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O-Zone: Approaching fast

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Gary from St. Augustine, FL

Zone, I keep seeing the Jaguars and Rams linked in a trade for James Robinson. Say it ain't so. Say it ain't so. … So, is it so?

Let's clarify something: While analysts and observers in the Twitterverse have said the Los Angeles Rams should try to trade for Jaguars running back James Robinson following a season-ending injury to running back Cam Akers, there's a big difference between such speculation and a "link." Such Twitter chatter and speculation also does not mean there will be a trade, and it most definitely does not mean the Jaguars will consider it. I would be stunned if the Jaguars traded Robinson, and my guess is it would take a mind-blowing offer for it to be considered. I suppose the speculation began because analysts see rookie running back Travis Etienne and veteran Carlos Hyde on the Jaguars' roster and believe Robinson is somehow expendable. I get no impression that the Jaguars see Robinson as expendable. Remember: While Etienne was selected No. 25 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, he was selected as a hybrid running back/wide receiver and not necessarily to replace Robinson as the starter. They in a very real sense don't play the same position. Remember, too: The Jaguars under Head Coach Urban Meyer want to emphasize a dynamic running game. They acquired Hyde and Etienne because they want a strong, deep versatile backfield. If you remove Robinson, the backfield gets a lot less deep and a lot less versatile.

Don from Marshall, NC

The Jaguars can help their run defense by playing with a lead for a change. Go Jaguars!

True. The Jaguars in recent seasons have struggled mightily against the run, a weakness that has weakened many other areas – particularly pass rush, because the Jaguars haven't had nearly enough chance in recent seasons to rush the quarterback in obvious passing situations. The other element in this discussion indeed is the one you mention – that the Jaguars' defense in recent seasons has had to play far too often while trailing by far too much. When you trail by double digits early, opponents get far more opportunities to run. And the more opportunities to run, the better chance they'll have success.

Paul from Gainesville, FL

Will Oklahoma be doing the Jacksonville drill this year?

Goodness, let's hope not.

Richard from Lincoln, RI

Happy birthday, John. I turned 62 Wednesday. Besides sharing the same birthday, do you think we have anything else in common?

Goodness, let's hope not.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

So, it seems Ponderosa closed its doors. If the Washington Football Team called you tomorrow and offered you senior writer duties with a $500 per year bump, would you entertain it? Or is the last bit of WFT emotion long gone from your warm heart?

I love Jacksonville and consider the Jaguars a great organization for which to work – and I can honestly say it's the best organization for which ever I have worked. I absolutely would not leave this job for any job in the NFL under your cited circumstances. As for the Washington Football Team, while I followed that organization and team passionately as a child and young adult, that allegiance was of a different time and place. There is no tie or connection there for me any longer.

DC Jag from Alexandria, VA

Hail KOAF! Is it just me or does the Malcom Brown trade seem a bit overlooked in importance when considering all the Jags offseason moves? The guy was a first-round draft pick, has two Super Bowl rings and probably will be a centerpiece to our 3-4 defense, yet he is seldom mentioned. Can you give us some insight on what he brings to the table?

I never quite know how to answer questions about people overlooking areas of the Jaguars because I don't pay much attention to how outsiders rate such things. But if people don't consider Brown an important offseason acquisition, then they indeed are missing a major storyline. Improving the defensive front was the No. 1 offseason focus for Meyer and General Manager Trent Baalke, and no offseason acquisition was a key to that end as trading for Brown. The Jaguars must get stouter defensively because they must stop the run, and Brown figures to be critical to that. He brings stoutness and disruption against the run with occasional pass rush. He also brings versatility because he can be stout inside at nose tackle or as an end in a 3-4. He matters – and no, he shouldn't be overlooked.

Greg from Section 122 from Jacksonville

It's the dead zone and I get that, but I liked it better when we simply said former cornerback Jalen Ramsey is no longer a member of the team and thus has no relevance. The guy wants to throw shade on our team over a past leadership who is no longer in charge? Fine. Keep whining man, someone obviously can't grow up and get over being told your behavior isn't acceptable. And just a reminder, regardless of how MANAGEMENT handled it, Ramsey never ONCE took responsibility for his actions on the field or for touching a coach in a hostile way. That speaks volumes about this person's character who is complaining. I don't care what kind of talent he has, he is immature and classless, which is all that matters. I would take 100 "good" players with great character over ONE Ramsey any day and twice on Sunday.


Mike from Atlanta, GA

Ramsey left because former Jaguars General Manager Dave Caldwell used strong language with him? Cut the crap. If I were his teammate, I don't know how I could look at him seriously after that. Our football coach at a high school on the west side played linebacker for one of the old AFC Central teams back in the 80s. I'm just at a loss. I strongly doubt Jalen's coaches were much different. In fact, I wager other players have talked to Jalen similarly at some point. This is what hurt his back? Did Dave throw a chair across the room in a fit of rage and as Jalen ducked he tweaked his back? I'm curious as to what was going on in the locker at the time, how the other players reacted.

My understanding is the meeting in question – after the Week 2 loss in Houston in 2019 – took place away from the team. I haven't heard that Caldwell threw a chair. I agree that "bad words" aren't all that shocking in an NFL environment.

Unhipcat from Bbarh, Garnet, CA

Hi, John. On a hyperbolic point system, how many seasons until Trevor Lawrence is the NFL's version of Giannis Antetokounmpo?

I assume you mean a player who transforms a franchise, becomes the clear leader of the franchise and becomes primarily responsible for that franchise winning its league title. This is a slightly different task in the NFL than in the NBA, where Antetokounmpo indeed accomplished that task by leading the Milwaukee Bucks to the championship Tuesday. How long until Lawrence accomplishes the task with Jacksonville? Let's say three-to-five years, give or take. Remember: Peyton Manning played in four Super Bowls and won two his career, and he didn't win his first Super Bowl until in his ninth season. It's not always a right-now thing.

Jarret from Crosby, ND

I'm pretty sure you were being disingenuous when you snubbed my question, Zone, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and try again, even though I pay you to answer questions and not be cute. Over/under regarding Lawrence's stats for the season: 30 touchdowns, 20 interceptions, 4,000 yards.

I don't expect Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence to throw 20 or more interceptions as a rookie, so I'll take the under. If he stays healthy, I expect him to pass for more than 4,000 yards. I'll take the under on the 30 touchdowns. I would project closer to 26 or so.

Ray from Jax

John: I think I know.

I don't.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, an answer about running backs in the Final Analysis had me wondering if there have ever been two elite/HOF level RB's on the same team at the same time?

Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew came pretty close to this for the Jaguars in 2006-2008, and Bo Jackson and Marcus Allen played for the Los Angeles Raiders in the late 1980s and early 1990. The greatest oft-overlooked tandem along these lines might have in the 1950s, when Hugh McElhenny and Joe Perry – both Hall of Famers – played nine seasons together for the San Francisco 49ers. The greatest tandem of all-time might be a toss-up between Paul Hornung/Jim Taylor for the 1960s Green Bay Packers and Jim Brown/Bobby Mitchell for the Cleveland Browns of essentially the same era.

John from Jacksonville

Since it's still technically the dead zone how long until we see Elon Musk sitting on top of a SpaceX booster?

Jaguars 2021 Training Camp begins July 27.