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O-Zone: Catharsis

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Bob from Jacksonville

Hey O, King of Funk: I would like your opinion on Terrell Owens refusing to attend the Hall of Fame ceremonies. He said he will let us know when and where he will celebrate. He makes it in and someone like Tony Boselli doesn’t. Life isn’t fair!!!

My first instinct upon hearing this week’s news that Owens said he will skip the Hall of Fame ceremonies in July was that it was a classless, disrespectful move. After thinking about it for a while, and trying to consider his side, I’ll say this: while he very much has the right to choose not to attend, it seems to be a decision that supports the arguments of those who believed that Owens shouldn’t have been in the Hall. It appears Owens has a beef with the Hall of Fame and the voters because he was “forced” to wait through two years of being eligible before being voted into the Hall. When it became a crime to not induct a player in his first year of eligibility I do not know; plenty of Hall-worthy players have waited longer, and the arguments against Owens – particularly that teams had been anxious to part ways with him in the prime of his career – were legitimate enough that a longer wait wouldn’t have been surprising. I’m sure I sound like an old man who can’t relate to some young generation when I say this, but for Owens to not want to participate in the induction ceremony is to put himself above the game. That’s fine if that’s his choice – and it clearly is his choice. But it absolutely does speak volumes about why many voters – not to mention many coaches and players – questioned whether he was Hall-worthy in the first place.

Todd from Jacksonville

If I were to give my vote for the Jags’ biggest rival, it would be either the Tennessee Titans or the Pittsburgh Steelers – the Titans for the reasons stated on Thursday, but the Steelers from further back. We used to be in the same division. We always played them very close. Back when we were in the playoffs regularly, we would play them – and we beat them twice last year … both in Pennsylvania.

OK.

Jeff from Wake Forest, NC

We are so fortunate to have Barry Church on this defense. I enjoyed your interview with him and I love that he doesn't mind taking a step back out of the spotlight to make sure everyone else is getting the job done. I think he is an underrated treasure on this team. Also: du er en morsom mann – and fyi, Moodachay in any other language is still Moodachay.

You’re referencing a jaguars.com interview with Church from organized team activities this week in which he discussed his role in the Jaguars’ secondary. Not every “veteran” is a leader, and leadership sometimes is over-discussed. But in some cases, veteran leadership matters very much. Defensive end Calais Campbell’s contribution along these lines last season was critical, but Church’s shouldn’t be overlooked. The Jaguars’ secondary was one of the best in the NFL last season. I doubt that would have been the case without Church. Also: Jeg løber altid fra fare.

Jon from Brentwood, UK

Zone, shouldn't Hall of Fame inductees have to act with degree of respect for the honor they have received? In my view, T.O. has brought the process into disrepute and should have the honor withdrawn. After all his bellyaching this act means, to me, that his inclusion degrades the honor. Your thoughts?

Missing the induction ceremony indeed is an act of disrespect – yes, to the Hall, but perhaps more so to the other inductees. Those men, remember, also dedicated much of their respective lives to the game. As far as withdrawing the honor … no, that would be a little like withdrawing an invitation to a group because not as many people as you originally expected were going to show up. That’s not a road we need to travel.

Cristiano from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

E o ornitorrinco, já chegou?

Os pinguins bebiam todo o vinho. Faça-os dormir na praia.

Kadetta from Jacksonville

Do you think Blake will earn the captainship this year and why?

This is tough to predict, because there are a lot of leaders on the Jaguars on both offense and defense. But yes … I do think Bortles will be a team a captain in 2018. He wasn’t named that last season – presumably partly because tight end Marcedes Lewis was the most established veteran on offense and presumably partly because Bortles struggled through much of 2017 training camp. The respect teammates have for Bortles grew throughout last season, respect he earned not only by handling adversity well but by showing the ability to lead and make teammates around him better. Bortles wasn’t a captain in title last season, but he clearly assumed the role as the season continued. My guess is he will wear the title officially in 2018.

Jon from Apple Valley, CA

I used to be able to watch Jaguars Thursday but since the new website, I can only listen to the audio. Another negative on the change. So far, the bad is outweighing the good.

One not fer …

Johnny from Jags Town

FunkOZone, people want Blake to come from behind on the final drive and win the game, Personally I would prefer he just get up two touchdowns in the first quarter and never look back. #19-0.

While the Bortles-never-has-come-from-behind argument has merit, there are those who may tend to lean on it a bit too much. Bortles led a clutch drive to beat Buffalo in the playoffs last season, and he played very well in the fourth quarter in Pittsburgh in the playoffs as the Jaguars held a lead in that game. Is this an area where Bortles needs to improve? Absolutely, because you need your quarterback to win a game or two here and there out of nowhere. But to paint a picture that Bortles never has played well in big situations is incorrect, particularly when taking last season into consideration.

Glen from Fort Leavenworth, KS

John,

What, Glen? For the love of all that has come before us, WHAT!!??

Don from Lake Mary, FL and Section 35

I read somewhere, and also think I heard Jaguars analyst Jeff Lageman say at some point, that former Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas was a poor and unwilling blocker. Consequently, his presence on the field tended to indicate to the opposing defense that the next play was more likely a pass than run. From what we’ve heard so far, Austin Seferian-Jenkins is a very willing and potentially above average blocker who can also make plays in the passing game. Consequently, he doesn’t tip a defense off what type of play may be coming because he can actually help the run game versus Thomas. That leads me to believe that he can have a greater impact than Thomas … how about you?

Thomas was far more a pass-receiving tight end than a blocking tight end, and his willingness to block was correctly at times questioned. Though Thomas is far from alone among pass receiving tight ends on that front, it is fair to say that the Jaguars expect Seferian-Jenkins to be more of a traditional tight end – and that they believe he can help the offense be balanced.

Jason from Honolulu, HI

If you insert “I am the king of all funk” before every fifth paragraph, ads would no longer appear between questions and answers. Plus, it would serve as a cool reminder for all your readers. It’s a win-win for everyone.

I like the how your mind works, J.

Austin from Atlanta, GA

How goes JohnnyO? So, OTAs are a wrap. I know you can't tell much from non-contact work, but who has stood out? Give me a rookie and a vet, por favor.

You’re right that the non-contact nature of OTAs make it difficult to judge a lot of players – and for the purposes of this question, we’ll throw out linemen from either offense or defense. Let’s go with Bortles, running back Corey Grant and Sefarian-Jenkins as veterans and wide receiver D.J. Chark as a rookie. I will be surprised if all those players don’t have productive seasons.

TJ from Orlando, FL

As far as rivalries go, I've held a personal vendetta against the Titans since the '99 season. Going by your criteria though, I'd have to say our biggest rival has to be the Patriots. We've never made it past them in the playoffs, and personally, I don't care if they don't see us as a rival because we're beneath them. Sometimes it's cathartic to sit around hating people while they have no idea it's happening. I'm petty like that. Friggin' stupid Tom Brady with his stupid teeth and his stupid millions of dollars and his stupid rings and his stupid hot wife who's probably smarter than me...

You go, girl.

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