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O-Zone: The best of the best

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Charles from Midlothian, VA:
Your odds on Bradley/Bortles being in the same discussion as those other famous combinations? All those great head coach/quarterback combinations had a starting year and a first game … odds this year is that year? I ask because if it's not, then what?
John: This question refers to a recent O-Zone question that mentioned iconic quarterback coach combinations such as Jim Kelly/Marv Levy and Tom Brady/Bill Belichick. What are the odds of Blake Bortles and Gus Bradley someday being in that discussion? Well, the odds are long. Really long. You know why? Because you're asking to compare Bradley and Bortles to Hall-of-Fame, once-in-a-generation-or-so combinations. Those heights by definition are hard to reach – and not just for Bradley and Bortles. How difficult? Consider: the Jaguars in the 1990s had Tom Coughlin and Mark Brunell, a coach/quarterback tandem that by any measure had a lot of success. As good as that tandem was, it was not a "Hall-of-Fame" quarterback/coach combination. Bradley and Bortles have potential to be a winning, competitive combination. How will that potential play out? We'll start to see more of that this season. Either way, you won't know the end game for some time. That's how these things work.
Rick from Callaway, FL:
Cal Ripken Jr. was to baseball as you are to football. Iron man. Keep the streak going sir.
John: Cal Ripken told bad jokes, napped in his office and spent his 40s disillusioned and struggling to reconcile what it all means? Who knew?
Tim from Abbeville, GA:
How is Nick Marshall coming along?
John: Marshall, who played quarterback at Auburn University, signed as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Jaguars with the idea that he will be a cornerback. He has the skill set to play defensive back in the NFL. I believe he'll get extended time to show it. Right now, it's early – probably too early to draw any conclusions. But, the Jaguars like him and I'd be surprised if he's not on the roster next season in some capacity.
Neena from Jacksonville:
What does the "O" in O-Zone stand for?
John: Obstruction.
John from Boynton Beach, FL:
If Coach Bradley is still blasting music during practices, you should switch the feed to play Michael Bolton's "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" when the special teams unit is out there. I hear it's Scobee's favorite.
John: I keep lobbying for Hold on to the Nights by Richard Marx, but I'm getting no traction.
Brad from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Non-football question and this is not to correct anyone. But wouldn't it be "couldn't care less," not "could care less"? If you could care less, wouldn't that mean you care more about that something than something that you couldn't care less about? Go Jags. #DTWD
John: It's not possible for me to consider this question less pertinent.
Chris from Niagara Falls, Canada:
Who do you think the starting running back will be this year? And who's going to replace Dante Fowler Jr.? Sorry to fire two questions at you. Long time Jags fan from Day One!
John: I'm not man enough for very much, but I am man enough to handle two questions. On good days, I can answer three at once (look it up). As for your question, it would surprise me greatly if rookie T.J. Yeldon isn't the Jaguars' starting running back in Week 1; barring injury, that almost certainly will happen. Replacing Dante Fowler Jr. actually isn't that tricky; Chris Clemons, Andre Branch, Ryan Davis and Chris Smith all played the Leo position last season and likely will do so again.
Chad from St. Augustine, FL:
Hi John-O! I really like Blake Bortles. I was just hoping to see some maturity with the media instead of, "It was a blast," saying "Cool" a hundred times, calling a coach "Olly" and saying "awesome" a ton. Am I nitpicking?
John: Without question.
Nick from Miami, FL:
No. Everyone writing in is wrong. The helmets are demoralizing. The positive views you've cited are not representative of the vast majority of Jaguars fans. This is all propaganda.
John: If you think I care about the uniform issue enough to devote time and energy to "propaganda," you haven't been reading closely. That's understandable. I'm not sure I would read closely, either, but trust me: my passion doesn't run that deep.
Paul from Gainesville, FL:
I can't think of anything to complain about, so here's a recipe for Nutella donuts:
John: Call Nick. He can help.
Jordan from Tavares, FL:
Do you believe with the OTAs closed, that the Jaguars are hiding something? Maybe a winning record this year? A new scheme for the offense maybe?
John: I believe the Jaguars closed OTAs because NFL teams close OTAs. The Jaguars have done this in the past. It's the norm and the furthest thing imaginable from unusual.
Frank from St. Augustine, FL:
Impersonating a sportscaster on the local news. #Shadricksighting
John: Pretty much.
John from Jacksonville:
Alright, enough with the uniform questions. They are cool. We like them. How were the OTAs? I know it's early, but did you notice an overall difference in Blake from this time last year?
John: I can't realistically, honestly write that Blake Bortles is a vastly improved player from last season based on a few team drills in one spring practice without pads. I can write that coaches and players saw a difference in his velocity, footwork and accuracy and that's what you wanted to see and hear Tuesday.
Corey from Frankfort:
What are we looking at for Yeldon's touches … 60 percent-40 percent, 70 percent-30 percent?
John: I have no idea of the percentages, though I imagine Yeldon will get the majority of carries. I think Yeldon will get about 15-18 carries a game if the Jaguars are in the game and/or leading in the second half. I doubt the team's other backs will push to get very close to that very often.
Craig from Jacksonville:
John, what are your thoughts on Hard Knocks? Do you watch? Does a team benefit by participating?
John: I don't have that many. Not usually. Not really.
Stan from Moorpark, CA:
I'm sorry fellow Jags fans, but I agree with the worst unis column. They didn't need to be changed two years ago and they didn't need to be changed before that. Focus on the product not trying to steal the hearts of non-Jag fans. How do you feel about that John?
John: I don't have much of a feeling one way or the other – except when you talk about focusing on the product and not stealing the hearts of non-Jaguars fans. If I'm not mistaken, it sounds as if you're saying to focus on winning games and to not worry about changing uniforms to impress non-Jaguars fans. One has nothing to do with the other, so the argument – while one you're certainly entitled to make – doesn't make all that much sense.
Kyle from Ohio:
I went to Game 3 of the Hawks/Cavaliers game with my dad and I must say that is my favorite sports event ever, even topping going to Fenway Park to watch the Yankees-Red Sox. What is the best sporting event you have seen in person?
John: I saw the Jaguars beat the Broncos in the playoffs after the 1996 season. I also saw Morten Andersen miss in the regular-season finale that season and I saw the Jaguars upset the Bills in the first round of those playoffs. I saw 62-7 in January 2000. I saw Fred Taylor run all over Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh. I saw Dale Earnhardt win the Daytona 500, and saw the Colts come back from 21-3 down to the Patriots to win the AFC Championship. I saw the Colts rally from 35-14 down in the final four minutes against Tampa Bay. I saw David Duval win at TPC Sawgrass. I saw John Elway win both of his Super Bowls, and also saw Brett Favre win his. I saw Lon Kruger's Florida men's basketball team beat UConn when Donyell Marshall somehow missed free throws at the end and I saw the Gators advance to the Final Four by beating Boston College in Miami two days later. I saw Danny Wuerffel invent himself and Chris Doering along with him in Lexington in '93 and I saw 31-31 in the Swamp the next season. I saw Jeff McCrone of Orange Park beat Alan Hall of Middleburg when that game mattered a whole lot, and I once saw James Collins bring down the house at Ribault when he dunked off the opening tip; I saw Andre Cooper do the same thing in the state semifinal when he dunked on Stevie Edwards even though Fletcher couldn't quite beat Miami Senior that night. I saw Brian Dawkins, Patrick Sapp and Derrick Alexander win the state title for Raines in basketball when everyone expected them to do it in football. I saw Bernard Wilkes win his first state title. One of those would be the best; I'm not sure which.

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