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O-Zone: Thirst and disillusion

JACKSONVILLE – Day Two of Jaguars 2014 minicamp is Wednesday, and while we prepare, here's a very weird, fragmented O-Zone. The Dead Zone is approaching, so perhaps this is a preview.


Let's get to it … Bo from Dresden, NC:
What do you think about our depth at linebacker? Do you think we will pick up a veteran later?
John: It's probably most accurate to call the Jaguars' linebacker depth "unproven." The Jaguars like what second-year veteran LaRoy Reynolds is bringing to the Otto linebacker spot, and that could be a strong position in training camp with he and free-agent signee Dekoda Watson. Third-year veteran Allen Bradford brings experience behind Paul Posluszny at middle linebacker. The Jaguars like rookie Telvin Smith's potential behind incumbent Geno Hayes. Linebacker may not be the Jaguars' deepest, strongest position on paper, but Bradford – who the Jaguars claimed off waivers from the Giants this offseason – is the sort of acquisition the Jaguars would make if they brought in a veteran at the spot. For that reason, I don't know that this is a spot where the team will look to acquire a veteran in the preseason.
Ryan from Charlotte, NC:
I've noticed Blake Bortles has a habit of sticking his tongue out whenever he makes a throw. Out of curiosity, is that something a quarterback coach might want to get him to stop? I'm sure Gus would prefer that his franchise quarterback not accidentally bite his tongue off due to an unexpected hit. On an unrelated note, I think we're running out of story lines for the offseason.
John: You know what makes me smile? When people write me complaining that I don't answer "all of the good football questions."
MDK from Jacksonville:
I don't want people to say my baby is ugly.
John: Yeah, about that …
The Grabster from Jacksonville:
Hey! Let me ask: who's you're favorite Jaguar player?
John: Hey! I was going to say, "Chad Bumphis," just so people could read a million things into that and wonder whether that means Bumphis will make the team and what it means for Allen Hurns, Ace Sanders and Mike Brown. But I'd rather explain that I don't really have "favorite" players, because when you cover a team, it's difficult to see the team that way. I have players I really enjoy covering: Cecil Shorts III, Tyson Alualu, Roy Miller, Sen'Derrick Marks, Sanders, Luke Joeckel, Marcedes Lewis, Paul Posluszny … the Jaguars have no shortage of players who are gracious and enjoyable when covering the team. I root for players like that to do well, and most reporters and media members I know do the same. But to say I have a "favorite" to watch … it just doesn't work that way.
Robert from Orange Park, FL:
Out of the cars in the players' lot, which one is your favorite and who drives it?
John: Whoa there! I drive a 2007 Ford Escape with a sunroof, 80,000 miles and the upholstery on the passenger door peeling in a way I have yet to solve. I envy no man's automobile.
Caleb from Jacksonville:
Khan should try and get movie contracts to show premieres at the stadium. I know it's probably unreasonable but could you imagine Godzilla or Guardians of the Galaxy on the biggest video boards in the world? I can dream I guess...
John: You're an idea guy, Caleb. A visionary. Anyone can see that.
Mike from Jaxson de Ville:
"There are many fans who will judge this area by victories and losses, and I don't think you can do that this season." Of course you can John. Last time I checked, that was the entire point of the NFL season.
John: Of course it is, Mike. Of course, by that logic, we should just rethink, and for that matter, all of sports media. Instead of trying to discuss issues and analyze teams and explain subtleties and gray areas and reasons for things we can just answer every question with, "The (insert team name) were (insert record) in (insert year)." And that will be the end-all explanation. Obviously, the only way to have a successful season on one level is to have a winning record. Taken to an extreme, the only way to have a successful season is to win the Super Bowl. I think most people would agree that that extreme is untrue, that teams can be successful without winning the World Championship in their sport. It then stands to reason that there are different ways to judge a team and a season than by victories and losses. If you're looking at things purely black-and-white, cut-and-dry, win-or-lose, then yeah – that's the entire point. For now, during the Jaguars' building process, you need to take into account some subtleties, too.
Tommy from Jacksonville:
You have been heard. (I miss that, by the way) Clink *link*.
John: So good.
Hunter from Jacksonville:
I haven't been to a game in the stadium in two seasons. I prefer my couch, my air conditioner, my food and the pause button. Against all of these things I'm going to a game or two this season and unfortunately, chances are it won't be in one of those cabana$ or pool$. I'll just sit in a regular seat and probably have a great game-day experience. I'd say the marketing department is doing just fine bringing excitement to the team and this upcoming season. I can assure you I wouldn't even consider giving up control of the remote and the thermostat if it was the "same old Jags." One fer the new buzz?
John: No doubt.
Levi from Bloomington, IN:
Let's say Blackmon is reinstated and plays again for the Jags later this year or next year. After being away from football, do you think he'd even be the same football player? Would it take a while for him to regain form or do you think he would never be the same again? Thanks!
John: I don't know Blackmon's future, but from watching him for two seasons, I don't think he will have a problem regaining form. Much would depend on conditioning and preparation, of course, but he strikes you as a player who is talented enough to regain form. The game comes very natural to him.
Sage from Orlando, FL:
Live a lifestyle that reflects your smile.
John: Like this?
Jack from Los Angeles, CA:
Do you expect Storm Johnson to make the team? What undrafted free agents do you expect to make the team?
John: Based on OTAs, which pales in comparison to practices with pads, I'd expect Storm Johnson to make the team – or, if not, be a practice-squad player. I'd project tight end Marcel Jensen and perhaps wide receivers Allen Hurns/Damian Copeland and safety Craig Loston to have a chance as undrafted free agents.
Aaron from Milroy:
Who do you see being the odd man out at running back this year? I thought Todman played exceptional last year when he had the opportunities, but you would have to think that Gerhart, Storm, and Denard Robinson are all locks. Can they keep four running backs?
John: I don't know that Storm Johnson is a lock. He's a seventh-round selection, which isn't significantly different than an undrafted free agent. The eye test so far suggests he has a good chance to make the team, but "lock" is a bit much. Robinson also isn't a lock, though if he plays as well with pads on as he has in OTAs without pads, then that assessment changes. If Robinson and Johnson make it, that indeed makes Todman a question. They can keep four, but keeping four means taking away at another position, which could make Todman's position tenuous.
Rod from Jacksonville:
I married a beautiful Roar cheerleader and I have been a diehard Jags fan ever since. I even made a Jaguar room in my house. Our love for the Jaguars has been a constant in our lives. With the most recent changes in the front office and in the locker room it has made me super excited to go to the games especially since my wife gave me season tickets for Father's Day. I truly believe the Jags will a team to be reckoned with. See you at game day.
John: Impressive. You used 90 words to make your point, which every man reading knows was, "I married a beautiful Roar Cheerleader."
Joe from Jacksonville:
In a conversation at the water cooler a friend was worrying about the defensive line starters. Mainly because of the new additions. I told him that the new guys were not just upgrades but also from what I read, a way to have fresh men on the field. This helps the rush I off base here, John?
John: No.
R Kelly from Yonkers:
Yo Ozone, you ever sat in a pool for six hours drinkin' at the swim up bar?
John: No, but I do on occasion sit in the bathtub in my swim trunks for six hours hollering at the wife now and again, "How 'bout another round in here, sweets??!!" This usually ends with me very wrinkled, very thirsty and feeling – as per usual – alone and disillusioned.

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