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O-Zone: Strong words, good night

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Bruce from Gotham, NY:
Cabanas are cool. Party in the pools. Biggest scoreboards are AWESOME for the fans. Mr. Khan is da MAN!
John: Have fun?
Matt from Stroudsburg, PA:
I am one of the many Jags fans who does not live in Jacksonville, unfortunately, but the excitement in this die-hard fan from Pennsylvania is at an all-time high. Even with having to experience "The Unveiling" through a computer screen, something just feels different about this team, the coaches, and front office that can't be described. Regardless of the team's success this season I'll be rooting for them harder than ever, and I think that's exactly what the city and fans of Jacksonville needed.
John: Yep.
Garrison from Baton Rouge, LA:
I agree with what Pete Prisco said about sitting Bortles. Though he could benefit from watching and learning for the first couple of weeks, starting Chad Henne all 16 games is going a little too far. Why start Henne Week 15 if we're already 4-9? Blake needs to get some live-game reps before handing him the team Week 1 of 2015. This year, Week 10-12 seems like it would be a good spot to plug in Bortles because at that point we will really know how far along the rest of the roster is and if we make a push for the postseason.
John: First, the Jaguars aren't thinking about 4-9 right now. Second, while I understand people's desire to have a definitive answer to the Bortles Question now, this is not an issue that's going to get solved in training camp. Bortles is going to start the season as the backup to Henne. That means for now the plan is for Bortles to enter the game should Henne be injured, though that's a scenario that the Jaguars could manage and address should it arise. There is time in training camp and preseason for this to play out, and training camp and preseason is very much the time for such things to play out. Give it time and watch. There won't be an answer tomorrow.
Henry from Orlando, FL:
Cool event. Did you like it?
John: Yes.
Mikah from Jacksonville:
Random question: Do non-starters ever hold out of training camp?
John: I never say never, so I'm sure it has happened, but it's rare. Non-starters are typically pretty replaceable parts and replaceable parts are usually more worried about making rosters than trying to hold out for more money with little leverage.
Trent from Fernandina Beach, FL:
To Craig from Auburn: Expecting the world to be fair enough to set the same bar for everyone is like expecting a lion not to eat you because you didn't eat him
John: Well put, I guess.
Bo from Dresden, NC:
It seems we are a bit thin at linebacker. What, if any, plans do we have to shore it up?
John: Well, aside from a trip to the linebacker store, they would sign a released player after cut day at the end of preseason. I wouldn't anticipate high-profile moves, though. The Jaguars like LaRoy Reynolds and Telvin Smith, who while unproven are talented, and this team is getting to the point where promoting its own depth is a better option than signings many castoffs.
Mike from East Moline, IL:
The wide receiver position is looking slim, John. Do you foresee David Caldwell bringing in a veteran who comes available after roster cut-downs for a short and low-cost contract?
John: No.
Mike from San Juan:
Just curious on your take on Cecil Shorts latest injury. Although I really like Shorts, shouldn't Jaguars slow down on contract talks at least until midseason to see if he can stay on the field? I feel bad for Shorts but he seems to get these types of injuries too often.
John: My take on Cecil Shorts III's latest injury is that it's unfortunate, particularly for a player who works as diligently and is as dedicated as any player on the team. His approach is exemplary and his desire is beyond question. Now, that being said there's also little question he has been injured more than is ideal, a fact that frustrates and bothers him as much as the team – and certainly more than any outsider or observer. As far as the Jaguars slowing down on contract talks, this is one of those questions that's impossible to answer because I don't know that anyone outside of David Caldwell and Shorts' representatives really know the pace of these talks in the first place. They have talked, and Caldwell has said there is good dialogue from the sides. The idea is to find terms that make both sides happy. Shorts isn't likely to sign for No. 1 receiver money, and I'd imagine the sides will find something that's acceptable and workable for both sides. Can Shorts' injury history be factored into that equation? There's no reason why not.
Alon from Denver, CO:
Jaguar fans need to wrap their head around the concepts of potential and value. Blackmon won't get cut for the same reason Aldon Smith and Josh Gordon don't get cut. They have all shown they can be dominant players in spurts. Players like Lavon Brazil get cut because their level of production and talent is easily replaced even though their offenses are lesser. As you beautifully stated, all's fair (well not all).
John: We're just about done discussing Justin Blackmon for a while, but … yes.
Allo from J-Ville:
Is it time to say goodbye to Cecil Shorts III? The team has more than enough young talent to replace him. And he is also coming up for a new contact after the year, right? So, it would be good for the team to trade him for a pick in next year's draft, let's say to the Browns for a second-round pick. Apparently, Johnny is gonna need someone else to throw to. What do you think?
John: Yes, trading talented, dedicated players with exemplary approaches to their professions who miss time in training camp is always a smart idea. #sarcasmfont
Ed from Jacksonville:
I think the increased outrage this time about Blackmon is the realization it's over. There had been really no information about him since his suspension. Yes, there were hints from players and coaches, but most fans probably held out hope he may have been doing the right things to get his life turned around. This arrest pretty much shows he most likely has not done anything during this time, which I think is why the increased dislike this time around. What do you think?
John: I think I gave up a long time ago trying to figure out generalities about why fans think this way or that.
Connell from Jacksonville:
I'm confused. Doesn't the stadium belong to the City of Jacksonville and not the team? Thus, EverBank would be paying the city and not the team for naming rights? How does that work?
John: The city owns the stadium. The team has the right to generate revenue from the stadium. That has been the case since 1995.
Kyle from Jacksonville:
I know you don't like to look at wins / losses or other statistics to show the improvement we anticipate for this season, but how about point differential? I think this would be very telling as to the success of the season. We were -202 last year (worst in NFL).
John: Yes, improving that statistic would indicate improvement.
Benjamin from Jacksonville:
So, now we're doing best pass rushers... where do you rank Jared Allen on your list? He's an often-forgotten player in this discussion and it's difficult to understand why.
John: I put Allen in the discussion of NFL's best pass-rushers; I just wouldn't put him in the top four or five of all-time.
Roger from Jacksonville:
Jaw-dropping, eye-popping, awe-inspiring and trend-setting … A great night for Jacksonville and the Jaguars. Kudos to everyone involved – Mr. Khan for his vision; Mayor Brown and the City Council for their support; and the technical team that put together a show that presented everything Jacksonville has to be proud of. We'll never forget being there for the unveiling of the Jaguars' spectacular new home stadium. The pools were cool, too. I liked them.
John: It was a memorable night, and you're right: kudos to all involved. There were a ton of highlights, from the friendly, to the Carrie Underwood concert, to the video board unveiling. And then, of course, there were these words from Jaguars Owner Shad Khan: "We've had a lot of fun over the last several years, and the best is still to come. Everybody here in his or her own way has touched my life in ways I thought were unimaginable. It's an amazing responsibility and a privilege to represent you and I'm grateful for all of the support you've given me and my family since arriving in Jacksonville two and a half years ago. … Never be afraid to celebrate everything and everyone we have here in Jacksonville. We're second to none, and let me say it: 'Jacksonville is great.''' Strong words. Memorable words. Good night.

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