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O-Zone: Surprise attack

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
John, I had a little concern about Myles Jack the first few weeks of camp. Yes, he got off to a late start because of the odd rule the NFL has about graduating classes. (Note to NFL ... need to change that rule along with the kickoff rule.) However, after watching Myles in the Jets game I have zero fears. Yes, he may be a bit behind on schemes. He does possess three things you cannot coach: instinct, speed, heart. I feel very good about the future with some of our young players.
John: Myles Jack indeed may be a few weeks behind because of his required offseason absence, but he won't be behind long – and I don't know that the Jaguars' training-camp approach with Jack would have been all that different had he been allowed to participate in the offseason program. Working Jack at second-team middle linebacker until he's clearly ready to step in and play fast in a front-line role isn't a ridiculous approach. Letting him do so for a while in full pads would have made sense even if the NFL hadn't forced him to miss the offseason. As for the rule that forced Jack's absence, I doubt the NFL changes it. I'm not sold on its effectiveness, but it looks good on paper to force players to remain in school until their school finishes spring classes. It's a politically-correct rule. Those can be difficult to change without some serious inertia – and I don't know that enough players/teams are affected to force a change any time soon. In the big picture, I don't know that this will be an issue for the Jaguars for long. As you say, there seems little reason to worry about Jack. His ability will soon shine through and make this catching-up period seem like a distant memory.
Alan from Jacksonville:
Is there a package that might include Poz, Telvin and Myles Jack?
John: Sure.
Rob from Brunswick, GA:
O-man, we all have heard for years that preseason is not very indicative of regular season. Play-calling is vanilla, especially on defense, and players are not going all-out (at least the starters aren't). I've always heard it said that any halfway-decent quarterback can look like Joe Montana under those conditions. Are there any positions where preseason play can be more of an indicator of regular-season success?
John: I don't know if a particular position stands out. The main thing is to keep preseason in the proper perspective. The Jaguars, for instance, showed good things on Thursday offensively such as dictating tempo and running the ball well. Those are good signs and reasons to be encouraged, but one preseason game doesn't guarantee regular-season greatness. You can see general things such as team speed, the ability to get penetration defensively, etc. The Jaguars showed some good things Thursday. If they show the same good things and improve in some necessary areas over the next two weeks, those are good signs. They guarantee nothing, but they're absolutely good signs.
Mark from Green Bay, WI:
I was at the Packers-versus-Browns game last Saturday and the Packers did not start their first-tier players and still beat them. After watching the Jags then the Packers I do hope we improve some more before September 11.
John: OK.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
I am not a fan of your use of the term "fixable errors" when referring to our defensive performance against the Jets. What if they don't get fixed? Is that on the coaching staff or the players?
John: I'm sorry you dislike the correct term for things, but here's the point: it wasn't as if the Jaguars were outmanned or overwhelmed Thursday, particularly the Jaguars' first-team defense. There were a couple of defensive errors and some penalties. That's "fixable" stuff. As far as who it's "on," such errors are typically a result of many things: coaching, players, young players playing, good plays by the other team, veterans playing together for the first time and so on. But that's not good enough, I know. There must be one single reason for everything that happens. Someone must be AT FAULT. Is it possible that wrinkles are being ironed out after a few padded practices? Is it possible that this was Preseason Week 1 and therefore far more a practice than a game situation? No, I tell you. NO! THERE MUST BE BLA-AAA_AAME!!!!!!!! SOMEONE MUST P-A-A-A-A-Y!!!!!!
Tym from Southside:
O-Zone, with a pretty deep D-Line, I know positions are going to be difficult to win this preseason. But could you shed a little light on Richard Ash's chances to make the team? He looked pretty dominant against the Jets when he was on the field (admittedly, against the twos). Has he been that good throughout the offseason, or was the Jets game an exception?
John: I'd say Ash's chances of making the 53-player roster are slim. That's not because he's not a good player, but because the Jaguars are very deep on the defensive line – and very deep at the defensive-tackle position.
David from Oviedo, FL:
O-man, I'm a problem solver. Kick it through the end zone. Next ...
John: That would do it.
Richard from Gainesville, FL:
Is it strange to have a joint scrimmage – actually two – with the team that you play that week in preseason? It just appears you're asking for trouble in the form of ... let's say ... scuffles.
John: Joint practices against a team you're playing that week are actually relatively common. Sure, it could lead to a scuffle or two. It has happened before, and it's not out of the question it could happen this week. We'll see.
Steven from Jacksonville:
If Davon House and Prince Amukamara are able to play the outside cornerback positions at a high level immediately, is there any problem with Jalen Ramsey starting his career solely as the nickelback?
John: There wouldn't be a problem with it, but if Ramsey is better than Amukamara on the outside and capable of moving into the middle in passing situations there's nothing wrong with that approach, either.
Drunk Tomahawk from Duval:
Joeckel doesn't look very buff. You could probably take him.
John: No, I couldn't.
Matt from Austin, TX:
How does the NFL pick preseason opponents? The Jags mostly play East Coast teams. Is it a logistics thing?
John: Generally speaking, the NFL tries to schedule preseason games to minimize travel. That's particularly true of the final preseason game.
Scott from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Hi, John. With the third preseason game being the most serious of the four and being against a good team (the Bengals) followed in the regular season by the Packers, Chargers and Ravens, I'm curious how the defense will look after those games. If we start off with some decent form, we could be 2-1 going to London for the Colts with a defense really hitting its stride. 3-1? A lot of ifs involved, just saying.
John: OK.
Zach from Baltimore, MD:
Third-and-goal at the 2-yard line. Which running back do you think is getting the ball?
John: On 3rd-and-goal at the 2, I'm assuming the Jaguars are passing because most NFL teams consider it a passing situation these days. In light of that, I'd say if a running back is touching the ball it will be T.J. Yeldon on a draw or on a pass out of the backfield. Now, if you're asking about 3rd-and-1, I'd say Chris Ivory. I expect him to be the Jaguars' short-yardage back more often than not.
David from Oviedo, FL:
O-man - Marqise Lee is fast, but has anybody noticed he's been making all the tough catches? What are your thoughts on his hands?
John: They're good.
CD from Fleming Island, FL:
Hey John, you said early this offseason you weren't willing to write Luke Joeckel off as the left tackle as quickly as others. More recently, you seem to believe Beachum has the upper hand. Have Joeckel's performances warranted that change of heart, or does it have more to do with how the coaches have been using him in camp?
John: I'll be up front that I don't have a real feel for how this is going to play out – and I'm not sure anyone does. My feeling that Beachum probably will start at left tackle upon his return is more to do with how coaches are using Joeckel in camp – and a feeling that the longer Beachum is out, the more likely it is that the easiest thing to do is plug him in at left tackle upon his return. That's not written in stone – and a lot of it will have to do with how much Beachum participates over the next few weeks. This feels fluid. That's OK because here are three preseason games left. But that fluidity won't be fine much longer.
Jay from Jacksonville:
O-Zone, with all this new talent the Jaguars have acquired over the past year what kind of surprise cuts or trades could we expect in the next month?
John: If I told you it wouldn't be a surprise.

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