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O-Zone: Quite a ways out there

LANDOVER, Md. – Game-day O-Zone. Week 2.

Let's get to it … YahooSerious from Australia:
Do you think Allen Hurns can be Cruz 2.0?
John: I assume you mean can Hurns be a free-agent rookie receiver who develops into a go-to guy or big-play receiver worthy of a second contract as Victor Cruz did. I wouldn't want to project that yet because Hurns has played one regular-season game. I have written that a few different ways this past week, and people seem to think I'm bashing Hurns. Nothing could be further from the truth. I think Hurns has a chance to be a real find for this franchise, and if he is, then the Jaguars have one more player in what could be a really good young receiving corps. If Hurns is indeed a find then he's exactly what teams need in order to build a talented, sustainable roster. It's hard to build your team entirely through the draft; you need to find a few guys in later rounds or even in free agency. What's next is for Hurns to be consistently reliable and to still be productive once defenders figure out his strengths. That's the case with all rookies and now it's the case for Hurns. For now, he is giving the Jaguars production at a spot where they need it, which is a really good start.
Robert from Moorpark, CA:
What do you see is the significant difference between Josh Evans the player to Cyprien? Do you see Evans eventually becoming a starter next to Cyp in the future? Or is that something that remains to be seen?
John: Well, Cyprien was the first selection of the second round in 2013 and Evans was a sixth-round selection, so Cyprien is supposed to be better. That's not to say the draft is everything, but Cyprien is the more skilled player and he was more NFL-ready. He's very quick to the ball, instinctive and a sure tackler. He also seems to have a knack for the big play. Evans has ability, but he isn't at Cyprien's level. As far as Evans starting, how he plays in this opportunity could have a lot to do with that, but for now it's pretty clear the Jaguars' top two safeties are Cyprien and Winston Guy, Jr.
Joseph from Jacksonville:
As frustrating as 2013 was (at least in the first eight games) I understood two things. It was a complete roster-turnover, start-from-scratch, full-preseason evaluation for the new staff AND we didn't have a franchise guy on the roster. After this last draft I was super-excited to not only see a high-ranked quarterback but also the wide receivers. It is just so unsettling to feel like it is still an ongoing process of evaluation on our roster. I like a lot of the personnel that has been added on both sides but wouldn't COMMON SENSE tell you that Bortles should be starting AND Denard should be carrying more in splitting time with Toby??
John: I'm sorry you're unsettled. Being unsettled can be … well, as you know, unsettling. But there's really nothing going on here aside from the Jaguars following a plan long since laid out. The Jaguars were pretty clear Henne would start this season; by "pretty clear" I mean they said it over and over and over for months to anyone who would listen. Now, as far as common sense, that would tell you that if the coaches thought Bortles should be starting, he would start. They don't feel that way. They really, truly and honestly don't. They have their reasons and they have shared them. People don't like those reasons and that's OK. People don't have to like everything. I also think you'll see more of Denard Robinson, but I don't know that you're going to see an even split of carries. This team saw enough that they liked in Toby Gerhart to sign him as an unrestricted free agent and make him the starting running back. They think that he can be the foundation of an effective running game. You don't go away from that after one game; if anything, you take time and try to build the running game. As far as the ongoing evaluation of the roster, it's true that the roster is always being evaluated, but this is not a situation where the Jaguars are evaluating at the expense of winning. They believe Chad Henne gave them the best chance to win last Sunday, and they believe for the most part he played pretty well. They did not believe Henne's performance was a problem, so from their perspective, it's still common sense to play him.
Mike from Julington Creek:
I feel let down by the NFL after this new changing of policies. Is it too much to ask players and owners to not do drugs, not beat their spouse, not take HGH, and not drive while drunk? Is it too much to ask them to be a responsible adult/person? My uncle was killed by a drunk driver. The drunk got probation. That's fair, right? I love football so it's stupid to say I won't watch, but I will say that the brand is tarnished every time they allow for this in the league. I'm not surprised with the new policies. It just shows that stupidity doesn't end with the players that break these rules, but it highlights the greed and stupidity of the owners. Some things shouldn't be all about money.
John: The new policy doesn't deal with domestic violence, it actually implements HGH testing and it includes a two-game suspension for a conviction or plea agreement for driving under the influence. The new policy raised thresholds for positive marijuana tests, and all in all it appears to be an agreement that's pretty reasonable. Not to say this has been a great week for the league in terms of public relations, but this appears to be a sensible policy that keeps up with the times.
Tom from Jacksonville:
What are the chances the league is done with Roger Goodell? If so any chance a new commissioner could turn the pro-game back into real football?
John: I'd still be surprised if Goodell isn't the commissioner for the long-term, though this by any measure hasn't been his most pleasant week. Whoever the commissioner, though, I don't see the league dramatically altering the way the game is played. First off, rules changes usually come from interaction between teams and the Competition Committee; while the commissioner has input he's often not the guiding hand. The league wants scoring and as long as that's true, you're going to have rules that benefit the offense and make it difficult to play pass defense.
Tom from St. Augustine, FL:
Season-ticket holder for 11 years, Section 148. I have been waiting 10 years for a good offensive line and good wide receiver unit ... hope Bortles does not have to wait as long. Brady has made a career out of making a wide receiver group look good …
John: Yes, he has, and good quarterbacks do make those around them better. A good, experienced quarterback can take pressure of an offensive line that struggles to pass block and it can certainly make average receivers better.
Ray from Arlington, VA:
I love Bortles, but the whole Bortles and Henne circus the fans are creating ...cmon Jag fans get a grip!
John: Oh, it's a scene, man.
Bryan from Jacksonville:
John, I am bilingual and I'm muy tired of this same question being asked again and again and ... #startblainebortles
John: No way! I'm bilingual, too: I write and brush my teeth with my left hand, but play tennis right-handed. Small world.
Eric from Yulee, FL:
I have a few questions. 1. Is the hometown information where you grew up or where you live now? 2. Has Bortles started to see more reps in practice with the ones in case of an injury or in case Henne "becomes" inefficient? 3. Do you think Gus truly feels Bortles isn't a better quarterback than Henne? If not shouldn't Bortles be in there (competition)? Also it is difficult to have competition if Bortles isn't getting enough reps... right?
John: I have a few answers. 1. It's where you were born. 2. Bortles has worked some with the first team and he also has done a lot of individual work with quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo since the regular season began. 3. Yes, for right now, Bradley thinks Henne is superior enough overall – knowledge of the offense, efficiency and experience included – to be a better option to start than Henne. But if you're asking if the Jaguars are going to hold a weekly tryout in practice to decide the starting quarterback, no … regular-season practice is more about game preparation than one-on-one competition.
Ted from Jacksonville:
With the rules making it almost like flag football, do you see the NFL declining in viewers like NASCAR has? I understand making it safer for the players but this is tackle football; there has to be a limit when fans stop watching. I love my Jags but I miss the days of Double D ,Tony Brackens and Clyde Simmons.
John: So far, the game continues to grow in popularity. There's no indication that won't continue to be the case. I'm not dim enough to think it can't happen. It can. The popularity of sports historically does rise and fall. But until there's a fall in popularity, I don't think you'll see the NFL go away from rules to increase contact and passing offense.
Jamie from St. Augustine, FL:
I think we should forget about Bortles and hire a cactus as our quarterback. That way no one will wanna hit it.
John: #DTWD

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