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O-Zone: Worse and worse

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Tommy from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Big O ... from the limited video from OTAs, it looks as though Blake Bortles is throwing a tighter spiral. Do you see that?
John: Friday was the first day of Jaguars 2017 organized team activities in which the media was allowed to observe the entire practice. It therefore was the first time this offseason those who cover the team could watch Blake Bortles' motion in extended work. I thought it looked …. Good. Not great. Not awful. OK – and yes, better than last year. He had some really accurate passes Friday, and he had other passes that would have drawn a lot of concern had they been viewed by the public. I thought overall Bortles threw well enough Friday – with a tight enough spiral – to be effective in games. That he wasn't dazzlingly spectacular doesn't concern me because I don't think Bortles ever will be a pinpoint, precision, timing passer who dazzles the eye in practice. I don't see him reeling off 15 consecutive completions in games very often and I don't seem being a quarterback that "makes it look easy." I believe he's going to need to be more accurate more consistently than he was last season, and I believe he needs to get back to being able to make big plays the way he did in 2015. I believe most of all he needs to dramatically reduce interceptions and lost fumbles. I also believe the way he threw Friday was good enough to do all of those things – and I believe the way he threw Friday was good enough for him to play well next season.
Luis from El Paso, TX:
Should Dante Fowler Jr. should move to strong-side linebacker in your opinion?
John: No. While many seem to have given up on Dante Fowler Jr. as a pass rusher who can disrupt off the edge from the end position, I don't think it's time for that yet.
Tom from Charleston, SC:
You say that keeping the 90-man roster until the final cut is a positive. You have also said that giving players snaps that obviously aren't going to contribute takes valuable snaps away from starters or second teamers that are going to contribute – i.e., your reasoning for Brandon Allen getting so few reps in training camp) Doesn't this new rule take away from those "may make the team" in favor of those that "won't make the team?"
John: The new rule that keeps 90 players on the roster for an additional week applies only to the preseason finale. Many players who are going to contribute or start in the regular season won't be playing that week anyway – and regular-season contributors or starters who play in the preseason finale usually don't play past halftime. This rule is a way to have enough players to play the preseason finale and not risk injuries to players teams plan on contributing. It also gives marginal players one more week to try to impress their current team or potential future teams. That's what it is. There's no need to overthink it.
Glen from Orange Park, FL:
In your opinion, what will it take to get Branden Albert to report? I don't think wanting some guaranteed money from your new team is unreasonable and would love to see this resolved in a positive way, even if that means the Jags' front office giving in a little.
John: I think Albert probably will report when it's mandatory he do so. Until then, I don't see it as a crisis.
Steve from Jacksonville:
With Myles Jack moving to middle linebacker, is he going to be making the calls on defense or will they ease him into that and have Poz make the calls this year?
John: Myles Jack will make the calls from the middle this season.
Dylan from Tulsa, OK:
Do you see Jalen Myrick making an impact as a rookie?
John: On special teams, yes. As far as making an impact on defense, much could depend on injuries in front of him.
J. Hooks from Orange Park, FL:
Dang, Hurnsey looks like he put on some "man pounds." It's amazing how young they look when they join the team versus. A couple of years in the pros!
John: Indeed. The biggest difference that many casual observers miss about the NFL is the remarkable physical difference between first- and second-year players and players in their fifth, sixth and seven seasons. It's indeed the difference between youth and grown men. It's particularly notable at times on the offensive and defensive lines – and it's also what can make it difficult for young teams to be on a level with older ones. This is not to say this is why the Jaguars have struggled in recent seasons, because there are far more reasons. But getting older and more mature mentally and physically certainly won't hurt moving forward.
Trae from PVB:
Doug Marrone looks to be a pretty big dude.
John: If you say so, Trae – though I hadn't thought about it that way … oh, you said pretty "big" dude.
Mike from Atlanta, GA:
Am I the only one not worried about Poz moving to the strong side? He has been one of the best linebackers in the NFL over the last several years against the run. I'm pretty sure he can handle it.
John: You may not be alone in not worrying, but more people are worrying about than I expected. And I'm pretty sure he can handle it, too. The move isn't to be taken lightly. As Posluszny himself will tell you, he's playing on the line of scrimmage in this new position compared to playing off the ball. That's a significant change. But is he professional enough and capable enough to do it? I believe so.
Nate from Orange Park, FL:
John, I'm glad the Jags will get to see the Bucs up close and personal for joint practices, in hopes our brass can learn something about amassing talent able to go from 2-14 to a winning record in two years. Perhaps completely decimating a roster and sitting on your thumbs in free agency the first year to establish a "culture" isn't the correct approach to rebuilding as we were made to believe so many, many years ago...
John: You're right. Jameis Winston does appear to be developing into a solid quarterback quickly while Blake Bortles has taken more time to develop. I couldn't agree more.
Josh from Pensacola, FL:
One reader tried to make a comparison of Gus Bradley's time in Jacksonville to Bill Belichick's time in Cleveland. Belichick's 36-44 record doesn't make him a bad coach. Sorry, but 36-44 is a heckuva lot better than 14-48. No comparison – and Bradley was indeed a bad coach. It would've taken Gus a decade to reach 36 wins.
John: OK.
David from Oviedo, FL:
Emmitt Smith is the NFL's all-time rushing leader with 18,356 yards. The only active running backs in striking distance of that record are Frank Gore (5,291 short) and Adrian Peterson (6,609 short). Do you think either one of them has enough in the tank to claim arguably the greatest record in the NFL record books?
John: No.
Russell from Mason:
I have been a Jaguars fan since day one of 1995. I had to relocate to Cincinnati and I have never been able to see the Jaguars play a game. It is my hope that the fans will become a rabid as the Browns fans are ... win or lose ... the Browns fans are extremely loyal and passionate. Jacksonville, appreciate what you have in this team and this owner!!!
John: The Browns have great fans, but whatever you say about this franchise – or whatever debate, argument, discussion or accompanying free-for-alls you may read in this space each day – make no mistake: Jaguars fans are phenomenally loyal and passionate. Do they criticize the team? Sure. Remember, there's no law that says fans must like everything a team does. There's no law that says fans must never criticize players. There's no law fans can't be frustrated and angry when a team loses. That's part of being a fan. I believe the Jaguars' fans rank with any in the NFL in terms of passion and loyalty. This is a franchise that for a variety of reasons has lost in all-too regular fashion in recent seasons. That has helped the franchise and the city sometimes be unfairly criticized in national circles. Yet, through it all the fans have remained strong, loyal and passionate. I have said often that I no longer root for teams. I've covered sports too long to get overly emotional about the victories and losses. But if the Jaguars could win and give this fan base the winner for which it has waited and that it definitely deserves … yeah, even this cynical writer would get a little emotional over that.
Irrelevant from Jacksonville:
I heard from an anonymous source that you're the kind of guy who tends to worsen a person.
John: That's on the record.

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