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O-Zone: Bad feeling

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Dave from Jacksonville

KOAF, did I hear Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer praise Laviska Shenault Jr. for his play at H-back? Perhaps Urban sees the Shannon Sharpe comparison. Weapons are only as good as those utilizing them. Sharpe was too slow to break the lineup against the three amigos. Big enough to line up anywhere. Strong enough to dominate inside. Urban has developed the position in his years as coach. If he brings it to the NFL successfully, Laviska could make a lot of money.

You did hear Meyer praise Shenault, and you did hear him speak of using Shenault in the H-back position. I wouldn't say that means Shenault won't play a role at wide receiver – just as using Travis Etienne at wide receiver at times doesn't mean the first-round rookie never will be used at running back. Learning how this offense will look will be intriguing, though – and it perhaps will be the major storyline of Jaguars 2021 Training Camp. I expect Etienne and Shenault to both be used in versions of that H-Back position, with some of that usage depending on how Meyer's offense actually looks in the NFL with the influence of offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and passing-game coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. The players bring different traits to the role, with Etienne bringing uncommon speed and Shenault bringing uncommon physicality. But I wouldn't necessarily interpret this discussion as meaning Shenault won't play a role as a wide receiver. He has looked very good running routes and catching passes during 2021 Organized Team Activities. He has the feel of a player poised to take a second-year jump in 2021. That would be huge for this offense whatever his role. And don't discount Shenault's speed. He has looked quick in and out of routes in OTAs – and he's more than fast enough to get open against NFL defenses.

_Gene from Middleburg, FL          _

TREVOR ETN impressions

I'll assume you're asking how Jaguars rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Etienne have looked during 2021 OTAs. If so, I laud you for brevity; if not, I'm an idiot. Lawrence struggled in the red zone in the one Week 1 OTA that was open to the media, looked very good in the open Week 2 OTA and was limited by a tight hamstring in the open Week 3 OTA. The limited time to observe Lawrence makes it tough to draw a sweeping conclusion on how he has looked because there have been five other practices we haven't seen. But Shenault told me earlier this week that he has been ultra-impressed with Lawrence – particularly with the rookie quarterback throws the ball accurately and on time as receivers are coming out of their breaks. That last part is a very good sign for a young quarterback. It's tougher to get a gauge on running backs in non-contact work, but Etienne has looked as advertised – ultra-quick, ultra-fast and very capable as a receiver. Bottom line: There's nothing to worry about with either player three weeks into non-padded work.

Justin from Jacksonville

Hey, O. Who do you think was our best middle linebacker in our short history? Would you give it to Mike Peterson or Paul Posluszny? If you could bring back one right now, in their prime, who would it be and why?

I would lean toward Posluszny, but that's absolutely influenced by the fact that I covered Posluszny's entire seven seasons in Jacksonville and did not cover Peterson in Jacksonville – though I did cover Peterson during his final two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts. It's quite possible I'm wrong on this, because Peterson was a critical player on a lot of very good defenses and the truth is there probably isn't much difference between the two. Either would be assets on any defense.

Richy B from the Bronx

"I would suggest checking the comments section…" What's a comments section?


Ejay from Jacksonville

There seems to be many comments about improvements in the food and nutrition program this offseason. Is this a recommendation to players or is there some requirements as to their diet and food?

Everything involved in an NFL offseason is voluntary except for a three-day mandatory minicamp. It's up to the team to provide food and nutrition good enough that players realize it's in their best interest to follow the plan – and teams certainly can encourage players to follow the plan – but it is very much voluntary.

Chris from Mandarin

Anyone that cites politics as a reason for not watching the NFL is ridiculous.


Mike from Saint Augustine, FL

I better get the movie theater butter popcorn to watch you walk back this "Hard Knocks" nonsense. Urban Meyer gonna Urban Meyer. You'll quickly realize that this is about nobody but him. Never coached in the NFL, drafts like he's recruiting a college class, people Tebowing all over Jacksonville. We won one game. One. I'm sure we have nothing else to work on that doesn't need to be on camera. I mean, it's just ridiculous. I wanna make it very clear I'm not so ignorant as to think that anything that I just mentioned has a guaranteed concrete effect on the season, but why?

My instinct is that you're a bit caught up in the perception of Meyer and not considering the substance he has brought to the Jaguars – i.e., the practices, the game-planning, the talent assessment, the focus on strength and conditioning. That's the stuff that matters, and Meyer from this view has been very focused on those areas. Whether the Jaguars appear on "Hard Knocks" this year – and even whether Tim Tebow makes the team as a tight end – seem minor issues compared the aforementioned "stuff that matters." And it's not as if Meyer is constantly inviting distractions. The Jaguars' OTA practices, for example, have been as closed as is allowed under NFL rules – with only one per week open to the media. I understand the perception of some observers that Meyer is seeking publicity, but the reality is his high profile ensures that whatever he does will receive publicity – regardless of whether he seeks it or not. From what I've seen of Meyer, the No. 1 priority is winning. It's the only priority. I've seen nothing to make me think anything's above that.

Corey from Turner from Glen St Mary, FL

J.O., will you be getting a sweet condo at the Four Seasons?

Yes. Comped. #Sweeeeeeeeet

Josh from Atlanta, GA

So many national pundits keep repeating the same stupid thing: "New coach Urban Meyer has looked to be in over his head." The only thing that will change the perception is winning, obviously. I just don't understand how that can be a talking point when we haven't even entered full on training camp. I blame Twitter for the need for hot takes, but damn is it frustrating.

Everyone has an opinion, and this is particularly true during this era of 24-7, non-stop Twitter and sports talk. And taking a shot at Meyer is easy for national pundits. He's a polarizing, high-profile figure who people like to criticize. The shots mean nothing and the results moving forward mean everything. As for the hot takes … they're whatever, I guess.

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

On Tuesday you referred to Jay Tufele as a nose tackle. I had thought he was more of an all-purpose kind of defensive lineman who could play inside or outside. Was I off on this? Is he really expected to play right over the center (or just about)?

You were not off. I meant to say defensive tackle. My bad.

Fred from Naples, FL

"His greatest quality is competitive spirit …" not exactly a ringing endorsement. It sounds like a guy about to get moved.

This is an excerpt from Meyer discussing Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II recently. While the quote is accurate, it didn't seem to me that quote read quite like it sounded when he said it this week. What happens sometimes with Meyer and many NFL coaches is their answers in press conference situations get analyzed and discussed so much that they are overanalyzed and overdiscussed to the point that they take on more meaning than perhaps is merited. When Meyer was asked about Minshew the other day, he said the part about competitive spirit – and then he also talked about how the Jaguars really haven't been in competitive situations, which made it difficult to fully evaluate. If you listened to what Meyer was saying, it sounded more like he was discussing a player he hadn't yet evaluated fully and less like a player about to get moved. I guess that's a longwinded way or saying don't assume an excerpt from a coaches' press conference necessarily defines how the team feels about a player. There isn't not always enough there to draw complete conclusions.

Sean from Jacksonville

So, it's not the end of the world as we know it? Do you feel fine?

No. Not really.