JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Duval from Section 118 to A-Town:
Hey there, Omanator. Not that it matters, but have you noticed the national sports media hasn't been taking cheap shots about our pools and video boards? I'm disappointed. What's going on here?
John: Here's the thing I've been saying since I arrived back in Jacksonville in early 2011, and that I'll continue to say: The national media will praise and criticize for the most part when it is easy and feels right to them to do so – that's not just Jacksonville; that's everything. For years, Jacksonville and the Jaguars have been an easy target because there were tarps on the seats in EverBank Field, because there has been a lot of losing and because of a perception that the fan base is small and disinterested – and because of some preconceived incorrect notion of this town. There grew from all of that a feeling among people nationally that you couldn't win in Jacksonville. That's absurd, but losing fed the perception. Now, it has become easy and indeed vogue to praise Jacksonville and the Jaguars because the national media has heard of Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack. Because of that, it is now suddenly kind of trendy to praise the Jaguars as an Up-And-Coming Organization. Guess what? If the Jaguars win and EverBank becomes the crazy, fired-up scene that people who were around in the 1990s remember, then people nationally will paint Jacksonville as the Little City That Could and write stories of how Shad Khan/Dave Caldwell/Gus Bradley had the vision/foresight to pull off something remarkable in Duval. If the Jaguars don't win, people will take shots at the pools and video boards. That's just the way it is.
Bob from Fernandina Beach, FL:
John, I'm a little surprised our list of undrafted free agents didn't include linebackers. That appears to be our area of least depth. Are you surprised as well?
Dave from Jacksonville:
Hey, John … why does Ryan O'Halloran hate fun? Does he suck the joy out of everything in his life, or just all things Jaguars? #JacksonvilleGrinch
John: Tell you what … you work with Gene for three-and-a-half years. Travel with him and work side by side on many consecutive days. You do all of that, think on it a while, then come back and tell me how much "fun" you're having.
Bruce from Gotham:
Obviously many things had to align for the Jags to get both Ramsey and Jack. I believe one of those things is the Patriots losing their pick. Coach B knows value and Jack would have been too good for him to pass up at the bottom of the first don't you think, Mr.O?
John: That could well be. I have no evidence of the Patriots liking or not liking Jack, but it seems logical Bill Belichick would be interested in a player of Jack's ability. At the same time, one great truth of the draft is it's very tough to predict and even what you think you know you probably don't know. Ya know?
Jairus from Salt Lake City, UT:
Hey John. Is Greene a lock as kick returner?
John: No, because he doesn't really return kicks, but Rashad Greene is probably pretty close to a lock as punt returner.
Kenney from Jacksonville:
I know final rosters aren't set until the end of August, but look at the turnaround in roster from Dave Caldwell's first year. Wow! Differences still have to show in win/loss record, but it can confidently be said the 2016 edition of the Jaguars will be competitive and MIGHT actually have the advantage in some matchups.
John: No one knows just how improved the Jaguars will be next season. Many are predicting meteoric things, and the cautious version of me is leaning toward a bit better than .500 because I still think there are areas the team needs to grow offensively and I believe those things could take time. But make no mistake: I believe the team will be improved and I believe the foundation is set for growth and improvement in the very near future. That's because the foundation of the roster appears to now include potential elite players at multiple positions and it appears to have depth and starting-level players at pretty much every position … yeah, it has been a while.
Chris from Jacksonville:
Shouldn't we wait until the new rookies are under contract before making them talk to J.P. Shadrick?
John: They don't always listen to me around here. I thought that would be pretty obvious by now.
Edward from Jacksonville:
I like Shad Khan's patience with the Coach and General Manager. It took Coach Landry five years to turn the Cowboys into winners. That said, is seven or eight wins enough to keep the staff? I hope so, but would like your thoughts considering the schedule we play this year and the fact that our draft may be good but they're still rooks.
John: A couple of thoughts on your thoughts. First, don't sweat the schedule. There's no way to know how difficult it is until your get at least a month into the season. Still, even if you are Fret-The-Schedule Guy there are only six games against playoff teams on that schedule. At some point you have to beat decent teams, and all in all, that's a manageable schedule if the Jaguars are indeed improved. As for what it will take to retain the staff, I realize this is going to be "a topic," but it's not a question that's answerable right now. I don't know The Number and I don't think Khan has a particular Number. I know the expectation around here is a winning season is possible. I know the expectations are higher than before. What happens if that doesn't happen? I don't know and it's way premature for anyone to act as if they do.
Emiel from Jacksonville:
Hey O, I am having trouble finding motivation at work. How are you motivated to be great? Does Coach Bradley give you a victory speech every morning before the zone?
John: Victory speech? I'm just hoping Shad didn't tell security to change my code before he left town.
Tyler from Bangor, ME:
The Brandon Allen pick was a bit of a surprise, but totally understandable as he has plenty of skill and upside to be an adequate backup option for Bortles. Will a good preseason be enough to supplant Chad Henne from the roster, and if so, what do the Jags get for him (if anything)?
John: I don't think Allen will be the primary backup next season, and I don't think he can do much in the preseason to change that. Henne's experience, knowledge of the offense and contributions in the meeting room are why the Jaguars re-signed him and I would be surprised if any rookie was better in those areas than him next season.
Steve from Denver, CO:
O, if Ramsey has a great preseason could we expect him to be matched all game versus Jordy Nelson? Since the scouts see him as a shutdown corner, let's see if he can walk the walk, not just talk the FSU talk?
John: Let's let Ramsey work his way into the starting lineup first, shall we?
Gary from High Springs, FL:
Glad to see Dave Caldwell say he thinks Ramsey can be even better in the pros than he was in college. If he can develop to be a player almost as impactful as Prime Time, that's the goal right?
John: Well, sure, it's a goal … but you're asking a rookie to eventually be as impactful as one of the two or three most impactful cornerbacks of all-time, so let's let him pick a number first.
Paul from Jagsonville:
Will we see more situational defense packages this year with depth in secondary and the pass rushers?
John: I don't know how many more packages you'll see, but I do know you'll see a lot more players playing different roles within those packages.
Josh from Fernandina Beach, FL:
I would be remiss if I did not at least acknowledge the outstanding draft for the Jags. I assume you are not tired of hearing it yet. After this year's draft and free agency, what position(s) on the defensive side of the ball have the greatest remaining need for more talent or depth?
John: I would say linebacker could still be deeper, and as far as where more talent is needed … we'll see. On paper, this looks like a talented defense. There's a potential elite player on every level and there are better than average players around those players. What we haven't seen is most of these players on the field playing together in this defense. Once we see at least a few games of that we'll have a better idea what's missing.
William from Jacksonville:
I know you insiders think the fans are dumb, but we know a bust when we see one.
John: Oh, believe me … I know exactly what you think you know.
O-Zone: What you know
JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Duval from Section 118 to A-Town: