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O-Zone: The honest truth

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Clayton from Jacksonville:
I love the conviction of the staff in Blake Bortles. I don't care about value or trade. If there is a quarterback you believe is your guy and a franchise quarterback, you don't mess around...TAKE HIM! What is the goal of rookie minicamp? Do players get into the playbook at all OR is it more of a familiarizing-with-the-staff, organization, welcome-to-the-NFL, this-is-how-we-operate kind of thing?
John: First, in reference to your thoughts on Bortles: Yes. Absolutely. If you believe he's your guy – if you have that level of conviction – then you take him and you don't worry about trading. As for the objective of the rookie camp, it's a little playbook and a little familiarizing. This week and the rookie minicamp does mark the first introduction to the playbook for rookies. They will then go through a similar install period in training camp. More than anything, though, the weekend for rookies is similar to freshman orientation: here is the playbook, here's your locker, here are the bathrooms, etc.
Paulo from New York City:
Mike Dempsey of Jaguars Today and 1010XL brought up an interesting thought. He thinks the Jaguars should consider giving Jimmy Graham an offer sheet and forgo their next two first-rounders. If we think we are going to be that good in 2015, it might be worth giving Bortles the best tight end in the league. What are your thoughts on it?
John: No.
Bob from Walterboro, SC:
It's time to do what you've been saying for a while now: forget about Derrick Harvey, Matt Jones, R.J. Soward, etc. Dave and Co. know what they are doing and they do it well. The present is exciting to watch and the future arrow is pointing up; can't ask for more than that.
John: You can't build for the future while worrying about past mistakes. It's not that you want to keep repeating errors, but a general manager can't lay out a plan while worrying about fans worrying about how past draft selections worked out. You do your own research, stick to your own plan and select your own players. What else can you do?
Jonathan from Mechanicsburg, VA:
I, can, never, figure, out, where, commas, go, so, I, took, the, safe, approach,. #,
John: P,e,r,f,e,c,t.
Strnbiker from Dothan, AL:
Before I was blind and now I can see. This regime has allowed me to see how a real three-year rebuild is supposed to look. Not sure how this year is going to turn out, but the end of the tunnel has a mega-bright light shining our way come next draft. From the hiring of Dave, Gus and the coaching staff to the amazing changes in media production and those making it happen, please pass along the accolades and give yourself a pat on the back for being a solid cog in the wheel.
John: (Patting).
Ian from Salt Lake City, UT:
I'm pretty happy with the Bortles pick. He has tons of upside. But I think his preseason performance will speak volumes. If he doesn't do too well, it validates our grooming plans...BUT, if he tears it up, fans are gonna be ecstatic and tempt the coaches. What are your thoughts about the preseason effect for Bortles?
John: The underlying truth to the whole let-Bortles-sit-as-a-rookie is that there is no rule that says the Jaguars actually have to sit Bortles as a rookie. The idea is to give him time to develop at his own pace, and to compete with Chad Henne for the starting position without pressure of expectations. That's not dissimilar to how the Seattle Seahawks handled Russell Wilson as a rookie when he beat out Matt Flynn. It's harder to remove pressure from a No. 3 overall selection than a third-round selection, which is why the Jaguars have been very, very up front about not expecting Bortles to play immediately. Now, he can compete without expectations. If he happens to be a whole lot better and more effective than anyone else on the roster, then perhaps he will play. Otherwise, the target will be 2015. As for fan ecstasy tempting coaches, no … that won't and shouldn't be a factor.
Artis from Norfolk, VA:
Since everyone is tip-toeing around the question. I'll ask: If Gus Bradley is all about competition, how is Henne penciled in as starter and why would the No. 3 pick in the draft be given a redshirt year? Thanks.
John: There really hasn't been much tiptoeing – oh, and "See Previous Answer."
Steve from Jacksonville :
So how much better are we this Tuesday compared to last Tuesday?
John: Thirty-seven percent. No, thirty-nine.
Garrett from Baton Rouge, LA:
If Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson play well, what are the chances we try to extend Cecil Shorts' contract?
John: That probably depends more on Cecil Shorts III than Lee and Robinson.
Jim from Jacksonville and Section 114:
With center being a need this year due to Meester's retirement to design swell menswear, is it safe to say Virginia draft choice Luke Bowanko is the presumptive choice for the position right now? Of course he will need to earn it, but who else will be competing with him?
John: I'd say the presumptive choice is Mike Brewster. Bowanko will compete with him for the position and will have every chance to earn it, but to listen to Dave Caldwell and Gus Bradley, Brewster has been impressive this offseason and has a chance to start.
James from Socorro, NM:
It irks me a bit when people say you have to start Bortles this year because he was drafted so high. You don't draft for this year, you draft for the next five.
John: At least.
William from Savannah, GA:
O-Man: Can I borrow JP for the day? I would like him to drive my mother-in-law to the doctors on Thursday. I am certain he would enjoy hearing about her phlebitis, her lack of grandchildren, her inability to find tomatoes with that home-grown flavor, etc.
John: On it.
Duran from Rapid City, SD:
Is it true that any team could pluck a player that they need or want from another team's practice squad? If so, is there anything the owning team can do in order to block the move?
John: The "owning" team can sign the player, something that often happens when a team learns another team is interested in signing one of its practice-squad players. The main thing that prevents a lot of teams from signing teams off other teams' practice squads is that the signed player must remain on the signing team's active roster for three games. That's a big enough commitment that teams usually don't sign a practice squad guy for the sake of signing him.
Jim from Jacksonville:
Is it just me or have the Jags been feeling more love lately? We won four games last year, but I've noticed for the first time since Tom Coughlin and maybe since ever, the national media seems to be accepting us into their club. I've heard less insults and more speculation of future improvement in the last year from them. Is Gus Bradley's positive vibe really that strong?
John: First off, there was quite a bit of national "respect" when Coughlin was the head coach. The team earned it in that era, with four consecutive playoff appearances, two AFC Central titles and two AFC Championship Game appearances. This regime is now in the process of earning such respect again. Bradley is certainly part of it, and a solid plan from Shad and Tony Khan and General Manager David Caldwell helps, too. Winning is next, but what has happened is a start.
Matt from Gainesville, FL:
Exciting times for our team. What are the dates of the rookie training camp? And are they open to the public?
John: The rookie camp will be held Friday and Saturday of this week. They will be held from 1:10-3:15 p.m. and are indeed free and open to the public.
Scott from Aurora, IL:
I'm used to draftniks having really low opinions on the Jags' draft classes. I am finding it difficult to find an opinion that doesn't rank the Jag's 2014 draft among the best. It's a small victory, but it's nice.
John: It doesn't matter, but to quote Dudley Moore … THIS.
Emil from Tallahassee, FL:
John-O, it just occurred to me that leading up to next year's draft I probably won't have to listen to anyone say, "The Jaguars need to add receivers … that team needs playmakers." One fer addressing a LONG-standing problem.
John: It does appear the Jaguars went a long way toward improving receiver. It's always risky to assume a drafted player "solves a problem," because rookies – even second-rounders – must go through a lot of development before being deemed solutions. But on paper, that unit has the potential to develop.
James from Jacksonville:
First, GREAT Draft and I'm renewing my tickets finally after two years of staying away. Second, I know you think the Meester jacket was funny. It wasn't. I got dozens of texts from friends mocking this city over it. We already have a redneck reputation. Meester was stupid for wearing that idiot jacket.
John: I don't think the Meester jacket was funny. I do know it was awesome.

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