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O-Zone: Breaking the rules

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Steve from Nashville, TN

For the last hundred years the easiest part of the NFL scheduler's job is to write down Detroit and Dallas hosting games on Thanksgiving Day. Obviously, Detroit has done little to warrant a nationally televised game on America's most important holiday. As traditions begin to fall around the sports world (the MLB National League Designated Hitter and LIV golf as examples), do you see this tradition ever being challenged down the road to be more inclusive of other teams?

The Detroit Lions have played on Thanksgiving every year since 1934 with the exception of 1941-1944 (World War II), and the Cowboys have played on that day every year since 1966. So, perhaps not qu-i-i-i-ite 100 years? But that's nitpicking. Obviously. The league already has "addressed" the "issue" by adding a third Thanksgiving Day game in primetime – thereby making the holiday more "inclusive." I doubt the NFL takes the Lions off the holiday soon, and I hope it doesn't happen. What's wrong with holding onto a few traditions? What in the world does it hurt?

Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL

What's the league minimum? Any player publicly demanding a trade is just like a toddler throwing a tantrum because they can't have a toy or cookie or whatever. I thought they wanted to be treated like grown men. Then act like it. I can't believe how fragile these players come across. I mean I get gratitude is too much for the professional football player, these professional men must be coddled all the time. It's gross.

The NFL's minimum salary for a rookie is $660,000. At the risk of sounding like an old man yelling get off my lawn, I agree with much of your point. I'm not big on this idea that just because a player demands or asks for a trade it must be granted. I wrote and said often when cornerback Jalen Ramsey "requested" a trade from the Jaguars in 2019 that the team should have retained him and deactivated him if he declined to play. He had nearly two years remaining on his contract at the time, with the Jaguars having the option to place the franchise tag on him had he opted not to play. That's nearly three years with the team controlling the situation, and nearly three years is a long time for a football player in his prime not playing football. People reading this might say I'm "siding with the team" because of my employer. Not so. I long have said players have the right to hold out, and the right to demand as much money as they can possibly earn. It's a violent, dangerous sport and the interest in the sport is such that these men who are the best in the world at what they do get paid enormous money. But those same men also can play for their contracts for as long as that contract lasts, and their teams do not have to honor requests and demands for trades. Why so many do abide is beyond me.

Ross from Mechanicsville, VA

The Colts during Peyton Manning's tenure were 10-20 in the preseason. During that same time, they were 85-27 in the regular season. Seems to me that is clear proof that preseason records do not matter at all.

True.

Johnny from Westside of Boselli's town

Do you think the NFL is concerned by the fact that teams without a really good/great quarterback simply are not competitive? It seems that it makes the league very lopsided, in the way the salary cap should preclude happening. Thoughts?

I think the NFL understandably loves being a quarterback-centric league. Quarterbacks are stars. They're marketable. They generally have long careers, which helps the team because they have stars that are identifiable – and relatable – for a decade or more. Does it make the league lopsided? A bit. But the league is set up right now so that there are a lot of teams with a lot of productive – and therefore relatable – quarterbacks, so I think the league office is fine with that.

J. Hooks from Orange Park, FL

I don't care how culturally iconic Gene Frenette is, or that he can shoot laser beams out his rear and cure global warming. He didn't get mentioned in a hall of fame speech. You did, sir. And that's really killer. Great honor.

Former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli absolutely mentioned longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. Frenette in his Hall of Fame speech Saturday. Good move by Boselli. Gold jacket or not, you acknowledge Gene.

Kyle from Saint Augustine, FL

Do you get the sense that the team is going to be able to get the real Josh Allen signed to a long-term deal? If so, sooner or later?

Jaguars outside linebacker Josh Allen is entering his fourth NFL season, so he indeed can sign a long-term extension. I get the sense both sides are fine with waiting a bit to reach that extension. The Jaguars benefit from getting a better idea how Allen will perform for the current regime and Allen could benefit from having a productive season to increase his market value. If Allen accomplishes his objective of becoming one of the NFL's better defensive players, I could see the sides reaching an extension late this season or immediately thereafter. That timing would make sense.

Don from Marshall, NC

You know Fred Taylor has been cheated his entire career. His agent cheated him, he got cheated out of at least four Pro Bowls, and he got cheated by then-Head Coach Tom Coughlin when they did not use him in the championship game in 99. That would have gotten him to the Super Bowl. He had a 4.6 average per carry.

Memories fade with time, but I don't recall thinking misusing Taylor cost the Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game in 1999. He rushed for 110 yards on 19 carries and caught two passes for 16 yards in that loss to the Tennessee Titans. The Jaguars fell behind in the second half of that game, so it was difficult to run the whole game. But either way … one fer not cheating Freddy T? Absolutely.

Seamus from Sioux Falls, SD

So, it was interesting to see my diatribe on team colors appear less like the intended fervent argument and more like a case of Yosemite Sam Gets Carried away. At any rate, do you think team uniforms can influence the team's sense of identity? (P.S. I too liked the Color Rush Gold unis).

Sometimes a fervent argument indeed can sound like a loopy diatribe. It's why some tweets – and even some O-Zone questions – are best left untweeted and unanswered. Uniforms influence a team's identity to the public and fans. Many fans and observers love uniforms – and love to debate them. If you're asking if uniforms influence how players and coaches feel about a team, or themselves, no.

Brad from The Avenues

I agree with you and Diego, John. Mike Hollis edges out Josh Scobee as the better of the two, but what I remember most fondly about Hollis was the returns that got by everyone else except Little Mikey. The guy was a scrapper with a real, not on my kick , attitude.

Good eye – and good memory.

Keith from Saint Augustine, FL

DaVon Hamilton, Roy Robertson-Harris, Jay Tufele, Adam Gotsis, and Dawuane Smoot were all turned and moved at will by the Las Vegas Raiders' offensive line. There were holes that you could literally drive a Mack truck through. This was disconcerting because this constitutes a major portion of our starting and back-up defensive line. I know that Foley Fatukasi and Malcom Brown did not play, but there should be concern for our defensive line this year. I know that Fatukasi and linebackers Foye Oluokun, and Devin Lloyd did not play, but it should not surprise anyone if we still struggle to stop the run. I'm not sure watching game film can cure what I witnessed in person at the game and then later when I came home and reviewed the game.

Fatukasi and Brown will matter in this area. I'm also old enough to remember that the Jaguars' defensive line, while not consistent against the run last season, were good at times. I don't expect the Jaguars' defensive line to be dominant against the run this season. But I expect them to be better than last season and better than they were last Thursday in the Hall of Fame Game. The Jaguars believe this will be a strong area of the team. One preseason game doesn't make this not true, though it does make it a legitimate storyline entering Friday.

Andrew from Mattoon, IL

KOAF: You say, "Never say never." Can we expect Urban Meyer to return to the organization?

"Never say never" might be best described as a rule. Some of those are made to be broken.

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