NFL production it would appear the Jaguars' best cornerback is Demetrius McCray. He beat out Dwayne Gratz earlier this season and has been very solid since. It will be interesting to watch how Colvin develops. Many projected him as a second-round selection before he tore his anterior cruciate ligament at the Senior Bowl in January, and when the Jaguars selected him there was talk of him developing into a starter when healthy. It's tough to project a player coming off ACL surgery, so this one's wait and see, but if he plays like his pre-injury status he's another young piece to add to the defensive puzzle.
Alan from Jacksonville:
I've got a moral dilemma: after their win Thursday, the Oakland Raiders are now my second favorite team ('til the end of the season). Is that wrong? Also, did I mention, go Bucs!
John: It's absolutely not wrong for people to root for the Jaguars to finish with the worst record. What is unreasonable is to expect the Jaguars to try to lose to do so. The latter won't happen, though of course the former is certainly a possibility.
Scott from Daytona Beach, FL:
I love Maurice but I think Dave and Gus made the right decision there for sure.
John: Well, yeah … and that was an easy one. That's not to knock Maurice Jones-Drew, but he's a running back with a lot of carries in his ninth NFL season. It's hard to be as productive as you once were in that situation.
Rob from Orange Park, FL:
You, sir, like to give nods.
John: Mm-hmm.
Greg from Section 147:
Well, we did it John. We are No. 1. We have officially moved into the position of securing the first pick. Do you agree it would benefit the long-term success of this franchise by tanking and getting multiple picks from a quarterback-needy team?
John: No, I don't think it would benefit the long-term success of this franchise to lose games on purpose, and even if it did benefit the franchise, it won't happen. NFL players and coaches don't lose on purpose, uninformed speculation and chatter to the contrary. I also don't know that we can assume yet that there is a line of franchises looking to unload draft selections for an early selection this year. We'll see how that plays out, but however it plays out, the Jaguars won't try to lose. They just won't.
Dave from Jacksonville:
Hey, John! Would you mind building a time-machine and traveling to 2017 to make sure we are a perennial playoff-contending team? I just want to make sure we have the right general manager, head coach and quarterback in place now. Thanks!
John: Word.
David from Middleburg, FL:
Dante Fowler, Jr., declared for the draft. As a Gator student and fan, I would LOVE to see him in the "Otto" position in our defense. Next year's draft is supposed to be defense-oriented. Are my hopes too high to see my boy go from one favorite team to another and wreck teams that play the Jags?
John: It's obviously WAY (way, as in, "six months away") early to be talking draft, but no, your hopes aren't too high. At first, early glance, he would make some sense, as would a slew of other players. Stay tuned, and we'll talk in January. And February. And March. And April …
Daniel from Windsor Heights, IA:
I can just imagine how that free-agent conversation would go … General Manager: I noticed last year when you were on the Jags' roster you didn't seem to play that hard, didn't want to win. Free Agent: Yeah, I wanted to pack it in so I could come play for your team. General Manager: HIRE THIS MAN!!!
John: You are referencing a recent email that offered up a theory that a free agent might play poorly on purpose with the idea of being released so that he could re-join a better team. I said this sort of thing is rare and yeah – for pretty much the reasons your imagination offered.
Ryan from Boynton Beach, FL:
Tony Boselli is the only offensive player part of the 1990s all-decade team not in the Hall of Fame. There are three members on the defense who have not been elected yet, but all three of them are semifinalists this year. Where is the love for Tony? I want to make a trip to Canton to be there when the first Jaguar is elected to the hall.
John: Your argument is perhaps the most compelling I have heard for Boselli being in the Hall of Fame. The O-Zone in recent days has come perilously close to treating Boselli with respect and even adoration, an occurrence I fight daily to prevent. Still, my personal dislike of him aside (actually, it's more "distrust," but I digress), Boselli should be in the Hall of Fame. He doesn't get mentioned because his career was cut short by injuries, but while he played he was as good a player as there was at his position.
Ed from Danvers, MA:
I have a better idea than trying to find a round table. Just have the tech people change the name of the segment to "Jags of the Square Table."
John: Hey, Ed … there is a white line on one side of the road and a white line on the other side of the road. The black stuff in between it is your lane …
Colin from Orlando, FL:
Your best guess. Over/under 4.5 catches for Mercedes in his first game back?
John: Four for 123 yards and a touchdown.
D. Quixote from La Mancha:
Once again your logic is impeccable and flawless. Players that publically disgrace themselves and the team by getting arrested should be allowed to play. Why let them stop with mere humiliation off the field? Their lack of discipline should be on full display for everyone to see. Gratz's lack of discipline is why he got benched in favor of McCray and why he will continue to look like a chump on Sunday. But heck, he's young: let him do whatever he wants on and off the field. Why show discipline anywhere? If you keep making the same mistakes over and over you're either obstinate or stupid...or maybe...undisciplined? Got gum.
John: I stopped reading after your first sentence, and I couldn't agree more.
Preston from Waterbury, CT:
O-Man, in previous seasons, people would look at the Jaguars' record and say, "How did they win a game?" Now, it has shifted to, "How have they lost nine?" My bias can't be the only reason I see progress. And, sure, it hasn't gone as fast as I would hope, it's there nonetheless.
John: There indeed has been a switch this season along these lines, and you're right – whereas last season and perhaps the year before that the Jaguars seemed overmatched at times, this season they have been losing games in frustrating fashion. Neither is ideal. Neither is fun. Neither is acceptable for the long term. But being overmatched doesn't give anyone much hope for the future. Losing in frustrating fashion – particularly with young players – at least gives hope. The feeling around the Jaguars the past two weeks is strong that somehow, some way that frustration has to ease and that winning some games has to take its place. We'll see how quickly that happens.
Wilson from Jacksonville:
Have you ever been subject to inhumane torture?
John: Yes … wait … inhumane? … No.

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