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O-Zone: Turkey time

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Considering all of the coaching changes and additions of better talent to the roster, what are your realistic and optimistic expectations for our record in 2015, 2016, and competition in the AFC South?
John: Realistically, I expect the Jaguars to have a chance to push for .500 this season; I say it in those terms because I thought .500 was a very lofty goal last season and I think if things go well in terms of injuries, player growth, etc., it's much more realistic this season. Record aside, I think realistically you will see the Jaguars in control of the momentum of games for longer stretches and competitive against better teams more often this season. When the Jaguars were playing well against good teams last season – say, Miami – they controlled games for long stretches at times although they did not win many games. I think they'll have more games like that this season and when you have more games like that, victories should begin to happen. Realistically, I think the Jaguars should take another step in 2016 and be competitive in the division at that point. Optimistically? Well, optimistically, move it all up a year and push past .500 this season and make a playoff push. But that's a big jump from 3-13.
Bob from West Milton:
John, why is everyone complaining about the uniform? I love the uniform.
John: K.
Patrick from Jacksonville:
What's the count on the streak? What's the cutoff point? Not that I'm looking forward to it. Is the new goal for this column the Jags winning the Super Bowl?
John: The streak as of Tuesday is 1,388. I haven't thought about the cutoff point, and I don't know that there's a goal except to talk Jaguars and hopefully entertain a bit each day. Maybe the Super Bowl would be a good cutoff point; maybe I'll just wear out some day. We'll see.
Justin from Hawaii:
O-man, I've been a Jags fan since the beginning, and I really wish all these other Jags fans would stop hating on the team and their uniforms so much. I say quit complaining and show more support. Aloha from the 808. Btw, #DTWD …
John: #AlohaTilWeDie?
Jason from Brisbane, Australia :
Why isn't the alternative Jaguars jersey the main jersey? Because aren't we the teal and black – not the black with a little teal? I think it is a far better jersey, too.
John: The Jaguars' two main jerseys are white and black. It used to be white and teal, but that changed in September 2012.
Charles from Midlothian, VA:
The San Francisco 49ers before Walsh/Montana, the Patriots before Belichick/Brady, the Bills before Kelly/Levy were not great teams … surprising what a having a HOF coach and a HOF QB can do for a team in what seems like overnight. At the time, before their breakout seasons, did these teams and fans know what destiny had waiting for them? Do we?
John: You've listed the teams that had historic stretches of consistent success. There are others over the last 35 years that come to mind. It's a handful, and the teams are historic and rare. Historic stretches such as the one you mention are historic because they stand out from the pack. It's far more common for teams to have long stretches of struggling, building, rebuilding, losing, frustration, then tearing it apart before doing it all again. The Jaguars are currently in a long, difficult period. At times it has felt very dark and frustrating. There's no way to know what destiny holds, but the only way to create all-time teams is to build the right way and hope players develop and succeed. The Jaguars have approached things the right way. What does destiny hold? We'll see.
David from Durban, South Africa:
If, as expected, T.J. Yeldon is to be the starting running back, do you foresee Denard Robinson becoming a satellite player much like Reggie Bush was with the Saints? (I am not comparing him to Reggie; I am just speaking conceptually).
John: I think how the Jaguars use Denard Robinson next season is going to be one of the fascinating things to watch about this team. Can he be a weapon at kick returns? Can his speed add an element to the offense? On paper, it would seem he could be productive not only as a backup/specialty running back, but as a receiver/returner. I've said for more than a year now I think Robinson can be a significant offensive player without getting 15-to-20 touches a game. He might get a chance to show that's true this season.
Brian from Greenwood, IN:
Indy 500. A lot of people this year. A lot. The first ten laps are cool. So are the last ten. You've been, haven't you Johnny-O?
John: I have not. I went to a practice once, but never went to the actual race.
Tony from Jacksonville:
I like our uniforms and our helmets. This wasn't a big deal until those rankings came out. If we win, suddenly our uniforms will be the sharpest in the league. #dtwd
John: You're right that winning will change perception, and let me tell you something else: It's still not that big a deal.
Keith from Palatka, FL:
While there are several position groups that will offer serious battles this offseason, one area that intrigues me is backup linebacker. Undrafted rookie free agents Thurstan Armbrister, Matt Robinson, and Todd Thomas will give incumbents Jeremiah George, LaRoy Reynolds, Khairi Fortt, and John Lotulelei some serious competition. Any guesses as to who makes the team at backup linebacker?
John: I'll duck this question by saying I'd be surprised if there aren't more of the latter "veteran" group than the former on the final roster; I'd also be more than a little surprised if there aren't one or two backup linebackers on the Week 1 roster who aren't currently on the Jaguars' roster. The depth there is a little concerning. More than one or two players need to emerge.
Andrea from Rornbecco Sul Naviglio, Italy:
What is the difference between OTAs and minicamp practices? Why in OTAs do they hide "stuff" while in minicamps they don't? Have a nice day, John.
John: There's no required difference between an organized team activities practice and a minicamp practice; in fact, the restrictions and rules for each are identical with both being considered to be held in "Phase 3" of the offseason program under NFL guidelines. Neither can include pads or full contact, but both can have team offense versus team defense. The primary difference is that the three-day minicamp is mandatory for veterans and rookies whereas OTAs are absolutely voluntary. On days when minicamp practice is open, it's safe to say teams scale back what they show just a bit compared to OTA and minicamp days when practice is closed. The reasoning? There's some "stuff" coaches just don't like having out there for all the world to see until game time.
Brian from Charlottesville, VA:
I suppose I get what you're saying about Henne being a valuable backup, but I'm not sure I agree. The offense under Henne was downright deplorable last year. He was touted as a quick-decision maker that could have a calming presence on a young offense. He calmed the offense's production down really well. The offense couldn't get past the 50-yard line with the exception of a half versus the Eagles where he was handed phenomenal field position thanks to the defense. How's he that much more valuable than any younger player who would also derail the offense? Agree to disagree...
John: I have no dog in the hunt on this one, but just as you can't blame Blake Bortles for 13.5 games of struggling offense, it's hard to pin the first 2.5 games all on Henne. The Jaguars' offensive struggles went beyond one player last season, even the most important player. Henne is a valuable backup and would make many – if not most – NFL teams in that capacity. Disagree all you want, but he's a significantly better option as a backup quarterback than your typical first- or second-year player with no NFL experience. Perhaps Stephen Morris will prove to be more than a typical first- or second-year player, but the guess here is that Henne is the backup quarterback for the Jaguars. And if he is, then the Jaguars will have one of the better backups in the NFL.
Jeff from Section 203:
Not a question, but a true story. My nephew, who seemed to always be a fan of whoever was winning, started choosing to play as the Jacksonville Jaguars on Madden 15. He explained to his shocked uncle that the Jaguars had the coolest freaking helmets he'd ever seen. He's turning 16 this year. Maybe the helmets are about the team's future, and attracting younger fans. Maybe us older fans aren't overly enthusiastic about that look, but from a marketing view, it might just be working. I doubt that helmet chased away any fans, but I know it brought one kid into the fold.
John: #DTWD
Miles from China:
Love the helmets!
John: #DTWD
Joe from Jefferson City, MO:
I can't imagine the envy in Gene's eyes when you bring leftover turkey pot pie for lunch. Have you seen what he thinks is turkey?
John: No. What are you talking about?

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