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O-Zone: Absolutely fabulous

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Brian from ROUND ROCK, TX

Do lost teams get injured a lot or do injured teams lose a lot? I've learned that it's the former. Good teams overcome injuries and bad teams seem to have injuries pile up.

"Good teams overcome injuries" is one of those NFL mantras/sayings that sound good and therefore become easy to say as an "inarguable truth" when discussing a particular team in a particular season. But the saying is way too general and therefore often inaccurate. Do good teams overcome injuries? Sure. Sometimes. Can injuries to certain players at key positions also prove too much to overcome? Absolutely. The NFL is a sport of quarterbacks and attrition. To dismiss injuries and ignore their potential impact is to overlook reality and analyze the NFL in a way so removed from that reality it approaches naiveite and ignorance. Since I know noooo O-Zone readers are naïve or ignorant, I'll assume this email was more about promoting discussion than a reflection of how this reader really sees the league.

Marc from Oceanway

Zone, do you think the new rule banning hip drop-tackles will further degrade tackling in the NFL? Or is the hip drop in particular easily avoided? P.S. In the spirit of our past "Oxford comma" discussions, what's your opinion of the word "that?" For instance, I initially wrote, "do you think that the new rule…," but later deleted "that" as I worry it is superfluous.

I don't expect banning the hip-drop tackle to dramatically change the game, though there will be moments when it's called that almost certainly will cause controversy. While I see it as one more way to make tackling more difficult, I don't know if we'll notice a major difference. As for the word "that" … you were right to delete. It's absolutely superfluous in that instance. There are other case where it's necessary, such as when someone says, "Hey, did you see that ugly senior writer?" You need it there. There are also cases where it just sounds right. Use of "that" usually isn't wrong. It's sort of a feel thing.

Paul from Lake City

"If Trevor Lawrence plays poorly?" There will be fans clamoring for Mac Jones in the preseason immediately after his first completion against the opponent's third-string defense. It's practically a rule with almost every team that doesn't have Patrick Mahomes at quarterback.

Yeah, pretty much.

Bradford from Orange Park, FL

I caught a clip of running back Tank Bigsby looking, what I thought anyways, strong. How big of a lift would he be as a change of pace back and/or in short-yardage situations? Obviously, the answer here is 100 percent predicated on offensive line improvement. But when just checking the depth chart, with what I've gleaned from watching the games last year coupled with listening to your KOAF wisdom – left tackle Cam Robinson and right tackle Anton Harrison are far from liabilities. Right guard Brandon Scherff and left guard Ezra Cleveland aren't scrubs and if center Mitch Morse can stay healthy, as seasoned as a vet as he is, he should complete a solid offensive line on paper. But if Morse is the only one new face from last year, does that implicate 2023 starting center Luke Fortner as being last season's unit's Achilles' heel?

It would be a major lift if Bigsby can contribute significantly in 2024 in his second NFL season. As far as possible improvement from the offensive line in 2024 reflecting negatively on center Luke Fortner, I'm sure many would interpret it that way. I'm not sure it would be very accurate. Or fair. Life often isn't fair.

Dwayne from Jacksonville

Sometimes when I read "Loyal O-Zone readers – and he knows who he is," I wonder if it might be me and I get really angry. Say it ain't so.

It might be so. Actually, it probably is.

John from Jacksonville

Hi, KOAGF. It's hard to believe it was only about six months ago on 12/4/23 when the Jags were playing the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football for the No. 1 seed in the AFC. That was the night that fate turned against us late in the game with Trevor's injury followed later with the untimely penalty flag in overtime that took away a victory. To think what could have been. So often, what separates the great and the good is a handful of plays and some good/bad luck.

Wide receiver Christian Kirk also sustained an injury that night and didn't play again the rest of the season. It was tough night for the home team.

Jason from North Pole, AK

I have heard a lot about bad tackling the past few years and have always agreed with your take that they don't practice it often enough. Then I had the realization that as players have gotten bigger, faster and stronger, perhaps ball-carriers have just become more difficult to tackle?

Maybe, but tacklers are bigger, stronger and faster, too.

Sean from Oakleaf, FL

I am confused by Jaguars offensive line Coach Phil Rauscher's comments that a non-starting offensive lineman needs to be able to play center in a pinch to earn a gameday jersey. Do we not already have a capable backup center on the roster named Luke Fortner? You typically don't lose more than two centers to injury in any given game?

I'm sorry you're confused. Confusion can be … well, confusing. Rauscher's comments reflect a common belief among NFL offensive line coaches – that you need at least three offensive linemen on the roster who can snap. It's nice to have a capable backup center, but it's critical to have at least three active players who can snap. While you don't "typically" lose more than two centers in a game, what "typically" happens means little if you actually lose two centers and don't have any linemen active who can snap.

Tom from The Mean Streets of Nocatee

Have you settled on a name for the Meet and Greet? Maybe Zoneapalooza or Mooda-Con? Funk-Stock?

Pipe Dream.

Jeremy from Gilbert, AZ

I grew up in Jacksonville and moved away in 1997 for my work career. I've lived in and visited a lot of places and was visiting family in Jax this past week. I hate saying it but most of Jacksonville is run down. There are some nicer areas, but it's definitely not the nice place I remember growing up. And from this one reader's view, Jax lacks a lot of appeal compared to many other cities. If I was Jacksonville, I would lock up the new stadium deal because if I was Owner Shad Khan, I would be open to relocating the team to a nicer city (and it pains me to say that).

I guess you visited different areas of Jacksonville than I see. And than many others see. While – like any city – there are run-down areas, there also is constant growth and renovation. Jacksonville is one of fastest growing cities in a state that is one of the fastest growing states in the country. It's also a city with enormous potential, riverfront and beaches. From this view and the view of many, Jacksonville is very much a city of the future and a city on the rise. Jaguars Owner Shad Khan certainly sees it that way.

Ray from Jax

John: After reviewing drawings of the Stadium of the Future, I wonder who will pay the bill for Windex and paper towels.

It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to mow it.

Luke from Brisbane, Australia

G'day O, seeing some talk lately about giving some of the rookies more playing time to bring them along and take the load off the frontline players (a no-brainer, surely). Who decides which players' 'go in' each snap or series? The head coach, the coordinators, or position coaches? And do they topically look at snap counts for players during the game? Thanks!

While giving young players snaps to ease load from veterans indeed s a no-brainer in theory, it can be more difficult in practice. This is because while coaches and personnel officials can agree that playing young players is a noble objective, it's the coach – often the position coach at the command of the coordinator/head coach – who must make game-day decisions. And when it comes time for a coach to actually turn around on the sidelines and insert a player into the game, human nature can take over – and human nature often says to play the more experienced player. This is because the more experienced player feels like the safer option in the short term even though playing the young player could benefit the team in the long-term.

Al from Orange Park

"The Jaguars have been wearing shorts and baseball caps for the last two weeks of 2024 OTAs. How bad or good can they look?" Like you, I look fabulous in shorts. As I look around, some others, not so much….

Good eye. Really good.