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O-Zone: A little hot

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Ronnie from Jax Beach

I very recently read in your column that there would be no Jaguars without Shad Khan. I'd argue there'd be no Shad Khan without the Jaguars. Most had never heard of Flex and Gate, much less who owned it. Mr. Weaver made very clear this was Jacksonville's team to any new owner. Secondly, I read as well that Jacksonville's suspicion of Mr. Khan stems from his outsider status or people's fear on the unknown or some other nonsense. Most people are suspicious because in the first go-around with Lot J, Shad Khan refused to give the City a pro forma. A pro forma is a standard document that every commercial lender requires that projects the profitability of a project. It's easy to surmise why he refused to hand this over. The profitability would probably make a person look more than greedy. I doubt it's because being suspicious is cool.

I appreciate you reading this nonsense. It's good someone does, so it might as well be you. Though I'm not sure I wrote precisely what you interpreted, it's the job of the writer to be clear – not that of the reader. And make no mistake: You are certainly entitled to your arguments. I suppose I would add that obviously the Jaguars' franchise would exist without Owner Shad Khan. It existed before he purchased it and it would exist if he sold it, though he has no plans to sell the team – just as he has no plans to have the Jaguars in a city other than Jacksonville. Whether they would still be – or have a future – in Jacksonville if someone else owned them is another matter. And though former Jaguars Owner Wayne Weaver indeed made clear that he wanted to sell the team to someone who would keep the team in Jacksonville, Khan was the one who bought the team under those circumstances – and the one who has followed through and moved strongly to solidify the team here. As for Khan, he certainly would exist without the Jaguars. To suggest otherwise is a bit silly.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, I'd have to agree with Brad from Section 38. Everyone single one of my tailgating memories are among the best with friends, family and strangers. Given our record over the years, although I have plenty of good memories, many games … not so much. The tailgating experience I'd say is pretty important. Are there stadiums/teams that do not have tailgating as part of the experience and if so how do they make up for that pre-game experience?

I've ridden buses into essentially every NFL stadium. I don't recall ever not seeing people eating and drinking in the parking lots before a game.

William from Jacksonville Beach

Dead Zone question: Who's the best player you covered not in the Hall of Fame?

This is tricky, because there are three players that come to mind that I really can't separate: former Jaguars running back Fred Taylor, former Jaguars wide receiver Jimmy Smith and former Indianapolis Colts safety Bob Sanders. I'll leave out former Colts defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne – not because they aren't deserving, but because their candidacies appear strong enough as 2023 finalists that I think they will be enshrined in the foreseeable future. Taylor seems on the cusp of becoming a finalist, and I believe he will someday be enshrined. I also believe it will still take a while for him to work his way "up the process," similar to former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli's wait that ended last August. Smith has been nominated multiple times, but his candidacy hasn't gathered momentum and he unfairly may never get such traction. Sanders is a different circumstance. Injuries limited his career to essentially two full seasons, one of which was his remarkable 2007 season in which he was named the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year. He was good enough that season that that offense-centric Colts team featured a dominant defense. He played just 11 more games after that because of injuries, but there's little doubt he – like Taylor and Smith – was a Hall-of-Fame talent.

Crash from Glen Saint Mary, FL

OZ! Is it true that Gene Frenette is a three-time winner of the Iditarod dog sled race?

I don't doubt this. But if so, it's under an assumed name. Longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette is about the achievement. He cares not for accolades.


Have you watched Shoresy? He got a whole series outside of Letterkenny.

It's up next.

Ray from Newport News, VA

KOAF, wake me up when the Dead Zone is over. I guess I should be grateful that we have the possibility of hearing some news (Engram's contract situation, Robinson possible suspension/please only two games but I expect four to six, and the stadium of the future).

News on these items will come soon enough, as is true of Jaguars 2023 Training Camp – and the preseason and regular season, for that matter. I don't expect Jaguars tight end Evan Engram to agree to a long-term deal with the team this offseason because my sense is if it was going to happen it already would have happened. For that reason, I expect he will sign his franchise-tag tender sometime around the July 15 deadline and play the 2023 season for the Jaguars on a one-year deal. I then expect his long-term future with the team to depend largely upon his production in 2023 – and I expect he would need an All-Pro career year for the Jaguars to sign him to a long-term deal. As for left tackle Cam Robinson, I expect the NFL to officially announce his suspension for performance-enhancing drugs sometime in the coming weeks. The other possibility is that there is no announcement, which would mean no suspension – which obviously is the ideal outcome. Lastly, I wouldn't stress about hearing news about the Stadium of the Future in the coming weeks. While that will be a topic in the coming months, I wouldn't expect news before next spring or so. Perhaps it could some sooner, and that would be ideal, but these sorts of discussions are complex and therefore take time.

Marc from Oceanway

Johnny O, I'm planning a birthday party and I'm determined to make it the softest birthday party in history. I just need a horse! Any connections?

I'm so upset about my perennials.

Kelly from Detroit, MI

Hey, John. Longtime reader, longtime non-question submitter. My question is: Do think with the Stadium of the Future getting built and the new proposed Four Seasons Hotel (I remember hotels being a significant issue for the Super Bowl in 2005), that Jacksonville could realistically host a Super Bowl again? Or at a minimum a Pro Bowl or Draft in the future?

My sense is even with the Stadium of the Future and upgrading the area around the stadium we're still a ways from downtown Jacksonville having the hotel infrastructure to host a Super Bowl. That's not saying it never could happen. It's saying more infrastructure is needed. Events such as the NFL Draft or Pro Bowl would be more possible. One of the primary goals of the proposed upgrades is to establish downtown Jacksonville as a place for major concerts and other first-tier events.

Don from Marshall, NC

You have to protect the quarterback and he needs to protect himself. You also have to get lucky. The game last year against Kansas City in the playoffs, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was able to return. Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence took a shot along the sidelines to his head and it affected him. Both former Indianapolis Colts/Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and former New England Patriots/Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady had the dead possum position that served them well. How well a quarterback survives is the key to finding the next great one. I would never draft an undersized quarterback for this reason. Sooner or later they are going to catch you. Go Jaguars!

When it comes to player safety, particularly that of franchise quarterbacks, Don remains "all in." He's also big on big quarterbacks. So he also "gets it."

Scott from Atlanta, GA

With Brian from ATL recently doing work that you committed to do around stadium costs, and thus allowing you to better focus on nap time, are there any other tasks loyal Zone readers can do to assist with your quality of life?

I had a fence post and two panels blow down recently. I can fix the panels but the post is out of my depth. I also have a lawn that has a pesky habit of growing this time of year. I got two floating shelves hung Wednesday, so I'm good there. I am, after all, a man – and a man does his own work. Except when he doesn't know how. Or when it's difficult. Or hot out.