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O-Zone: The passage of time

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Brian from Gainesville, FL:
Big O, what's the real deal on Sen'Derrick Marks' return to the lineup? No CoachSpeak. No propaganda. What's the dealio on the realio? I know it was always wild-eyed optimism by Marks that he would be back for Game 1. But he started practicing a while ago. And we need him this week more than ever.
John: Injuries are a constant source of frustration for fans, and this is an example. We live in a time in which people want instant answers in 140 characters, which in turn means people get frustrated with the fact that the human body often does not let you know answers in advance. Marks is working his way back from a serious injury. He has progressed. He worked in individual drills last week and appears to be working into some padded work this week. He is still a ways away, but he is closer than he was a week ago. He worked limited Wednesday and Thursday whereas last week he worked limited just Wednesday. I expect he will be closer next week and I still think he'll play sometime before Week 7 or so. That's not all that unusual. It's not the Jaguars hiding something. It's not someone doing something wrong. It's not CoachSpeak or propaganda, either. It's the reality of injuries.
Keith from Summerville, SC:
Playoffs?! Don't talk about playoffs! Are you kidding me? Playoffs?! I'm just hoping we can win a game, another game! ..... Jim Mora.
John: I know who said it. I was there.
Dane from Pooler, GA:
I just want to give Jared Odrick some "mad props," as the kids are saying these days. Two games in, and we can already see the significant impact he is having on this defense. The guy looks like he is going to be a playmaker at a somewhat unglamorous position on our defense.
John: I don't claim to know Odrick too, too well – though it's my understanding he's anxious for us to bond. I do get the sense that he's the sort of guy who just loves getting "mad props." Who isn't?
Isiah from the Bronx, NY:
Yeah, a Jaguar Fan actually lives in New York ... Anyhoo … Marqise Lee … How long do you think it will take him to get acclimated into the system and do you think he can emerge as the No. 2 option beside A-Rob even after Julius comes back?
John: If Lee stays healthy, I think he can get acclimated in a matter of a very few weeks. Can he emerge as the No. 2 option? Absolutely? Can he emerge as a No. 1 or 1A option? Absolutely.
Roger from DUUUUVALLL!!:
How the HECK does ESPN rank us 31st after last week's performance?! Haters gonna hate, fans gonna fan, I guess. #DTWD
John: And ESPN gonna ESPN …
Matt from Stroudsburg, PA:
James Sample was a strong safety in college and was drafted to play free safety for the Jaguars. The announcers during the game claimed he was a free safety and was all of a sudden thrust into playing strong safety for the first time ever on a few day's notice. Was this a simple switch-up mistake or do announcers really not delve into a player's history that much before making statements like that? It seems to me they shouldn't make those kinds of errors that misinform the casual fan.
John: I can't speak for what the announcers say. I'm busy enough keeping Shadrick and Sexton in line. Sample played strong safety in college, and had spent most of rookie training camp and preseason with the Jaguars working at free safety. He then switched to strong last week in the wake of Johnathan Cyprien's injury. If that's what the announcers were saying, they were right.
Wallace from Jacksonville:
So, is there much talk among the coaches as to how they will handle the sideline wireless communication problems they're going to experience at Gillette Stadium on Sunday? Maybe Blake and Greg Olson can carry their own personal walkie talkies!
John: Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley was asked about this this week and said basically that the coaches have hand signals ready no matter where they play. He was asked if they prepare anything special in the event of headset communication problems this week. He said they did not.
Jordan from San Antonio, TX:
If the Jags play the Patriots tough this week (win or lose) I can see a mentality forming where teams think they can beat the Jags but don't want to have to play them. Especially if said team's playoffs hopes are in the balance. What do you think?
John: I think we're in Week 3 and we're weeks away from forming any real idea of what teams will think about the Jaguars in November and December.
Scott from Ponte Vedra, FL and Section 137:
Do you think besides accuracy what makes Tom Brady so good is he is willing to throw to receivers who are tightly covered so they could make the 50-50 plays Bradley was talking about? If so – and if Bortles can do that consistently – then he should dramatically improve in the passing game with more talented receiver that we have on the field versus the Patriots who win games with a gifted quarterback who often works with less-gifted receivers. Would you agree with that premise?
John: Not completely. What makes Brady good is accuracy, knowledge of the offense, ability to read the defense, etc. Yes, he is willing at times to throw the 50-50 ball, but that is not an overriding reason for his success. If that's all it took then every quarterback who plays with a talented receiver could be successful by simply throwing the ball in a direction and hoping. There's more to it than that.
Lee D from Section 242:
O-Man, the difference Sunday – like Week 1 and so many games last year – was that Bortles did not throw a Pick Six. True?
John: It sure didn't hurt.
Zach from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
In the team statistic of "points against" why do they count interception and fumble returns; why do they count points scored by mistakes caused by the offense? Seems to me that should be a separate statistical category. I ask because the Jags have "allowed" 20 points in each game but really the defense and special teams have given up 13 and 20, which is pretty impressive.
John: They do it that way because points against isn't strictly a defensive statistic. It's a column in the NFL standings that goes next to "points for." The reverse also happens: an interception for a touchdown or a punt return for a touchdown goes in points for. It does cause misrepresentation when the media simply uses "points allowed" to rate defenses, but it's up to the people having the discussion to provide the details.
Dave from Jacksonville:
I am anxious to see how much the Jags' ability to put long throws over the top on tape will free up our running game. It looked like Miami often used eight-to-nine players in the "box" and dared Blake to make them pay. Well, he did just that and has game tape to prove it. Do you think this will offer a longer term payoff with the running game and tight end routes now that other teams will see the film, and try to protect the back side with extra d-backs? O-the possibilities that come from success..#DTWD...
John: It typically takes more than one game doing something well to have the effect for which you're hoping, but yes – in time, if the Jaguars continue to hit plays over the top, that will force teams to defend it. In turn that will open up the running game.
Jeremy from Jacksonville:
So, if the season ended today the Jaguars would host a wild-card game against the Jets? I know it's a long year and the Jaguars haven't even seen the full team on the field yet, but it's awesome to think about the progress we've seen so far.
John: If the season ended today, there would be an awful lot of very angry season-ticket holders around the NFL, I tell ya!
Patrick from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
I was just reading the article, "Challenge to Remember," on jaguars.com. Hidden in there was a point that really caught my attention and made me stop and re-evaluate where this team is. It mentioned in the middle of an obscure filler sentence in the middle of the article that this was Bortles 16th game as a pro. That means this team is truly only getting their first full season under their belts. That sentence is actually more important by itself to me as the entire rest of the article. I'll bet Game 17 is going to be one to remember! Go Jags!!!
John: You like how I slipped that in there, didn't you?
Earny from Springville:
As of now, I see Allen Robinson as the replacement for what we had in Jimmy Smith, at least as our No. 1 receiver: size, speed, grit …
John: Indeed, Allen Robinson has come a long way from the days long ago when people once wrote the O-Zone requesting he be released. As I get older, I do marvel how time flies. It's weird, because September 18, 2015, just doesn't seem like that long ago.

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