JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Richard from Northampton, UK:
So Zone, it seems we don't have to wait for training camp to find out our starting center then.
John: This is in reference to Jaguars offensive lineman Brandon Linder signing a five-year contract extension for a reported $51.7 million with $24 million guaranteed. There was immediate reaction after the announcement that this means Linder will be the team's starting center. I don't get the idea the team is ready to officially commit to that yet. Still, I have said throughout the offseason that I believe Linder will remain the starting center and Tuesday's news certainly does nothing to change that.
Jeremy from Wise, VA:
With Brandon Linder locked up, do we see any other important players (Allen Robinson, Marqise Lee, Telvin Smith) signing extensions before the season?
John: I would be a little surprised if anything happened on this front before the season. Part of that is because I think the Jaguars still want to see how the wide receiver position plays out, and there's still some benefit to the new regime seeing first-hand how players perform in new systems. We'll see.
Brandon from Louisville, KY:
How important do you feel it is for the Jags to win their opener against Houston? If they do win, it will be the first time since 2011 they have won their opener. It seems like it could be huge.
John: It indeed could be huge, and I think it's important for the Jaguars to win early in the season. They have a new head coach, and there's a strong belief among players right now in the direction under Doug Marrone. It's always a good thing when that belief is supported by on-field results. So, how important is winning in Week 1? It's really important if the Jaguars win – and build on it with more winning in September. If they beat Houston and lose their next three games, it's not important at all. Bottom line: it's important – but perhaps not "all important."
Byron from Denver, CO:
O-Man, if the Jaguars have another disaster season (another year picking Top 10 in the draft) how could the front office convince any fans to stick around for yet another "rebuild?"
John: There's nothing a front office can do to control this, at least not beyond what the front office always does – which is to have the business and marketing side create the best possible fan experience, and to have the football side acquire the best players possible. That's a stale answer, but I know of no better one. Jaguars fans are passionate, loyal and they have withstood a lot of difficult seasons. The team appreciates that and understands it needs to win for those fans. There's no other way to "convince" fans of anything.
Dave from Orange Park, FL:
O-man, why is everyone so high on Fowler? I watched a lot of Gator football, and while he made some spectacular plays, he also seemed to disappear a lot. So far, his NFL career has been a disappearing act. Yannick Ngakoue proved last year he was the better player ... maybe it's time to find Fowler's replacement and let Ngakuoe shine. Look forward to your opinion on this.
John: Fowler has played one NFL season in which he had four sacks and made a few other memorable plays. This is a similar start to many young NFL pass rushers. As for wanting the Jaguars to "let Ngakoue shine," Ngakoue played 706 defensive plays last season. That was the second-highest total among Jaguars defensive linemen and 136 more than Fowler. Fowler's presence on the roster in no way inhibits Ngakoue's opportunities to shine.
La Shae from CP, MD:
Will they or won't they this year?
John: Some will and some won't. Some might.
DUVAL DOOM from Section 217:
Can't take exhibition games to Europe because they'll know the difference, but by God, you home fans better pay full price for them. You make me angry, O-Zone.
John: You'll probably really be mad because I edited your last sentence – and I don't make the rules; I just explain them from time to time.
Rhonda from Jacksonville:
John: Soccer ... really, soccer???? Come on: I'm an American girl. Bring the violence, bring the hurt. Not men who should be wearing skirts!!!
John: Go girl.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
Hey John, is Shark Week overrated?
John: I'm probably the wrong person to ask. I've heard of Shark Week, so I know something called "Shark Week" exists, but I don't have a real feel for whether it involves real sharks in the water or that show that Mark Cuban is on or that WFL team from Jacksonville in the 1970s. It's all very vague to me.
Miyagi 24 from San Diego, CA:
I know that a lot of people don't expect our Jags to do too much this year but, for me I look for Leonard Fournette to get 1,400-plus yards on the ground, the A-Team of Robinson & Hurns to each go over 1,000 yard receiving and for Blake Bortles to throw for 4,000 –plus yards!! You gotta have faith in this era of Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone football knowledge. Is that realistic or just wishful thinking? What say the O-man?
John: Your statistics certainly would put the Jaguars among the NFL's elite offenses, so the naysayers among our readers might say a couple of things. The first thing they would say is "Nay," because that's what naysayers say. The second thing they might say is if Fournette reaches 1,400 yards the Jaguars might not be throwing quite enough for Robinson and Hurns to reach 1,000 yards – and they also might say the presence of Marqise Lee might prevent one of those players from reaching 1,000. But hey, who am I to say "Nay?" I say, reach for the stars, Miyagi. Reach for the stars.
Paul from Jacksonville:
I thought Carson Tinker was the best left tackle in the world ...
John: No. But he's the best at everything else. #Tink
Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
John, I am still somewhat nervous about the O-Line. I don't get the love for Jeremy Parnell. There didn't seem to have any competition to challenge him in camp. A.J. Cann was mediocre at best. I really hope the coaches give other players a chance at these positions. I would be somewhat disappointed if the same two start the season.
Frankie from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Boselli says that Fowler's latest incident by itself wouldn't be a big deal if it weren't for the fact that it's part of a larger pattern of behavior. Should fans be concerned about Dante's behavior or is it the whole "boys-will-be-boys" deal?
John: Fowler reportedly has received a slew of traffic tickets in recent years, which indeed is a pattern of behavior relatively in line with this latest incident in Tampa in which he reportedly got into an altercation that ended with him throwing a bag of liquor in a lake. Taken individually all of Fowler's reported incidents seem relatively minor. Considered in totality, it's not the best look if you're trying to present the image of maturity. Still, while it seems a bit beyond "boys will be boys," it doesn't seem to necessarily make Fowler an overly malicious menace. It's hard to say how it affects Fowler on the field. Some seem to be jumping to the conclusion that Fowler's off-field behavior points to an immaturity that prevents him from maximizing his potential. I don't know that that's a correct assumption. We'll see.
Trey from Fruit Cove, FL:
This time of year is so full of hope for the football faithful. Offseason moves, draft picks and signings are all made. The rookies all look good. The veterans have all been healing up or working hard on their craft … how could we NOT go 16-0?? We know that isn't reality, but it doesn't matter, because we hope. Every one of use feels it. It's just around the corner. Cool days spent with family and friends watching, relishing, and hoping. We don't go on that field, but we are there and we can feel it. We are ready for it. The dead zone is almost over for another year. Can you feel it John? It's hope. And we all feel it.
John: I actually think do feel it. I first thought it was from eating pizza out of the box that had been left out all night despite my wife telling me not to … but no, it's hope. And I feel it.
Jeff from Wake Forest, NC:
I think I must've had a dream where I wrote you a question and every day I am reading and checking to see if you answered it. Also, I think in my dream I am turning into The Dude or you are and we are bowling ...ahhh! is The Dead Zone almost over??
John: You did write. I didn't answer because it was a lousy question. And Jaguars 2017 Training Camp starts Thursday.
O-Zone: One day more
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Richard from Northampton, UK: