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O-Zone: State of mind

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Joe from Hall of Fame and Canton, OH:
I've been a diehard Jags fan from Day One and follow religiously, but I failed you Zone (I know, take my card) I have no idea what #DTWD means. Please help me redeem myself, old wise one. Tell me so I can be whole again. Oh – and who would you pick for the first Jaguar player or coach to make it to the Hall of Fame?
John: Ah, it seems we have stumbled upon the O-Zone Topic of the Weekend – and that's OK; mid-to-late May seems like a fine time to stumble around in the world of "#DTWD." So, to review: #DTWD stands for Duval 'Til We Die. It is heard quite often from the passionate throats of the Bold City Brigade and from the equally passionate keystrokes of the disturbed souls that make up #Jaguarstwitter. Debate flares up on occasion among Jaguars fans over the use of "Duval," with some disliking the use of the county in which the Jaguars reside as opposed to something more inclusive of the First Coast area. (A reader we'll identify as "Ed from Ponte Vedra" because he identified himself this way recently expressed this opinion). Those who enjoy chanting "Duval" and" "Duval 'Til We Die" will tell you the chants have less to do with the physical location of the county than with the camaraderie, state of mind and attitude represented. Oh, and as for the first Jaguars in the Hall of Fame, I'd pick Tony Boselli as a player and Tom Coughlin as the first coach, with a nod to Boselli because his entire body of on-field work was with the organization.
Rich from Duval:
Ed, we love you bruh ... Duuuuuuuvalll!!! #DTWD
John: Emails such as Ed's tend to inspire passionate reaction. #DTWD
Scott from Jacksonville:
If it's going to take Dante Fowler Jr. a whole year to get back to playing but two years to be normal again and Aaron Colvin – if I spelled that right – didn't come back for 11 months, why is everyone saying Sen'Derrick Marks may be back in September? And I don't think he will be anywhere near totally healthy at all this year.
John: The difference in the three situations is timing. A player these days can aim for a return from a torn anterior cruciate ligament at around eight-to-nine months if things go well in the rehabilitation process. The Jaguars aren't pushing for Fowler to return because eight months would be December 1, which even then would be a very quick turnaround. Colvin returned in mid-November after being injured in late January; that was a 10-month turnaround and Colvin's level was considered fairly remarkable upon return. As for Marks, you're certainly entitled to your opinion, though considering the medical advances in the area over the last two or three decades it's not at all unreasonable to think he could be "somewhere" near totally healthy at some point this season.
Brian from Kingsland, GA:
I'm from Georgia and I'm #DTWD Go Jags!!
John: #DTWD
Dan from Holley:
Dante's choice in jersey number got me thinking. How different was Lawrence Taylor's position than what we run as a Leo rusher?
John: This is a tricky and unfair topic. Taylor was an all-time great who transcended the position in the same way a player such as J.J. Watt transcends 3-4 or strong-side end in this era. For that reason, it's difficult to define a "position" for Taylor and unfair to compare players to him. Taylor was a 3-4 pass-rushing outside linebacker, but he lined up all over the field and often freelanced to get into a favorable matchup. Still, there are similarities in the sense that the Leo is a hybrid/end linebacker position that has its roots in 3-4 pass-rushing outside linebackers.
William from Orange Park, FL:
Any chance the Jags would kick the tires on Dwight Freeney? He's good stopgap until Fowler returns. He's worth a two-year deal if he is even at 85 or 90 percent of what he used to be. Which brings me to one other question: Don't the Jags have to spend 90 percent of the salary cap starting this year? Or is that a year-wide percentage?
John: I imagine we'll get questions about any available pass rusher from now until the start of the season, but as much as I like Freeney personally – and as much as I would be fine with seeing him in Jacksonville – I don't know that the Jaguars necessarily have an immediate need at Leo pass rusher. They have Chris Clemons, Andre Branch, Ryan Davis and Chris Smith. If you're going to sign a veteran pass rusher you need to make sure he's better than that group. As for the salary cap, teams must spend 89 percent of the cap over a four-year period; the Jaguars aren't in anything close to a mode of desperation to spend that much.
Gator from Under the Window in the Recliner:
A-la-chew-aahhhhhh. Alachua has such a better sound to it. #ATWD looks cooler, too. Finally, if they drafted better, 90 percent would have played college in Alachua County.
John: #ATWD
Eric from Walton, KY:
O-Man. The talent on this team is at so much of a higher level than it was three years ago. Believe in Dave and Gus, for sure. They are all guys full of energy and love the game and show their passion. Don't you think it is time for J.P. to step his game up also? Thanks O-Man.
John: One thing at a time.
Julian from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Do you consider New England a first-class organization?
John: I consider the Jaguars a first-class organization and I know this because I work there and know the people. I consider the Patriots a winning, championship organization. Not having worked there and not knowing the people well, I can't honestly classify the class.
Payne from Anchorage, AK:
If the Jaguars make the playoffs in 2015, will they make it to the Super Bowl?
John: They certainly will have a better chance if they make the playoffs than if they don't.
John from Jacksonville:
I was on vacation this past week and noticed that all sports television was on Brady and the Patriots all the time. I'm thinking this is turning out well for them to get so much press coverage during the dead zone, but it is completely overkill. It also got me thinking how different the rhetoric would have been if Jacksonville was the team that got blown out in the playoff game, instead of the Colts, and if Jacksonville claimed deflated balls were used. I'm wondering if the NFL and the media would have taken the story down a completely different path if it wasn't Luck and the Colts.
John: A team that previously has been accused of and disciplined for breaking significant rules – and a team that has been perhaps the NFL's most high-profile team for 15 years, a team with a high-profile quarterback and a high-profile coach – was accused of cheating in a game that decided who would go to the Super Bowl. I think it's safe to say this would have been a big story no matter the opponent.
Van from Orange Park, FL:
So curious if my questions ever make it to you lol. Anyway, excites for this season. Do you think James Sample can take the job for free safety? Or do you think Josh Evans will step it up??
John: Your questions don't make it. Ever. James Sample, a fourth-round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft from Louisville, is expected to compete with Sergio Brown – who signed as an unrestricted free agent in March – for the starting free safety position. Evans will start the offseason at strong safety behind Johnathan Cyprien.
King Marcus from Duval:
Come on Ed!!!!!! Let us all here it!!!!!! DUUUUUUUUVAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!
John: #Duval. DTWD.
Brian from Richmond, VA:
It is possible that D-Rob will be used more as the Offensive Weapon he was drafted as this year, now that his hands healed and he can catch, and now that he has learned the running back position more? I was hopeful when he was tagged OW originally at the possibilities of what that could lead to. Could we see him in the slot some this year?
John: I think you'll see Robinson more effective in more situations than he was as a rookie, and I think the success he had and confidence he built last season will play a role in that. He's also a third-year veteran with a healthy hand, so while I don't know that slot receiver will be an extensive role for Robinson, I'd be surprised if he's not significantly more effective than he was as a rookie.
Glenn from Near-Canada, NY:
In response to Ed: I haven't lived in Florida, much less Duval, since early 1997 ... almost two decades removed -- eight moves, seven states, four schools, two careers – and Duval is still the only place I'll ever call home. I'll be back at the 'Bank this December for the first time since I sat next to my Dad and watched Morten Andersen's kick sail wide left. I'll be bringing my kids to watch the Falcons from that same north end zone section where we'll make the same memories my old man and I did two decades ago. They're Duval, I'm Duval... heck, my dogs are even Duval. It ain't a place; it's a way of life and a state of mind. #DTWD!
John: #DTWD

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