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O-Zone: Always remember

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Marlin from Lottieville, FL

Hey, Zone. Did you see the article in The Athletic? Wow, what a dumpster fire! At what point to you did it become obvious that hiring Urban Meyer was a mistake?

The Athletic indeed on Monday posted an article regarding former Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer. But while the article is yet another" deep dive" into Meyer's brief tenure here, and while it's indeed a good read, I don't know that it covers that much new ground. Meyer according to reports treated players and coaches poorly, and players and coaches clearly considered the environment toxic; that's clear from the Athletic article – but it had been clear from other articles and reports, too. As for the hiring being a mistake, it's hard to pinpoint an exact time such things become obvious. It's usually more a case of feelings stockpiling and evidence pointing to inevitabilities. This one felt like an odd fit early because of Meyer's lack of NFL experience and constant "learning experiences." The tenue felt weirder and less likely to succeed as time went on because of incident after incident. Sometime around October or November it became pretty clear it wasn't going to get better. Exactly when? Hell, I don't know. Maybe I blocked it out.

Gero from Wenden, Germany

Hello, John. In the Urban Meyer era, the Jaguars were penalized for violations of applicable NFL rules during OTAs with the cancellation of two OTA days for the 2022 season. Is that penalty still in effect or was it reversed due to the hiring of Doug Pederson as head coach? Two more days would be very important for all players and coaches actively and passively involved, right?

The Jaguars were penalized for violating rules during organized team activities last offseason – with those penalties including losing two OTA days in 2022. But because the Jaguars changed head coaches this offseason, those penalties are no more. The Jaguars therefore have their full complement of OTAS in 2022, and the coaches undoubtedly will be pleased. As for the days being very important … well, they do matter. No doubt. Or they wouldn't take place. Would there be a crisis if the Jaguars had two fewer than normal? Would there be a discernable difference in how the team performed in 2022? Probably not. But sure … they matter.

Ryan from Detroit, MI

O-Zone, simple question: Who do you think has more receiving yards next year, DJ Chark or Christian Kirk?

They have been pretty similar in production when healthy. History often holds true on these things, so I expect it to be close again in 2022. I'll go with Kirk.

Tom from Nocatee

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, A tale of a fateful trip. That started next to Lenny's Lawn aboard Khan's mighty ship. The mate was a mighty writin' lad, The skipper, Gene, was pure (legend). Five passengers absconded with that boat for a three hour tour, A three hour tour. The weather started getting rough, The lavish ship was tossed. If not for the courage of the fearless crew the Kismet would be lost, The Kismet would be lost. The ship set ground on the shore of an isle, Beneath the Matthews Bridge, With O-zone Man, and Eugene too, The billionaire, And his son, The Culligan Girl, Brian Sexton and Ashlynn too, Here on Ozone's Isle.

You put a lot of effort into that. I'm not passing judgement. I'm just pointing it out.

Alan from Ellington, CT

The Jags had 14 players leave in free agency. Seven of those have been signed by other teams in the first few days of free agency. Obviously people that complained last year that they only had poor players were wrong.


Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, why do you think Gene turns down all the offers he gets yearly?

While I am happy to chronicle the great feats of physical strength and athletic prowess of longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette, I am not so bold as to speak for what motivates this noble creature. Only he can tell us the details of what goes on in that noggin.

Al from Orange Park, FL

Head Coach Doug Pederson's book is off and on interesting, but certainly no Jags to Riches. The one thing that I found most interesting was the number of familiar names that he played with, played for or coached with. The world of NFL coaches is really a fairly small fraternity, isn't it?


Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

Seems that in the space of a few days, we've gone from "How could we let Myles Jack go" to "Myles Jack wasn't that good anyway." Okay, so maybe MJ wasn't a Top 10 linebacker. But he was good enough to lead the Jaguars in combined tackles last year with 108. He was consistent enough to start 82 of the 88 games he played in. He was, by all reports, a good teammate, and a high-effort guy. Hey, I wish him the best in Pittsburgh. I just don't think he deserves the sour grapes he's now getting.

There is a natural ebb and flow to these narratives. When a bunch of people praise something, it's human nature that a bunch of other people will respond by saying, "Yeah, BUT!!!" The reverse also is true. Jack, who the Jaguars released last week and who subsequently signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers, was a good player for the Jaguars for a long time. He had stretches in which he was really, really good – and he probably would have been considered for the Pro Bowl in 2020 had the Jaguars' season overall not been so miserable. I expect he will be really good for the Steelers and that many Jaguars fans will wonder why the team released him – and I also expect most Jaguars fans in the long-term will remember him for what he was: a good player who played well consistently for a long time on some teams that typically struggled. Either way, I doubt the grapes will remain sour for long.

Sean from Oakleaf, FL

Is every AFC West Divisional game this year Must See TV? What is the over-under on the number of appearances on Sunday Night Football or Monday Night Football for the AFC West Teams? Put me down for 17. It is a lucky break the Jags do not have to play the AFC West this year.

Sean is "all in" on the AFC West.

Tim from Fort Wayne, IN

I just read that Darious Williams turned down more money to come play in Jacksonville. One can only assume that's because of all the wonderful things he heard Jalen Ramsey say about this organization while the two of them were playing together. Will he slide into the slot role with Campbell and Griffin on the outside, or do you foresee a different alignment?

General Manager Trent Baalke and Pederson were a bit vague on this when discussing free agency last week – as often is the case when GMs and head coaches discuss personnel. And I suspect competition will be the organizational watchword on three top cornerbacks when the offseason begins. I would guess Shaquill Griffin and Tyson Campbell remain the "starters" entering the regular season with Williams in the slot. Remember, though: Slot – or nickel – cornerback essentially is a starting role in the modern NFL. It is being paid as such these days, as it should. With teams playing three receivers more and more – and teams therefore in "base" defense less and less – if you don't have a quality nickel corner, you're in trouble.

Travis from High Springs

When Walker Little was drafted by the Jaguars last year, I remember reading that he had only ever played at left tackle, and now with Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson getting tagged there's a lot of talk about him moving to right tackle. Is that an easy switch for a player to make? It seems after playing on one side your whole life it may be a difficult move to make.

It's not easy, but it's doable.

Bradley from Sparks, NV

Super Bowl contending teams typically have three-to-five elite players, 10-to-15 solid pros and two-to-seven  young guys that potentially will be elite or solid. How many players would you say the Jags have in each category?

I say the Jaguars have one elite player, five-time Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff; aside from that, no player has proven himself elite. They're good on the solid pros and the young guys, but they need more special players who do special things. The hope is quarterback Trevor Lawrence will become such a player. If he does, the exact numbers in all your categories don't matter so much.

Brad from The Avenues

It's a battle cry John, like REMEMBER THE ALAMO, and as far as I'm concerned it stays until we make it to the big show. MJWD.

Fair. He wasn't.