O-Zone: Truly dedicated

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Micky from Orange Park, FL:
Do you know where/how Dante is working on his technique? Are there camps for positions other than quarterback?
John: Dante Fowler Jr. worked much of the offseason in St. Petersburg, Florida. Many players work out each offseason around the country at workout and training facilities. A.J. Bouye and Aaron Colvin, for example, trained together in Texas last offseason at the same facility where Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib trained. Most such facilities aren't as highly-publicized as, say, the facility where Blake Bortles and quarterbacks such as Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers train because things for quarterbacks are more publicized than things that involve other positions, but players at all positions train around the country every offseason.
Glen from Orange Park, FL:
Do teams talk with players unlikely to be drafted to arrange bringing them to camp before the draft or must they wait until after the draft when they officially become free agents?
John: Teams absolutely talk before the draft to players they believe will be free agents. Establishing those relationships is an important role of the scouts. Teams must wait until after the draft to sign undrafted players, making the immediate aftermath of the draft for those involved some of the most chaotic, stressful hours of the NFL year.
Jags Fan 818 from Jacksonville:
Hi, Zone. … Do you think the Jaguars will take a bye in Week 4 after our London game or do like the Colts did and wait a few more weeks? I hope they choose to wait.
John: I think the Jaguars will take the bye later in the season this year and play the week directly after London. That's just a gut feeling. We'll find out in a few weeks when the 2017 NFL schedule is released.
Wallace from Jacksonville:
Many point to Blake Bortles' poor throwing mechanics as the reason for the poor performance in 2016. But isn't the bigger issue his lack of progress on the mental side? A "franchise quarterback" consistently goes through his progressions, makes the right reads, and can audible to plays that "make the defense pay." What can Blake Bortles do in the offseason to improve in this regard?
John: Keep working, keep gaining experience and keep getting more comfortable/confident with what he's doing. That's a vague, unsatisfying answer, but there's no magic formula – and you're right that by far that is the more important area in which Bortles must improve.
Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Dante Fowler Jr. was coming off a serious injury last season. Late in the season he started to make an impact. He is a half-second and a half-step away from being a big-time player. Players do improve and get better with time. If I recall correctly, J.J. Watt had a so-so first year. Fans need to remember not to quit because of what it was, but to think positive for what it can become. Fowler will be a star player soon.
John: This indeed is something that has been overlooked, and I'll include myself in the group of overlookers. We've talked a lot in this forum about Fowler needing to improve his approach and his pass-rushing fundamentals, but there also is a physical element we haven't discussed as much. Fowler was returning last season from a torn anterior cruciate ligament – and although he had 16 months from the time of his injury until the time of his first game, the reality is still that a first season back after an ACL is a major adjustment. There's reason to believe Fowler will be more explosive and more athletic this season – i.e., more like the No. 3 overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft in 2017 – than he was last season. That doesn't negate the need for him to improve his approach and his pass rush moves, but it does provide another reason to believe it's far too early to define his career.
Bill from Jacksonville:
John, the Browns have made it clear they will not trade the No. 1 overall pick, and Myles Garrett is as big of a lock to go first overall since Andrew Luck. So why don't the Browns just announce the pick now and sign Garrett to his slotted contract? Could some of this be about the media attention that comes with having the first pick? Thanks! Go Jags!
John: I don't know that the Browns will get all that much more attention in the coming weeks by not signing Garrett as opposed to signing him. The more likely explanation is there's no reason to sign Garrett early because there's nothing to be gained or lost from waiting to draft him then signing him a few days or weeks after the draft. Draft picks rarely if ever hold out, so from the Browns' point of view there's no difference between signing Garrett tomorrow morning as opposed to May 15. It's pretty much a non-issue.
Eric from Ponte Vedra, FL:
O man, you are a peasant!!
John: #DTWD
Ric from Jacksonville:
I read a lot on here about the defensive line and the need for a good pass rush, who we have signed in free agents, who is available in the draft and how we should be improved by next season. But I don't hear much about how the secondary affects the pass rush. Who we have in the backside of the defense is going to add a half-to-full second that the quarterback must hold the ball waiting to find an open receiver. A second seems like it would be an eternity standing back there with nowhere to throw. I would imagine that can add 12 to 14 sacks a season to the team. Is this a valid thought or am I off base here?
John: It's a valid thought. Still, I tend to emphasize pass rush because I'm a believer that disruption at the line of scrimmage is the key to defense in the NFL. Most quarterbacks in the NFL these days throw so accurately that they can find a receiver if a defense can't generate pressure – no matter how good the coverage. A quarterback under pressure tends to either throw incomplete, lose yardage when sacked or possibly lose possession when forced to fumble. Covering well enough to stifle an offense without the help of pressure is a more difficult path. Still, there's little question that a quality secondary can help a defense. If a secondary indeed can force a quarterback to hold the ball a second longer, that can have a frustrating effect on the quarterback – so long as the pass rush gets home before that second turns into two and allows the quarterback to throw.
Mike from Atlanta, GA:
I'm 100 percent with you on Barry Sanders. I watched him play a lot in my youth. He is one of those all-time type athletes. He was very dominant. I've heard people who aren't as big on Sanders as we are ask who we would want to run the ball on 4th-and-1 at the goal line. Fine, I'll take Jerome Bettis on the goal line, but I've never seen a running back like Sanders who could dominate no matter who was playing quarterback or offensive line, and Sanders played without a fullback.
John: Different players have different strengths. But between Sanders and Bettis, only one belongs in the conversation of greatest running backs of all-time and it's not Bettis.
Dalvin from Tallahassee, FL:
Leonard Fournette had his Pro Day on April 5. He didn't bench press 225 pounds, didn't broad jump, didn't run the three-cone or 20-yard shuttle, nor did he attempt to improve on the only two things he did at the combine. He did weigh in 12 pounds lighter than the combine, which arguably says more about how unprepared he was for the combine than anything else. Why would we want to risk a Top 5 pick on a young man with so little desire to compete? How do these measurables stack up against other running backs in this draft and past drafts? Is it a red flag to you that all he seemingly did on his Pro Day was step on a scale?
John: No.
James from Duval:
John. It is a sad day in the short history of the Jaguars. I can't understand how this happened. Are we being punished? I'm referring to Whitney Cowart not make the 2017-2018 Roar roster. Who is in charge??? I demand answers!!!
John: I have no idea what you're talking about. Then again, I didn't have any idea what you were talking about when she wasn't on the 2016-2017 roster, either.
Mason from Palm Beach, FL:
Where do you have these Jaguars Live interviews at? I'm curious how the NFL allows players to speak to the smartest person in the organization (you) when they aren't even allowed to report until April 17.
John: They're actually done in a hidden room behind a trap bookcase at my house. I invested thousands into not only the trap bookcase, but a studio with flat screens, an expensive studio desk and a bunch of cool video cameras. It was a bit pricey, but my job is very important to me.

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