JACKSONVILLE – A quick note to O-Zone readers …
As some of you know, my father – Richard Edgbert Oehser –passed away Monday. He lived a good life for nearly 84 years, and I appreciate those who have expressed condolences. They mean a lot. And I mean that. Thank you.
I'm filing this O-Zone and will continue to do so daily not because of obligation. Writing just feels more right than not writing, so there's that.
Dad died after a noble, brutal, year-long battle with leukemia.He battled with the same dignity, grace and determination with which he had lived his previous 82 years. I wouldn't have expected any different.
He battled, too, with wit – and as much as anything, that's what I'll remember about my father, what I'll take with me as I move on without him: an intelligent, ever-present sense of humor that endured in good times and bad, that defined him throughout his life and his final days.
Dad was a sports fan. During his retirement, after moving from Jacksonville to Boone, North Carolina, he loved Duke basketball, and the Atlanta Braves. There was a time when I was younger we were both passionate about the Washington Redskins. For me, this passion often defied reason, causing irrational fits of wall-banging after losses and equally irrational joy after victories. It was silly, juvenile and pointless and because he felt the same way, we bonded at a time in my life we wouldn't have otherwise. If sports gave me nothing else, it gave me that.
A couple of quick stories, if I may indulge …
About 15 years ago, someone told me recent research indicated that more people would start living into their 100s, and perhaps beyond. That research indicated that the average lifespan would perhaps increase dramatically in our lifetimes. Not long after hearing this, I mentioned this to my father. He told me there was one drawback in living to 120.
I asked him what that was.
"If you live to 120, your 100 year-old son will still come around asking to borrow money," he said.
A few years later, when my son, Jacob, was about eight or nine, we visited Dad in Boone, N.C. Dad loved taking Jake to movies, and to dinner, and on our second movie of the visit, Jake turned to dad and with the innocence of his age asked, "Are you a millionaire?"
"Well, I was until you got here," Dad replied, smiling.
Jake still loves that story. So do I.
Let's get to it . . .
Adam from Fleming Island, FL:
Hey John, I just heard of your loss. I'm not sure how much condolences from a random stranger mean, but you bring a lot of levity and happiness to me every day, so in a way I feel like we're buddies and I feel for your loss. For whatever it's worth,I'm thinking about you and your family and I hope you're doing OK.
Condolences mean a lot, and I hope the tone of the O-Zone is that there aren't really random strangers. At least I hope that people feel some connection. I received many emails similar to this Monday – many, many more than I expected. I can't express how much they meant. Now, on to some football.
Joe from Section 101:
This will be an exciting Super Bowl. It will give a general answer to our quarterback question. Which is better to have: the team with the elite quarterback and high-powered passing offense OR the all-around solid, physically talented team with a good quarterback?
John: Or maybe it will just decide which team is better, the Denver Broncos or Seattle Seahawks.
Anthony from Jacksonville:
With the Seahawks in the Super Bowl, do you think Gus Bradley would rather be the defensive coordinator of the Seahawks with the success they are having, or head coach of the Jaguars, with the long rebuilding project ahead?
John: He would rather be the head coach of the Jaguars, and it's not close. Bradley knew the Seahawks were really, really good when he left the organization and he knew the Jaguars had a long building process. Nothing has happened since that surprised him and nothing has happened to change his outlook.
Eduardo from Monterrey:
Tebow had the "magic" in the collegiate setting as well. So did alot of other quarterbacks that either failed or never got a sniff in the league. Steer clear of Manziel, imo.
John: One not fer magic.
J. Hooks from Orange Park, FL:
John, I saw a mock draft on nfl.com that suggested we would take an outside linebacker at third overall. This seemed odd to me. I'm no stat guy, but isn't third overall a strange spot to pick up an outside linebacker? When was the last time one went that high in the draft?
John: Outside linebacker in recent seasons has become a position that usually doesn't merit an early first-round selection. The caveat is if the player is a pass rusher. The Broncos, for example, took Von Miller No. 2 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft. The outside backers being mocked to the Jaguars – Anthony Barr of UCLA, for example – are pass rushers, so in that sense it's not so strange.
Phil from Delray Beach, FL:
If the Broncos win it all would Jeremy Mincey receive a ring only being with the club for a few games?
Ryan from Valdosta, GA:
For all those complaining about the Jaguars releasing Terrance Knighton, most wanted to keep Derek Cox, too, and he got benched in San Diego for a rookie. If the Seahawks win the Super Bowl will Pete Carroll be the only coach to win a college national championship and Super Bowl?
John: No, Jimmy Johnson won a national title in 1987 with Miami then won Super Bowls with Dallas following the 1992 and 1993 seasons.
Jamers from Jax Beach:
Who's the last Jaguar to make the Pro-Bowl? And who's the last Jaguar to make the All-Pro team?
John: Paul Posluszny was named to the Pro Bowl as an alternate Monday, but Maurice Jones-Drew made it at running back and Montell Owens on special teams in 2011. Jones-Drew was also an All-Pro selection that season.
Garrison from Baton Rouge, LA:
How much is a fourth- to seventh-round pick to a general manager? I know a lot of fans think that those are mainly for scrubs, but is it possible that those are kind of treasured to a general manager? The way a coin collector picks up every rusted penny. Also, what are the chances we trade some of our later picks?
John: They are absolutely valued. They not only provide depth and speed, but they often play key roles on special teams. You should also occasionally find a long-term starter from the later rounds. Good general managers value every draft pick from Rounds 1-7, and while the first round is key, the later rounds should be productive. As far as trading, it could happen. Will it? We'll see draft weekend.
PrinceFigs from Jacksonville:
Let's take a moment to reflect about the awesomeness that Moodachay was.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
Bradley is the second longest-tenured head coach in the AFC South!
John: It is striking that you are in fact right. Chuck Pagano of the Colts is the longest-tenured coach in the AFC South. He will enter his third season as an NFL head coach next season. It certainly speaks to the realities of the quick-trigger time we are in in the NFL – as well as to the up-and-down nature of the division lately that that's the case.
Josh from Zephyrhills, FL:
Jake Mathews, why not draft him? I know everyone is set on Clowney and Manziel, but I'm not sold on drafting quarterbacks and defensive end with questions around them. I think Mathews is a true sure thing. Guy moves defensive guys!
John: Matthews does seem to be a very, very safe selection. If we were operating in a "BAP" – Hey, there's that term again! – vacuum, then you might take him. But the Jaguars have a lot of needs and there are a lot of areas of the roster that must be built. You generally don't have Top 3 talent on both ends of the line of scrimmage on offense, and I don't see the Jaguars being an exception this season.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
With the third pick, do you take Bridgewater or Clowney if both are available?
Richard from Starke, FL:
It seems much more likely to me, that the league will expand the schedule and play most of those extra games in London, rather than place a team there full time.
John: I agree.
Jarred from Las Vegas, NV:
John, You have done a lot for me and a whole lot of Jags fans over the years. You have helped educate on this game and made me love football for 365 days a year. I couldn't thank you enough for your hard work and dedication. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family during this difficult time.
John: Thank you.