JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Dave from Jacksonville
Wizard, it is hard to put expectations on specific players. What would be a reasonable expectation for a career to be considered a "generational player" at quarterback? Single-season highs? Career overall record? Playoff appearances? What would you like to see from a generational quarterback, so we might follow along on this journey?
Statistics and single-season highs aren't really all that important in this discussion, which I can only assume is based at least somewhat on the Jaguars selecting quarterback Trevor Lawrence No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft; results matter more than numbers. In that vein, a generational quarterback should go a long way to getting his team to the postseason every season once his career is established; you want to see winning records and playoff appearances in all but two or three seasons of a career that goes deep into the double digits. You want to see a Most Valuable Player season or two and a few Super Bowl appearances with a couple of victories in that biggest game. If all of that happens, I would expect a few seasons of mind-blowing statistics mixed in there. Oh – and a bust five years after retiring. One of the bronze ones. In Ohio.
Josh from Atlanta, GA
Some mornings, like July 7, I have an embarrassingly good time reading through this thing called the O-Zone. The question: As of now, what game do you find the most compelling storylines we will read about?
Good eye. The July 7 O-Zone, as much as any since the July 6 version, was special and stood out because for its insight and humor – and a dose of something else I can't remember. As far as Jaguars games with storylines for 2021, I would imagine they will change dramatically as each game approaches because the best storylines focus on postseason possibilities and other ongoings during the current season. For other storylines, I suppose it's hard to beat the Jaguars' game against the Los Angeles Rams. I'm almost sure of it, though I can't remember why exactly.
Rob from San Antonio, TX
KOAF, given all this talk of college athletes getting paid, we're losing sight of the real collegiate heroes. Guys like Christ Knight and Mitch Taylor revolutionized laser technology at places like Pacific Tech University. They are the true heroes.
Well, goodie for them.
Nate from Jacksonville
Obviously, I expect Lawrence to start Week 1, but do you think there will be competition for the starting spot with Gardner Minshew II at all?
I do expect there to be competition between Minshew and Lawrence during Jaguars 2021 Training Camp. I expect Lawrence to win the job.
Scott from Gulf Breeze, FL
No question, but that Vitas Gerulaitis quote is the best sports quote I've ever heard. Been chuckling ever since I read it in the Zone. Thanks.
It was brilliant.
Tom from Jacksonville
John, regarding the fine that Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer received for the OTA violation … it appears that everyone forgets that head coaches Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers and Mike McCarthy of the Dallas Cowboys also were fined. The amount does not matter. They are both longtime NFL coaches who you would think would know that they were violating the negotiated rules. Thoughts?
Yeah, you would think. But football coaches are competitive beings who push limits. That's why the NFL Players Association is diligent in monitoring offseason and regular-season rules. If they don't, coaches would push and push – and players would get less and less time off. It doesn't make coaches bad people. It's just their nature.
Kevin from Jacksonville Beach, FL
OK John. When and how did the Sbarro lovefest start?
I ate there. Bliss. Sheer bliss.
Mike from Atlanta, GA
Do you watch soccer, John? My wife and I got a streaming service, and I watched the South American qualifiers for the World Cup. It's so action-packed. Also, they're really darned good. Do you have any favorites for the World Cup 2022? I got Brazil, Spain and Argentina as my favorites to win it with Switzerland being my dark-horse pick. They gave the best European teams a real hard time and it didn't look fluky.
The 2022 World Cup is about 12 months away. When it's about one month away, I'll ask my son who should win and then I'll be able to tell you the favorite.
George from Lakewood, OH
Any reason "Ashlyn Sullivan, digital reporter and host" seems to chime in last in Final Analysis? We need more female reporters. Yeah, it's the dead zone. Now let me get back to Jerry Springer.
The names are listed alphabetically.
Chris from San Diego, CA
If an 18-to-22-year-old kid was offered a job at Facebook to work as a computer engineer and he had the opportunity to earn at minimum hundreds of thousands of dollars and up to millions, but there was a law saying that he must get go to college for four years preventing him from working, how would you react? Even if that student were to earn a "scholarship," it would be uniformly considered unjust and unfair. No one would stand for it. However, since we are talking about sport which has been grandfathered into this idea that it is just something that is free labor this is considered to even be an actual question.
First, I wouldn't care all that much about the kid not being able to earn hundreds of thousands or millions unless it was my kid. I am by nature a selfish person, and my passion on most issues is limited to two or three people, all of whom directly affect me. Also: The NFL is different than Facebook because it's a league with collectively bargained rules. As such, it usually is allowed to set rules for its own teams. A football player theoretically could leave and go play in a different league with different rules – assuming, of course, he would be happy with what that league is paying. There also is an element of safety involved with the NFL's rules. What I mean by that is the NFL long has leaned away from allowing players to go into the league too early because the 18-to-20-year-old body in many cases is dramatically different than the body of the 25-to-30-year-olds against whom they will play in the NFL. There are exceptions to this, but that's generally true – and people who don't believe this generally haven't seen both games up close and heard/seen the mammoth difference in violence from the college to the professional game. But look: I'm theoretically fine with high school players and young college players going directly to the league. I think it would be a mess and hurt more players than it helped, but it's theoretically fine.
Jeremy from The Squatchlands
Just a quick rebuttal to the rebuttals about my college to professional sports pipeline question: First off, football did start in colleges. However, did those players earn their way into the school based on academics and THEN join the team as a form of extracurricular activity, or were they really good athletes who were granted admission based on that? That is the big difference between then and today. Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but the Ivy League is where football began; oddly enough, you don't see a lot of star athletes coming from those schools. It's almost like they prioritize academics over athletics while other schools are the ones that sold out and became football teams with a college. OK, I'm done now.
Earl from Middleburg, FL
So, knowing that opposing defenses will look for weaknesses in TL's style like they did with Minshew, would it behoove (real word) Meyer to sit on special packages to draw off the defense later on in the year or just shoot the moon from Day One?
Defenses seek and find weaknesses in every young quarterback's style, and they certainly will do with Lawrence. How quickly and effectively the quarterback adjusts and turns his so-called weaknesses into strengths – or at least figures a way to win against the schemes defenses use against him – is the truest measure of how the young quarterback is developing. It's also the best sign of whether that young quarterback truly has a chance to become elite. This development often happens over the course of a few seasons rather than all happening during the rookie season. I don't know that Meyer and the Jaguars need "special packages" early or late this season. More likely they need to figure out what Lawrence can do effectively early, emphasize that then adjust as the season continues.
Stu from Wrestlingworth – UK
KOAF!! It's your 10-year anniversary of the O-Zone in a month's time! That doesn't give me any time to get you a present, bake a Victorian Sponge and organize the gang for a party! In all seriousness though, top work on the 10-year milestone, appreciate the work you do!
There's always time for presents. Always.