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O-Zone: Wonderful warmth

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Pete from St. Augustine, FL:
Does Luke have the bad-azz attitude it takes to play left tackle?
John: I guess I'm not as big on the whole Luke-Joeckel-isn't-nasty-enough-to-play-left-tackle storyline as a lot of people. I've heard the theory. I've thought about it. I also know there are many people who believe it to be true. I just don't see its pertinence because I've seen plenty of left tackles succeed without getting into post-snap shoving matches and without going off on postgame locker-room diatribes. Joeckel is perfectly capable in terms of talent and attitude to play left tackle in the NFL. He has played the position well at times in his three seasons. What he lacks is consistency. If he plays as well as he does a lot of time more consistently he'll be fine. That's difficult to do in the NFL. It's what separates the good players from the average ones.
Mike from Des Moines, IA:
Yea, John, but what if Matt Scott beats out Brandon Allen? What then?
John: #freemattscott
Donald from Orange Park, FL:
So, if a team uses the franchise tag on a guard, then the guard will most likely be paid the average salary of the league's Top 5 left tackles (assuming an o-lineman is guard, center and left tackle). How often are guards and centers hit with the franchise tag?
John: Yes, if a team opted to use a franchise tag on a guard he almost certainly would be paid the average of the Top 5 left tackles. That's why you almost never see guards or centers franchised. To pay an interior offensive lineman that much would be to overpay the player compared to other top players at the position.
Robert from Jacksonville:
I like it here. Can I stay?
John: No … well, OK, but you have to stay with Sexton.
Scott from Aurora, IL:
I watched "O.J.: Made in America" this past week. I was too young to really know who O.J. was, but the documentary is very well done and does a great job of highlighting the circumstances surrounding the whole sad event. How did you experience the whole thing as it transpired? Have you seen the documentary? And if so, do you have any thoughts to offer?
John: I have watched four of the five parts of "O.J.: Made in America" and it indeed is an incredibly well-done documentary. I "experienced" the O.J. Simpson saga like most other people did – by first reading newspaper accounts of the incident (newspapers were still a relatively timely way of getting news in 1994), then gradually learning through television that apparently Simpson indeed was a serious suspect. I was at a University of Florida event interviewing people about Steve Spurrier on the night of the Bronco "chase." Like pretty much everyone else in the nation, I watched the events unfold and was shocked at what I was watching. You have to remember that Simpson was a household name at the time and considered a "good guy." His likeability was what made him popular in movies and as a sideline reporter for NFL and college games. He also wasn't incredibly far removed from his days as a national on-field icon – and he absolutely was that. When I was first becoming an NFL fan, Simpson was the biggest star in the NFL in the days when a running back could still hold that title. Because of the time that has passed – and because of the turn his life took after football – it's easy to forget just how good Simpson really was. If you're compiling a list of the greatest pure runners in NFL history, he's on it. If you're compiling a short list, he's on that one, too.
One guy from That Town:
Hey John, do you remember that time at the place where the guy did that thing? Don't think for a second that I've forgotten any of it. Man, that was... well you know.
John: You don't have to tell me. I was there. So was Shadrick. The whole thing was epic. Actually, now that I think of it, maybe the guy that did that thing was Shadrick. It wouldn't be out of character.
Andy from Roswell, GA:
John, I wanna know what love is. And I want you to show me.
John: I'd normally answer with some bad, mid-1980s Anne Wilson lyric, but I'm too uncomfortable to make the effort.
John from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Dear Dead-Zone, I was a bit surprised to learn the league is still trying to help Johnny Manzel and was really impressed by this "story." I hope Johnny is able to pull his life together. As big as football has become, this is a reminder that there are things in life that are much bigger. #DTWD
John: The league wants players to succeed on and off the field. Yes, one fer Johnny.
Abe from Mobile, AL:
The greatest quarterback of all-time ain't Marino. It's Otto Graham. The more you find out about that guy's story and success, the more you have to consider him one of the all-time greats – not just good, or famous, but just wow.
John: Otto Graham – like Sammy Baugh – was indeed a league-dominating, game-altering player whose greatness is now largely overlooked because of the passage of time and the changing of eras. It's impossible to say how those players would have fared in the modern game, though I've always thought players such as Graham , Unitas and Baugh would have adapted to the game and figured out a way to be elite no matter the era.
Brian from Nocatee:
Some Jaguar fans like to say "since Day One," implying they have been fans from the very start. I wasn't a fan then, but became a fan when I move to the area. Does this make me less of a fan? #DTWD
John: The timing of your arrival as a fan absolutely doesn't make you less of a fan, but hey … if you've been a fan of a team since its inception – and if you've stood by this team through the ups and the many, many downs … yeah, if you've done all, then I'd say that it's OK to say "since Day One" and say it with pride. Darned right it is. #DTWD
Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
John, Andrew Luck's contract and the start of NBA free agency made me think. I read that a player like Timofey Mozgov, at best a bench player, allegedly is going to the Lakers for $18 million a year. In looking at NFL rosters, how many good players make so much less? I'm not even mentioning LeBron, Durant etc. What are the economics? Less players plus more games? I don't get it.
John: The difference in salaries for "so-so" NBA players and "so-so" NFL players indeed often is significant, with NBA players having a huge edge. It's far more about the NBA having fewer players than anything else. NBA teams have to pay 13 or 14 players. NFL teams have to pay 53 players plus practice-squad players plus injured players. More guys means less money to go around.
Al from Kalispell, MT:
Future predictions here … if Allen Robinson continues on a similar pace for the next 10 years averaging 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns a season, will these numbers be considered transcendent enough to warrant a Hall-of-Fame spot – or with the large number of wide receivers putting up big numbers in today's pass-happy NFL will it be in your opinion considered a slightly above-average career for the era he played in?
John: It stands to reason that wide receivers in the next decade or so will continue to put up increasingly large weapons because there's no indication the NFL is going to veer away from being a passing league anytime soon. Still, the sort of consistency you project would be elite stuff whatever the era. Robinson has had that sort of season once. Doing it 10 more times would be very, very impressive but it will be very, very difficult. That makes sense. Having a Hall-of-Fame career isn't supposed to be easy.
Tucker from Nashville, TN:
Looking at the schedule, the Jags could easily start 0-4. Top quarterbacks versus a young defense smells trouble. How many fans are going to fan the first month?
John: If the Jaguars start 0-4, fans understandably will fan, but the Jaguars could just as easily start 1-3 or 2-2. Or who knows? Maybe they start better. You can't worry about the schedule. Play who you play and start winning games. That shows you're starting to improve.
Mike from Navarre, OH:
After I return from a deployment this fall I've decided I'm going to attend my first game in Duval County. I'm extremely excited as my only NFL game so far was as an "away" fan of our Jags in the Dawg Pound in Cleveland (not a good experience). My question is, can you keep a spot warm for me in the pool?
John: If I keep the spot warm, you won't want to be in the pool.

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