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O-Zone: Party time

JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . . Marcus from Jacksonville:
Why do people get so upset when mainstream media says the Jags are going to be terrible next year? They were 2-14 last year and dumped a good portion of their experienced players, which history shows often leads to a temporary setback. I think they're going to be improved this season, but I can't blame the talking heads out there for thinking they'll be drafting No. 1 in 2014. Everyone in the national media said they'd be terrible last year while everyone in town thought they'd be competing for the playoffs . . . obviously those national guys are idiots!
John: I haven't gotten a vibe that people are upset about the national media's projections this season. If anything, I think the expectations around Jacksonville are very much wait and see. The roster turnover is to the extent that I don't think now – on April 13 – anyone has a very clear idea of what to expect. While there are some fans upset about the team not signing veteran free agents, most readers grasp that there is a bigger picture than next season. The Jaguars are trying to build a long-term contender. Within that goal they will do everything they can to win as many games as they can this season, but they're not going sign a slew of veterans just to win two more games this season at the expense of building a core foundation. Here's the nice thing about the Jaguars' strategy: building through free agency usually doesn't work anyway, so you're really not sacrificing anything in the short term.
Shane from Jacksonville:
Can you offer your personal thoughts regarding the uniforms? Specifically, do you like them?
John: They are cool. I like them.
Andrew from Panama City, FL:
Please describe the new uniforms in the vaguest of terms.
John: There is a helmet. There is a logo. There is a home uniform and an away uniform. They are cool. I like them.
Tommy from Jacksonville:
I thought for sure my last question had a chance. Dang, I even had a six pack ready to have messengered over to EverBank for noon delivery today.
John: What was the question? TOMMY, WHAT WAS THE QUESTION?!?!?!?!
Chris from Jacksonville:
John, when it comes to uniforms, are you a traditionalist (Steelers, Packers, Browns) or a fan of the new school stuff (Seahawks)?
John: I'm an old-school guy, but that's because I'm now old and went to school a long time ago. Not every team can be a traditionalist. If every team was, then all the uniforms would stay the same, and that would be boring.
Deb from Jacksonville and Section 150:
I really enjoy the O-Zone. However, I could care less about mock drafts. I realize some enjoy them, but I try to familiarize myself with the players, and then I hope for the best. And this year I have a feeling I won't be disappointed like years past!!!!
John: Deb, I honestly don't enjoy mock drafts too much, either. I do them because people like to read them and because they spark debate and discussion, which is what this time of year is about. The thing to remember about mock drafts is that 99 percent of them are wrong, and there are so many out there that there's no way to know the identity of the 1 percent.
Andrew from Jacksonville:
I'm trying to convince a friend to renew his season tickets, but it's beginning to feel like a lost cause. He once stood up for the longevity of the franchise in Jacksonville when its fans were questioned. Today, he feels like he has nothing to look forward to. After putting forth all reasoning I could think of as to what the new regime is doing, I simply told him that it comes down to whether you want to be there or not. Is there a better way to put it?
John: You can only do so much to convince. The Jaguars understand that while many, many fans are buying into the new message – and while progress on the season ticket sales is positive – some people won't believe until it shows up on the field. That's fine. It's a results-oriented business, and if you're paying attention in the fall, I think you'll see results. What that will mean in victories and losses, who knows? But if the Jaguars show the progress Gus Bradley preaches, you'll see improvement, and most fans can get excited and support that.
Brett from Glendive, MT:
I am a little tired of this whole "Andrew Luck is the prototype quarterback" people are looking for when coming out of college. Dan Marino, John Elway, and Troy Aikman set the bar in the eighties and only Peyton and Eli have really come close. Not saying Andrew is not good, but he is not Dan. He's not even Peyton. Give me a break. Anyway, I would still like to see a trade for Kirk Cousins. Can't argue with the kid's leadership ability and his natural instincts. I know it won't happen but would like your thoughts.
John: I understand you're tired, but it's hard to argue that Andrew Luck isn't the prototype. He's smart, tough, sees the field, makes plays and has a knack for winning close games. I'd argue that Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and a few others have come close to the quarterbacks you mentioned, too, but I get your point. I feel the same about Kirk Cousins as when I was getting this question earlier in the offseason. First, I don't know that the Redskins have much interest in trading Cousins. I wouldn't, not considering RGIII ran into injury issues in his first season and plays a style that could lead to more injuries. Second, what are you wanting to trade for him? I don't know that I'd give up a first-rounder for a player who wasn't worth a first-round selection last year. I doubt the Redskins would want to take too much less than that right now.
Tom from Melbourne, FL:
Speaking of undrafted rookies, whatever happened to fan favorite, Long Ding? You never posted a follow-up article...
John: There wasn't much to follow up. Ding was released last offseason before training camp. He was a good story at the time, but once he was released, there's not much of a story unless he surfaces somewhere.
John from Section 213:
Are teams' draft boards as volatile as the mock drafts in the months leading up to the draft, or are they much more consistent?
John: They're usually much more consistent, particularly in the last month. Most teams have draft boards with groupings, then a lot of teams do mock draft "run-throughs," going through the first round with different scenarios to be prepared for draft day. That's where a lot of the predraft work goes in rather than readjusting the board. The last thing you want is to go in three days before the draft and start rearranging the board. By that point, you have done the work. Trust your scouting and pick a player.
Randy from Jacksonville:
When Nick wrote to you about Ross, he called him lazy, then went on to say "some people are lazy" and "sometimes people get lazy for extended periods of time. It happens everywhere in every line of work." Did he forget who he was sending this too??? I meant to send this yesterday but I got lazy.
John: I didn't feel like reading this.
Josh from Wisconsin:
Let me clarify that I am in no way a Tebow faithful. But, wouldn't it be worth the while to bring him in after the Jets release him and let him push Gabbert? Gabbert is seen at rock-bottom right now, and putting the "pressure" of Tebow on him could either make him play better or prove he is not our franchise quarterback. Plus, it would put some people in the stands and sell some jerseys. I see it as a win-win. If Gabbert does overcome that obstacle, then we could actually use Tebow in some wildcat\mix-up formations.
John: I get emails like this sometimes.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
Chad Henne had plenty of opportunity to win the starting job last year. His three-interception performance at the Titans is not what we are looking for going forward.
John: Well, of course, it's not. And, frankly, there have been a lot of performances at a lot of positions in the past two years that weren't what the Jaguars are looking for going forward. To be fair, the same issues that are true for Blaine Gabbert are true for Henne. There was a lot going wrong throughout last season and a lot of weak areas. Henne should get the same opportunity to compete as Gabbert to compete in a more stable environment. The competition and the clock, in a very real sense, start now.
Cir-Ike from Jacksonville:
Johnny O, I agree improving every day is what we need, but that improvement must lead to victories. I see the plan in place to win; now the games need to be played to practice what's being preached. I know I'm not alone when I say, I'm tired of showing up to Super Bowl Parties sporting my Jags gear and they're not on the field. I'm ready to have a reason to shout on Game Day outside of church. Just my thoughts, Go Jags.
John: I'm tired of going to Super Bowl parties and after insisting that, yes, I do know the host, being asked to leave. Some people are just rude.

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