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O-Zone: Simple solution

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Thrill from the 'Ville:
Why is it that so many fans legitimately believe that a desire to win is all it takes to turn things around? I blame decades of inspirational movies like Rocky. Where all you need is a motivational song played over a training montage and you can suddenly be the best in the world at a certain thing. As Mike Tyson famously said, "Everyone has a plan, until they get punched in the mouth." The expectations of a head coach or front office can't change the abilities of the players on the field. Just because someone's inspired to do something or "won't settle for less" than something – whatever that means – doesn't make it so.
John: Wow, look at Thrill from the 'Ville … dropping some truth – and these indeed are some of the truest words dropped by an O-Zone reader in quite some time. Fans do indeed often feel that a losing record somehow reflects low expectations, bad planning, bad coaching, general off-field lack of direction or even a lack of effort. Those things unquestionably exist in professional sports, but when I am asked about a team showing lack of effort, I always think of something Hall of Fame Head Coach Tony Dungy told me once. Talking about fans criticizing one of his Colts defenses for a "lack of effort/intensity," Dungy said people often thought that a team lacked those things when it couldn't stop the run. Dungy's point was that sometimes it was simply a case of a team not being able to do something – no matter how much effort the team gave, or how much intensity it showed. The same can be said of a team not winning. Is it lack of effort when a team loses, or just a matter of that team not being good enough? It's the latter far more often than not. And yeah … Rocky and just about every other sports movie made since the mid-1970s can pretty much share equal blame for this phenomenon. It's the hand we've been dealt.
Rhonda from Jacksonville:
I've seen a lot of drivers who need to be punched and have their keys thrown in a lake. Non-issue … let the police deal with it. This is another reason to bring back the prison leagues. They are already in jail. #socialjusticefighterssuck
John: I don't know that I always understand everything Rhonda's talking about, but I do know I'm starting to like her.
Damian from Appleton, WI:
Who do you think will have the greater positive impact for the team this year? Myles Jack, Cam Robinson, or Yannick Ngakoue?
John: Myles Jack. Because it will be Jack's first year in his new position (middle linebacker), he could have a few negative-impact moments. But considering his athleticism and ability, the positive impact could be really, really positive.
Derrick from Jacksonville:
If Allen Robinson, Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns play lights out this year, do the Jags keep all three?
John: That would be a tricky, tricky situation. They probably could keep all three for the short term because Hurns' contract is structured so the Jaguars can get out of it after any season with negligible dead money on the cap. Bottom line? Possible, but I doubt it.
Hippy Ryan from Fleming Island, FL:
As for Bortles' ability to sell the run in play action, it seems to me a team needs a RUN GAME to sell. I have an '87 Ford Probe that is absolutely beautiful and runs great if anyone's buying.
John: OK.
Derrick from Jacksonville:
I don't disagree A-Rob's game took a slight drop this past season. However, in watching many of those games I would contribute at least 50 percent of his down season to Blake Bortles throwing many off-target passes. Way too often the passes were either too high or behind the open receiver and A-Rob and other receivers had to make some super catches. Would you agree?
John: I don't know how to place an exact percentage on this question, but yes: Bortles' accuracy issues last season contributed heavily to whatever struggles the Jaguars' wide receivers had statistically.
Mike from Jacksonville:
Do you have a sense of what Fowler is like in the locker room among his peers? Is he the same hotheaded, immature person that has two arrests and 20 traffic tickets in two years? Is he the same guy that tied for the league lead in penalties among defensive ends? If he is that guy in the locker room as well; I believe they call that a "cancer" and serious consideration should be given to removing him regardless of his unfulfilled potential. It feels like we're watching a train wreck in the making with a whole lot of red flags.
John: I wouldn't call Fowler a locker-room leader, but he's not a cancer. Not even close. Fowler is a perfectly likeable, agreeable person to be around. Not every player is at one extreme or the other.
Thommy from Miami, FL:
John ... between your column and SOME of the staff at 1010XL, I think I might survive another dead zone. Just wanted to say "thank you." As you know, I am a musician. It's the Ramones, the Clash, the Damned the DKS, Black Flag and Fear with an honorable Motorhead mention. … You're welcome.
John: Good list, and she don't want a chicken … she don't want a roast … #therecord
Dan from Fort Dodge, IA:
O-man just got my new shirt and hat combo for the upcoming season, so I hope this set is better than last year's combination. I also purchased a power bank for my phone which has not worked once and I hope this is not the same as our season, look flashy but fail to convert. #badpowerbank
John: Jaguars 2017 Training Camp begins in five days.
Gabe from Washington, DC:
If you were the GM, and you had to make the call right now between Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee, who would you sign, who would you let walk and why?
John: I'd probably fall down on my knees begging to please, please, please let me wait at least a few games because the decision is just too tough. If forced to make the decision, I would look at Hurns' production, toughness and reliability and want to retain him. I would worry maybe the slightest bit that Lee sustained some career-slowing injuries his first two seasons. But I also would think of Lee's remarkable athleticism and remember that he does things no one else on the roster can do. Thinking that way, I probably would choose Lee. But I wouldn't feel great about letting Hurns go, because I would know there was a good chance I would regret it.
Mike from Jacksonville:
A few years ago I was in Denver and watched Chad Henne and Justin Blackmon absolutely dominate Denver's defense. He is one of the best backups in the league. Give him time to throw and someone to throw to, he can be more than just a backup. The Jags need to keep Chad!
John: Hey, one fer Chad!
Rob from Kansas City, MO:
I suppose I did show my age a bit! I'll take it considering how seldom that is any more. I suppose I wasn't commenting on the quality of tennis so much as it was the thought of it being more "mainstream" and I think the evolving 24 hour sports programming world that really blossomed in the 90s probably contributed to the extra attention the sport received during that time to including my (mis)perception of it. I just look at how Tiger Woods seemed to make golf "cool" for a whole generation in the same time period, but that "coolness" stuck for golf. I just don't think it happened with tennis, which is a shame because it can be quite a grueling individual competition. What's the best singles match you think you ever saw?
John: I missed Federer-Nadal at Wimbledon in 2009 because I was traveling. So, give me Roger Federer's Australian Open victory over Rafael Nadal in January or Bjorn Borg's over McEnroe at Wimbledon in 1980 … nah, go with Fed over Nadal in January. I love me some Fed.
Mike from Section 408:
If Sheldon Day and Michael Bennett outplay Dante Fowler Jr. and Yannick Ngakoue, is it possible Calais Campbell and Malik Jackson kick outside to make room for Day and Bennett to be on the field more when the game is on the line and we need our best linemen out there?
John: I suppose anything's possible, but what you're describing would be a reach because your scenario would mean no pure edge rushers in the lineup. Anyway, I don't see a scenario where either Fowler or Ngakoue when healthy isn't the best edge rusher on the line – unless rookie end Dawuane Smoot emerges, which is a big ask for a third-round rookie.
Brian from Nocatee:
Maybe we are cursed. What can we do about it?
John: The Jaguars aren't cursed. Win.

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