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O-Zone: Calm, cool, collected

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

JT from Palm Coast, FL

Linder always seems to be injured. When he plays, he is one of the best at his position in the league, but he seems to always have a new injury that prevents that. Do you foresee him actually playing more than 75 percent of the games this year?

Jaguars center Brandon Linder indeed has been limited at times during his career, and he currently is not practicing during 2021 Training Camp because of patella tendinitis in his knee. He has been held out of practices with "veterans days off" for such issues throughout much of his career – and his absence from practice feels like this sort of precautionary measure. This particular issue therefore doesn't seem like a big deal. But Linder also absolutely has had his share of more serious issues that have caused him to miss 33 games in seven NFL seasons. To play 75 percent of the games this season would mean playing 13 games. He has done this four times in seven seasons. There's no concrete reason to believe he won't. Do I see him playing that many? I haven't the foggiest.

Ed from Danvers, MA

KOAF. In training camp, we have had 10 former first-round selections on the roster: Lawrence, Etienne, Henderson, Chaisson, Treadwell, Tebow, Austin, Bryan, Allen and Brown. Shouldn't we be awesome?

The Jaguars actually have had 11 former first-round selections on the roster during '21 camp: quarterback Trevor Lawrence, running back Travis Etienne Jr., linebacker/defensive end K'Lavon Chaisson, cornerback CJ Henderson, linebacker/defensive end Josh Allen, wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, wide receiver Tavon Austin, tight end Tim Tebow, defensive lineman Taven Bryan and defensive lineman Malcom Brown. But no … the presence of those players does not mean the Jaguars automatically will be "awesome." It doesn't necessarily mean they will be good. The presence of Lawrence gives the team a lot of hope for the present and the future, and the presence of a few of the other first-round selections should give the Jaguars some front-line talent at some key positions. A lot of the others are talented players who must find roles and prove they are as good as their draft positions. Not all first-rounders are created equal.

James from Jacksonville

Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer said in college you might get 80 or 90 offensive plays, but in the NFL only 60 or so. Why is that?

The clock stops after first downs in college. The clock does not stop after first downs in the NFL. It's what makes college games aaaaaaaaagonizingly long compared to the NFL.

William from Jax

The problem I have with preseason quarterback evaluation is that you don't get to see them operate with the game on the line. That is the true test.

It's true you don't see quarterbacks in game-ending situations in the preseason. You also don't evaluate them in regular-season game speed or intensity. For that matter, you're not evaluating them in postseason game speed or pressure. You evaluate using the tools and situations that are available. What else can you do?

Fred from Naples, FL

In your opinion why did the NFL feel the need to publicly state they will be watching taunting more closely this year?

To reduce taunting, one would assume.

Naked and Afraid The Jungle

Zone - I think Travis Etienne Jr. is going to be a high-impact player this year. However, in his first preseason game he made zero impact. You can't be an offensive weapon if you're shooting blanks. I'd feel a whole lot better about this offense if Etienne was in the middle of the action. I know it's super early, but worst-case scenario is we have another offensive weapon that we can figure out how to use.

This falls snuggly into the category of worrying way too early – epically early, in fact. I worry about many things. With apologies to Zevon, I am the Worrier King. I bow down to no one when it comes to worrying. I don't worry about the Jaguars not being able to figure out how to use Etienne.

John from Jacksonville

The jury is still out on whether the Joe Schobert trade was a good idea. The fan angst is understandable. I remember the same feeling when they cut Leonard Fournette. How'd that work out?


Art from Drexel Hill, PA

Keeping wide receivers Phillip Dorsett II and Laquon Treadwell over Collin Johnson would be a mistake. Both Dorsett and Treadwell have proven for five years that they aren't good players. Dorsett has proven it despite having good quarterbacks and coaches. Letting Johnson go would be Allen Lazard 2.0.

Your keen scouting acumen notwithstanding, this will be a trickier decision for the Jaguars' decision-makers than your bold declarations imply. I would be stunned if the Jaguars don't keep Dorsett on the final roster. They signed him as an unrestricted free agent this past offseason because of his speed, Meyer loves speed, and the offense needs speed; he also has looked more than good enough during '21 camp to be on the roster. Treadwell is a tricker projection than Dorsett – though he absolutely had a very impressive stretch early in camp. I like Johnson's potential. He flashed at times last season and has flashed in camp. Those flashes convince me he has potential, though they have not convinced me that he is the second coming of Jerry Rice. For that matter, former Jaguars practice squad wide receiver Allen Lazard perhaps is not the second coming of Rice. Perhaps – just perhaps – Lazard is a nice player who has been on television enough with the Green Bay Packers that fans perhaps over-mourn his departure. Just perhaps?

David from Chuluota, FL

Funkmeister - Say against the Saints on Monday night, Lawrence stinks it up and Gardner Minshew II has the game of his life. In this scenario, Urban Meyer would have to seriously consider starting Minshew or this whole "competition" thing was a charade. I would think that could be detrimental to Lawrence's growth and confidence.

You're perhaps guilty of over worrying here. One performance on a few series in one preseason game would be included in evaluation, but it in no way would be the entire evaluation.

Dwayne from Jacksonville, FL

O-Zone, no weak attempt at humor, if that's okay? As Trevor improves (great name - no nickname needed) he will make the offensive line look a LOT better.


Scott from Satsuma, FL

Captain O, there are quite a few articles throwing what I would call unwarranted shade at Urban Meyer for not naming Trevor Lawrence the starter. Please correct me if I am wrong. When Lawrence is running the second-team offense, he is going against our starting defense, correct? If this is the case wouldn't those reps help further his development as he is going against starting NFL-caliber defensive players? I like Minshew, and will pull for him any day, but it appears he is at the moment the third quarterback on the team behind Beathard. I place him above our other sixth-round quarterback based on decision making. Obviously his arm is not as talented, but his mind is much sharper at this point. Minshew is a great person with an even greater persona, but at this point he's our third-best quarterback. What say you?

I say the whole angst among the fan base over Meyer not naming Lawrence the starter is fueled at least in part by our 24-7, constant-churn news cycle. Because of the need for a Hot Topic every day, many media and fans forget that just because something does not happen Right Now does not mean it will not happen. I would be very surprised if Lawrence is not the Week 1 starter. I would be somewhat surprised if Meyer does not announce something to that effect. I have not gotten the idea during practice that Lawrence is being somehow starved for first-team reps or that his development is being held back by sharing reps with Minshew. Meyer very much wants young players – even players as high-profile as Lawrence – to earn the position and he firmly believes that's important. Fans don't like that and tend to roll their eyes at the concept. That in no way makes the concept silly.

Chris from Mandarin

What's up, John? Your answer to the question about AJ Cann and not thinking that giving up sacks to back up defensive linemen is good enough came off as a little uptight. I don't see the point in getting defensive, man. The Jaguars' offensive line has sucked for at least three years, and for those three years you have said they're better than many observers believe. I think maybe your definition of a good offensive line needs some work. The Jaguars' record over that time bears that notion out.

I'm not uptight. You're uptight. Don't tell me I'm uptight. I decide if I'm uptight. Me … No one else. Who told you to say this? Did someone put you up to it?