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O-Zone: The 'Tink

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Brian from Duval County:
Is it just me or is the way Blake Bortles plays very similar to that of Big Ben? Also, do you believe Bortles has a chance of being on that type of level?
John: It's not just you; there indeed are similarities between Bortles' style of play and that of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Their primary similarity beyond size is an ability to not only extend plays, but to make positive plays out of troublesome situations when extending them. Bortles isn't yet on Roethlisberger's level in this area because few quarterbacks ever have done this as well as Roethlisberger – it's a primary reason the latter has been elite for more than a decade – but Bortles absolutely has a knack. They're not identical because Roethlisberger more often than not extends plays with his physicality and strength whereas Bortles more often than not use his speed and athleticism. As for Bortles' chances of being on Roethlisberger's level … sure, he has a chance. He has a long way to go because Roethlisberger has done it at a high level for a long time, but Bortles absolutely could improve enough to play at that level.
Jarius from Lake City, FL:
Hey John: have you asked yourself "My God, what have I done?"
John: Yes, after I figured out how to work this.
John from JAX to ATL:
Let's put a mic on Doug Marrone more often. He's intense. I think a lot of us may have forgotten he was a head coach before joining us. I heard this offseason a few teams showed interest in him taking over a head-coaching or offensive-coordinator position. Once the season starts is the coaching staff allowed to switch teams? Could he leave now if he got an offer he couldn't refuse?
John: There has been a lot or reaction to Doug Marrone's "Jags Wired" segment on Monday; if you haven't seen it, it's worth clicking here. It was cool to see a lighter side of Marrone and cool to see him working with players. The Jaguars' linemen respect Marrone a great deal and there's a feeling that group will continue to improve under him this season. As far as coaches switching teams … they may do so at pretty much any time if they are offered a head coaching job, but they typically may not move to an assistant's job within the NFL unless their current team grants them permission to do so. Marrone or any other assistant theoretically could get a job this time of year, but movement is rare this time of year because most jobs have been filled and most staffs are in place.
Kevin from Valdosta, GA:
I've read the Jags will implement more no-huddle this year. Is that considered the same as hurry-up and two-minute drill? If not, can you explain the differences?
John: The no-huddle and the hurry up are essentially the same thing; the only difference is that sometimes teams will run an offense without huddling at a relatively normal pace. In those cases, the idea is to maintain control of the pace of play and make it more difficult for teams to substitute. The Jaguars indeed may use the hurry-up more; they had success using it last season late in halves and would like to see if they can have success using it throughout the course of games.
DreamWeaver from Sections 214:
Running an extension cable over to his neighbor's house so he can charge his battery for free. #shadbotsightings
John: And away we go …
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville:
While I get that money is important, are there any players left that would consider taking less money to keep a winning nucleus together? I mean, if we get a Super Bowl-winning team in a couple of years when these contracts come due, could someone like Telvin Smith take $3 million instead of $4 million just to keep a successful team together? Maybe I am just being naïve, but I can't believe every player is just all about the dollars.
John: Sure, any player could take less to keep a winning nucleus together. I don't expect players to do it, because I personally wouldn't do it and most fans wouldn't, either. Winning is great. Winning is wonderful. But if you can achieve financial security for yourself and your family … well, that's even more great and wonderful than winning.
Joel from Jacksonville:
First of all, I am very happy for Allen Hurns and his new contract. The following is not a criticism of NFL salaries. Just an observation. The two teacher's aids that facilitated getting my son through high school make a combined $30,000 a year. And they helped others as well. Sometimes that bothers me. Go Jags.
John: Your point is an oft-made one, and while it's true, it's hardly pertinent to the conversation. It's not fair that movie stars and famous musicians make more than teachers and it's not fair that NFL players make more than first responders. A lot of things aren't fair. Salaries are among those things. So is life.
Brian from Greenwood, IN:
Doesn't somebody need to tell Doug Marrone that he is in Florida? What is with the sweatshirt in 90-degree weather?
John: Marrone is not alone in this approach. Defensive backs DeWayne Walker also is a sweatshirt guy no matter the temperature. I keep telling them to be like me at practice. "Go shirtless unless there's a reason to not go shirtless," I tell them. "Express yourself." They don't listen and don't seem to like me all that much, either.
Gary from Broken Arrow, OK:
Do you think Gus will ever implement a position where a defensive end rushes the passer, suddenly stops and goes back? He could call it the yo-yo.
John: Considering how the Jaguars rushed the passer at times last season I hesitated to include this question. And then I included it.
Logan from Wichita, KS:
So, the Allen Hurns contract brings me to a major concern ... the 2018 free agency list. We have a ton of guys needing contracts and that is not good. In 2018, Blake Bortles, Allen Robinson, Telvin Smith, Sen'Derrick Marks, Aaron Colvin, Brandon Linder and more go into the pool. With our massive buys this year and the salary cap how can we keep the guys we need right as they are hitting their stride? Seriously, I see this year as an 8-8 year and 2018 as a playoff push. If we lose half of those players, we are back at Ground Zero again. Come on! How can we compete in 2019 if we lose Smith, Linder and Colvin? This is what sucks about building through the draft. You grow players for three-to-four years and right as they get good they leave to play somewhere else and we are left holding the bag. This keeps me up at night.
John: This is a topic that's coming up more and more among readers, and I do sense a touch of panic beginning to set in. People, you must breathe!! First, the key to this whole thing was and will continue to be Blake Bortles' development. If he indeed becomes what many people believe he's becoming – an elite quarterback – then a lot of other things take care of themselves; if he's not elite, then a lot of the other teeth-gnashing is pointless. Second, if a team has seven or eight core players who are truly core players and re-sign those players, then that is enough to compete in the NFL. If the Jaguars drafted 10 or 12 great players they will not be able to re-sign all of those great players. But guess what? It means they will have drafted 10 or 12 great players and they're re-signing a lot of those great players. That's not a good problem. That's a great, great problem.
Mike from Navarre, OH:
What is the status of Hurns' recovery from sports hernia surgery? Is he back to 100 percent at this point?
John: Hurns had sports hernia in January after playing through the injury most of last season. He is pretty close to 100 percent recovered and very close to participating 100 percent in organized team activities.
Travis from Boynton Beach, FL:
How cool would it be to see Myles Jack line up a tailback? He was All-Conference at UCLA on both offense and defense. Probably not going to happen, would still be pretty cool to see.
John: Let's let Myles Jack get good at one position against the best football players on the planet before asking him to be good at two.
HJT from Jacksonville:
I keep hearing the word long snapper. Can you please explain to me what a long snapper is? I'm still trying to learn the game.
John: I was curious, too, so I went to ask the Jaguars' snapper, Carson Tinker, about this. When I came face to face with Tinker, I started laughing and forgot what I was going to ask.

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