JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . . Cir-Ike Love from Jags in the sun-ville:
Johnny O, with training camp right around the corner, besides quarterback, defensive line and defensive back, what position battle do you think will be the most intriguing?
John: Well, thanks a lot "Cir-Ike. . ." You pretty much crossed out the top three options, making answering your question sort of like answering, "Outside John, Paul and Ringo, which Beatle is your favorite?" (John, incidentally). Given your parameters, I'd have to focus on outside linebacker. Paul Posluszny will start in the middle, and it appears Geno Hayes will start at one outside backer position. On the other side – the weak side – it appears likely there will be pretty intense training camp competition between Russell Allen and Julian Stanford. I expect Allen to start, but Stanford's athleticism will make it a storyline in training camp.
David from Kingsland, GA:
If you have to explain a "Vacation" movie reference . . . don't! They just wouldn't understand! Find a bush, Audrey!
John: You see kids, a car . . .
Nicholas from Fort Lee, VA:
You said if a punter became injured the team would sign another punter until the first punter is healthy. What happens to the injured punter? Does he waste a spot on the 45-man roster, forcing another player to be cut? Does he get placed on the practice squad only to be snatched by another team? Does he get put on I.R. and is gone for the season? Or is he cut from the team and a new contract created when he is healthy?
John: All are options, but the reality is an injured punter isn't treated differently than an injured player at any position. There are 53 roster spots with eight game-day inactives, and the reason for the inactives is so a team can carry a certain number of injured players without releasing them or placing them on the practice squad. So, yes, if you sign a second punter and keep the original punter on the roster, another player does have to be released.
Patrick from Jacksonville:
With the team installing new schemes on both sides, do you see the first unit staying on the field longer during the preseason or just certain positions?
John: It stands to reason more front-line guys will play longer this preseason than most seasons. It may not be a case where starters or projected starters are going deep into the fourth quarter of preseason games, but it's certainly possible that the first-team offense and defense could be on the field a series or two longer than usual to get a few more looks.
Dave from Ada, OK:
Wizard of Oehser, some words of advice: "Don't let your mom catch you with beer on your breath." #Moodachay.
John: Can I help you with that Kool-Aid? Please?
Vince from Orlando, FL:
Saw where Maurice Jones-Drew has yet to be cleared to participate in training camp. Also, saw that Justin Blackmon and Jason Babin may not be ready to start camp. What gives?
John: Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell said Friday Jones-Drew (foot) and Babin (groin) will be evaluated next week to determine how much they work when camp begins. He also said wide receiver Justin Blackmon could be limited to start camp. That's not ideal, but it's not unusual for players who have had offseason surgeries or surgeries late the previous season. My guess is they'll all be brought along relatively slowly in camp and be ready for the regular season.
Frank from St. Augustine Went to a local book store the other day and found a book called "50 Shades of Moodachay." I bought it for my wife and let me tell you, it really has spiced up our "night life!"
James from Jacksonville:
I'm guessing self-made billionaires are very big on time management. Thus, I am curious if you have any insight as to whether Mr. Khan is an avid O-Zone reader or not? If I owned the team, I believe I could create three minutes a day to get an incredible feel for the fans' concerns, desires and emotions surrounding one of my more valued business entities.
John: I don't know if Shad Khan spends three minutes a day reading the O-Zone or not. I do know whenever he is in town, he takes two minutes a day to stop my office and ridicule my appearance, after which I tell him how much I admire him and that I hope he will stop by soon.
Trey from Jacksonville:
Sometimes you get emails like this.
John: No, I don't.
Jason from Jacksonville:
O'man, currently the Jaguars are second on the waiver wire based on our record. Will this change during the season or does it change at the end of the season? Moodachay!
John: The Jaguars are second in the waiver order until Week 3. After that, it's based on record at the time.
Pete from Toms River, NJ:
During Gene Smith's drafts did you feel like sometimes he would overdraft players from smaller schools and overlook others from bigger schools? I know sometimes it's going to work – a la Cecil Shorts III – but did you think it was a good idea at the time for him to value small school guys as much as he did?
John: I hesitate to answer this, because it will re-spark a pretty tired debate. But it's the Dead Zone, so well, here goes. I don't have a problem with drafting small-school guys so long as you don't take them very often in the first round and so long as you don't expect them to play at a high level immediately. That was pretty much Bill Polian's philosophy when I covered the Colts, and it makes a lot of sense. Smith's approach wasn't to favor small schools at the expense of larger schools. It was to scout the player and try to take the best player on the board at the time. He didn't take small-school players in the first round, but at times they were asked to play immediately, which is difficult for a player coming from a lower-profile school. I covered just two of Smith's drafts, 2011 and 2012. Cecil Shorts III and Will Rackley came out of the 2011 draft, with Shorts being a good pick and Rackley still an unknown. It's still way too early to try to evaluate the 2012 draft.
Mike from Jacksonville:
Who would you rather have on the receiving end of a screen pass, Denard Robinson or Ace Sanders?
John: Right now, I'd rather have Sanders because he has more experience catching the ball, then turning up-field and running. I trust his hands a bit more than Robinson, only because Sanders is a true receiver and therefore should be more reliable. Now, once the ball is caught, it's hard to argue with having the ball in Robinson's hands.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
Why does it seem that the NFL sports writing business is so serious that the only way some journalists can explain the old water-squirting flower gag is that scientists somehow managed to breed flowers that actually squirt water when someone's face gets too close? In MJD's words: "It was only a joke!"
John: It should be absurdly obvious to the loyal reader of this column that while I have many, many flaws, taking myself too seriously is not among them. One thing I long have tried to remember is that while players, coaches and front office officials correctly and understandably approach this sport in deadly serious fashion – it is, after all, their livelihood and incredibly competitive – those who follow this sport do so primarily because it is ENTERTAINING. Therefore, while taking it seriously enough to write about the topics and answer the questions that concern fans on a fairly regular basis, I also believe it's OK to have fun and at least attempt to entertain while doing so. Many of my brethren in the media get this and many do not. To answer your question about why that is I would say that many editors and bosses take themselves very, very seriously and consider "journalism" a deadly serious profession. Having fun and making light does not often come naturally to these people and therefore, there often is not an environment conducive to being entertaining.
Adrian from Reading, UK:
With the upcoming international series game, I have to ask the question all British Jaguars fans should be asking - will there be any events in the run up to the game where there's a decent chance of getting Josh Scobee's autograph?
Michael from Tallahassee:
I noticed in the video of players visiting London that Uche Nwaneri was wearing the new Google Glass during his interview. Have you noticed Nwaneri wearing the device around the facilities during OTAs, and do you expect his experience with it to become a possible feature in any sort of media to be released in the near future? I know I don't need to tell you what's cool these days, O-Man, but it would definitely be awesome to see a players perspective of the London experience and elsewhere.
John: I turn 47 soon and therefore have no idea what you're talking about. Let me ask my 17-year-old and I'll get back to you.
O-Zone: Technology time
JACKSONVILLE -- Let's get to it . . . Cir-Ike Love from Jags in the sun-ville: