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O-Zone: By golly

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Mac from Jacksonville Beach, FL

Why hasn't Bortles been picked up by another team yet? The guy took the Jags to the AFC Championship Game with an undrafted rookie as his No. 1 receiver. You would think at least someone would take him on as a backup. This is ridiculous.

Former Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles remains a free agent, not having his contract renewed by the Los Angeles Rams after spending last season as their backup. And while I assume you're referring to Keelan Cole or Allen Hurns as the Jaguars' No. 1 receiver in 2017, I would point out to be fair that Dede Westbrook (fourth round) and Marqise Lee (second round) also played key roles for the team that season. But yeah …you're right that Bortles wasn't surrounded with elite receiving weapons that season. And I'm with you that Bortles could and should be a backup somewhere. My guess is he will get a chance. We'll see.

Roger from Jacksonville Beach, FL

Maybe I missed this, but will the Jaguars practice against another team this year?

No. The Jaguars did originally plan to conduct a week of joint practices against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during 2020 Training Camp, but the NFL because of COVID-19 has mandated that no teams will conduct practices with other teams this year.

Austin from Walnutport

Around draft time it came up that we were taking inquiries about trading for 27. Do you think it's possible he is traded during the season? If we have a losing record before the trade deadline, I think it would make sense. Better to get something out of him then to just lose him in free agency.

If the Jaguars are out of contention by midseason – and if some team believes Fournette could help them – then sure … it's possible. Such moves are always possible.

Greg from Orange Park, FL

Why are you the way you are?


Brian from Jacksonville

Kaepernick and Tebow. O, you should write a compare and contrast piece on these two extraordinary –but very different – individuals. Both share rejection by NFL clubs in spite of their winning ways as players. Their beliefs marked them both as outliers, albeit for different reasons. Neither man's skill level or persona has overcome how their social outlooks were reacted to by the NFL. Might be an interesting read?

I've written about this in the O-Zone before, and yes,there were similarities between the two. I have no doubt that both Colin Kaepernick and Tim Tebow were talented enough to play in the NFL. The question with both was whether the outside conversation that came with signing them was worth the investment if they weren't going to be major difference-makers – or starters. Had either been a quarterback on the level of, say, Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers, then I don't think there's any question they would have been signed to teams and had longer careers. Because they weren't at that level, it became easier for teams not to deal with what signing them would bring.

Stan from Jacksonville

Your answer to Iron John from St Augustine was spot on. There are a lot of things in this world that I don't understand or don't agree with. But, like you, I'm not going to waste time, effort and energy on things that do not affect me directly. Sometimes, a quick recitation of the Serenity Prayer is all it takes (for those who know of which I speak).


Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

John, this is not to disrespect you in any way. You are generally very good at what you do. But saying "What I meant was I can't relate to people who get so upset at people kneeling for the anthem" may, perhaps, indicate that your perspective comes from your life experience. Many of us have a different perspective that comes from our own life experience – we served. Most active duty military, and most veterans, view the flag and the national anthem as symbols of pride, sacrifice, honor and courage. All of which we tried our best to exhibit in our commitment to maintaining our freedom. Yes, our freedom does include the freedom of expression. So, while I don't condemn those who kneel, I don't condone it either – and yes, I do get upset.

Bruce, your email didn't respect me at all. And my perspective absolutely comes from my life experience. I've never written that people didn't have the right to not like people kneeling for the National Anthem. People can not like whatever they want for the reasons they want. It simply doesn't bother me, just as many things people do that don't directly affect me don't bother me.

Jim from Jagsonville

Some folks just don't have a sense of humor. Others just don't have sense. Thanks for the laughs in the Dead Zone! Heard any good jokes lately?

There once was a man named Dave …

Tom from Shanghai, China

You talked about the potential problems with a straight Ngakoue-for-Adams trade, namely both guys want to get paid. Assuming the Jets and Jags worked something out in principle, what would be the process for seeing if the teams can reach deals with the players? Would each side give the other permission to negotiate with their player before signing on the dotted line? Would this all be entirely above board? Shed some light.

I know this is the dead zone and that this is an otherwise topic-less time, but I wouldn't get too excited about this storyline of the Jaguars trading defensive end Yannick Ngakoue for safety Jamal Adams of the New York Jets. Energy spent getting excited about offseason trades typically is energy wasted. But if something theoretically were worked out in principle between any two teams for two players, those two teams can give permission for the players' agents to work out contract agreements with the other teams.

John from Jacksonville

Is it possible we are all here because we are not all there?


Jesse from Jacksonville

In today's age of constant overreaction and virtue-signaling, why does every organization from a toilet bowl cleaner all the way to Jags feel compelled to take a stance on everything? I used to turn to sports to get away from all the negativity in the world and now I can't even do that. If the Jags don't learn to keep out of politics, I am sure they will lose a lot of fans. Leave politics to politicians and keep it out of sports. It's time to make sports great again!

The Jaguars don't take stances on "everything." They took a stance on racial injustice recently because the owner, head coach and players – and many others within the organization, for that matter – believed it was an important enough issue to do so.

Brian from Jacksonville

Fisted gloves raised in Mexico City, and a half a century later, it's take a knee. Different layers of the same issue still inspiring social protest and demonstration. Yet, it seems many people still struggle with these symbolic actions. Hasn't history taught us that social awakening through protest and demonstration such as these has strengthened the fabric of our country?

If everyone were OK with change, the change wouldn't be significant. Or memorable. It's the difficulty that makes times like these matter.

Andy from St. Augustine, FL

So, if I understand the question from a recent O-Zone (as well as similar questions/comments from previous days) - the only way to honor those who fought and died for our freedom, is to take that freedom away by telling everyone that they have to stand for the National Anthem and the Pledge? That my friend is an" interesting" take on what freedom means.


Ray from Jacksonville

John: Gee, I always thought the American flag symbolized the right to peacefully protest.


Jeremy from Jacksonville

I have so many questions about how manufactured crowd noise would work. Will someone in real time be piping in an excited roar as the home team's player races toward the endzone? What about a perceived bad call against the home team? Would that involve booing? Who would determine which sound is appropriate? Would the sounds come in after the play? Would it be more of neutral dull roar and only the intensity of the volume changes? What would happen to chanting moodachay? What about that odd scenario where the crowd gets geared up to cheer for an offensive player's success only for the crowd to collectively gasp as he gets molly-whopped by an opposing player?

I trust the geniuses in network television to solve this, and I also trust I won't understand how it works. I sort of picture myself watching a game in the fall with sound piped in and it sounding good and me shaking my head and saying in my best Fred Willard (Best in Show version) voice saying, "What will they think of next?"