O-Zone: Walk... or even Uber

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Chaun from St. Louis, MO:
Who is our biggest competition in the AFC South? I think it's the Titans. The Colts are not the same as when they had Peyton and the Texans are a joke.
John: The Jaguars never have won the AFC South and haven't been to the postseason since 2007. They finished last season 3-13, which was last in the AFC South. Until any of those things change on the field rather than in offseason conversation, the Jaguars' biggest competition in the AFC South is every other AFC South team, particularly a Texans franchise that "joked" their way to the division title last season. What in the world have the Jaguars done to overlook anyone or assume anything?
Marcus from Jacksonville:
It seems you are confused and possibly frustrated because of all the questions about Chad Henne and I think I know why. I believe you view the backup quarterback in the traditional sense ... a solid and dependable player who can come in for short stints when necessary due to an injury to the starter. Henne is indeed a good option in this view because he has experience and he brings other good qualities to the table. I believe fans view the backup quarterback differently. We aren't as worried about an injury to Bortles as much as we are worried about total implosion that gets him benched. If we start 0-6 or 1-5 and Bortles continues to be inaccurate and turns the ball over at a high rate we could certainly see him benched before midseason. If that is the case, we want someone who maybe, just maybe, could be the guy to take his place as the starter long-term. I know that's a tall order, but we don't want 10-plus games of Henne followed by the hunt for the next starter. We're done with rebuilds. I know that guy may not exist without using the No. 4 pick, but we're fans. We want what we want, regardless of the feasibility.
John: I'm often confused and confusion indeed is difficult – even confusing. But I'm not confused – or frustrated – in this case. I know what fans want in a backup, and I can't control they want. I can control answering questions as accurately as I know how, and the accurate answer to why Henne is the backup quarterback is that the team believes he's the best option considering the circumstance currently facing the organization. The fans' desire for the backup quarterback to be a magical, unlikely answer from the Great Quarterback Store in the Sky doesn't change the answer, though it does produce many, many, many questions.
Steven from Duval:
How much responsibility does Gus Bradley deserve for our recent failures? I don't usually think it's all coaching but with my limited coaching and playing experience I do know you have to be flexible and it didn't seem like the Jags ever tried anything different. It was always the same schemes even after they didn't work and I don't believe he gave his coordinators enough freedom, so maybe with the new regime but the same coordinators we will see different results. #dtwd
John: It was increasingly vogue the last few seasons to blame all that was wrong with the Jaguars on then-Head Coach Gus Bradley, and it's an even easier thing to do now that he no longer is the head coach. And it indeed became apparent last season that the energy was gone from Bradley's tenure – and when that happens, a coaching change becomes both necessary and inevitable. But the Jaguars' record in the past few seasons never was and never will be all Bradley's fault. I suppose Bradley could have been more flexible at times with scheme and approach, but when you lose as many games as the Jaguars did in recent seasons, everyone – players, personnel, coaching – has a hand in the process.
Steven from Duval:
Personally not all the way sold on Bouye and the questions about a corner at No. 4 are ridiculous. Aaron Colvin has been very good at nickel and hasn't seen much time starting with Davon House around. Let's not forget he was rated as a Top 20 pick and higher before his injury in college and has outperformed his draft position even though he sat out a lot because of the injury. I think Colvin is our No. 2 eventually and deserves a little more credit. Do you think corner is actually a strength nowadays? Thanks.
John: I'm a big believer that Colvin is a very good corner, and that the Jaguars' nickel-package is stronger when he's playing the nickel position. But that doesn't mean House cost Colvin playing time last season at outside corner (Prince Amukamara did that) and it doesn't mean your view of the cornerback position lines up with the Jaguars' plans at the position (it does not). While you may not be sold on Bouye, the Jaguars signed him very specifically not only to start opposite Jalen Ramsey but to be a well-above-average player at the spot. It's not out of the realm of possibility that Colvin eventually ends up being the Jaguars' No. 2 corner, but it's far more likely he continues to be a strength at the nickel – and yeah, the presence of Ramsey, Bouye and Colvin makes the position actually a strength. If it's not, something has gone significantly wrong.
Richard from Callaway, FL:
Can the quarterback of the future already be on the roster? Sure, he struggled last year but Brandon Allen was highly regarded as they didn't put him on the practice squad. Your take?
John: My take is you never say never, so … no, Brandon Allen shouldn't be ruled out as a possible quarterback for the Jaguars. But my take also is that it's unlikely that Allen is the Jaguars' quarterback next season in the same vein that it's always unlikely for a sixth-round selection to become a team's franchise quarterback. It's rare and would be a surprise. Can Allen change that way of thinking beginning in organized team activities? Perhaps. We'll see. But it's a tall task.
Scott from Wichita, KS:
I think Henne is more than capable of getting us through a four-game stretch at 2-2 if Bortles goes down. Any better than that and he's probably starting somewhere.
John: Yes.
Mikayk from Tampa, FL:
How much of an impact do you think Colin Kaepernick taking a knee is having on his signing right now? If donating tons of food and money to charity while taking a knee is why some people think he has "character issues," give me those types of character issues any time. I don't necessarily think he is an amazing quarterback, but at a moderate price wouldn't he be the perfect guy to compete with Bortles? I personally would have no problem picking up a pair of season tickets with someone of such high character on the team.
John: I think the league executive who addressed this in a recent Monday Morning Quarterback piece was pretty spot on. The Kaepernick Situation feels similar to the Tim Tebow Situation a few years back in the sense that Tebow probably was good enough to be an NFL roster as a reserve, but not anywhere near good enough to be worth the periphery issues that came along with signing him. Another important issue in this is style of play: Tebow and Kaepernick are both unconventional players around which teams must at least partially restructure the offense. That's something teams can and perhaps should do if a player is a starter. If it's for a backup, it's not at all prudent.
Bill from Jacksonville:
John, I'm dreading the day (2021?) that Shad Khan comes to the City of Jacksonville and asks for the same deal the Raiders got. What should other NFL cities learn from the unprecedented public money - $750 million - given to the Raiders?
John: I understand the dread, Bill, because national stories such as the Raiders moving to Las Vegas and big figures such as $750 million cause things such as dread, paranoia and fear and sometimes rioting in the streets. But if people would opt against rioting in the streets and instead drive – or walk, or even Uber – to EverBank Field, they would see noticeably large video boards, swimming pools/cabanas on a FanDuelville deck in the north end zone, a renovated locker room, a state-of-the-art training facility, updated and modernized US Assure Clubs, a Daily's Place amphitheater that will sit next to a Flex Field … yes, those would-be rioters would see all of that and perhaps they would realize the Jaguars' plan for the last half-decade has been to not need a $750 million upgrade. The remaking and modernizing of EverBank Field has been ongoing for the past several years and likely will continue. NFL cities should learn from the Raiders' situation that they must work with franchises to ensure facilities are in place that will allow the franchises to maintain financial pace in a competitive league, but the Jaguars and Jacksonville already know this and have been acting that way for some time now.

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