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O-Zone: A keeper

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Genuinejag13 from Jacksonville

Mr. O, does it feel like the Jags' defensive line will be improved against the run?

I believe the Jaguars' interior defensive line will begin the season better against the run than last season. That's because I think the starters will start strong in this area despite losing Al Woods (COVID-19 opt out) and Rodney Gunter (retirement) during 2020 Training Camp – at least in part because of the intense focus on the area from management and coaches throughout the offseason. You've got to believe that will have at least some early benefit. But I do wonder if the group will have the depth and long-term stamina/strength to hold up against the run all season. That was an issue as the unit wore down midway through last season. I do think the Jaguars' defense as a unit will defend the run better this season because there should be fewer mental lapses in the back seven, something that hurt often last season. Also: adding middle linebacker Joe Schobert and moving Myles Jack to the weak side should help against the run because it should make the overall linebacker unit better and reduce mental mistakes. Moving Josh Jones into the starting free-safety position might not hurt that area, either.

Captain from Jacksonville

Can you tell us why, O, why we have a punter – yes, a punter – on the practice squad?! Sending a message to someone? Future cap savings?

The Jaguars signing punter Brandon Wright to the practice squad this week wasn't about sending a message to punter Logan Cooke and it wasn't about future cap savings. Teams are using the practice squad this season less for developing young players – as was previously the case – and more for COVID-19 contingencies. Teams need players on the practice squad that can be called up quickly in the event of COVID-19 cases at positions.

Fred from Naples, FL

With over $30 million in cap space this year and running back Ryquell Armstead out for a while on the COVID-19 list, why would we let Devonta Freeman leave Jacksonville this weekend without a contract? This non-move I do not understand.

The Jaguars like their three running backs – James Robinson, Devine Ozigbo and Chris Thompson –enough that they didn't feel desperate to sign Freeman.

Sonny from Melbourne, FL

There has been a lot of talk about the lack of fans attending games, but what about you? Will you be reporting on the game from the press box or your living room sofa where your wife will be waiting on you hand and foot?

I will be there when the Jaguars play host to the Indianapolis Colts at TIAA Bank Field Sunday. My wife will wait on me hand and foot when I get home. If and when I say so. Oh, wait. That's incorrect.

Tank from Mechanicsville, MD

If other veteran-laden teams may have an advantage with the diminished preseason, would it also be a slight advantage with no other teams having any NFL tape on all our rookies?

Somewhat. If the rookies play well.

CD from Fleming Island, FL

It's frustrating in an era of opinion/comment culture that readers can't understand the concept of objectivity in journalism. Or that journalists reporting on the opinions and actions of those they are covering do not (and should not) reflect their own opinions on a particular topic. Though I'm glad to hear your opinion on topics in this forum, I think it's important for readers to understand the difference between reporting and opinion. I know it's been said before, but this trend of media being all about hot takes is disturbing.

This indeed confuses many readers, and the line between reporting and opining has blurred to the point that sometimes I'm not sure that some of my media colleagues fully understand it. The demise of newspapers has done much to blur this line, but it seems Twitter has blurred it the most. Twitter by its nature encourages "hot takes," and it also encourages extreme arguments without regard to subtlety or explanation. It's fair to wonder at times if the forum's positives outweigh the negatives. You also have a lot of young journalists who believe the only way to make a name for oneself is to have "takes"—and they may well be right. It's a different era than it was when I entered the profession. As for readers understanding the difference between opinion and reporting, I doubt that's happening soon. Many people interpret the written and spoken word as they see fit, often without regard to how the word is actually written or said. It is the job of the professional writer/speaker to be clear/understandable enough to limit confusion. It's a tricky goal, and not always attainable.

Zac from Austin, tejas

To be fair, it's not like General Manager David Caldwell, or Owner Shad Khan, or Head Coach Doug Marrone would just come out and say "Y'all, we're in trouble … whatever." Dire situations or not, I don't know what message fans are expecting.


Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

Are teams required to release depth charts, unofficial or otherwise? If not, why do it? Seems like it's just providing free information to opponents.

Teams release depth charts as part of their weekly information to media. But depth charts don't really provide all that much inside, valuable information. Teams typically know who's starting at quarterback for the opponent – and teams can study past games to know how much individual players are playing. There's also nothing to stop teams from starting players who are listed as backups on the depth chart or vice-versa.

Michael from Fruit Cove, FL

If the team wins four-to-six games this season, yes … Caldwell is supposed to say they stink. Because they stink. Or better yet, he could build a team that doesn't stink …

That wasn't the question, but OK.

Greg from Section 122

You said the NFL would never have to get involved because teams would not deliberately try and lose. Well, doesn't that happen during the end of the season when teams have playoff spots locked up and sit their starters? I mean it could be viewed as not putting your best effort on the field. And I agree no team would ever be CAUGHT trying to lose because, despite the evidence to the contrary, there would be consequences for that. That is not to say it is not happening, intentionally or otherwise. I don't think the players think this, or even the coaches. But my intuition and evaluating the moves tells me this team is not expecting to win a lot this year. And is OK with that.

Teams sitting their starters aren't deliberately trying to lose. They're trying to rest starters to prepare for the postseason; the players playing still try to win. As far as your "intuition and evaluating," that's all fine … but the people making decisions for the Jaguars won't be "OK" with losing this season.

Cristiano from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Any chance of smoke screen in the "unofficial" depth chart? Would it make sense?

There's always a chance, though I don't know that there are any significant cases of this on the Jaguars' depth chart this season.

Charles from Riverside

Hello, John. Can you tell us more about our new fullback? Is he primarily a blocker, or do we expect him to rush and occasionally catch? How has he looked in practice? Who is this guy? Thanks.

Bruce Miller is a 33-year-old veteran who last played in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers in 2015. He has 76 career receptions for 734 yards and three touchdowns, so he has receiving ability – and has looked comparatively smooth as a receiver during 2020 Training Camp. He will be used primarily as a blocker, but he is athletic enough to contribute on occasion as a receiver.

Biff from Jacksonville

When the Jaguars start the season 9-0, will articles speak to how 2020 has become an even more bizarre year because Jacksonville is so much better than expected? My powers to see into the future are a bit fuzzy.

Yes, that will happen. Absolutely.

Travis from High Springs, FL

So, with James Robinson being listed first on the running back depth chart do you believe he'll get the most carries with Chris Thompson coming in on third downs? Or do you think Robinson and Devine Ozigbo will split most of the carries?

I expect Robinson to get most of the carries, though I expect he and Ozigbo to share carries more than former running back Leonard Fournette shared carries with any other back during his three seasons as a starter.

Fred from Naples, FL

I loved your podcast with defensive end Josh Allen. He is way mature beyond his years. No surprise that he was named a team captain before his sophomore season even begins!

He's a keeper. He's everything this franchise has been seeking in a Top 10 selection for a decade. He's the hope for the future.