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O-Zone: Class act

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Nick from Palatka, FL

Trevor is just one class act. Glad he's a Jag. DTWD

We're a few days removed from Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence's letter to Jaguars fans in the Players Tribune that appeared last week. If you happened to miss it, it's worth reading HERE. I won't say the sentiment is unprecedented, exactly. Many Jaguars players have connected with Jaguars fans – and many have understood the importance of this town and these fans to this team. But I don't remember a gesture quite like it. And it's a significant letter considering Lawrence's importance to the organization and where this team is in terms of its development, and where he is in terms of his development. It's as good a sign for the future of this organization as I have seen in the last decade. And yeah … he's a class act. No doubt.

Don from Marshall, NC

I really think that C.J. Beathard could be a starter with the right team. Do you think he gets a chance to start somewhere?

I think Jaguars quarterback C.J. Beathard is exactly what you want and need from an NFL backup quarterback. He has high knowledge of the offense, is always going to be prepared and can win a couple of games if he has to play for a month or so. I expect he could be solid if given the chance to start. I don't know that he has the "special" playmaking element you want from a starter.

Dave from Canton, Georgia

Mr. O. I've seen people mention different techniques that defensive lineman play, such as a three technique or a five technique. I confess I don't know what this means. Can you explain these things to me?

"Techniques" in NFL defensive lineman terminology refer to where the player lines up before the snap. A zero technique typically lines up over the opposing center. A one technique generally is to either side of the center, a three technique is between the guard and tackle and a five technique is on the outside shoulder of the tackles.

_Zac from Austin, Tejas _

Bad calls and missed calls are part of the game. One fer flawed human beings employed as referees.

Yep. One fer humans.

James from Socorro, NM

In the NHL, you can challenge goals all you want, but if you aren't successful, it's a penalty. Do you think a similar rule could work in the NFL? An unsuccessful challenge results in a 15-yard penalty?

I'm sure this would "work," because you could implement it and it would give head coaches more challenges – and it also would create some in-game intrigue. I doubt the NFL would do it, though. The league's system of allowing three coaches challenges gives coaches an element of control without penalty. And I doubt the league would be warm to adding layers to the process, and I'm not sure how warm it would be to adding penalties into the system without much reason to do so. Also: Rules changes are always discussed with an eye on not lengthening games – and this scenario would lengthen games.

Andy from Halifax

You are presented w/ the knowledge that Trevor Lawrence will break his leg Week 1 unless you volunteer to break your leg Week 1. How long do you think Trev would be sidelined?

However long it takes for him to heal. That would stink for him.

Daniel from Munich, Germany

Hi, Zone. The discussion about NFL Owners and deep pockets got me thinking. All owners I assume have a real business and the football is not their main source of income. What about if the owner appoints a player or close relative to the player in some capacity and pay him a big salary that doesn't go against the NFL salary cap? I always thought that Tom Brady was way underpaid for winning all his Super Bowls with the Patriots.

Not all owners have a "real business" outside football. Either way, an owner cannot pay a player for a service outside playing football to avoid the salary cap.

Paul from Jacksonville

I think the people who complain most about the officials are those who've never tried to do it on any level. You can't fully appreciate the speed at which these games are played even from the stands let alone on TV. It's very difficult to have your eyes in two or three places at once. A sideline catch, for instance, involves the ref trying to see the player got two feet down in bounds, does have and maintain the catch all the way through the process. Sometimes you have to see and officiate that sequence in less than a second without the benefit of slow-motion replay and nine camera angles. Officiating sports at any level is tough thankless work. The only thing everyone seems to agree on, is that the refs are always bad.

Referees are the easiest of targets. This has been the case for as long as I have watched or covered sports. The difference now is social media has given fans a forum to replay mistakes over and over and over. And comment. Over and over. And over.

David from Oviedo, FL

Ozone - I heard that the Chinese Spy Balloon that was recently shot down was actually being piloted by Bill Belichick. Any truth to this?

Yes. And NFL officials care enough who wins games to make calls they know are wrong, and to therefore jeopardize the entire future of the league and their own careers, too. All true. No doubt.

Lane from Winter Garden, FL

O man, Is there any sort of timeline for the expected upgrades to the stadium? I think this is the most pressing issue the Jags face over the next five years.

There's no specific timeline on this. The Jaguars announced in early January they have selected a design firm – HOK – for the project. You're correct that it's the most pressing off-field issue the team faces over the next five years, and I expect that period to be full of news – and progress – on this matter.        

Keith from St. Augustine, FL

Recently, the NFL stated that they were going to look into changing a rule which would protect running backs from a particular injury. What injury occurred that required such a move?

The NFL indeed will reportedly examine possibly changing a rule to prohibit what some are calling the "hip-drop" tackle. This came after Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard sustained a fractured fibula and a high-ankle sprain being tackled by San Francisco 49ers safety Jimmy Ward in an NFC Divisional Playoff. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes sustained a high-ankle sprain being tackled by Jaguars defensive lineman Arden Key in the same divisional round in a relatively similar manner. When making the tackle, defenders get the ballcarrier in their grasp, then slide them down from behind and bring a both players' weight onto the ballcarriers' lower body. That's probably not the best description, but it's the best I could do. Neither of the aforementioned tackles seemed remotely malicious or to have intent to injure. And I don't know that there was an easy way for either Key or Ward to make a tackle in any other way in those circumstances. My initial thought with a potential rule change on this is it's simply tough to legislate all risk of injury out of a violent sport. But the league has legislated certain sorts of hits from the game before. Perhaps it will happen again here. I'm not saying the game shouldn't be safer. This one just seems like a difficult step. Stay tuned.

Felipo from Barranquilla, Colombia

JO. I saw the 20-minute highlight video of Calvin Ridley. Wow, he will be a game changer. Good speed, great routes, strong hands and can get open across the middle. Can this great new weapon get us to the Super Bowl?

Wide receiver Calvin Ridley, acquired by the Jaguars in a midseason trade in 2022 from the Atlanta Falcons, is currently under suspension and can apply for reinstatement after the Super Bowl. I assume he will be reinstated. If so, he has a very real chance to be a major addition to the Jaguars' offense. Remember, though: Ridley hasn't played since early in the 2021 season. That's a long time to be out of football. And he's one player. I do believe he will help the Jaguars' offense considerably. He has potential to be a No. 1 receiver, which would open opportunities for wide receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones and tight end Evan Engram. It's not fair to say he'll get the Jaguars to the Super Bowl. But ideally, he can be a key piece that's very needed.

Cristiano from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Why did I watch that Trevor mic'd up at the Pro Bowl video with a smile on my face the whole time?

Because Lawrence is cool. Fans like him.