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O-Zone: Period

JACKSONVILLE - Let's get to it...

Rick from Greenville, SC

I read somewhere that the Jaguars had the most 20-point victories of any team in the last two years. They also had the point differential of a 13-win team and were not necessarily lucky in that regard. As most pundits believe they are the 2016 Raiders, are they actually the 84' Bears?

John: I understand your point. Still, let's please not wander so easily into this idea that the Jaguars are being roundly disrespected. And let's not just accept a tone-setting narrative that "most pundits" believe they will slip back to the pack as the Oakland Raiders did last season after a strong 2016. I haven't sensed that that's how people view this Jaguars team. Far from it, in fact. Some analysts do believe the Jaguars might slip next season, but I have seen just as many who project the Jaguars as division champions –and many rank their roster among the NFL's best. Either way, it matters not a bit what "pundits believe." What matters is what this team does on the field. This team was not a fluke on the field last season and I believe they will be strong on the field in 2017. As strong as the 1985 Chicago Bears? Perhaps not, but strong nonetheless.

Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL

I like the autofill. The rest: Hate it!

John: One sorta fer but not really fer …

Mike from Atlanta, GA

Garbage. Change it back. *holds two thumbs down*

John: One not fer …

David from Orlando, FL

O: Only a couple of years ago, we had high hopes for Rashad Greene Sr. I know, he has had a few special team muffs, but he also has made some outstanding plays. Now, with a crowded receiving corps, his name is seldom mentioned as "being in the hunt" for a spot. Is he a goner?

John: Greene, a fifth-round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft from Florida State, remains on the Jaguars' active despite missing a large chuck of first two NFL seasons and all of last season. The fact that he indeed is on the roster means the Jaguars see something in him. There remains a belief within the organization that he could be an effective slot receiver, something the Jaguars could use. But he's not a favorite to make the roster. He must earn his way past a lot of players to do so. And he needs to be available. With as much ground as he must gain, missing time in the offseason or the regular season wouldn't bode well.

Marlin from Newberry

OK, I do not like the new site if I must wait past 9:30 a.m. for the O-Zone to post!

John: I'm sorry you feel inconvenienced by this free website. The Special8 a.m. O-Zone is available on the pay version. I'll text you my Venmo. It's my personal account, and you may never see actually see an early O-Zone. In fact, you may never do anything beyond paying me a bunch of money. But it will be cool, anyway. (Editor's note: John doesn't have a Venmo account. We at feel strongly he didn't know what Venmo was until his son mentioned it when home from college. We suspect this because he spelled it "Vinbo" in the original draft for this O-Zone. When questioned about it said, "You know, that pay thing…" Either way, do not give him money. Do not relive our mistake).

Joe from Duval and Section 216

Do you see us signing a veteran running back sometime before the season starts, or do you think they feel comfortable with just T.J. Yeldon and Corey Grant if Leonard Fournette were to miss a game?

John: It wouldn't be surprising to see the Jaguars sign a veteran running back in the offseason, or even during training camp. Free agent veteran Terrance West reportedly visited the Jaguars this week. But I doubt you'll see a "splash" in this area for a couple of reasons. One is that the time for "splash" signings is over. Another is that the Jaguars don't appear to be in must-fill mode on this one. They took care of filling what they believed were  major needs during March. If the Jaguars believed backup running back was a must, they would have addressed it then.

Richard from Orange Park, FL


John: What? What? In the name of humanity, Richard … WHAT!!??!?

James from Jacksonville

John it's not that they didn't appreciate your input at Home Depot. They're just pet friendly and there's nothing they can do about it.

John: I'm pet friendly, too. I own a dog. I call her "rat dog" to her face because insulting animals makes me feel good about myself without hurting he feelings of a being that doesn't understand human language, but I secretly find her precious. I just choose not to assume everyone thinks she is so precious as to want her around when purchasing tools.

Ray from Monroe, CT

Do you think the NFL will ever adopt the NBA and MLB rules for a rookie designation? In those sports, you must play a certain amount of time or be on the active roster for a certain number of days. Dante Fowler Jr. for instance lost his whole "rookie" year so the club lost out on a year of that contract as well. If they adopt the other rules, we wouldn't have to worry about his option for another season.

John: I doubt this will get change because it's not a matter of the "NFL" adopting the rules of another league. It's a matter of the NFL and the NFL Players Association agreeing how to designate players' contract years. The NFL certainly would favor your proposal. The NFLPA assuredly would be against because the NFLPA wants players – particularly high-profile players such as Fowler – to test free agency as early and often as possible. It's possible the league could push for a change in negotiations for the next Collective Bargaining Agreement, but it's doubtful owners would want this enough to make it worth pursuing.

Jake from Raleigh

Where would you rank Blake Bortles on the list of best Jags starting quarterbacks of all time? While he's certainly not the best, he's also far from the worst.

John: Second. I would rank Bortles behind Mark Brunell and ahead of David Garrard, Byron Leftwich, Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne. An argument could be made for Garrard, but Bortles quarterbacked in the AFC Championship Game, so he gets the edge in this man's opinion.

Terrence from Jacksonville

Are there any new wrinkles in Offensive Coordinator Nathaniel Hackett's playbook we may see this season? With a new wide receiver on the edge and a new stud in the interior line, could this become the evolution of the offense as was the defense last season?

John: I'm scheduled to meet with Hackett and get all the new wrinkles in the playbook. This meeting is scheduled on the Fifth of Never. I'll post the wrinkles on the sixth.

Attila from Dunakeszi, Hungary

John, I saw that the Jags signed three tryout players for the 90-man roster. Do you think any of them has even a slim chance to make at least the practice squad? Were there any tryout players earlier who became very good NFL players? Thanks again!

John: Yes, they have a slim chance – though obviously "slim" in this case means … well, "slim." The NFL really doesn't keep track of "tryout players," per se, in the way they chart other trends such as drafted and undrafted players. It's certainly a lot rarer for a tryout player to make an impact than an undrafted player because tryout guys by definition are perceived to be longer shots than your normal collegiate free agents. Still, it happens; former Jaguars wide receiver Mike Brown originally was a tryout player before signing to the active roster, and there are have been others who have made NFL rosters this way. There also have been many, many undrafted players go onto big-time NFL careers with current Jaguars players such as cornerback A.J. Bouye, guard Andrew Norwell and safety Barry Church all front-line players who entered the NFL undrafted. Long shots happen in the NFL and the Jaguars' roster proves it.

Ray from Jacksonville

John: I wrote a week ago questioning the statement that Bortles "led them to the AFC championship game. " Let's everyone call a truce and agree that Bortles' style of play creates a smaller margin of error in trying to win games, but that with a very good defense and solid running game, the team is willing to accept the smaller margin of error."

I was going to ask, "Can't we all just get along?" I'd say I'm not sure I want to know the answer, but I think I actually do.

Jeff from Jacksonville

So. Many. Ads.

John: Jeff. I. Agree. I'm. Told. This. Is. A. Bug. In. The. New. Design. And. That. The. NFL. Is. Working. On. The. Issue. Let's. Hope. Something. Gets. Done. Soon. Eight. Ads. In. The O-Zone. Is. Too. Many.

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