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O-Zone: Please, no gifts

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Ed from Danvers, MA:
Regarding a second bye week, what if it took place during the preseason – say, Week 2 – instead of playing a preseason game? Players could probably use the extra week after the first preseason game to recover and then head to the all-important Week 3 game. The bye weekend could even be used for two joint practices with another team – open it to the public for a $10 entry fee.
John: I admit I had to re-read and take a few breaths on this one … many ideas crammed into a few sentences. I also admit I checked for signs of sarcasm when you said "all-important," because while Preseason Week 3 matters, I don't know that it matters on an "all-important" scale. All in all, I'm not sure many of these ideas work. Front-line players play pretty sparingly in Preseason Week 2, and the joint practices would pretty much defeat the purpose of the bye week. I don't see a second bye week returning in the regular season, and I begrudgingly admit a two-week-preseason, 18-game-regular-season format is probably going to happen sooner or later. Beyond that, I don't know that the basic bye format is going to undergo any sort of revolutionary change.
Joe from San Antonio, TX:
I'd like to go on record and say that I'm proud to have a player such as Marqise Lee hold true to his promise and finish his degree. I'd also like to say as a member of the armed forces that I'm sure a man as motivated as Lee was able to find the time to study for class and to train for football and neglected neither. I did it just fine. GO JAGS and GO LEE! #DTWD
John: This is reference to Marqise Lee working toward his degree at the University of Southern California earlier this offseason. A reader recently expressed concern and even dislike of that decisions. Most readers seem to disagree with the reader who was concerned. #MLTWD
Rob from Pittsburgh, PA:
John, I think it's great that Lee wanted to finish his degree. It shows maturity and long-term planning. What if he suffered a career-ending injury (God forbid) and needed something to fall back on? What if he wants a career after the NFL? People need to understand a degree isn't a piece of paper; it's the accumulation of enough knowledge and skills to add value to an organization or activity – and an education is worth itself without being the means to an end. So good for Marqise Lee!
John: #MLTWD
Tom from Atlantic Beach, FL:
I applaud Marqise Lee and his decision to continue school and get his degree. I'm sure it was something he promised himself, and his family as well. You should always have a backup plan. You got one, John? Under the same scenario, you're only one article away…
John: Wait. What?
Benjamin from Jacksonville:
Who would you put on the Jaguars "Mount Rushmore?" Based on overall franchise impact, both on and off the field, I would choose Weaver, Boselli, Khan and Taylor. I could definitely see an argument for Coughlin, though.
John: Wow. This is tough question, particularly when you include owners. Under your guidelines, you have to include Wayne Weaver and Shad Khan. If either had had less of a belief in Jacksonville, the franchise almost certainly would not be here. I'd have to include Tom Coughlin, too, because when the franchise was built into its most successful era, he was the one who did most of the building and defined the franchise day-by-day. He literally was the face and spirit of the Jaguars for nearly a decade. That leaves Tony Boselli and Fred Taylor, and I suppose I'd have to go with Boselli by the smallest of hair-lengths. He was a dominant player at his position for a half a decade that half-decade coincided with the Jaguars being one of the NFL's best teams.
Sophie from the farm:
John, Got milk?
John: What?
Michael from Port Orange, FL:
I don't trust Khan; all that he has done for Jacksonville just adds to the franchise value. I believe he would move to London tomorrow if he could. When he stops giving away home games I will believe he wants to stay in Jacksonville. Why can't you see that?
John: I believe I was pretty clear in addressing this point in the last few days that I do see why there are people who can see it as you do. If you're by nature a distrusting person that doesn't trust "outside-the-box" approaches, it makes sense to not trust Khan's approach. It's not "normal." I also understand that if you're absolutely so locked into distrusting Khan's motives that you don't believe the things he has done show a commitment to Jacksonville, then nothing I or anyone else write or say is going to change your mind. The Jacksonville market because of its size presents challenges for this franchise. Having a game a year in London is a way of dealing with those challenges. It also solidifies this franchise in Jacksonville. I'm as skeptical as anyone and I never have heard one whisper that Khan wants to move this team. I don't expect you to see that. I can't control what everyone sees.
Keith from Palatka, FL:
Did the Culligan Girl really beg, sob, and plead?
John: I have no idea what you're talking about.
Jed from Washington:
Give me one reason I should believe this team is going to be better next season?
John: I actually would have to give you about five reasons, but they all sort of fit into one reason: the newcomers on this roster – Jermey Parnell, Dan Skuta, Jared Odrick, Julius Thomas and T.J. Yeldon. There are other newcomers such as Davon House and Sergio Brown, but five is a nice round number and fits better into one. Those five players I mentioned appear to have a very good chance to come together with other factors and make the Jaguars a significantly better roster. I don't know what will mean in terms of a specific number of victories and defeats, but I think you'll see a stronger, more competitive team from start to finish than the past two seasons.
John from Jacksonville:
4-12, 4-12 rebuilding? Shouldn't the focus be on acquiring the personnel capable of getting through the season and making it to the postseason and possibly the Super Bowl? Isn't that the primary purpose? Wouldn't that get people motivated to buy tickets? I think we are (2) receivers and a RB away from 10-5 this season.
John: I will almost (almost) guarantee you the Jaguars won't finish 10-5 next season.
Lewis from Section 408:
O Man, there has been so much made of Blake working on fundamentals by some fans. Had he not been so forthcoming about this maybe it wouldn't be such a big deal. I read this about Cam Newton the other day and he just signed a $103.8 million dollar extension: "Spent offseason workouts focusing on his footwork and other mechanics to improve his accuracy … 'We're working on getting his feet in proper position and stepping into throws.''[This camp has] been good for him. His development is headed in the right direction.'" I bet Brady, Rogers, and Manning work on their fundamentals and muscle memory in their offseason workouts. Shouldn't we all just take a chill pill and let Blake do his thing?
John: I've mentioned several times this offseason that what Bortles is doing isn't all that abnormal – and the fact that he is working on fundamentals and mechanics certainly in no way should be taken to mean that he's incapable of being a big-time players in the NFL. Mechanics are always an issue and most quarterbacks must work hard to maintain them; the best ones work steadily on this deep into their careers. The main differences in Bortles and the quarterbacks you mentioned are that he has yet to establish himself and that he has been willing to discuss his shortcomings in detailed candor.
Wayne from Atlanta, GA:
John, you might not hear this enough, but your work – and everyone else involved at Jaguars.com – is unmatched for us Jags fans living outside of Jacksonville. I was born and raised in Jacksonville, but work life moved me away two years after the Jags came into the league. I have still been a faithful fan and would be completely at a loss for information without you guys. As has been mentioned a million and one times, the networks give us nothing. Another local site started charging to read Jags news and that's just not cool. You guys work hard to put out a quality product here and it shows. From me and every long distance fan let me just extend a huge THANKS!! #DTWD
John: You're right: I don't hear it enough. Write in and praise me whenever and however you want. You have my email address, though office policy prohibits me (wink, wink) from accepting gifts. The part where you mentioned "everyone else involved at Jaguars.com" … yeah, whatever.

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