JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it . . . **
Brian from Orange Park, FL:
O-Man, enough is enough with the mystery thumb injury. If Gabbert really wants a career in the NFL, he needs to suck it up and play on Sunday. His life depends on it. Quit dancing around the issue, Blaine - either you want to be this team's quarterback going forward or you just want to talk about it. #Moodachay.
John:Yes, #Moodachay, but in this case, the word is no stamp of approval on the sentiment in the email. The issue facing Blaine Gabbert this week is not "sucking it up and playing." It's about whether he can grip the ball well enough and take snaps well enough to be effective. Gabbert has been criticized for many things in his career. Some criticisms have been fair and others haven't, but any suggestion that he's not tough or doesn't want to play are just plain wrong. Gabbert wants to play, but imagine the outrage if he can't grip the ball well and throws an interception because of it. If Gabbert is able to play and help the team, he'll play. That's it.
Derrick from Jacksonville:
Does he play, or doesn't he?
John:At this point, we just don't know. My gut is that Gabbert will play Sunday, but I probably feel about 60 percent on that. He has thrown well enough in practice that Gus Bradley hasn't ruled it out and well enough that Bradley believes there still is a chance he will play. That's an indication that he's not yet throwing well enough for the Jaguars to say, "Yes, he is playing." The healing process must continue, and the guess here is we still won't know until Sunday.
Aaron from Albany, NY:
How much does it hurt not to have Marcedes Lewis in the lineup? It seems like the coaching staff really talked him up in preseason.
John:It hurts. He's a premier run blocker, and one of the Jaguars' elite talents on offense. Allen Reisner has played well in his place, but first-round talent and ability is first-round talent and ability, and it's disingenuous to say Lewis' absence won't hurt. He hasn't been ruled out yet, but I'd be surprised if he plays.
Dave from Jacksonville:
Did someone seriously say KC was going to "target" Blaine's thumb?! These guys can't refrain from hitting quarterbacks in the helmet and being fined tens of thousands of dollars. But on Sunday they are going to target a....wait for a minute here it comes....a thumb!!!! #moodachay
John:I agree that it's a little far-fetched to think that the Chiefs will be able to target Gabbert's thumb during plays on Sunday. Now, could there be a scenario under which Gabbert and several Chiefs players are under a pile and a Chiefs player twists or pokes the thumb (accidentally). That's not far-fetched.
Sage from Orlando, FL:
What's the best way to pick up women? I still haven't figured it out.
John:I do give you a lot of credit for knowing who to ask, though the O-Zone's days with a different lady every night have long since passed. The secret is—
Alex from Madison, WI:
Sampling the grapes at the grocery store. #shadricksightings
John:Here we go.
Dane from Jacksonville:
Since Lonnie Pryor isn't on the active roster anymore, let's shift our focus: what strengths does Will Ta'ufo'ou bring to the offense?
John:He's a very, very good blocker – the best in the NFL in the preseason by some measures. That bodes well for Maurice Jones-Drew, who is accustomed to running behind a quality fullback (Greg Jones).
David from Jacksonville:
Why the need for punt return specialists and kickoff return specialists? Why not just return specialists? Also, KC finished 32nd last year. How come they are ranked above us this year without a game being played yet? Could it be the quarterbacks? ########Thanks#######
John:Punt return and kickoff return are more different skills than many realize, which is why teams often have different players filling the roles. A punt returner often is quicker, with more ability to make multiple tacklers miss, whereas a kickoff returner often benefits from more straight-ahead speed. I can here you: "BUT, BUT . . ." Yes, there are people who fill both roles, but those players usually possess both skills and not everyone does. As for the Chiefs' ranking, they addressed a lot of needs in free agency, and seemed to upgrade some areas. Many believe this will make them a playoff team. I'm not as big a believer in free agency as some, but they figure to be improved from No. 32.
