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O-Zone: Sign of the times

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Jerry from Tamarac:
Do any coaches believe at all there is a way to extend a running back's career? We heard it helped Fred Taylor when MoJo first came here, but did it really? I would think it would be beneficial for a running back to run a lot out of a spread formation versus the I.
John: I can't tell you no coaches believe a running back's career can be extended, but the general belief is the position has a short shelf life – with little real thought that much can be done about it. A back has so many carries in him, and the physical nature of the NFL usually dictates that a back has a difficulty being effective after eight or nine years. There are exceptions, as there are to anything, and no doubt the spread reduces wear and tear. Does it reduce it statistically or significantly? That I can't say.
Jim from Edgewater:
Why is it when there is a behind-the-scenes video for the ROAR posted on, there are no more articles from you?
John: What are you doing right now?
Shawn from the Mean Streets of Arlington, VA:
Is it possible the Jaguars are giving Allen Robinson a good talking to, and additional anticipation vetting, before tendering?
John: I assume you mean Marqise Lee, but no – although the wide receiver has yet to sign his rookie contract – I don't think there's any vetting or "talking-to" going on. The time for vetting is before you draft a player. Besides, this isn't a crisis. This is the offseason and it's not training camp. The Jaguars will sign Lee and it almost certainly will happen in timely fashion with little drama.
Dustin from Jacksonville:
While I am intrigued by Toby Gerhart and curious to see what he can do, he doesn't seem like your typical one-cut back that plays in offenses using zone-blocking schemes. Are the Jaguars going to continue to use that scheme or will we see something new?
John: This will be interesting to watch. Gerhart indeed doesn't quite fit that Terrell Davis-Arian Foster-foot-in-the-ground, one-cut-and-go mold of zone-block runners. But he does – at least at first-offseason glance – appear to have the sort of field vision you need to run in a zone-blocking scheme. He also appears to have the quickness and balance to take advantage of that vision. But yes – the Jaguars will continue to use the zone-blocking scheme. It's something Jedd Fisch and Gus Bradley believe in, and it can be effective without a prototypical zone-blocking runner.
Phillip from Harper's Ferry, WV:
It being the Dead Zone and all, I am very happy that our first-round quarterback is concentrating on football, and preparing for an eventual role as starting quarterback for the Jaguars – unlike a certain quarterback up north making headlines for acting like he is still in college.
John: This isn't something I worry much about. Johnny Manziel indeed was out with my boy, Justin Bieber, recently. He appeared to be having a good time. Young men have a good time, and I imagine young, wealthy famous men have a really, really good time. Maybe Manziel will be really good in the NFL and maybe he won't, but I'm just not a believer (that's believer, not Belieber) that hanging with celebs in his downtime will hold him back.
Michael from Jackson de Ville, FL:
Theoretically, that childhood shirt you're wearing looks like it can be unbuttoned to the belly button. Take that bet? :)
John: You're referring to the horizontal-striped, three-button 'T' I was sporting in the photo I posted Wednesday of me and my green Vista Rover, circa-1972. And you're darned right it unbuttoned to the belly button. That always has sort of been "my look."
Mike from White Plains, GA:
Hey, what's with the picture of John Daly as kid in the last O-Zone, he even looks a bit inebriated then? Or maybe it was just the squint of the sun on the bike.
John: Cute.
Jason from North Pole, AK:
The bike and shirt are cool. I like them.
John: Thanks. The ladies dug them, too.
Kyle from Jacksonville:
Given that Allen Robinson is a Penn State alum, do you think that gives the Jags coaching staff a slight edge in his knowledge of Bill O'Brien's offense when we play Houston? I know they likely didn't draft him with that in mind, but do you think since O'Brien is acting as head coach and offensive coordinator they've giving that any consideration?
John: If there is a slight edge, it's very, very slight. Very. This is always a topic when one team has a player who is familiar with an opponent's coach or scheme or team. There are times when the player is a quarterback – or perhaps a veteran intimately familiar with everything about another team – that a team could get an edge. In this case, Robinson is a rookie and O'Brien is in a new position at a new level of football, so there's not much that Robinson knows about the Texans that the Jaguars' coaches don't. Finally, don't forget: Robinson is a rookie and has enough to concern himself with learning the offense and how to play in the NFL. Assisting coaches with his knowledge of his college offense will come much, much later – if it comes at all.
Sam from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Did you miss me?
John: Yes. Wait … no.
Keith from Section 240:
O-Zone … no question here, but just a statement. My uncle from Charlotte, N.C. called me to wish me a Happy Birthday Tuesday and we spent some time talking about my son and life and then he asked, "Jags going win some games? Looks like they will turn it around this year from what I'm hearing." This is from a man who has been blasting the Jags and giving me a hard time every chance he could. This made me smile as I realized that the good times are closing in and people are noticing. Just thought I'd share.
John: I get it. I get it. I missed your birthday.
Nick from Jacksonville Beach and Section 149:
Well, O-Man, since I already missed a day on my No Dead Zone month, I have two questions for you today. 1) You say a draft needs three years to grade out. It's clear GS didn't do so well in 2011. However, would you consider Cecil Shorts III to be one of the steals of the draft? Especially considering 14 other receivers being drafted before him and only five or six having any impact on their team. 2) Do you think this will be the year he finally gets over the 1,000 yard hump? #Duval
John: Yes. And yes.
Justin from Athens, OH:
Mr. O, you sir, are in the Super Bowl. You are down four points with two minutes to go with zero times-out. The drive starts on your 20 and a touchdown wins it all. You've got: Elway, Montana, Steve Young and Brady. Who gets the nod and why?
John: I'd have to take Montana, because of the group you mention, only he did anything close to that in the Super Bowl. But … BUT ... BUT BRADY!!!!!!!! Yes, I know about Brady. His late-game heroics in the Super Bowl, while heroic and historic, came with the game tied and his team needing a field goal. That is a DRAMATICALLY different late-game scenario that your team needing a touchdown to win. Did I say, "DRAMATICALLY?" Montana's late-game drive that beat Cincinnati in Miami following the 1988 season was more impressive than Brady's heroics because it ended in a touchdown. Neither Elway nor Young pulled off such a late drive in a Super Bowl, though I saw Elway do it enough in the regular season and postseason that I wouldn't have bet against him had he been in that situation. I'm not one who believes Montana necessarily is the greatest quarterback of all time, but within the context of your scenario, I'd have to choose him.
Jason from Navarre Beach, FL:
O-Man, Please tell James to chill out. Who cares if we upset the Texans or Cowboys? Didn't Khan say we would be BOLD? Words mean things. How do you put up with emails like that everyday? You da Man Ozone!
John: Word.
Joe from Port Charlotte, FL:
It's OK to talk smack to the Texans. I'm pretty tired every time we go there it's their annual homecoming game … oops, sorry … "Battle Red game." Welcome to DUVAL and prepared to get hit; if you don't like it watch the jumbotron. Bring it!
John: K.
Chase from Jacksonville:
Why do you say things like, "You mad, bro?" to the fans? I think the guy asking the question needs to calm down, but I don't see why you would respond that way; it comes across as a slap in the face. He's just a passionate fan. You seem like a nice guy so it's probably a good idea to just answer the question politely.
John: That's excellent advice.

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