JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Eduardo from Ponte Vedra, FL:
The most disturbing thing about last year's team was its self-destructive tendencies ... untimely penalties and picks, center-quarterback-exchange issues, dropped passes at critical times, missed kicks – and the list goes on. In my mind, that is more coaching than youth – and I'm wondering if you agree. Bill Belichick teams don't shoot themselves in the foot; they are precise and disciplined. Can Gus Bradley provide the kind of leadership necessary to cut down on the self-destructive mistakes? It's the biggest area of improvement I want to see this year.
John: The Jaguars indeed self-destructed at key times last season. But while I won't say coaching had nothing to do with that, it's hard to blame coaching on all of the fronts you cite. Missed kicks, dropped passes, quarterback-center exchanges, interceptions … you mentioned a lot of physical errors. Was it coaching that caused snaps to sail over the quarterback's head? Or coaching that caused field goals in Indianapolis to miss by a yard or two? That's a tough sell. Overall, I do attribute a lot of the self-destructive tendencies to youth. Remember, while Belichick's teams indeed are precise and disciplined they're also veteran-heavy with an elite quarterback. The Jaguars aren't even close to veteran-heavy team and they have a quarterback who is still maturing. Can Bradley do a better job next season? Sure. Can coaching eliminate all of the errors you mentioned? No, I wouldn't say that.
Free Matt Scott from Jacksonville:
Why would Shoelace be the third quarterback if Brandon Allen is playing better than Aaron Rodgers?
Blues Man from St. Johns, FL:
I realize the Jags have absolutely nothing to lose by keeping the rights to Justin Blackmon. But I honestly don't get why they even bother; there is NO way he makes it back to the NFL. I'd lay $1,000 on the table that he doesn't. No team in their right mind would even remotely consider him. So why? Why do the Jags even bother keeping him on the reserve/suspended list? Why not just cut loose and "officially" be done with him?
John: You answered your question with the second sentence. The Jaguars have nothing to lose by keeping the rights to Blackmon, so the question might actually be, "Why cut him loose and officially be done with him?" What's the incentive?
Marc from Duval:
I agree there is nothing truly good about Dante Fowler Jr. tearing his ACL. However, I believe that had Fowler played last year we would likely have won at least six games and we would not have Jalen Ramsey.
John: Well, yeah … there's that.
Josh from Green Bay, WI:
I consider myself a Day One fan because my first NFL experience was when my mom took me 15 minutes away to Stevens Point, Wisconsin, to see the Jaguars. I was about 10 and never really had any football experiences up to that point. I remember the booklet with all the guys' photos and thinking how cool it was. Since that day, I've bled teal and gold and always will.
Ross from Jacksonville from Born at NAS JAX:
Jacksonville Sharks (World Football League), Jacksonville Express (World Football League), Jacksonville Firebirds (American Football League), Jacksonville Bulls (USFL), Jacksonville Jaguars (NFL)... Jacksonville has been supporting football since 1974. And my family has been in the end-zone cheap seats for all. To me, it's been part of Jacksonville's soul. Here's to welcoming the next generation and many to come.
John: When you can reference casually and with confidence the Jacksonville Firebirds you don't have to ask anyone if you know football in this city. #Dayone
Alan from Mandarin:
Day One: When we got the franchise, I left work and headed to the sports apparel store at the Avenues Mall. Fourth in line, I waited about three hours to get a T-shirt from the first box delivered to the store: The black shirt with the logo the car company made us give up. I still have the shirt, along with the one sold at the stadium only at the inaugural game. #DTWD!
Abe from Mobile, AL:
So, there is this famous guy who makes games for one of Hasbro's divisions. He talks about how some of his greatest advice for people who come to work for that game division and are obsessed about the game is to find something else to do. Because if you are devoting your life full-time to that game then playing heavily on the weekend and in the evenings you'll quickly get burnt out and lose your passion for these games as well as for your job. Is that what you are trying to get across with the loss of your fandom to a degree? That you wisely chose to find another passion?
John: No. I'm just saying that once you start covering sports and following them from the perspective of a reporter it's more difficult to lose yourself in the blind, illogical, passionate furor that makes being a fan so deliciously fulfilling, frustrating and wonderful. I used to punch holes in walls and scream at the television when the Redskins played. I once knocked down a blind in my wife-to-be's apartment when they lost to the Giants. I once fell backward over a chair when they lost to the Eagles. I once screamed for Troy Aikman to die. These actions do not "play well" in a working press box.
Michael from Fruit Cove:
Do you think the league would ever call defensive pass interference penalties similar to the way they used to call face masks? A blatant penalty could still be spot of the foul, but a borderline call could be 10 yards.
John: I doubt it. The goal of the NFL's Competition Committee is to remove as much interpretation as possible from the officiating process not to add more.
Kevin from Section 124:
I still follow your predecessor in his new position in Green Bay. He announced this week that he will be semi-retiring and taking a diminished role there. Here's one fer Vic. The reason we all get to enjoy the O-Zone Q&A forum.
John: No doubt. One fer Vic.
Jaginator from Section 124:
I know that nothing in this forum will ever lead to Pro Bowl reform, but an ESPN article got me thinking replace the Pro Bowl with a "Future Bowl." (You can still name regular Pro Bowl honorees, but they wouldn't be playing in any game.) Hold a draft where three-to-four players are selected from each team's practice squad. That would give you enough to field AFC-vs-NFC squads. Let those guys practice for a week then play their game. Practice-squad players would be much more willing to play full-speed. Give them a bonus (which would mean more to a practice-squad player), so it's financially fair to them. Let them wear the helmets from their teams so we all still have a rooting interest in "our guys" when we watch the game. I've never been able to sit through a Pro Bowl game - but this is one that I'd actually be interested to watch from start to finish.
John: I think you belong to a very small, exclusive club.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
Fans last year were frustrated with the on-field play of our rookie place kicker with the two missed field goals at Indianapolis most likely the low point. You repeatedly told us that the coaching staff was behind Jason Myers and he would remain the team's kicker. Obviously the coaches have opportunity to interact with every player during practice, in meetings, in the locker room and weight room. What do the coaches see in Jason that our narrow focus cannot?
John: The team sees potential in Myers and significant leg talent. They also see a player who actually had a very good year when it came to field goals and kickoffs – and who seemed to mentally handle adversity very well. It was extra points that were the season-long issue and the team believes he will improve in that area.
Rob from Brunswick, GA:
O-man, what is the best concert you've ever seen? For me it was Sanitarium Tour at the Georgia Dome years ago. James Hetfield was in the hospital injured so instead, the various members of System of a Down, Korn and Brown Trucker Band (Kid Rocks far, far better half) played guitar and sang lead on their set. Johnathan Davis singing Master of Puppets with Metallica? Don't mind if I do.
John: Mine's a tie. I saw Bruce Springsteen in the Coliseum on the River Tour in 1981 and R.E.M. at the Bandshell in Gainesville in 1984, and I can't honestly pick one over the other. Springsteen hadn't yet tidied up his image in '81 and Michael Stipe still had long, curly hair over much of his face in '84. I put those two up with the two times I saw Warren Zevon in Jacksonville as my best concert memories – oh, and I saw Debbie and Pat Boone at the Coliseum with my mom in '78. Throw that in there, too.
O-Zone: One fer white bucks
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Eduardo from Ponte Vedra, FL: