JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …
Mike from Atlanta, GA
How much benefit do the young receivers get by working against cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye daily? Does working against two of the best corners shorten the learning curve? Does it really help sharpen their overall route running or does it only help them to learn how to work against these two players?
Practicing against greatness doesn’t hurt, and there’s no question the Jaguars receivers who work against Ramsey and Bouye benefit from working against the best cornerback tandem in the NFL. They won’t face anything close to that level in most games. Still, remember: first-team NFL players typically only practice against first-team players during training camp. Once the regular season begins, the first-team offense and first-team defense work against the opposing scout team because teams spend regular-season practices game-planning for opponents. So, while there is benefit to practicing against Pro Bowl players, that benefit is usually for backups and reserves rather than starters once training camp ends.
David from Orlando, FL
O-Zone: You said that the strong-side outside linebacker probably will play 30-to-35 percent of the plays. That means, on 65-to-70 percent of the plays he’s being replaced by another player. Could that player be rookie safety Ronnie Harrison? If he’s on the field twice as much, then could his progress be more significant than who plays strong-side outside linebacker. Thoughts?
The player on the field in place of the starting strong-side linebacker for the Jaguars this season, more often than not, likely will be nickelback D.J. Hayden. The strong-side backer plays most base situations in the Jaguars’ scheme, coming off the field for the nickel when the opponent is in passing – or nickel – situations. This is not to say there’s no way Harrison could ever be on the field in place of the strong-side backer, but it would be a departure from how the Jaguars have used these positions in recent seasons.
Chris from Mandarin
Quarterback Blake Bortles brought the team from behind in the fourth quarter to win the Jaguars’ first game in the London series against the Buffalo Bills in 2015 with a remarkable throw and catch to wide receiver Allen Hurns to the right front pylon of the end zone. He hasn't had many opportunities to complete a fourth-quarter comeback, but to say he has never done it is simply wrong. People remember what suits them I suppose.
The come-from-behind victory to which you refer actually came in the Jaguars’ third game in London, but it was their first victory in the series. Either way … fair point.
Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL
“Fifty-fifty ball to Koyack.” Love it. What a bold statement that would be. Maybe you shouldn’t wait for Coach to ask, guy: just go tell him this is the play you (and the fans) want to start the season. Just one thing, though … What does the depth chart look like for the senior writer position?
Thin. And weak at starter.
PG from Jacksonville
I'd really like to know the status of Rashad Greene. What's the deal? He's rarely mentioned with the wide receivers. Will he be back as a punt returner, or is he still injured?
Welcome back, PG. Greene was one of the major storylines of the Jaguars’ 2018 offseason program, because he stayed healthy and appeared to have one of his best offseasons. Because of that, many observers – including this one – believe he has a real chance to make the team as the sixth wide receiver.
Jason from Port Orange, FL
Hey, O-Zone: I'm excited for the season and expect great things from our Jags (Duuuuvvaaallll!). After reading and watching some stuff from the national networks, I found something interesting. These people talk about defensive end J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans as if he's the best defensive player in the league who just happens to be hampered by injuries – but often refer to him as a future Hall of Famer. If injury-prone J.J. Watt is "the best" and a future HOF player, why hasn't Boselli made it yet and why isn't he talked about the same way? I'm pretty damned sure Boselli would eat J.J. Watt for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. #DTWD
Fair points. #DTWD
B Mills from Houston, TX
What’s your take on D.J. Hayden? I'm a huge Aaron Colvin fan but when comparing numbers, they are very similar with Hayden actually creating more turnovers and game-changing plays. Your thoughts?
Hayden’s impact will be tough to judge until preseason and the regular season begins. He appears on paper to be a good addition at nickel corner – and the Jaguars believe he actually is better-served than Colvin to be a backup outside cornerback to Bouye and Ramsey. Will Hayden be able to match Colvin’s impact against the run and as a tackler of receivers on underneath routes? Will he match Colvin’s ability to blitz? Those are questions to be answered.
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ
O-man, sometimes I wish I was on your NFL technical team instead of my own. These things are so easy to fix!
One would think.
Jason from Tallahassee, FL
John: I, too, was at the "Warrick Dunn" game – and agree that it was the loudest I've ever heard a stadium. My ears were still ringing the next day. I was a recruit at the time sitting on bleachers on the field in the end zone. I could barely concentrate on what was going on, and just before the ball snapped I turned to the guy next to me and yelled "Play Action!" He obviously didn't hear me so I tried to yell it louder but, just before I did Charlie Ward hit Dunn down the sideline and the stadium fell silent, except for the visitor's section, so when I repeated "Play Action!" it was like yelling at someone in a movie theater. AWKWARD! I've never heard a stadium go from full-on frenzy to near church quiet in my life.
Me, neither. Psst … play action.
Shawn from th
Such a shame.
Brian from Independence, MO
Hey, O: One stat that is brought up whenever there is talk or concern about the strong-side linebacker is the position is only on the field less than a third of the time. Isn't this dictated by the opponent? Meaning if the opposing team sensed a weakness or inexperience at strong-side linebacker, wouldn't they stay in base formation to exploit it? Perhaps teams preferred running against Aaron Colvin versus having Paul Posluszny on the field.
This absolutely varies depending on opponent and game situations. And teams indeed can stay in certain personnel to exploit an opponents’ perceived weakness to a point. But there’s a limit. A team can want to run all it wants. But if it’s in second- and third-and-long, the team is going to have to go to three wide receivers – and therefore they’re going to face the opponent’s nickel package.
Dave from Chuluota
Johnny-O: This time last year, when the Jags were coming off a three-win season, defensive tackle Malik Jackson predicted the Jags were going to the Super Bowl. It’s amazing how close that was to coming true. This year, he went on record saying that the Jags would go 16-0. Speaking of bold predictions, can you make one concerning this Jaguars season?
I could, but I don’t wanna.
Tim from Fernandina Beach, FL
John: It's amazing what a difference a year of winning makes to the preseason vibe. Last year was all doom and gloom. What was it that we all missed last year that contributed to the Jags’ success?
Observers knew the defense would be improved, but few believed it would be the dominant force it became – and certainly few believed it would be dominant from the first series of the regular-season opener. And a lot of people also missed how mentally tough this team would be immediately. Those two elements are often undervalued in the modern pass-oriented NFL. A lot of observers – including this one – undervalued it in a big way this time a year ago.
Jeremy from Jacksonville
O-Dude, so I’m building a house that happens to be next door to Big Bo. I saw him getting out of his truck the other day and wanted to say hey and maybe get an autograph ... but he didn’t turn completely around and kind of looked from the corner of his eye after which he quickly went inside. I think he thinks it was Shadrick. Can you tell him I’m cool and he will like me? If he says no, do you think you could come hang and we can toss balloons filled with weed killer in his yard? Just spit-balling, but I bet Shadrick could give us some cool ideas. But I’m sure if you asked he would feel honored to hang out with us. Go Jags.
I don’t want to hang out with you, but seriously: Don’t build that house. Sell the lot. Or don’t. Just don’t build that house.