Vincent from Jacksonville:
I can see how my previous email regarding the quarterback competition and Gabbert's injury came off strange. I believe they called too many passing plays for a preseason game and the reason was to "inspire" Gabbert to play harder. Why else call so many passing plays in a preseason game, especially during his last series in the game and without Joeckel? I believe that led to his injury. Gabbert should have been named starting quarterback much earlier and been taking all the reps with the first string. Tom Coughlin didn't have to do such things to get the most out of his players. This is something Rex Ryan does.
John:I see your point, and I see why you could think that. But whether or not Gabbert had been named the starter before, I don't think his reps would have been different in preseason, and he likely throws about the same number of passes whether he's competing or whether he's starting. He needed repetitions in preseason, and the best way to get them was by throwing in the preseason games.
Eric from Jacksonville:
I respectfully request the O-Zone institute a ban on email questions regarding former Florida quarterbacks who are no longer in the league until such a time that said quarterback is actually IN the league. Shadrick said you didn't have the guts to institute such a ban. So there.
John:Stay in your lane, Eric.
Mathias from St. Augustine:
I really enjoy the "Kickin' it with Scobee" videos. It's a nice to see the personalities of the players. That being said, have all these videos been distracting Scobee from his real job? He did not look that sharp this preseason and last year was certainly not his best. WE NEED SCOBEE TO BE AT HIS BEST. When he's at his best, he is the best. Go Jaguars.
John:Yes, the 10 minutes he spends in the locker room talking to team holding a mic has distracted him. This must stop. #sarcasmfont
Jefferson from Phoenix, AZ:
I have to call you out here. You said "You just can't measure progress on one game in the NFL." September 27, 2009 - The Detroit Lions beat the Washington Redskins for their first win after an 0-16 season. Progress measured by one game in the NFL. ;)
John:Yeah, I guess. I was talking about real progress, the kind that shows if a team is closer to contention and closer to moving in the right direction. It takes more than one game to show that, and it's not always measured initially in victories and losses.
Roy from Vegas:
With John Oehser. #shadricksightings
John:Not if I see him first.
John from Section 105:
I think it would be a safe bet that if Gabbert for some reason was waived today, he would not clear waivers without getting picked up. You know, exactly the opposite of what happened to Tebow and Vince Young and McNabb and Randall Cunningham, for that matter.
Bucky from Jacksonville:
Do you think a win over Seattle would solidify the Jags as a contender for a winning season or maybe playoffs?
John:Not if they lose their first two and the two after that.
Richard from Woonsocket, RI:
I remember Brent Martineau doing sports reporting up here in Rhode Island just a few short years ago. How long has he been in Jacksonville?
John:I have no idea who you're talking about.
Brian from Bold City Brigade Atlanta Chapter:
Jumping over a shark tank on water skis while wearing a sweet leather jacket... #Shadricksightings
Randy from Jacksonville:
Didn't have to read past that first really weird email you answered yesterday to be reassured we have some really stinkin' thinkin' among some of our loyal (?) fans. "If Gus Bradley has to create fake quarterback battles to get the best out of his players" was a real mind-number. Sports are about competition. Period. So how do you see the Jaguars vs. Chiefs competition come Sunday playing out? Prediction?
John:I think the Jaguars will play well. I don't know if they'll win or not, but I think you'll see an offense that is sound in an approach with an improved offensive line. I'm curious to see how well the Jaguars rush the passer, but I think you'll see a team that is more creative and diversified on that side of the ball than last season. I also expect you'll see a team that gives you hope for the future, and that's what the early part of this season is about.
Josiah from Jacksonville:
I believe releasing Kyle Love was more of a financially practical decision, rather than performance-based. Saved us 3M in cap space for a 3rd string DT.
John:Kyle Love saved money, certainly, but the decision wasn't about cap space. The Jaguars aren't tight on cap space this season. Now, it certainly saved cash, but trying to shave money salary cap purposes wasn't necessary for the Jaguars this offseason.
Herbert from MidState Office Supplies Accountz Receevable:
At what point is an injured/banged up Gabbert not a better option than a healthy Henne? 80%? 75%??
John:** I don't know the percentages. If Gabbert can throw effectively, he should play. If he can't, he shouldn't.