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O-Zone: Costly transaction

JACKSONVILLE – It is a yearly truth that no time in the dead zone is quite so dead as July 4 weekend. It seems that is true yet again. Onward ho.

Let's get to it …

Michael from Orange Park, FL

Maybe it's the Dead Zone. Maybe it's the June and July blahs. But I'm suddenly pessimistic about this season, Zone. We're always, always bad. I fear we will be bad again. Maybe we're jinxed. Tell me again why I should hope for this season being different?

Because hope is a good thing, maybe the best thing. More than that, the cause for hope for the Jaguars moving forward is based on two very real things – Head Coach Doug Pederson and quarterback Trevor Lawrence. This is not to say their presence alone guarantees magic and sudden success in 2022. It doesn't. But the presence of Pederson does give this franchise a structure and a direction in which players can believe. That's important. Pederson also brings something this franchise needs right now – i.e., a head coach who can navigate the team through adversity and uncertainty. The presence of Lawrence gives the Jaguars a potential franchise quarterback – which gives them a chance for sustained, long-term success. It's true that they must attain short-term success first, but it's hard to win over the long haul without stability – and greatness – at quarterback. I don't expect the Jaguars to make the postseason in 2022. That's a big jump from 3-14. But I do expect improvement. I expect a dramatically more hopeful feel as this season continues. There are many reasons, but Lawrence and Pederson top the list.

Michael The Observer from Jacksonville

Mr. O, when we hear that coaches and players are "studying film," what is it they are watching? Specifically, how many camera angles are available to them, and do they come from more cameras than what we see during broadcasts?

When players and coaches study film, they are watching what is known as the "All-22." It's a dramatically different view than the television feed because it's shot from wide angles – from the side and from the end zone – and designed to show all 22 players. The All-22 allows the viewer to see everything going on in a play as opposed to focusing on the ball, as is the case in television broadcasts. These are the two primary angles. Coaches' film isn't so much about closeups or great angles as it is about being able to see personnel packages and what all players are doing on every play.  

Pete from Daytona Beach, FL

Is there any reason why you post that idiot Gary from St Augustine's question (or stupid statement)? We get it. He doesn't like you. Obviously he likes to see his statement posted, but can we just stick with football?

You're referencing me posting emails from Gary from St. Augustine, FL, stating his dislike of yours truly. I suppose I post these for multiple reasons. I find them humorous. I find them informative. I find them entertaining. I just sort of feel like it.

Sonny Beaches from California

Just Curious. Did Gary from St. Augustine get cut for the up-and-coming Super Star, "King of all Funk?" Only reason I can come up with for his hatred. Welcome to the Dead Zone!

Jaguars 2022 Training Camp begins July 24.

Brandon from Duuuval

John, I'm not like Gary and appreciate your insights and humor. However, this is a Jags website, read by Jags fans. Please, in the future, never say anything positive about the Titans or anything involving them ever again. We hate them with a passion that Gary could only dream of.

You're referencing a couple of things. One is my friend, Gary. Two is a recent O-Zone email/answer in which I referred to Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., as one of my favorite NFL stadiums. I understand this is a Jaguars website and I understand readers' dislike of anything related to the Titans. I didn't say Nissan Stadium was a great stadium. I don't know that that's the case. My only point was that I like covering games there. The sightlines are good and it's an easy walk downstairs from the well-located press box to the locker room. What's good for me is good for me.

Shawn from Jacksonville

Recently the Florida Times-Union building was demolished to make room for condos and other buildings in its spot. I am confused why longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette allowed this to take place. That was his home for many years. Do you think he allowed this because he had purchased and condo and burial plot there so he can be interred there when he goes on to that great sportswriter's place in the sky?

The old Florida Times-Union building at One Riverside Avenue indeed has been almost completely demolished. As a longtime T-U staffer, I – like Gene – have many memories of the place. Having worked in a cubicle adjacent to Gene's for a short time, some of my "fondest" memories of the place indeed are of Gene. As for why Gene didn't employ his substantial powers to stop this demolition … well, the decline of the newspaper business is a powerful enough force that even Gene can't get in its way. But fear not: Gene is a timeless being whose presence extends beyond walls. He is you. He is me. He is us. He is Gene.

Chris from Mandarin

All Vito Stellino would have to do is write four words and Mr. Frenette's whole house of cards comes tumbling down. Give credit where it's due. He's the real legend in this town.


Nathan from Utah, US

Zone, I sure hope Lawrence becomes a threat at quarterback this year. In what formation do you see the offense in mostly? I'm seeing a lot of veteran pieces around our quarterback. How well did he do against the blitz last year?

The Philadelphia Eagles under Pederson from 2016-2020 ran a high percentage of plays from the shotgun – never running more than 34 percent of offensive plays from under center. It stands to reason given Lawrence's background and skillset that shotgun will be the Jaguars' base look far more often than not. I also would anticipate the Jaguars playing extensive two tight-end sets given Pederson's ability to use that position effectively. Lawrence as a rookie for the most part didn't fare well against the blitz, particularly early in the season. That's what the numbers and statistics say, and they're right. I consider this less a "Lawrence" thing than a What was Going on With the Jaguars thing. That's sort of how I view most things about Lawrence entering Year 2. It's extreme to call 2022 a second rookie year because I do believe he will benefit from all that went on around here last season. But when trying to analyze his play, I do believe you must wait and see how he fares in this new regime. Considering the circumstances, that only seems fair.

Sean from Jacksonville

Is it time to hibernate yet?

It has been time.

Jerry from Jacksonville Beach, FL

You think this roster is so great? Who's making the Pro Bowl this year?

I don't know that I have said or written that this is a great roster. There is some potential on the roster – maybe a lot of potential – but that potential must prove itself before being "great." Who could make the Pro Bowl this year? Maybe right guard Brandon Scherff. Maybe a player such as defensive end/linebacker Josh Allen. I could see players such as Lawrence and running back James Robinson making Pro Bowls in the future, as well as linebackers Devin Lloyd and Travon Walker. You're right that Pro Bowl appearances seem far away for this roster. But that's because they haven't happened in a while. There's talent here. I believe this year will be about developing and moving forward. Once that happens, Pro Bowls and other post-season accolades should be more common.

Gray from The Road

Eighteen days until the big event. You haven't given out any ideas.

I have no idea what you're talking about.

Fred from Red

Now that we are in the middle of the Fred Zone let's talk about something near and dear to both of our hearts. All you can eat spaghetti at Nero's on Wednesday nights for $2.99. And garlic bread to boot. Seems like a dream nowadays.

Nero's in Arlington was one of my late father's all-time favorite restaurants. We lived near there twice, once while I was growing up and again soon thereafter. I ate there with him some. He ate there often. Great memories. Thanks.

Greg from St Johns

O- The Zone appears with the same regularity of my morning constitution, and I like consistency. Don't know if I'd like you or not, but I'd have a beer with ya.

You would be disappointed. And you would have to pay.