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O-Zone: Pride and passion

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … James from Jacksonville:
Now that the draft is done and we acquired so many great picks, I figure we are closer to that 10-6 season that no one expects. What say you, sir?
John: Absolutely. Sure, the Jaguars are closer to that "10-6 season." That's because they're improved overall from last season, but let's say a couple of things about the expectations some are starting to have for this team. First, it's always risky to factor a rookie class heavily when projecting a team's fortunes simply because it's very unusual for a rookie class to make a mammoth, difference-making impact. For all of the hype surrounding the NFL Draft it's still an event more about the future than the present. Will the Jaguars' '14 draft class be a good one? It's very possible. Will it take more than a year for it to have a full impact? That's probable. So, that brings us to the second thing about expectations, which is that while I expect the Jaguars to be significantly improved, I still expect that .500 will be a very, very lofty goal.
Stacy from Tallahassee, FL:
Where does the release of Matt Scott leave us with our backup quarterback spot? I assume that they want Bortles to sit the year, so is Gabbert now Henne's backup? I would have assumed that they would have cut Gabbert instead of Scott.
John: Here we go, Jaguars! #Standunited
Frank from Knoxville, TN:
Perspective is needed with the Lee and Robinson picks. I hope people are not expecting them to come in and light it up next year. For whatever reason, it seems just as hard to make the adjustment at receiver from college to the NFL as to make it at quarterback. While I'd like to see them play next year and develop, I anticipate they won't show what they really can do until 2015 when Blake gets in and starts to hit his stride. I hope folks don't lose faith in them if they only put up modest numbers their first year like a few did with Blackmon when he was a Top 5 pick. Patience, folks.
John: You are absolutely correct, and while you said "for whatever reason," there are some very specific reasons it's difficult for receivers to develop quickly. One reason is they are playing against better cornerbacks, but the most prominent reason is it's very difficult to get open in the NFL just with physical ability. It's probably best comparable to pass-rusher, where it often takes young players a season or two to learn how to develop countermoves and how to use hands effectively to create pressure. Young receivers typically must learn how to run routes at the professional level and how to get open consistently. If Lee and/or Robinson show the progress as rookies this season that Blackmon made as a rookie, it would be unquestioned success for them.
Josh from Fernandina Beach, FL via Fort Lauderdale, FL:
The talk over the prior years has given some hope. But, the tangible developments of an objectively solid draft and the stadium upgrades allows one to really envision a drastically improved franchise and fan experience in the years to come.
John: Steps are being taken. Progress is being made. There is reason to believe that the foundation being built is solid. We'll see what comes next.
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
O-man, with all due respect, on paper every team should improve with every draft. The problem with the Jags is we have drafted great "on paper" every year. I remember hearing the same hype and hope on Reggie Williams, Matt Jones, etc. Proof is in the performance, O-man. We shall wait and see if things really are better.
John: Well, sure.
Ryan from Northville, MI:
I love the pickup of linebacker Allen Bradford. I'm a big USC fan and he always brought a drive and an energy when he played. Do you think the Jags will put him on the roster at LB or RB?
John: The acquisition of Bradford is not to be overlooked. I think he has a very real chance of backing up Paul Posluszny at middle linebacker.
Jack from Oviedo, FL:
Challenge to have at least 10 percent of season tickets sold to Orlando, FL residents. We have your back, Jacksonville.
John: Cool.
Sonny from Melbourne, FL:
How does the contract of a rookie player on the PUP list work? I know the player will not count against the 53-man roster, but does the player get paid game to game or does he just get his guaranteed money? If the contract is for four years and he sits out a year, is the player with the team for five years? Also, does the salary count against the cap in the year the player is not playing?
John: Players on the Physically Unable to Perform list get paid their full salary, and they accrue a season if they are on PUP for six or more games. And yes, a PUP salary counts against the cap for a given year.
Trevon from Nashville, TN:
Are we the only team to have pools in our stadium, and do you and J.P plan on getting in them?
John: Yes – and, oh yes.
Mark from Ponte Vedra Beach and Section 215:
In the Coughlin years (1995-2002) we had 11 draft picks twice, 10 draft picks three times, and one year each with nine, eight and seven. For Shack Harris (2003-2008) we had 11, 10, nine, eight, six and five selections .For Gene Smith (2009-2012) we had six twice, five once and nine once. Dave Caldwell has had nine and eight draft picks in his years. I think the biggest difference between the Coughlin era and the two subsequent ones is the value placed on number of draft picks per year. I think the current regime is closer to Coughlin in their draft philosophy concerning the number of picks. I hope that continues.
John: I get the idea it will – certainly until Caldwell gets the roster back to a level where it can compete on a yearly basis. Caldwell absolutely values selections not only because more selections increases the chances of getting good players, but because having selections gives you draft-day flexibility. I won't say Caldwell will never go into a draft with five selections, but I will say it will probably be really unusual.
Matt from Orlando, FL:
John, late Wednesday night on the live stream of the Khanstruction, it looked as if there was some kind of light-show testing going on. Can you clue us in as to what this was?
John: As I was leaving late Wednesday, I heard Shadrick muttering something about, "I'll play Karaoke all night if I want to," but beyond that, I honestly don't know.
James from Jacksonville:
John, please tell @DUVAL_DOOM from Section 217 I have many friends that live outside Jacksonville because we all went to college at UF/ UNF and many of them moved out of the city after graduation. I'm not sure that is so unusual to be deemed suspect. And as a business person, not caring what people think about you isn't a sound business approach. The Jacksonville Jaguars are a business and a going concern. Brand, image, etc., are core assets to any thriving business. I'm sure Shad Khan knows this. Meester's jacket was universally mocked and ridiculed. For a team that has been viciously mocked for the better part of a decade, it was an avoidable mistake. We cannot afford to NOT CARE. Being known as redneckville isn't good for business. That's all I am saying. If you do not get this, you do not know anything about business. I like Meester, but this is business.
John: Congratulations. You are absolutely, undeniably right in your rightness.
Andy from St. Johns, FL:
How about "DUUUU-JacksonvilleMetroAreaFiveCountyAreaIncluding NassauBakerBradford ClaySt.JohnsGainesvilleTallahassePensacolaValdostaOrlandoDaytonaBrunswickSavannahHiltonHeadLondon-ALLLL!!!"? Did I miss anyone?
John: No. You got it.
Duval from St. Johns, FL:
Tom from St. Johns, also think of Duval as a unique way of saying "Nation." Every team has a freaking Nation and it's unoriginal. The Jags will always exist in Duval County and play in a stadium owned by the city in Duval County. Therefore, if you support the team you're apart of Duval. It's our own unique Call Sign. I'm moving to North Dakota this week and I'll still be #DTWD.
John: You got that right.
Matt from Maryland:
Tom...I live in Maryland and I love saying DUUUUVVALLLLL. It's not about the location; it's a state of mind. Unwavering support for the front office and organization, who cares what anyone else thinks. That is what it is all about.
John: #DTWD.
Dean from Rochester, NY:
I agree about the Duval chant. It's lame. Time to get on board with all the other great strides and come up with something good to match all the other good.
John: That's a great idea. Maybe some really creative, organized, passionate Jaguars fans can get together and form a group that represents the team with pride, passion and enthusiasm. Maybe then those people – operating from that place of pride and passion – could come up with something memorable and cool that sort of says, "We are who we are." It would have to be catchy and something that stuck with you. I can't think of anything off the top of my head.

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