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O-Zone: Yes, son: it is...

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … KC from Jacksonville:
If, as everyone seems to believe, there is no concrete number of wins the Jaguars must achieve in order for Gus Bradley to retain his job, then how will the team justify another 5-11 season should that occur? I'm a believer that you are what your record says you are, and no amount of "improvement" – or being "more competitive" in games – justifies 5-11, or anything under .500 for that matter. The Jags were two or three plays away from .500 last year, so the powers that be can't justify it that way again; otherwise, where is your credibility? And if you are going to make arbitrary decisions based on "improvement," then how do you hold yourself accountable to fans after another 5-11 season? At a certain point, there needs to be a standard … not just an abstract idea of an "improving team" with 12 wins in four years.
John: You seem angry. And if I'm reading it correctly, the source of your anger seems to be that the Jaguars will not hold Bradley "accountable" if the team goes 5-11. Let's start by saying I am among those who don't believe there's a concrete number, because why would there be a concrete number? Why would Owner Shad Khan in his mind in May tell himself, "If this team does not win eight games then I am going to fire the head coach and at least one coordinator … say, whichever unit is ranked the lowest?" If the Jaguars start 2-6 and finish 5-3 with three overtime losses and look very much like a rising, improving team, would people still want the coach fired? Would that be a smart move? Second, how do you know what Khan will do if the Jaguars go 5-11? Finally, while it's fine to say, "You are what your record says you are," in some cases that's not true; the Jaguars the past three seasons are absolutely such a case. Blame Bradley – or whoever you want to blame for that matter – for the 4-12 and 3-13 record his first two seasons, but also know that General Manager David Caldwell and Khan are not sitting around wondering how in the world the team didn't win more games those seasons. As for last year … yes, the Jaguars could have won two or three more games, but there was not a feeling among those in the organization that this was a team last year that absolutely, positively should have been a lot better. There are higher expectations this year. There are expectations of a winning record. There is a standard. That said, I don't believe it's a case of saying, "Well, everything is the coach's fault and heads must roll at all costs!!!" Khan has an idea for what he wants to see, and Caldwell does, too. That will be the standard this season.
Andrew from Section 217:
Listening to Sirius NFL Radio recently I heard two usually-knowledgeable hosts (Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller) discussing the "TWO" games a year the Jags play in London, Londoners feeling like the NFL is forcing the Jags down their throats, and how much Shad Khan really loves his games over there (thus we are most likely moving there when the time comes). It made realize how no amount of commitment to the city of Jacksonville will cure the ignorance of all – even the "knowledgeable ones! Ridiculous!! Will this nonsense ever stop?
John: Probably not.
Scott from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Hi, John: I haven't been a fan of the idea of Luke Joeckel moving to guard after losing out on left tackle to Kelvin Beachum (in my opinion), but he graded out quite well in run blocking and obviously not as well in pass protection. I would think his pass protection might improve from the guard position. If that comes to pass Beachum, Joeckel, Linder, Shatley and Parnell starts to look like a pretty decent lineup.
John: It would be decent. What would probably be better is if your last line read more like "Beachum/Joeckel, Linder, Cann and Parnell." The point: don't leave A.J. Cann out of the mix. He almost certainly will start at right guard next season.
Otto from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Good story on Brandon Linder learning the center position. I'm trying not to be too critical of Dave Caldwell considering the outstanding offseason he has had, but part of me really wishes he went harder – or at all – after Alex Mack. Yes, Brandon is talented. I just get nervous taking a player who is very good at one position and moving him to another he has to learn. Center involves so much more than guard – as he says. I really do hope it works out.
John: Don't you think if Linder had shown any signs ever of not being able to be good at center the Jaguars would … I don't know … not play him at center?
John from Boynton Beach, FL:
So, if the Jaguars stumble a bit in the first half of the season and end up going 2-6 through eight games (say all are close) and then turn it on and go 5-3 in the last half of the season to finish 7-9 do you think the O-Zone would be an angry place?
John: It would be really angry for the first eight games and less angry for the second eight games. That's understandable given the hype and expectations around this team right now.
Esko from Finland:
In his player profile, Bjöern Werner is listed as a third-year player, but in your recent – and rather good – interview you call him a fourth-year veteran. Just wondering which one is correct (probably the latter)?
John: As I have said many, many, many times in my near-50 years on this earth … I was correct.
Whoa from Jacksonville:
That's a LOT of cards!
John: You're referencing my 20,000-to-25,000 baseball/football cards … nah, it's not really a lot. Remember, a set is was usually over 528 cards. If you have 25 or 30 sets, it adds up in a hurry. Mainly, the things just take up space. A lot of it.
Preston from Oakville, CT:
O-Man, with where our roster is right now, how much attention will Caldwell be paying to the waiver wire? I would like to think that we are at the point where if they aren't good enough to make an NFL team, that includes ours. But at the same time, any way we can improve this roster helps. What say you?
John: The Jaguars and Caldwell will pay as much attention to the waiver wire as they always do, which is to say they will monitor it on a daily basis. The difference is they won't sign nearly as many players off of the wire as they have in years past.
Ty from Jacktown:
Werner gets eight sacks … high or low? Just seems like a player itching to show himself … like a lot of former Jags who went on to do big things.
John: That's probably high, but he doesn't need that many to make an impact.
Adam from St. Johns, FL:
People are excited; you throw the wet blanket on them. People are wait-and-see, you make fun of them. I guess you're trying to get everyone comfortable with 8-8, huh? Why are you trying to temper expectations? The owner said, "A winning record is a reasonable expectation." Why are you working so hard to keep people from expecting that? You really try to protect these coaches. You hardly mention them as being a factor at all. Are you trying to get people to forget that you yourself wrote that quote on your website? Expectations should be winning; not just getting better. Why is it so scary to say?
John: I fear many things, Alan. In fact, I live with fear. One thing I don't fear is writing about expectations. People ask me my expectations and I tell them. That's the job. If I thought this team "should" go 10-6 or 12-4, I'd say it. I think 8-8 is a reasonable "expectation" and that anything about that is a reasonable hope.
Brandon from Duuuvaalll!!!:
John, the Duuuuvall questioning is back again and I would like to clear it up. Duuvalll is our rallying cry, like FSU has that stupid chop and ohhhhh – and so does Kansas City. The Saints and Bengals have "Who Dey?!" Duuuuvalll is ours! We're a unique city in that our city is basically a county and makes us different and stand out. That doesn't mean if you don't live in Duval County you can't scream Duuuuvalll! In fact, it's the complete opposite. I wanna hear Duuuvallll all around the globe as an identifier of Jags' fans! Come on board, all are welcome! #DTWD
John: I told my 19-year-old son the other day there were people who didn't like "Duuuuvalll!!!" and who didn't understand "DTWD" no matter how often someone explained it to them. He looked confused for a moment. "If they don't like it, why do they let it bother them?" he said. "Besides, it's cool, isn't it?"

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