JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Billy Joe from Jacksonville Beach, FL
During OTAs and heading into the mandatory minicamp, what player does the coaching staff consider the Jaguars' No. 1 cornerback? Also, which players heading into minicamp are expected to be competing to be the No. 1 nickel defensive back? Lastly, how many players listed as a cornerback do you expect to be on the final roster, even if a player's main contribution is only as a special teams player?
This feels like an open-ended situation, with much to be determined in 2022 Training Camp. I don't know that there's a true "No. 1 corner" on the Jaguars, though it's reasonable to project veterans Tyson Campbell and Shaquill Griffin as the likely starters with Darious Williams – who signed as an unrestricted free agent in March – as the likely nickel corner. I don't sense the Jaguars see any of the three as the "absolute" true No. 1. I do sense they like the combination of the three, and it's conceivable any of the three could move inside to nickel. I would expect five-to-six corners on the final roster: Williams, Campbell, Griffin, veteran Tre Herndon, newly signed veteran Xavier Crawford and either rookie Montaric Brown or rookie Gregory Junior. That's the list. Give or take.
Tom from Shanghai, China
You mentioned running back James Robinson and right tackle Jawaan Taylor contract negotiations not being an issue. Isn't the hope that they both play well enough to make themselves a problem?
You're referencing a recent O-Zone question. The answer was that the contracts of Robinson and Taylor won't likely an issue before the 2022 season. If they play well in 2022, those contracts absolutely could be an issue after the season.
Zac from Austin, TX
So there is a family, with the last name Williams. But then there is a family reunion, and all the Williamses come together to celebrate. Each individual Williams family owns a grill, making it the Williams' grill. But then you start talking about how all of their grills are cheap - would you say the Williamses' grills are cheap? Plural possessives ending in S like that look horrendous.
Yes. Would there be coleslaw at the reunion. I like coleslaw, but not all kinds of coleslaw. I only like certain kinds of coleslaw.
_Cliff from Callahan, FL _
I don't why Gary continues to hate on you. I've always found you to be marginally adequate. Hope that makes you feel better.
I am the king of all funk.
Steven from Charlotte, NC
Come on, O. I don't think you are a professional spinner, but it is pretty hard to defend when you just respond to a question about weaknesses with "I don't particularly think there are any position groups that are weak." Is this a joke?! We have been the worst team in the NFL for two straight years and possibly one of the worst franchises in the history of the NFL during that time. No weaknesses??? Try again.
Whether you defend me matters not. I recently answered a question that asked the Jaguars' weakest area. I didn't in any way writer that the Jaguars had had no weak areas in recent seasons. I did write that they had addressed enough areas this offseason that none really stood out as weak. I also wrote that safety stood out as an area to watch on this front. I don't know that any other position group stands out. If you have a different opinion, fine.
William the Contemplator from Jacksonville
Mr. O, I have noticed that at the end of the O-Zone each day, there is a section where people just offer opinions. Some are insightful, some are funny, some are stupid and some are just plain gross. Have you seen this, too?
What's a "section at the end of the O-Zone where people offer opinions?"
Billy Joe from Jacksonville Beach
Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. has said he would like to be a running back/wide receiver type weapon similar to how Deebo Samuel (WR/RB) is used in the San Francisco 49ers' offense. Can the O-Zone explain why Laviska Shenault Jr. isn't being mentioned in this type of role for the Jags this season? Seems like his size and strength, coupled with the uncertainty of James Robinson at running back to start the season, beseeches to employ Shenault in a Deebo-type of way. Besides, it would be pretty exciting and pretty fun for fans to see Etienne and Shenault used in such a way by the Jaguars' new head coach and play caller. Especially if each could find success in such a multi-dimensional role. My inquiry brings to mind former Jaguar Denard Robinson. Wasn't he used in such a RB/WR role during his short tenure in Jacksonville?
I could see Etienne getting a lot of receptions and splitting wide – and if he's fully healthy, I could see him having success in this hybrid-type role. I wonder about Shenault in the role. While fans and observers do ask about this possibility often, Shenault thus far hasn't played with the sort of speed that seems to be needed to play the role effectively. Perhaps the Jaguars' coaches have something like this in mind. We should get a better idea about that in training camp.
Lawrence from Omaha, NE
KOAF, you need to remind Gary that the season ended four months ago. It's time to put the Haterade down, and pick up the Teal Kool-Aid, at least until the season begins. #teamada
What's a "Gary from St. Augustine?"
Brian from Greenwood, IN
Great podcast with tight end Evan Engram. During that interview, Engram mentioned that he "has to learn all positions." I assume he meant all wide receiver positions? I am sure a lot of people don't realize that Engram ran a 4.42 forty-yard dash. He is the same height as DK Metcalf, but outweighs DK by 10-to-15 pounds. DK forty was only .09 seconds better. Engram could blow up this year!
Engram is a big-time talent with big-time potential. The belief here is that he could be the key to this free-agent class and a key to the Jaguars' passing offense this season. He has the ability to be the best receiving tight end the Jaguars have had in some time. Maybe ever. That's a real possibility.
Richard from Orange Park, FL
With all of the offseason moves and draft picks, I honestly feel like we are in for a treat this upcoming season. I don't think our defense is going to be a weakness and likely will rank in the top 15. I also think quarterback Trevor Lawrence is going to have a field day with all of his new targets. Barring significant injuries to our roster, I think this could be a playoff capable squad. I went back and watched tape of Trevor from his college days and was reminded why he is considered a generational player at the position. All that's left to do is get through training camp and into the regular season so he can prove it at the NFL level. So here's one for the next chapter.
Richard is "all in."
Mike from St Augustine, FL
How's J-Rob coming along? I love his consistency and the pairing with Etienne could be great.
Robinson is working on the side during Jaguars organized team activities practices. Head Coach Doug Pederson has said he expects Robinson to return sometime in training camp. Because the torn Achilles he sustained in December is a serious injury, particularly for a running back, his return will be a storyline until he shows he is at his pre-injury form. And yes … if he and Etienne are both 100 percent and healthy, it could be a very good combination. Maybe even great.
Jonathan from Jax
Considering your taste in music, did you have the opportunity to visit the old milk bar downtown? I was born in '76, and in the 1980s and early 1990s the Milk Bar was the place on Monday nights and also was old wave night. Countless bands played there, too many to name. Some, like pennywise (song bro-hym is played frequently on game day) played there before they were super popular in the early 90s. I had a fake ID, along with most others that frequented there. Great memories and many, many $1 Miller lites and mickeys big mouths.
I unfortunately missed much of that era – either away in college, or already having started a sportswriting "career" that ate up most nights and weekends. I did darken the door of Einsten a Go Go and the Blighted Area at the beach with my good friend and bassist extraordinaire Chris McFall on more than one occasion, but I recall going to the Milk Bar only once or twice. If memory serves, it was to see Chris' band: Big Velvet Elvis. It was after the Blaine Crews Band era and well before he played in Pretty Boy Freud. It's sort of hard to recall, exactly. I do recall lot of Mickey's Big Mouths, though. Maybe there's a connection.