Advertising

O-Zone: Sigh

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Ray from Monroe, CT

I saw an interesting article about Blake Bortles and how he is statistically a Top 5 passer in the red zone and way more efficient. Why do you think he is so much more productive inside the 20? Is it because the field is shorter, making reads easier? I would assume it would be harder because coverages are tighter and there is less room for error. I would love to know what you think leads to the big disparity.

I confess I don’t have a great theory about this. I don’t believe red-zone reads are that much easier, but the plays do often develop faster there. That means there are more situations where a quarterback makes one read, perhaps another and then either passes or runs. Bortles usually has been better when he makes decisions with that sort of quickness. Either way, his red-zone efficiency is significant. Quarterbacking – and playing offense in general – is much tougher the closer you get to the end zone. Being good down there isn’t something to dismiss.

Eric from the Ether

The hills are alive with the sound of Oehser!

Doe, a deer … a female deer …

James from Salt Lake City via Jacksonville

Hey, O-Man: Haven't heard much about our new punter. How does he seem to be performing so far?

Jaguars rookie punter Logan Cooke had a big night in the Florida Blue Family Night practice Friday. He had a 67-yard punt downed at the 1-yard line, a 46-yarder that went out of bounds at the 4 and a 34-yarder downed at the 4. He had other punts of 62 and 61 yards. It was about as impressive a night as a punter could have given the situation. Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone’s reaction when asked about this a couple of days later was to smile and say he didn’t like talking about rookie specialists all that much, because he didn’t want to jinx the situation. Fair enough.

Nathan from St. Augustine, FL

Hey, John: Do you expect there to be more designed pass plays to the running backs? It seemed to be effective in the playoffs last season and T.J. Yeldon and Corey Grant both seem to have great hands and ability after the catch.

Yes – and so does starting running back Leonard Fournette.

Sandman from Jacksonville

Team looks awesome, your "Zone" answers and reporting is great! I am worried about backup quarterback. Do you see Jags picking up a more "name" free agent at this position? If so, any ideas who would be a good fit? I like Blaine Gabbert better than what we have as a backup.

“Name” free agents at quarterback are often overrated, and I continue to say I would be a little surprised if the Jaguars went this route. Marrone likes to go with players already on the roster because of their familiarity with the system. Stay tuned on this front until the preseason. If backup quarterbacks Cody Kessler and Tanner Lee struggle mightily, maybe we’ll see movement here. We’ll see.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, three or four canceled flights, two planes with maintenance issues, one plane they wouldn't let me board even though I had a boarding pass, one fat person taking up half my seat, and I finally made it home after 27 hours on the road. I still cannot wait to see us whip on some Giants in Game 1. Oh, and I was quite surprised, and wanted to know why you were not cheered on the practice field when you arrived like Jalen Ramsey? I cheered alone but you didn't notice.

I noticed. I chose to ignore it.

TJ from Orlando, FL

I'm one upping Malik. 16-0 with a Super Bowl win. Mark it, Dude.

DTWD

Mark from Archer, FL

This new leading-helmet rule is simple. One: It addresses player safety, which is important. More important is that it is going to allow offenses to score even more, thus allowing for more high-scoring games and turning the game more into a basketball on grass type game.

The helmet rule indeed is simple, but it has everything to do with No. 1 and really nothing to do with No. 2. I understand people’s need to believe the NFL is some conspiracy trying to bend the game toward offense for the sake of ratings, but the majority of recent rule changes are about player safety and nothing else. It’s a mammoth issue.

Matthew from Fort Worth, TX

One fer Jaguars public relations standout Andy Esworthy.

We call him “Snooki.” Actually, we call him a lot of things, but “Snooki” probably tells you all you need to know. It’s … apt. But sure … one fer “Snooki.”

Sid from Sidsonville

Calais Campbell is the face of this team. I cannot believe he has only been here a year. Total professional and class act!

True.

Amar from Austin, TX

You said the offense looks patient and efficient. However, I contest that a power-run offense like ours should also be explosive and unpredictable if the defense is giving us the looks. Last year's success would not have happened without fake punts, special-teams plays, deep throws down the seam or explosive crossing routes – lest we forget the play-action success. Our identity is power football, but as defenses try to stop that we need to have the ability to stretch the field and keep them honest. What do you say Zone keeper?

Sure. That’s why the Jaguars do those things. It’s also why they have wide receivers who can all run. Fast.

Cole from Jacksonville

Wow I just watched Brian Dawkins’ Hall of Fame speech and I was blown away. What a beautiful speech. I didn’t know he was from Jacksonville but I am so proud to have him represent our city. What an inspiration. One fer Brian.

The city of Jacksonville has a long tradition of producing great NFL players. Dawkins without question now is in the conversation with the best. So, yeah … one fer Dawkins.

Groot from Groot

I am Groot.

I’ll google this.

RJ from Jacksonville

I watched Randy Moss' HOF speech. In my opinion he is the GOAT. He was so fun to watch. Howie Long once asked "Is there a better league (than the NFL) for him to compete in?" What skills/traits made Moss as elite and dangerous as he was? You see 6-feet-4, rangy wide receivers all over the NFL who couldn't hold his helmet. Secondly, would you compare any current receivers to his overall talent level?

Moss wasn’t just “rangy.” His combination of pure speed and athleticism was unmatched at the position. I would say Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is the closest thing I’ve seen in the NFL lately, but he rarely has reached the heights reached by Moss in his prime.

Paul from Jacksonville

The lone surfer was undoubtedly Vito Stellino, known for cutting through the waves like a sharp knife. A question about the Taj Majal, though: is it as difficult as the Triple Lindy?

I confess I’ve never seen it. But considering Vito pulled it off while no one else has been able to do so … yeah, it compares with the Triple Lindy.

Ross from Mechanicsville, VA

Quite some time ago, San Diego had this quarterback that was pretty good, but the town and team got tired of waiting for him to develop into something special. Then they drafted his replacement, and he played better that year. They decided to go with the younger good quarterback. They got lucky and Philip Rivers was quite good. But Drew Brees I think was better and was traded away. All this time I have been comparing Bortles to Brees. Bortles may not be that good because very few are. But the patience the organization has shown and paying attention to intangibles (durability, etc.) seem to be paying off. Am I way off on this thought?

You’re in the ballpark. There were some different circumstances with Brees with San Diego, not the least of which was some very legitimate concerns over injury issues. But there often is a question over how much time to give a quarterback with talent to develop. It’s difficult in the modern era to wait through multiple losing seasons, and there are many cases of teams giving up on players too soon. The Jaguars have been patient with Bortles, and they started to see some benefits of that patient last season. How much will they be rewarded? We’ll find out a lot more on that front in the coming weeks and months.

Ed from Winston-Salem, NC

If the backup quarterback situation doesn’t pan out, would Colin K be considered or would they wait for other teams to make cuts? Also, is Eric Reid too expensive to be added to the roster?

(Sigh). The Jaguars are one of the most talented rosters in the NFL. Do we have to play the game of wondering if the Jaguars will sign every free agent available?

Advertising