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O-Zone: Almost there

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Bill from Ponte Vedra, FL

Will the Steelers game be the traditional third preseason game, in which starters play into the second half?

A few thoughts. One is while Head Coach Doug Pederson hasn't discussed how he will approach any preseason game, his history as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles from 2016-2020 was he often erred on the side of minimizing playing time for starters. I would guess he would lean to playing starters a bit more this preseason; it's his first season with the Jaguars, and it would behoove players to get reps in new offensive and defensive systems. Remember, though: While there once was a pretty standard across-the-board approach for preseason games, that's not the case anymore. Some coaches don't play starters in Week 1. Some barely play starters at all – even in Week 3, which indeed teams for decades approached as a "dress rehearsal." And with the league eliminating Preseason Week 4 as of last season, there's not really a league-wide preseason norm under the new format. The Jaguars play the Pittsburgh Steelers in "Week 2" of preseason, but because of the Pro Football Hall of Fame game, it's indeed their third preseason game. My guess is if there's a "dress rehearsal" it likely will be the fourth preseason – in so-called Preseason Week 3 – at Atlanta on August 27. I expect we'll get a much better feel for this in the coming weeks.

Bruce from St. Simons Island, GA

O, I noticed the report on QB Murray's new contract. Seems like the Jags have a window with Lawrence's rookie contract. Two more years on that rookie contract?

The Arizona Cardinals indeed signed quarterback Kyler Murray to a contract extension this week, marking the latest mind-blowing contract in a series of such NFL quarterback contracts recently. What does that mean for the Jaguars and quarterback Trevor Lawrence? First, Lawrence obviously must begin playing like a franchise quarterback – which he didn't do as a rookie in 2021. Either way, the Jaguars can't re-sign him to an extension until after his third season – the 2023 season. So, yes … the "window" on his rookie contract is at least two more years – perhaps four or five depending on when/if the sides want to agree to an extension. You ideally want it to be two because that would indicate Lawrence has played well enough in 2022 and 2023 to merit a franchise-defining contract. That's the hope.

Richard from Jacksonville

John, It's a very small world. Very small.

This is true, but I wouldn't want to paint it.

Willis from Jac

If we hadn't extended Blake Bortles/signed Nick Foles, we might've missed out on Trevor. If we hadn't signed Urban, we might've missed out on Doug. Thanksgiving for every wrong move?

This is a tough concept. Jaguars fans have had it tough last decade, and multiple missteps throughout that time have led to a ridiculously long and frustrating period of losing. I am hesitant to attach very much positive to the last decade beyond the 2017 AFC South championship season. Had the Jaguars not extended Bortles and signed Foles when they did, it's conceivable they would have made other moves that would have led to such success that selecting Lawrence No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft wouldn't have been possible. And it's hard to be thankful for how Head Coach Urban Meyer's career played out. It would have been far better for all involved had he been successful; that was the goal when he was hired. That's a bit of a contrarian view to your question, though. Jaguars 2022 Training Camp is nearly upon us, so let's be thankful. Thankful for Bortles. Thankful for Foles. Thankful for Meyer. And absolutely thankful that all decisions led to Pederson and Lawrence. Hallelujah and cool beans.

Nathan from Utah, US

Dead Zone, tell Earl and the rest of wing nation that we're all getting soft. You grab the wing from one end. You put that wing in your mouth. You suck, bite and pull that bone out of your mouth. Bush-leaguers leave meat and have to decide whether to continue their fiasco. A pro gets all the meat the first time and moves on to the next wing. And is saddened when that wing is boneless. And give the bushers some credit. It's a VERY! "close inspection for tidbits." #SNOOOPVAL!!!

One fer chicken on the bone …

MrMakersMark from E 3RD

I absolutely agreed with you about "too much work for very little pay off" concerning wings and thanks to Earl today, he solidified my distaste for all things "wings." Just wanted to send you birthday wishes and even though you are not technically a "fan," the Jaguars winning would make your job more exciting and fun. Enjoy your next trip around the sun.

… and one not fer wings – and fer being fifty-six.

Sam from Orlando, FL

The 2017 Jaguars team also played a motley crew of backup quarterbacks and starters who would never start again. Was a lucky season. But there was nothing lucky about how hot the team got down the stretch. Beating Seattle was real, as was the domination of the Texans and the playoff run. Luck or not. Those were real good football moments.

There indeed are people who consider the Jaguars' 2017 season fluky because of the reasons you cite. I don't buy into the fluke theory. You don't "luck" into the postseason in the NFL. You play who you play. All opponents are professional. The victories count. That Jaguars team beat the Pittsburgh Steelers and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger twice in 2017. They beat quarterback Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks. They beat Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers. They beat the Baltimore Ravens in London. It was a good team. They deserved what they accomplished.

Tom from Burnsville, NC

Neil Lomax?

Yes.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

Ever care for The Doobie Brothers? I saw them in Atlanta this past weekend, and even at their age they put on a hell of a show. Electric some might say. As a 30-year-old "millennial," music from the past is just that much better.

I've never been a huge Doobie Brothers guy. That said, when Blackwater comes on and I'm in the 'ol Ford Escape, do I turn it up loud and sing, "Mississippi moon won't you keep on shining on me …?" I'm not embarrassed to say I do.

Steve from Wallingford, CT

With all these alternate helmets coming out, I honestly miss the Jags color change helmets.

OK.

Joe from Fleming Island

Mr. O, pretty amazing when a college football All-American turned Hall of Fame inductee, who despite a head the size of a beach ball seems to be a decent human being, can still out kick his coverage. Thanks for the podcast with Angi Boselli.

Your referencing the first episode of "The Boselli Series," a podcast series that will run on jaguars.com and Jaguars Media Channels in the coming weeks. I spoke to multiple people pertinent to Tony Boselli's Hall of Fame career, with the first episode speaking to Boselli's wife, Angi. I also spoke to former Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell, former Baltimore Ravens defensive end Michael McCrary, Hall of Fame defensive end Jason Taylor, Hall of Fame offensive tackle Anthony Munoz, Pete Prisco of CBS Sports, former Jaguars running back former Fred Taylor and former Jaguars right tackle Leon Searcy. I anticipated before beginning work on the series that the episode with Angi would be good – maybe the best of the series – and it was. She provided great insight into Boselli's long wait for Hall election, the premature end to Boselli's career and what Jacksonville means to their family – among other topics. All the episodes are worth a listen. The episode with Angi absolutely is.

Gray from Out on the Road

You're just a kid. Rub some dirt on it and get back in there.

OK, coach.

Richard from Jacksonville

O'Man, The dead zone is almost over. "The Boys" will be ready." The coach is as advertised. In the last NFL year, the general manager performed. The unicorn edge rusher was taken. Lawrence has all the intangibles. Every indication is he will improve. We have new facilities being built. A stadium renovation on the horizon. The organization is stable and all parts are moving in a positive direction. This is when good things start happening. I think things are about to get fun around here. The thing I'm surprised we don't talk about more is how big of a jump will Lawrence make? What are the chances he actually goes Carson Wentz (because he is a generational QB) and now he is in a functioning environment. Could he put up numbers in the lower end of some of the great Year 2s of the current young guns in the NFL?

Yes.

Johnny from Jax

Are we there yet? How many whiles? How many more sleeps?

Don't make me stop this car.

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