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O-Zone: All in

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Jason from North Pole, AK

Can you think of examples of things that young quarterbacks don't do well that defensive coordinators adjust to? I know with Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II, it seemed to be working the middle of the field – whether that was due to arm strength or height, I don't know. I am just trying to figure out what Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence – with all his talent and mobility – will have as a weakness that teams can exploit. Is it simply going to be between the ears for him and learning to read exotic coverages and blitz packages?

This varies from quarterback to quarterback, but the primary issues for most young NFL quarterbacks indeed are reading disguised coverages and blitz packages – and adjusting to the speed of the game. As for where Lawrence specifically will have to adapt and improve, that will be a primary storyline around him and the Jaguars this season – perhaps the most important storyline, actually. Opposing defensive coordinators will try different game plans early in the 2021 season; when an approach is successful against Lawrence, more opposing coordinators will try that approach until it fails. The best quarterbacks eventually reach a point where the best and most successful approach is having a pass rush that can disrupt and bother the quarterback without blitzing too often. Pressure with a few players – with a lot of players in coverage to take advantage of mistakes – is always the best formula.

Unhipcat from Carlsbad, CA

Johnny-O. I love Fred as much as the next guy, maybe more. He's a Hall of Famer for sure, as electric as any of his era. But his 90-yard TD run against the Miami Dolphins has me thinking Jimmy might have been just a little bit faster.

You're referencing former Jaguars running back Fred Taylor's 90-yard touchdown run against the Dolphins in an AFC Divisional Playoff game following the 1999 season. It was the highlight play in one of the biggest games in franchise history – and yes, former Jaguars wide receiver Jimmy Smith gained ground on Taylor late in the play. But remember: Taylor on that play expended energy at the line of scrimmage and avoiding tackles, then eased into the end zone pretty much knowing how fast he had to run to score. Smith finished the play at full throttle trying to block – and motivated to catch up with –Dolphins safety Brock Marion, who Smith didn't much like and who Smith wanted to make sure didn't catch Taylor. Smith indeed was really fast, and really good. But I can't say that he generally was faster than Taylor.

William the Contemplator from Jax

O-Z, Isn't it really cool that an underappreciated kid from Bolles (Mac Jones) and an underappreciated kid from the University of Florida (Kyle Trask) each have the opportunity to become the next Tom Brady in New England and Tampa Bay, respectively?


Dave from Jacksonville

KOAGF, have you seen the video of the Nikita Kucherov after the Stanley Cup? It is all over the Internet. We would not have this without guys like you asking the questions. This is the best emotional interview ever. Why would a fan not want this?

I have seen the video of Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning after the Stanley Cup finals this past week. It is indeed cool. I don't know why fans wouldn't want it and I assume most would want it. It speaks a bit to how cool it is to win a championship – and also a bit to the fact that athletes talking to the media does matter in terms of fans' enjoyment of the sport. Where this got lost – and when it became such a taxing and controversial chore for athletes to speak – I don't guess I ever will fully understand. It seems it has to do with an increasing tendency for all of us – media, athletes, folks in general – to take ourselves a bit too seriously. But what do I know? I'm just an aging sportswriter with a dim future and a past to match.

Chris from Mandarin

Trevor Lawrence is likely every bit as intelligent and physically gifted as Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. I don't see any reason the Jaguars shouldn't be in a deep playoff run by 2022.

Well, it's a little more difficult than that, but that's certainly the hope.

Clayton from Gambier, OH

Congrats to Novak. But Roger's still better!

Novak Djokovic won Wimbledon Sunday and now has 20 Grand Slam men's tennis titles, which equals the total won by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. It is a remarkable happening, that three of the greatest players of all time all hold the same number of slams – and that all are still active players. I don't know that grand slams are the ultimate measure of greatness in the sport, and the reality is all three players together have pushed the sport to previously unimaginable levels of excellence. I personally believe three players at their absolute peak would have been tough to beat by any player, current or past. I believe Federer plays the game more beautifully than any player I ever have seen, and he certainly is my favorite player. Can I say unequivocally that he is better than Djokovic? That's a difficult argument to make now.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, do you think that player with the bad back who shall not be named will be tearing up on the sideline next year when Trevor outplays him?

Whatever do you mean?

Jim from Middleburg, FL

John, I had a nightmare. The whole season rested upon a rookie quarterback.

I, too, had a nightmare. The Jaguars didn't get the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft and didn't get a chance to draft a potential generational quarterback with the selection. Now, that's a nightmare.

Steve from Nashville, TN

Last year the Jaguars flew 16,000 roundtrip miles to their away games; this year, well over 27,000 miles. How do teams counteract the effect of long air travel on player's (and Senior Writers) bodies or is this even a thing?

I counteract travel with a couple of Easy on the Eyes and a Dogfish 60, then a few miles on the NordicTrack the next morning. But that's my approach. It works for me and is why I am the physically imposing, jovial fellow you see before you today. I wouldn't recommend it for all.

Rob from San Antonio, TX

Definitely have been enjoying the offseason – hence, the line of submissions. I want to echo one of the other folks who wrote in and thank you for writing this every day for ten years. It not only gives fans an opportunity to engage with each other and the organization, but I'm sure is also a welcome and pleasant distraction to the ups and downs that happen to all of us in life.

Your certainty is admirable. It's perhaps a bit misplaced, but on some levels at least, it is admirable.

Scott from Jacksonville

It baffles me that folks refer to Gardner Minshew II as a running quarterback. It's true that he has vision and escapability that often allows him to make something from nothing with his legs. But designed running plays for him? I don't think so. If anyone watches him enough, they would realize that the only people on the field that are slower than him are the offensive linemen, and the occasional nose tackle. But yeah, let's run some plays where he has to outrun faster defensive ends. Brilliant!

That's not nice.

Frank from Jacksonville

Mr. O, The 1999 St. Louis Rams were mentioned as a great turnaround season. What is the single-season best turnaround an NFL team has ever had … say in the last 25 years? Just wondering if we catch lightning in a bottle this season, would we break any records going from 1-15 to say 11-6 in a single season?

The '99 Rams must be at or near the top of any such list – not just because of the number of victories that marked the improvement (from four in 1998 to 13 in 1999), but because they finished off the turnaround with a Super Bowl victory. The Miami Dolphins' 10-game improvement from 1-15 in 2007 to 11-5 in 2008 is the statistical record for biggest single-season turnaround, but the Dolphins lost to the Baltimore Ravens in the wild-card round that season. A few other teams also merit mention here, including the 2019 San Francisco 49ers, who went 13-3 with an NFC Championship after a 4-12 season in 2018. So, to answer your question … yeah, if the Jaguars improve to 11 victories from 1-15 last season, it would pretty much be a record. And it would matter a whole lot more if they turn that regular season into postseason success.

DT from NW AR

If Sbarro had a calzone called "the O-Zone" which toppings would go in it?