JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Steve from Nashville, TN
How many roster spots of our final 53 typically will be reserved for the "front seven" on defense? Looking at the names currently on the roster and thinking about this year's drafted players and free-agent signings on the front seven, it will be hard to make the team at these positions for many players?
Eighteen or 19 defensive – or about that – front-seven players typically make a roster in a 3-4 defense; 19 defensive linemen, outside linebackers and inside linebackers were on the Jaguars' initial 53-player roster last September. Yes, the Jaguars addressed these areas in a big way this offseason and they appear to have added quality. Yes, the front seven now appears to be a strength with a slew of players who are either good, really good and perhaps (emphasis on "perhaps") approaching elite: outside linebackers Josh Allen and Travon Walker; linebackers Foye Oluokun, Chad Muma and Devin Lloyd; defensive linemen Malcom Brown, Dawuane Smoot, Foley Fatukasi, Roy-Robertson Harris and Arden Key. Outside linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson could also play his way into a role, as could others. And that's good. A front seven needs depth to "play in waves." Perhaps the Jaguars now have that. Either way, it indeed will be difficult for some players at these positions to make the roster. As it should be.
Don from Marshall, NC
That team in '99 was best. I mean that's when the "Uh-Oh" video was a popping. I hate the Titans! Go Jaguars!
The '99 Jaguars indeed were the best team in franchise history. In addition to Hall-of-Fame level talents such as left tackle Tony Boselli, running back Fred Taylor and wide receiver Jimmy Smith, they were good at a ton of other places: Defensive end Tony Brackens, defensive tackle Gary Walker, wide receiver Keenan McCardell, linebacker Kevin Hardy, quarterback Mark Brunell, right tackle Leon Searcy. Just to name a few. Perhaps the forgotten element of that team was an 11-game regular-season winning streak. That's difficult to do. Really difficult. Uh-oh.
Brian from Gainesville, FL
Big O, another reason to want the Jaguars to be in nationally-televised games is to ensure we can actually watch them. Sometimes even in Gainesville, which is pretty close to Jacksonville, the local station plays a different game and since I don't have Direct TV, I'm relegated to listening to Boselli on the radio.
Sean from Jacksonville
What players' absence, that have left since last season, do you feel will be missed the most? I'll vote for Myles Jack.
I might go with center Brandon Linder here. Jack was a good and talented player, but the Jaguars addressed off-the-ball linebacker in a major way this offseason by drafting Muma and Lloyd and signing Oluokun as an unrestricted free agent. The Jaguars have veteran Tyler Shatley to replace the now-retired Linder, and they also selected Luke Fortner in Round 3. Those two will compete at the position and I expect Fortner to be a good player for the long-term. But Linder could be missed in the short-term.
Biff from Jacksonville
Do you often find that no one gives a dang about the things you give a dang about?
Josh from Fernandina Beach, FL (via Fort Lauderdale)
Hello, Zone: I am certainly interested in seeing the Four Seasons and Shipyards projects take shape. My question relates specifically to the project formally referred to as Lot J. I understood the Lot J project to be a fairly integral component of the comprehensive vision for the Sport Complex. Knowing the project died by one swing vote, is there any local conjecture about the project being revived? I have always appreciated how unique the opportunity is in Jacksonville to see the synergy between the growth of an NFL franchise and its host city and I appreciate any insight you have on this topic. Thanks and Go JAGS!!!
The Lot J initiative is no more. That project ended when the vote was lost. Development around TIAA Bank Field will now focus on the sports performance center, Shipyards and Four Seasons with an eye in the foreseeable future on renovating the stadium.
Mike from St. Augustine , FL
O'Man, The dead season has landed. I got nothin'.
Sam from Orlando, FL
Is it true that when the Super Bowl came to Jacksonville that Eugene "Hollywood" Frenette narrowly lost to King Kong when they were casting Godzilla versus Kong? Even after he lost the role, producers loved the way Godzilla versus Frenette rolled off the tongue.
Longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette does not "narrowly lose roles." He does not audition. He typically rotates between big-budget roles that pay the bills and independent films in which he can play roles that feed his soul.
John from Boynton Beach, FL
I hope that Trevor Lawrence proves to be good enough to play so long with the Jaguars that his long hair thing starts to look really sad because he's balding. A' la Hulk Hogan, brother!
JR from the Squatchlands
Can you give us an idea of who the "selected veterans" are that will be required to attend minicamp and why?
Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson was a bit coy Thursday when asked about this. He was specifically asked if quarterback Trevor Lawrence would participate. He smiled and said he couldn't tell the reporter that. I don't expect Lawrence to participate. It would be surprising if any veterans with more than a few plays/series of NFL experience participate. Such events are about teaching and getting young players reps they might not get when more established players are participating.
Duval Red from Zihuatanejo, MX
You could argue Pederson cancelled minicamp to curry favor with the players. Or, maybe make a few friends among us fans. Me, I think he did it just to feel normal again, if only for a short while.
Hope is a good thing, Duval Red, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies.
David from Chuluota, FL
KOAF: When observers describe outside linebacker Travon Walker's size, they describe him as if he's Andre the Giant, who was 7-feet-4 and 520 pounds. Travon Walker is 6-feet-5 and 275 pounds; in today's NFL. He shouldn't stand out, but he does. On the current roster, there are 22 players that weigh more and 11 players that are taller. So maybe, what impresses people is not his actual size, but the way a man his size can move? Thoughts?
What impresses people about Walker is his combination of size, strength and athleticism – so yes, the way a man his size can move is part of the equation. He also has huge hands and impressive length – long arms – for his position. He also looks like he has pads on – even when he doesn't. He looks like he was put on this earth to play football and he moves that way, too. We'll find out over the next few months and years if he can play at a high level.
Sean from Oakleaf, FL
Just wondering if realignment is a dead topic for the NFL. Considering the cost of fuel now a days and climate change, the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East makes no sense. They are about 1,300 miles away from their closest division rivals, the Washington Commanders. A fix could be to put the Cowboys in the AFC South and move Indianapolis to the NFC East?
This topic gets raised occasionally and it makes for interesting discussion. I would expect we will see realignment some day because the league historically – and occasionally – has realigned because of expansion, teams moving, etc. I don't sense any sentiment for anything anytime soon on this front. The league realigned in 1970 with the Merger and in 2002 to its current eight-division format. Maybe it will happen in another 10-to-20 years. Maybe not.
Fred from Naples, FL
How much of an impact will losing Jordan Smith have on the Jags this year? It seems to me like he was just going to be another guy fighting for a roster spot.
Outside linebacker/defensive end Jordan Smith, a fourth-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, on Monday in OTA practice sustained what Pederson said was a season-ending knee injury. He was a player who needed to make a second-year jump to earn playing time in what is now a pretty deep front seven. If he was going to make that jump, then it's a loss. We'll have to wait a year now to see what sort of impact he might have made.
Diego from South of Tierra del Fuego
To make Ozone more interesting, why don't you write in using other names and ask yourself questions that the rest of us never ask? Then let us guess which sender is you. If Diego had had his own Dzone, he would do this and put y.
Who says I don't do this? And who says I didn't write this email?