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O-Zone: Pulling for T.J.

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Jerell from Columbia, SC:
John, this team is filled with question marks. Is Bortles truly better? Has the O-line improved? What can Yeldon do? How big of an impact is not having Thomas? Where is the speed on offense? And defense? Where is the rush coming from? How good are the cornerbacks? I think with so many questions this team is poised to go 3-13.
John: Well, if the questions are answered, "No," "No," "Nothing," "Gargantuan," "Nowhere," "Nowhere," "Nowhere" and "Not good at all," then you're probably right. Then again, if the first is answered yes, you're probably wrong.
Rick from Jacksonville:
I never in my life have heard so much hype for a player that has accomplished NOTHING in the NFL to date and had one of the worst seasons for a quarterback in NFL history last year. The excuses Blake Bortles gets is getting to be pathetic. While it's nice that he went out to work on the basics this offseason, there is no indication he is any better at reading complicated defenses or that his mechanics will hold up when under pressure. If this team is able to win more than three games this season, which is a BIG if, it will be because the team developed a run game and the defense stopped giving up 30 points a game. If Gus Bradley thinks Bortles is the person who has to carry this team this year, Bradley will be fired by the end of the season, as he should be.
John: Just to be clear, you're saying you think Bortles is pretty good, right?
April from Pooler, GA:
Not protecting not Sterling with a roster spot will haunt this team.
John: You could be right. Sterling appears to have NFL tools and he showed up in his one-game preseason appearance. But it's no guarantee that another team will sign him off the practice squad. Remember, he went to a small school – Monmouth – and lasted until the seventh round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He also only played one preseason game, so there's not a mammoth body of work to tempt teams to sign him. A team wanting him also will have to commit to him for three regular-season games, which is a lot for a player who hasn't shown he can contribute right away. It's certainly possible Sterling could be signed, but if the Jaguars made a calculated risk not protecting him it could pay off.
Cole from Orlando, FL:
John, it's SO important for the Jaguars to pressure Cam Newton this weekend. The Jags' front four needs to play consistently, but I think it's clear the Jaguars will have to dial up some exotic pressure. Do you think the Jags will blitz the corners at all? Put Skuta on the line for passing downs?
John: Yes, yes – and a whole lot more.
David from Orlando, FL:
We should make a play for Jason Pierre-Paul. I believe he could make an immediate impact. Sometimes, you just gotta roll them dice. What are your thoughts on JPP?
John: I'm all about rollin' them dice, but hey … I'm a gamblin' man by nature. At the same time, one team has seen Jason Pierre-Paul since his injury this summer and it doesn't sound as if that team believes he's going to play soon. I don't know how confident I'd feel that rolling them dice in this case would come up with very much good.
Steve from Jacksonville:
Would it be fair to say that "once-in-a-generation" Tony Boselli is maybe the worst thing to happen (from an evaluation/PR standpoint) to all the other Jaguar left tackles since his departure? ESPECIALLY first-round draft picks?
John: Yes.
Steve from Denver, CO:
O- The definition of jog in the dictionary: "to move or ride at a slow steady trot …" Are you sure you can call that jogging?
John: I don't think what I do is actually "called" anything. You don't name that as much as you try to forget you saw it happen.
Jim from Middleburg, FL:
Do you think the schedule might be just a wee too hard for the "We-got-to-win-eight-games" crowd to consider the season a success? Don't get me wrong. I would love it, but that does not mean we should be unhappy with the coaching staff if we win, say, six games!
John: I don't know what number is needed for the season to be a success and I don't think Shad Khan has a number in his head. I think it will be relatively easy to see if this team is improved as this season continues.
Josh from Pensacola, FL:
Do you think the Jags' defense has made significant progress in eliminating the big play? That to me has been the most frustrating thing to deal with over the past several seasons.
John: We'll see.
Jerome from New York:
Hi, John … I'm a huge Jags fan. I think Allen Hurns is gonna be a Pro Bowl receiver pretty soon. But it doesn't seem like people in Jacksonville look at him that way. Why? I'm always hearing he is not that fast but to me, he is team's deep threat that stays open. And he is always healthy. Bortles to Hurns … I smell playoffs.
John: I can't speak for how the entire city of Jacksonville sees Hurns; I can tell you I think he's really important to the offense this season. He has stayed healthy and is always available. He also is a diligent worker who has improved his route-running this offseason and has the look of a professional receiver who can play productively in the NFL a long time. The issue with Hurns has been drops. All receivers have them and he has had a few more than you want. I believe he's critical to the offense because he's going to play a lot, and because he's really good at getting open, Bortles is going to throw him the ball. He'll have a chance to make a lot of big plays. If he makes them, he could have a huge year.
Keith from Palatka, FL:
I was somewhat surprised that we did not sign a quarterback for the practice squad. Do you think this is something Caldwell will address?
John: At some point … yes.
Dustin from Watermelon Park and Section 243:
I am shocked you don't have a Wikipedia page. Someone of your clout ought to have one. Oh, well. Anyways, which Panthers player would you place on the Jags if you had the powers to pluck one? Go Jags!
John: Luke Kuechly, middle linebacker. I like Paul Posluszny as a person and a player, but if I could have Kuechly, I'd figure out somewhere to play him. He's that good.
Mike from Valley Station, KY:
Will having a less-than-stellar pass rush influence the coin flip to begin the game at all? Instead of deferring the choice to second half, going on the offensive first to try and score quickly. Thus, hopefully getting to crank up the pass rush more often?
John: Not if the Jaguars lose the flip, it won't.
Don from Medford, OR:
I just read the Chiefs have moved Eric Fisher from left tackle to the right side. How are the Chief fans dealing with their first pick of the 2013 draft tackle?
John: I don't know. I don't cover the Chiefs.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
Does a player get credit for a start because they are listed as a starter on the game-day depth chart, or do they get credit because they are on the field for the first offensive/defensive play?
John: A player gets credit for a start when he is in the lineup for the first play offensively or defensively. That's why "starting" statistics are sometimes a bit skewed for positions such as wide receiver or linebacker, etc. If an offense or defense starts in a non-base scheme, a player might not start but play most of the game.
John from Boynton Beach, FL:
This roster has much less of a feel like the Jags are settling at certain positions and more of a feel like it's getting pretty darn competitive to stay on this roster, doesn't it?
John: Yes.
Tom from Jacksonville:
Being you've only had like 6 padded practices in training camp, and Yeldon wore a red jersey for most of them, you really don't know how he looked. I tell you this, he looked like a boy amongst men in his preseason debut. If we start the season with a three-and-out because of Yeldon, somebody needs to be replaced. I'm thinking senior writer for propagating this crap.
John: Is that what you're thinking?
Andy from Roswell, GA:
I'm trying to not get my hopes up, but I really think this team can (and should) beat Carolina. More than anything, I'm excited to have a winning record for the first time since Week 16, 2010. John...make this happen!
John: I'll take a look at getting this done next week … provided, of course, Yeldon plays well on the first series Sunday.

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