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O-Zone: The best ever

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it . . . Bill from Jacksonville:
Gabbert: 7 of 15 for 40 yards. The more things change, the more they stay the same, huh, John?
John: Bill! Hello! I got several of these emails, and I get that it's easy to draw from those statistics that Gabbert struggled Saturday. Don't forget: several of those passes were in goal-line situations, so it's incorrect to assume Gabbert was "checking down" at every opportunity. Numbers aside, there were situations when Gabbert looked "OK" on Saturday. Fans want more than OK. It's Year 3. They deserve more than OK. That's all true, but Gabbert had a couple of passes that were impressive and an early drive that had some rhythm to it. Not Hall of Fame stuff, and probably not good enough yet, but enough to build on for the preseason.
Josh from Jacksonville Beach and Section 106:
Tell the team thanks. My wife and I had a blast Saturday night!
John: Team: Josh says thanks.
Steve from Nashville, TN:
I know the Jaguars are proud to have the "Best Blocking Tight End in the League" on their roster, but will we see more offensive production from Marcedes Lewis this year?
John: That is what the Jaguars hope. The theory is that addition of Luke Joeckel at right tackle should solidify the offensive line, and keep Lewis from having to stay in and help as often with pass protection on that side of the line. If he is free more often to be a pass receiver, he should be able to contribute more in that area. Lewis likes this offense and is optimistic about the season. The Jaguars' coaches and personnel people are optimistic, too, that he will be more of a factor in the passing game. What's left now is to see if that's the case.
Keith from Palatka, FL:
Pannel Egboh has intrigued me since organized team activities. I was not surprised by his two sack performance in the scrimmage. This guy is for real. What do you think of his chances to make the team and help the pass rush?
John: Based on what we have seen so far in camp and in the scrimmage Saturday, he certainly has a chance. You don't earn a roster spot with two sacks in a non-tackling scrimmage, but it does get you noticed and puts you in a good spot entering the preseason.
Ryan from Jacksonville:
Who do you think will step up and make a bigger impact during Blackmon's four-game suspension at the start of the season, Shipley or Massaquoi?
John: Tough question, and right now, I'd have to guess Shipley. That's because through 10 days of training camp, Massaquoi hasn't stood out as much as you'd like for a receiver expected to start the first month of the season. That could change. He has the physical ability and experience to step in and contribute for a month while Blackmon is out. But so far, Ace Sanders and Mike Brown have shown up more in practice, and they appear to be getting repetitions opposite Cecil Shorts III. Head Coach Gus Bradley is big on challenging players and seeing how they respond. He said last week Brown and Sanders clearly had challenged Massaquoi and he's responding – as evidenced by a 20-yard touchdown reception Saturday in the scrimmage. He needs to keep that up.
Dino from Jacksonville:
What is it going to take to get No. 71 in the Hall of Fame? And I know what you're thinking, why Tony B. over all those other #71's?! Well I can tell you, there are no others, and not only his ridiculously dominant play. But, his leadership of Team Teal, and the growth of the Jaguars' brand, makes him a consummate professional.
John: I couldn't agree more. Our mutual animosity aside, Boselli is deserving of the Hall of Fame. He was an elite player at his position at a time when his position may have been the best it ever has been in the NFL. He made five consecutive Pro Bowls, and almost certainly would have doubled that had he been healthy. It will take a member of the committee arguing his case convincingly and persistently to get him in the conversation, and I believe there is a chance that could happen at some point. But it will take time.
Johannes from Graz, Australia:
As I intend going to London in October is there any chance to meet my favourite Senior Writer there?
John: There should be. Let me know who that is, and I'll see if he's going to be there.
Charles from Bangalore, India:
Going into the preseason games the quarterback competition looks tight. What if this remains the same by the start of the regular season? Will Bradley stick with his competition mantra, or try to go with his quarterback pick through thick and thin, at least for a chunk of the schedule?
John: Time will tell, and it's really not a decision Bradley could make right now if he were so inclined. My guess is Gabbert will start the season, and if that happens, my guess is he'll get at least a month to start showing production and/or progress. If he doesn't show that, I can't imagine the coaches would stick with him the whole season, but that's conjecture. There's honestly no reason for the coaches yet to believe the quarterback they pick won't be productive, so it's almost certainly not a scenario they've spent much time thinking through at this point.
Newt from Jacksonville:
After seeing quite a bit of the practices and also the scrimmage, I notice that No. 79 Paul Hazel tends to be in the backfield an awful lot. He almost took a handoff on Friday and in the scrimmage, he almost took a pitch. I haven't heard much about him. Can you fill us in?
John: Hazel is a rookie free agent and a player whose physical ability is intriguing. He has shown the quickness and athleticism you've noticed throughout the offseason and training camp. He also seems to have a nose for the ball. I have written before that he likely needs to bulk up for a season before he plays a significant role in the NFL. That's very common for rookie free agents and late-drafted players at his position. How his skills translate into game action will be important and as is the case for many players on this roster, the coming weeks will be important for Hazel in that regard.
Bobby from Blaine, WA:
What's with the bromance with Gabbert? You seem to be in love with his tangibles and seem to be subjected to the idea he's the automatic starter. You give too much props to Blaine. Your video of the scrimmage gives it a way. With Blaine's footage, you showed all passes that were caught and showed film with no errors; however, its seemed with Chad, you showed all mistake prone plays, except that of Marcedes TD catch. Get off the Kool-aid, John and be fair. I mean, you can give praise to Gabbert for completing five completions without describing the stats, but those first five throws were no more than 10 yards or less. Heck, I can dump pass to a running back 10 times in a row and be praised for 10 straight completions. All I'm saying, John, is approach both players the same. You're making it as if Blaine is the for-sure starter and the Savior of our quarterback woes.
John: Well, since we're fresh off the scrimmage and getting ready to get into the meat of this quarterback competition, I'll touch on a few of your thoughts. First, I absolutely never have said Gabbert is the savior of anything. To say that after watching him for two seasons would be ridiculous. Not that he can't be that eventually, but he has shown little to prove it thus far. I have said I believe he will start at quarterback when the season opens because I believe he'll win the job, but I care not a bit if he starts or not. I have no preference if it's Henne or Gabbert, and actually like both of them personally quite a bit. I actually have enormous respect for Henne's consistent professionalism since joining the Jaguars, and think he is a very valuable player in terms of his maturity and his approach to his job. I think if Henne starts he will perform significantly better than last season because I think the players around him would be better and I think the offensive system will be better. As for the video of the scrimmage giving it away, I must admit I chuckled at that idea. First, I have absolutely nothing to do with video content. Our producer, Patrick Kavanagh, would no more allow me to pick footage than he would fly to the moon. To take that point a bit further, I tried to take some time off Sunday. Before reading your email, I actually had forgotten that there was a scrimmage highlight video. So, yes, I suppose that proves my bias, though I can't for the life of me figure out how.
Bo from Dresden, NC:
I have read a lot of negative comments about Blaine's passing.....it seems that people are convinced he can't throw down field, what's your take?
John: My take? Well, BO! --- I think Blaine Gabbert is the greatest quarterback in the history of professional football!!! Haven't you been reading?

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