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O-Zone: Secret to happiness

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Tom from Charleston, SC:
With the number of rookies last year and this – as well as the mandated four-year rookie contracts – won't the mass number of contracts expiring at roughly the same time lead to a cap issue?
John: Sure, it could – if all of the Jaguars' rookies develop into elite-level players and the team signs all of them to long-term second deals. The chances of that happening are slim and if, say, Dwayne Gratz, Luke Joeckel and Johnathan Cyprien all develop, that's what's known in NFL circles as "a very, very good problem." Your instincts are right, though – that the Jaguars could have a lot of players coming up for bigger contracts at once. The team will have to plan for that scenario, but if there are choices to make about what really good players to sign then the Jaguars will be making those decisions as one of the NFL's better franchises.
Tommy from Jacksonville:
John, what's your favorite local brew? Intuition, Bold City, Aardwolf, Engine 15? Also, I like burritos.
John: I'm a big fan of the Intuition People's Pale Ale, but if you made an argument that I am a big fan of many, many beers … well, I wouldn't argue much.
Steve from Jacksonville:
Blake Bortles is expected to be the quarterback at some point. But if Henne continues to get better and better, and Bortles stays "just behind" Henne, would that be a good thing or bad thing?
John: It's an unlikely thing, but sure, it would be a good thing – for Henne, and for the Jaguars, too. But I wouldn't lose sleep waiting and worrying about this scenario. Bortles is a first-round talent and there has not been any indication he won't develop as such. At some point in the next year – sooner or later – he will be the starter.
Joel from Yulee, FL:
I want to ask you a question but I'm afraid of the answer. Should I ask it anyways?
John: No.
Ryan from Hilliard, FL:
I was at a training in Orlando this week for work and I was wearing my Jags gear and I had quite a few people tell me how excited they were about the Jags drafting Blake!! Such an exciting time to be a Jags fan!!
John: Without question there is more excitement this offseason than any since I returned. That was in 2011, though I can't say my presence has any effect one way or the other on the excitement level around the franchise. The excitement level is because fans now see the direction of the team and that the direction is not only positive but could be something that lasts.
Adam from Alexandria, VA:
Maybe you have answered this in a different O-Zone but I don't remember and it is of some relevance at this time of year. The supplemental draft – what is it and why/what prevents these players from entering the regular draft? What are the teams "giving up" when they use a pick on one of these players and if they don't get drafted could they sign with any team they wanted like a regular undrafted rookie?
John: The supplemental draft is held after the regular draft and is for players who were not draft-eligible for the regular draft but who become draft-eligible afterward. This can be for academic or disciplinary reasons, among others. Teams making a selection in the supplementary draft lose their selection from that round in the ensuing draft and, yes, players who go undrafted in the supplementary draft become free agents.
Marshall from St. Augustine, FL:
Are you aware that the Boston Redskins were so named because of the then-Boston Braves. It was the thing to name teams in football akin to the name of the baseball team in the town (Bears/Cubs). When George Marshall brought the team to DC he kept the Redskin name. We are talking about 1930s.
John: Yes, I am aware of that. I spent a lot of time reading books about football when I was a kid. It didn't exactly "help with the ladies," but it allowed me to know things like this.
Austin from Atlanta, GA:
Is Demetrius McCray the backup cornerback at this point, or would it be Will Blackmon? Specifically, playing the outside cornerback positions that belong to Dwayne Gratz and Alan Ball.
John: Will Blackmon likely would be the first cornerback to replace either Gratz or Ball, and appears likely to start the season as the nickel back.
Andrew from Cedar Falls, IA:
Just thought I would weigh-in. I can't believe that Jim Kelly never gets any mention in the quarterback discussion. We are talking about a player who went to the playoffs eight of 11 times, six divisional championships, and four STRAIGHT super bowl appearances. Why is it he gets no recognition?
John: Because people overemphasize Super Bowls, and while overemphasizing Super Bowls, they forget details. Had Scott Norwood's field goal not missed by scant feet in the Super Bowl following the 1990 season, Kelly would be remembered for leading a dramatic, game-winning drive in one of the greatest Super Bowls ever. Had the Bills also won one of the next three, he would be remembered alongside John Elway and the like as a two-time Super Bowl winner. There's a huge difference in your legacy between being on the best team in the NFL and the second-best team in the NFL. Had a play or two in the mid-1960s gone differently, Don Meredith might be remembered as a two-time Super Bowl champion and – who knows? – perhaps a Hall of Famer. Instead, the Green Bay Packers won the first two Super Bowls and Meredith is remembered far differently. There's often a fine line between being a legend and being a trivia question.
Jonathan from Lost in Translation, Korea:
John why are soccer players such sissies? These fantastic athletes act they just received a war wound whenever someone bumps them. Lame.
John: I agree that soccer players fall as a result of little contact more than is ideal, but considering the level of athleticism, coordination, stamina – and indeed, toughness – we have seen in the World Cup, I hesitate to call soccer players "sissies." Poor actors, perhaps – and "overdramatizers," certainly – but not "sissies."
Josiah from Fargo, ND:
John, I have to know: what is your secret to you looking so good? Tell me your ways so I can get the women as well.
John: Lotions. Lots and lots of lotions.
Eric from Boston/DTWD:
Any chance Toby Gerhart and Denard Robinson have similar statistical seasons as Fred Taylor and MJD did in 2007 when they combined for 1,970 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns? Wishful thinking? Maybe, but I really feel that it could be something special. Especially if D-Rob can hold onto the ball.
John: It probably is wishful thinking to believe Gerhart and Robinson could combine for quite that many yards. Taylor and Jones-Drew in 2007 turned in an unusually productive season by any NFL standard, particularly in this era. I also don't know that Robinson is going to get quite enough touches to push for a 1,000-yard season. What I do think Robinson can be is a dynamic, big-play running back and a significant offensive threat. He has the potential to be a weapon, and a player for whom defenses have to account. If he does that and turns in a huge play every other game or so that will be more important than his total yards.
Tommy from Jacksonville:
While the players are traveling around and spending their well-earned money, what's the most exciting thing you get to do?
John: You're reading it.
David from Orlando, FL:
O-Zone, how do you feel the Jaguars handled the Blaine Gabbert experiment? Do you think they gave him too many chances?
John: Goodness, no. The Jaguars drafted Gabbert No. 10 overall and he started one full season, about half of another and the first part of another. He played for three different permanent head coaches, all of whom needed to see if his talent would turn into performance. I think it's obvious that Gabbert started too soon and in a difficult circumstance as a rookie, but I don't know how the next two years could have or should have been handled differently. Mike Mularkey and Gus Bradley were the two head coaches who followed Jack Del Rio, and both Mularkey and Bradley started Gabbert enough to give him at least a chance. As poorly as Gabbert played at times there also was a lot going wrong around him – enough that it made sense for coaches to play him to make sure he had adequate opportunity. I don't know how many head coaches would have done too much differently.
Andy from St. Augustine, FL:
Not that I want to keep the "best-goal-line-running-back" argument going … but everyone mentioned so far can be considered a big, bruising-type runner. I'll take the running back who can get the tough yards but also go up and over the top. Marcus Allen would be my choice because he could get that one or two yards for the touchdown as well as go over the top.
John: Good choice.
Lauren from #JaguarsToday:
John, your birthday is rapidly approaching. What would you like the Jags to give you as your present?
John: Ah, I'm a simple man at my core. I want for very little, and deep down seek only the company of good friends, the love of family, to partake in good conversation and to savor fine wine. Oh, yes – and gift cards. I do enjoy a good gift card.

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