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O-Zone: Zigging and zagging

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it … Redmond from Jacksonville:
If you look at those players who had double-digit sacks they also had 20-plus hurries. Just an observation.
John: That's not just any observation – that's a downright astute observation! Of course it's true that players who have double-digit sacks often have 20-plus hurries. But I know you knew that already. I also was talking about more than just one or two seasons. You knew that already, too. The point I was making that prompted this observation was that while sacks are obviously important, pressures and forcing incompletions and hurries are often overlooked and can be equally important. I really wasn't talking about exact statistics as much as making a general point to not be too, too obsessed with numbers. (When you're observing, that is.)
Steve from Jacksonville:
I've been out of the loop for a little bit. How did Jimmy and Keenan look in minicamp?
John: Older, and a little more out of shape than before – and of course, Keenan is as good as any receiver in the NFL. That's his take. So, some things haven't changed.
Adam from Richmond, KY:
Best football movie and no mention of "The Program???" Say it ain't so?
John: I'd actually put it on another, "opposite" sort of list.
Jim from Jacksonville:
John. "The Blind Side?" "The Longest Yard?" Much better than "North Dallas Forty!" Just sayin'
John: Nah.
Gabe from Washington, DC:
What about "Any Given Sunday?" I feel like that has to be in the conversation.
John: Not the one I saw.
Keith from Palatka, FL:
The two players on the Jaguars' roster who have virtually no competition for their jobs due to their high draft status are Luke Joeckel and Blake Bortles. Bortles I understand because the quarterback position is different. I personally think competition would help Luke Joeckel to improve. What do you think of the Jaguars taking a risk on Isaiah Battle of Clemson who is coming out in the supplemental draft on July 15?
John: I'd be surprised if that happens. Then again, it's always a little surprising when a team uses the supplemental draft because only 42 players ever have been selected that way. The thing to remember about the supplemental draft is it's a long way from a free means to acquire players. It's done round-by-round via email and if you take a player in the supplemental draft, it costs you your selection in the corresponding round of the following offseason's regular draft. As for Battle, from all accounts he is a good prospect and he is expected to be selected sometime in the supplemental draft. If he is available in the later rounds of that draft, would it make sense for the Jaguars to select him? Perhaps. If it takes an early-round selection – and appears that could be the case – then I doubt the Jaguars do it.
Robert from Fleming Island, FL:
John, I'm never leaving the Jaguars page for insight again. These other writers can't even spell the players' names right. How do you expect me to take your article seriously when you're misspelling their names?
John: You're right, Robirt. If you can't get the details right, where are you in life?
Miguel from Section 145 and Duuuuvalll! :
I have a few thoughts about national "experts" when they talk about the Jaguars. One day a few years ago I thought about how much Jaguars information I had ingested during that particular day. I had read the paper, listened to a few radio programs, read a few articles on and watched the Monday night Jaguars program about the previous game. Then I heard something on a national show and their information was all wrong. I then remembered how much time I had spent that day on Jaguars related information and realized they don't spend that much time on each team, much less a team not doing well! The coverage we get for our home team is incomparable. I learned to take what the good analysts say with a grain of salt and completely ignore the not so good ones for recycling old stories and lazy reporting.
John: Yep.
Jordan from Gering, NE:
Hypothetical question here. If you could choose between having either Fred Taylor or Maurice Jones-Drew in their prime, and they stayed in that prime stage for a good four- to five-year period, who would you choose? I'm sure most, including myself, would pick Fred Taylor, but I was a little curious to know your opinion since you've mentioned that the 2011 season for MJD was possibly the most impressive single-season performance you've seen at the running back position.
John: I would pick Taylor. I have written that Jones-Drew's 2011 season was as impressive as I've ever seen because it seemed to be about will, desire and determination. I didn't think Jones-Drew had the physical gifts that season that he had had early in his career, and he managed to win the rushing title without breakaway speed. But Taylor's 2000 season, when he reeled off nine consecutive 100-yard games for a team that was struggling around him, was as impressive a running season as I've covered in terms of pure ability to change games from the running back position. That's not a knock on Jones-Drew. That's because it's no insult to finish a narrow second to a player who deserves a place among the best of the last few decades.
Ryan from Columbus, OH:
What areas on offense do you think are most improved from last year?
John: The temptation here is to say "all of them," because it's hard to pick out a Jaguars offensive position group that shouldn't be improved. Let's go with offensive line for a few reasons. One is that the group probably has the most room of any position groups to improve after a tough season last season. Another is the addition of associate head coach-offense/offensive line coach Doug Marrone. Still another is the addition of free agents right tackle Jermey Parnell and center Stefen Wisniewski. There's more depth and more talent there than last offseason. But overall I'd say the improvement of returning players such as Joeckel, guard Brandon Linder, center Luke Bowanko and guard Zane Beadles may be the biggest reason for optimism. If those guys improve – as is expected – all of a sudden the core of the line is better and all of those other position groups benefit as well.
Sarge from Jacksonville:
Why not throw some interviews with the Roar members? It fills the dead zone AND gives you more time with the lovely ladies.
John: I'm waiting on some calls back. I've been waiting for a while now. They'll call. I'm certain of it.
Matt from Section 133:
John, you raise an interesting point regarding the Jags honoring names and not numbers. Do you see 71, 28 or 8 being used any time soon, or are they "unofficially" retired until the fan base is too young to remember those guys playing?
John: I think it will be a long, long, lo-o-o-ong time before those numbers are used. I hope it's a long time, anyway. And actually, while I rarely say "never," in this case I wouldn't mind saying it. Tony Boselli and Fred Taylor – and to a slightly lesser degree, Mark Brunell – played at a high-enough level and meant enough to this franchise that it's appropriate to let those numbers go unused for a long time. And by the way, No. 82 and 32 aren't in use, either. Hold on to those for a while, too.
Joe from San Antonio, TX:
If you had to choose one NFL player current or previous to be the surrogate father for your teddy bear and his wife, who would it be?
John: Josh Scobee … no, wait … yeah, Josh Scobee.
Guy from San Antonio, TX:
I hear the argument time and time again over why Fred Taylor should/shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame. That being said, what about MJD, do you think we will ever see Pocket Hercules as an inductee?
John: I don't see Jones-Drew as a potential inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I wrote as much in 2011 when he was on his way to the NFL rushing title and I'll write it now. It's not a knock on Jones-Drew's ability. It's not saying he wasn't a very important player in this franchise's history. He was very good and very important. But Jones-Drew had three dynamic seasons while sharing time with Fred Taylor and three 1,000-yard rushing seasons after that. By his seventh season, time and wear-and-tear had taken a toll. He probably needed at least another three 1,000-yard seasons after his streak of three to have a chance. It's unfortunate he didn't get it, but he didn't get it – and that likely will keep him from Hall-of-Fame consideration.
Ray from Jacksonville:
John: If after announcing that one has established dominance over the wife and her response begins with the word "fine," I would suggest running away in a zig-zag pattern.
John: If someone's dumb enough to make that announcement what makes you think they'd remember to zig, much less zag?

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