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O-Zone: Who cares?

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Brandon from Jacksonville:
Will the Jags ever make their permanent home in England? It makes a lot of people I talk to not want to get season tickets because they don't believe the Jags are here to stay. We would like to know they are here to stay. Despite the record, Jacksonville loves their Jags.
John: My first thought upon reading your email was that this way of thinking perplexes me, but in another sense, I do understand it. That's because I realize that not everyone takes the time to see all of the things that make up reality. The Shipyards proposal? Reality. The videoboards? Reality. The locker rooms? Reality? The commitment to enhance the game-day experience that has made EverBank Field one of the best fan experiences in the NFL? Reality. Pretty much everything Shad Khan has done since taking over as owner? Reality. I understand that despite all of those real things there are people who don't understand how London fits with the team's commitment to Jacksonville. I understand there are people who don't see that London helps make the Jaguars stronger in Jacksonville because of the revenue created. I do wonder why Shad Khan and the Jaguars would do all of the things they have done if there was some secret plan to move to London; it just seems like a lot of work to do just to be deceitful. I suppose the biggest reality is that all the Jaguars can do is keep doing the things that are making the franchise strong here and eventually the people you're talking to will get it.
Jason from Falling Waters, WV:
Who do you believe will be starting at left guard for the Jaguars in Week 1?
John: Zane Beadles. I think A.J. Cann will start at the position sometime relatively soon – maybe this season, maybe not – but in the short-term I think Beadles' experience will win out.
Patrick from Jacksonville:
Does Allen Hurns have a realistic chance of emerging as the No. 2 receiver during training camp and preseason?
John: That probably depends on the health of Marqise Lee. If Lee is healthy, I believe he and Allen Robinson will be the Jaguars' top two receivers. That's not because of Lee's draft status; rather, it's because he has big-play explosiveness no other receiver on the Jaguars possesses. But I don't know that it's too big of a deal who's No. 2 or No. 3. If a No. 3 receiver is good enough he can be as productive as a No. 1 or No. 2, and the fact that I'm getting questions about this shows how deep the Jaguars receiving corps has a chance to become in a very short time.
Mr. Padre from Kingsland, GA:
Since two games in the preseason may not be enough for player evaluation and most people believe four is too many, how about we split the difference and reduce the number to three? And since the NFL is all about money, let's add two games to the schedule which would therefore really only be one more game with the reduced preseason. Now, we have a total of 21 games instead of 20 yet "two" extra-regular season games – therefore, much more revenue. Do you think this may become a reality someday ... especially since streaming games may supplant network TV, which could actually reduce the NFL's TV revenue some. Any thoughts, John?
John: I think any idea that increases the number of regular-season games should be considered very, very carefully. The NFL season may not seem long enough for the diehard, avid fan – or for the people who benefit from great television revenue – but a strong argument can be made it's plenty long enough or even too long in terms of player attrition and injury. That said, I believe the league probably will eventually move to 18 regular-season games. I'm not crazy about the idea, but I don't expect them to call me.
Baron from St. Augustine, FL:
Hey O, so maybe rather than cutting the preseason in half, fans should instead just worry about preseason games a little less? Crazy idea probably.
John: Not crazy at all.
Ben from Long Beach, CA:
"He still has a ways to go. The thing we talk about, too, is the best thing Blake does you're not going to see on the practice field – game time, two minutes, things like that." I'm worried about Bortles because of all these comments about how he's not right, he had to fix this and that and improve almost everything. What the heck does "game time" mean if this is what Blake does so well? Ummm, I've watched every game he has played and he wasn't very good at "game time..." yet! How much time is the organization giving Bortles? If he's not very good this year, are we looking elsewhere in the off season? God, I hope he plays well … Such a great kid and would be a great Face of the Franchise.
John: This is not a criticism of your comment, Ben; I understand fans and observers who watched Bortles last season didn't often see a player who performed like a franchise-level quarterback. But it always amuses me how quickly we forget the circumstances under which players enter the NFL. Remember? When the Jaguars drafted Bortles? The idea was that he wouldn't play the first year. And remember? Last preseason? When the chorus among fans was Play the Kid, the underlying chorus was that people didn't care how Bortles played – and that he should be put on the field to gain experience so that he could learn from mistakes. Well, guess what? He played. He made mistakes. And now, during this offseason, he's trying to continue taking the steps that the Jaguars knew he needed to take when he was drafted. One final point here: when the Jaguars talk about the things that Bortles does well, they're talking about poise, leadership in the final minutes, ability to make plays above the Xs and Os. He showed some glimpses of that as a rookie. What he didn't show was the ability to make the routine play consistently. The fundamental work was about working toward being able to do that more often.
David from Orlando, FL:
O-man, outside of Blake Bortles, if you had super powers to protect four players from training camp injury, who would they be and why? I guess, this is just a fancy way of saying, who are the cornerstones?
John: Unfortunately, my super powers don't extend to this area. If they did, I'd want Sen'Derrick Marks back healthy – and then I'd protect him. Then, I'd want Julius Thomas, Allen Robinson and Jared Odrick healthy. There are others, and I don't know that those four are necessarily the Jaguars' best players, but there would be a collective groan next offseason if any of those guys are lost for a significant time.
Pookie from Panda City:
You trash people in the O-Zone for asking questions that are answered in other places on the website, yet answer the same question in the O-Zone three days in a row because you don't expect people to read every day. Meanwhile, those of us who DO read all the time are treated to the same question again and again. So which is it? We should read everything and get insulted in the O-Zone, or read sporadically and wait for you to repeat yourself?
John: I never trashed anyone for asking questions that are answered in other places, Pookie. I assume you're referring to a question I answered about "never talking about Allen Hurns." In answering, I merely answered that I had written about Hurns – and because of that, I didn't think it was necessarily accurate to say Hurns was "never mentioned."
Brian from Jacksonville:
Merely for discussion's sake – in light of how things turned out, and given that our starters at the interior defensive line positions are pretty banged up – has there been (quietly), any second guessing on passing on Leonard Williams to take Dante Fowler Jr.? (fyi: Although I was OK with the Fowler pick, Williams would have been my choice at No. 3.)
John: Second guessing? Absolutely not. First off, you can't control injuries and circumstance. Had Williams been in Jacksonville instead of Fowler, who's to say if one or the other would have been hurt? Life happens and injuries happen. Second, Williams probably wouldn't have played the interior much here as a rookie. He would have played the strong-side position Jared Odrick and Tyson Alualu are playing.
Faith from San Francisco, CA:
John: I feel you. I often have been accused of caring too much … being too kind, too helpful, too quick to put my needs second to the needs and wants of others … How often during my walk through life must I hear those near me say, "No, good, noble and caring O-Zone … think not of me, but of thyself???" It's a burden, and if I gave a damn about any of those people, it would bother me a heck of a lot.

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