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O-Zone: Whole lotta awesome

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Doug from the Bronx, NY:
Surprising stats from 2016? Jags first downs-321, opponents-305; Jags total yards-5,359, opponents-5,147; Jags offensive touchdowns-32, opponents-37. Does this indicate we are close? We were within one score of winning eight more games last season. I'm not trying to get anyone hopes up; I'm getting expectations up!!
John: The statistics you cite do suggest the Jaguars' 2016 season was not the one-sided, uncompetitive mess that might otherwise be indicated from a 3-13 season that felt exactly that bad on a lot of levels. The statistics also imply the Jaguars in some senses were close to being a much better team than they were. But I believe most people watching closely sensed that last season, anyway. The reality is most NFL teams can look at most seasons and say, "You know what? If a few things had gone differently, we would have won more games." The NFL by nature is a league of razor-thin margins. The Jaguars for a while were off that margin because they weren't competitive. Now, they're back to being competitive. That's the positive news. The other side that is improving even razor-thin margins in the NFL is very tough, so the next strides the Jaguars must make will be tougher than the ones already made. That's not to say they can't make them. It is to say that it's probably not much use to point out how close the Jaguars might be to contending. Besides, people don't want to talk about close anymore. They just want to win.
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
Blake's mechanics looked the same as always at his charity event when he threw the football. That's why quarterback will be addressed in Round One, Pick Four.
John: OK.
Don from Ponte Vedra, FL:
How can anyone not be excited about Blake Bortles as the quarterback? He is a great athlete who has a strong arm, throws short passes with timing and touch, moves in the pocket well and picks up running yards with smart running. He is a tough guy who makes no excuses. He is still young and he throws a lot of touchdowns. The ducks he throws are not the norm. Bortles is going to be the man soon enough and you can win a championship with Blake Bortles!
John: Hey! One fer Blake!
Mark from College Park, MD:
O-Man vs Coughlin. What is the overall head-to-head record in terms of getting to work first? Have you recorded a win yet?
John: I'm oh-for-whatever and plan to stay that way.
James from Duval:
John. How many picks do we have in the 2017 NFL Draft? I've read that we have 12. Is that correct? If so, how did we get so many?
John: The Jaguars have eight selections in the 2017 NFL Draft: Round 1 (No. 4 overall), Round 2 (No.35), Round 3 (No. 68), Round 4 (No. 110), Round 5 (No. 148), Round 6 (No. 187), Round 7 (No. 222) and Round 7 (No. 240). The selections are the normal selections they have in each round as well as a seventh-round selection (240) acquired in the trade with Miami for tight end Julius Thomas.
CliffNDime from Jagvall:
Given that his former coach is now in JAX, would the Jaguars trade for Eli Manning? What would it take? Bortles and a second-rounder?
John: Aaaaaarrgggghhhhhhhhh!!!
Jay from Cherokee, NC:
If part of Bortles' regression and progression hinges on the time he has spent at the QB3 camp, then what's stopping Shad Khan, Tom Coughlin, or Doug Marrone from having a similar setup in Jacksonville? Khan has clearly shown money is no object when it comes to improving this organization and at worst it could benefit future quarterbacks.
John: Bortles works in the offseason in California with quarterback "gurus" Tom House and Adam Dedeaux. They have a flourishing business there and work with many NFL quarterbacks, so it's a safe assumption they would have no interest in shutting the business down to establish a Jacksonville-based, Blake Bortles-centric quarterback camp in Jacksonville. A second reason that wouldn't happen is players under NFL rules can have no football-related contact with their coaches between the end of the season and the opening of the offseason program in April. If Khan/Coughlin/Marrone established a similar setup in Jacksonville, Bortles wouldn't be allowed to use it in the offseason.
Paul from Temecula, CA:
I'm really just hoping, one day, you read one of my questions and think, "Wow, great question." The struggle for zone's acceptance is real.
John: When I first read this, I thought, "Wow. This is a pretty good question." Now, I'm not as certain.
Wallace from Jacksonville:
O Man, want to know why we fans are not happy with Cann and Parnell? We watched them play last season. Neither improved from 2015 and in Parnell's case it could be argued that he played worse in 2016. So why would any logical person expect these two to perform better in 2017?
John: There seems to be some perception among readers that I'm confused about why fans aren't happy with A.J. Cann and Jermey Parnell. I assure you no such confusion exists, primarily because I spend comparatively little time wondering why fans think things they do. The reason for this is there are many, many Jaguars fans with many, many varying opinions and to try to figure out why even the slightest number of them feel as they do would be to spend an inordinate amount of time on a matter that I can't remotely control. What I can tell you is the team believes Parnell played better when healthy at the end of last season than he did early, and that Cann has a chance to develop into a good NFL guard. There apparently are many fans who don't agree with this. I'm afraid this is just going to be one of those areas that causes angst and irritation for a while. That's OK. Angst and irritation is good for us. It builds character.
Lance from Section 131:
Zone, looking at the 2017 schedule, I would think 3-3 in the division is doable. I believe the Jags should be able to beat San Francisco and the Los Angeles Rams, as well as have a very good chance in Arizona against an aging Cardinals team. We should also be able to handle both the Browns and Jets. In all reality, we're probably not quite ready to line up favorably against the Steelers or Seahawks this season, but should be in each game with a chance to win against the Ravens in London, where we've been pretty good of late – as well as both the Chargers and Bengals at the Bank. I realize a lot can change with match ups week to week in the NFL, and that the Jag Nation hype-train has justifiably slowed its roll this offseason, but on paper .500 seems very attainable. A more-disciplined approach, better special teams execution, limiting unnecessary turnovers, learning to close out games against teams we should beat along with a call or two that are supposed to go our way, and a six-or-seven game improvement is actually within the realm of possibility against what is seemingly a very favorable schedule this year. Keep the Faith Zonians! #DTWD
John: OK.
Tyler from JAYcksonville:
Next year's defense will be like watching a Lamborghini being driven by a 16-year old that never practiced driving a stick. Stalling, revving, grinding gears ... while all the men stand around with grimaces on their faces knowing what the machine is truly capable of. Let us hope that all with all the upgrades, they sprang for the automatic-transmission upgrade. The 16-year old still isn't the best to have behind the wheel but at least we can go fast. I wanna go fast!! And before you snark me like a shark-b, remember that I have been right much more often than you about all things Jaguars over the years. Don't get me wrong, I've been wrong a lot too, but I'm sure your avid readers will know the amount of wrongness that is allowable to meet the O-threshold. ... Todd Wash is the 16-year-old John. … Unsure if you got that metaphor or not. O-DOYLE RULES!!!
John: I honestly didn't get the metaphor, so I'm glad you specified. One reason is while I was reading your email, I was distracted because I kept thinking, "Wow, it must be awesome to be as awesome as this guy." Another reason may have been when you were talking about 16-year-olds and transmissions and old men grimacing I kept thinking, "Yes, this defense has a chance to be pretty good – if it can consistently get pass rush in passing situations and turn that disruption into lost yardage and turnovers." I kept thinking that because that's what was missing last season in key situations and if the Jaguars don't get that, then the offseason upgrades and driving level or age of the driver or the old men or the grimacers or whatever subject is appropriate for this part of the metaphor won't matter much. But stay awesome, Tyler – or, in other words, just keep being you.

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