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O-Zone: Throwing down

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Ryan from Dearborn, MI:
John, what if the Jaguars' defense last year wasn't actually good? Scoring defense (the part that actually matters) was pretty bad. What if we were only sixth best in yards allowed because our offense kept giving opposing teams short fields, so they just didn't have to gain as many yards to put up points?
John: What if the Jaguars' defense wasn't good last season? Well, it actually was good. What it wasn't was great. If it wasn't great? Well, if that were the case I suppose the people running the Jaguars might have made some major changes. They might have changed half of the secondary, and they might have signed three high-profile veteran unrestricted free agents. They also might have moved a young, talented linebacker to the middle in an effort to get more play-making on the field. The Jaguars obviously did do these things, signing cornerback A.J. Bouye, safety Barry Church and defensive end Calais Campbell as free agents and moving Myles Jack to middle linebacker. They didn't do this because the defense was bad last season (it wasn't); they did it because it wasn't elite and they felt changes were needed to improve scoring defense and takeaways. My point in this long-winded, roundabout answer isn't to avoid the question. Rather it's to make the point that Jaguars management didn't care much about the defensive ranking last season. It was clear to the decision-makers that the team wasn't good enough defensively last season regardless of ranking, and they took major steps to change that.
Scott from New York:
I woke up this morning and realized something. Then I went about my morning and forgot exactly what it was that I realized – except that it was profound and that I attributed it to you. Any idea what it could have been?
John: Yes.
Travis from High Springs, FL:
Hi John, I just read an article that said Matthew Stafford's upcoming free agency could get him $25 million dollars per year, possibly more. It also said if that happens, Aaron Rodgers would want that from the Packers as well. Does this just keep going and going? Or are there any moves the NFL could make to cap what a player could make per season? I'm not questioning the importance of the quarterback position. But 10 or 12 years from now, wouldn't it be extremely difficult to field a competent 53-man roster if one player is receiving $35-40 million of the salary cap all by themselves?
John: This is the purpose of the salary cap – to cap salaries while allowing the market to do the capping. As long as the cap keeps going up, salaries across the board will rise. As long as salaries across the board rise, salaries of elite quarterbacks will rise – and elite quarterbacks will continue to get a huge portion of their respective teams' salary caps.
DUVAL DOOM from Section 217:
Well, you see, JOHN & Travis, I DON'T have to realize greatness, or appreciate Potato Head Manning for jack squat. I hated him as a Colt, I hated him as a Bronco and I hate him as the stupid Nationwide guy. In the words of the great Jack Nicholson, "You are a vicious bastard Rotelli, and, uh, I'm glad you're dead" (Rotelli = Manning & dead = never playing football again! Insert Ryan O yell laugh here).
John: #DTWD
Ralph from Orange Park, FL:
Would you not include Gale Sayers among the Top 10 running backs of all time? He was amazing!
John: Yes, he was. When I listed my five top running backs recently, I said there were many backs outside of those five I considered great. I'm a Sayers guy. He was as gifted an open-field runner as any back who ever has played the game. He's a deserved Hall of Famer. My mom loved him. I read his book, "I Am Third," as a kid. I cried watching "Brian's Song." He just didn't play quite long enough for me to put him with Barry Sanders, Jim Brown, Walter Payton, O.J. Simpson and Eric Dickerson. A lot of people would probably rank Sayers higher than I do. Maybe they're right and I'm wrong. That's not impossible.
Pedal Bin from Fanborough, Hampshire:
Mighty 'O' Mrs. Bin may well agree with you with The Clash, "London Calling." For me, it's Pink Floyd, "The Wall." So, then what is the most underrated album of all time? For me it has to be Suicidal Tendencies' "Lights, Camera, Action." It's packed full of awesome tunes and should have made them HUGE! Maybe not Metallica huge, but that album should have moved them into the big leagues. Sadly, it did not. So your vote goes to …
John: I moved away from Suicidal Tendencies when I moved away from hardcore punk midway through college. So, my Suicidal knowledge sort of begins and ends with "Institutionalized" and "I Saw Your Mommy …" As for my most-underrated album … I guess don't know how to judge how albums were rated. I liked Stiff Little Fingers' "Now Then …" and was surprised to learn later a lot of their true believers fans hated it. I thought Slobberbone's "Crow Pot Pie" was fantastic, thought the same about the Drive-By Truckers' "Pizza Deliverance" and I always thought Liz Phair's early stuff was better than I imagined her albums sales probably reflected. A lot of Alejandro Escovedo's early stuff was brilliant, and he didn't spend much time on the charts. I also consider pretty much anything by Warren Zevon underrated because his popularity never came remotely close to matching his genius.
Matt from Section 133:
Your answer about Myles Jack's improvement in calling the defense got me thinking: does the Jaguars' defense know the Jaguars' offensive playbook? When both are practicing against each other (executing plays), does the defense know what play the offense is going to run at all times? Just curious, since it would seem difficult to judge the effectiveness of a defense based on a practice if the players know what's coming. (I.e., "this one's going to be a run to the outside" or "both outside receivers are going to run post routes." This from a former hockey player completely ignorant of football practice details.
John: The Jaguars' defense doesn't "know the offense" in the sense of defensive players and coaches spending time in meetings and nights learning the offensive plays; it takes more than enough time to learn the defense. At the same time, the offense and defense do practice against each other all offseason, during training camp and during the season, so there certainly are times when the defense can anticipate what the offense is doing more than an opponent might.
Myles from Jagsonville:
John, I think Jalen Myrick will do exceptionally well as a gunner on both punts and kickoffs, but also possesses the skill set to surprise at nickel corner if Aaron Colvin were to go down, or if Colvin needed to bounce outside in the event Jalen Ramsey or A.J. Bouye misses time. My question is about the fifth corner and how much better a prospective numbers casualty from another roster would have to be to pull the trigger on him over someone you've worked with all offseason and know exactly what you have? Do you have any thoughts as to the possibilities of finding more talented outside corner depth at cuts to 53 than we currently have on the roster now?
John: The Jaguars claimed cornerback Taurean Nixon last week off waivers from Denver. Will there be "more talented outside corner depth" available than that? We'll see. The Jaguars have shown far more inclination this offseason to pursue four- or five-year veterans for depth than they did the past four seasons. It wouldn't be surprising if they took that route at cornerback in training camp or late in the preseason.
Mike from the Westside:
John, do you anticipate the Jags signing any of their eligible players from the 2014 draft this offseason? If so, whom?
John: I don't expect this to happen this offseason. I do expect the team to keep a close eye on center Brandon Linder, wide receiver Allen Robinson, linebacker Telvin Smith, wide receiver Marqise Lee and cornerback Aaron Colvin and during the season approach players from that list they want to retain.
Jason from Da'Hass:
John, in the event that the Jaguars play just defensive linemen and defensive backs, who would then call the defensive alignment?
John: They almost certainly wouldn't do that. If they did, it would be rare enough – think end-game situation with every defensive back defending against a Hail Mary – that it would be called in from the sideline.
Other Mike from Atlanta, GA:
I would still like to see Training Camp kicked off by our o-linemen trying to keep Shadrick from the soft serve machine. #newtradition #unblockable
John: I think training camp under Doug Marrone will be physical, but I'm not sure it will be that physical.

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