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O-Zone: Echoing laughter

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Mike from Atlanta, GA

How will Dawuane Smoot fit into the defensive-line rotation? He sort of gets buried by all the talent ahead of him on the depth chart, but he was a third-round pick. Will he be around after this season?

Smoot is among several young Jaguars players whose importance in the long term perhaps outweighs their importance in the short term. I absolutely expect Smoot to be on the team after next season; I would be stunned if he's not. That's partly because he is on his rookie contract for another two seasons and therefore is very affordable under the salary cap through 2020, but it also is because the Jaguars like him very much. Here's the Jaguars' reality: There is a real probability that multiple better-known linemen won't be around after the coming season, with players such as end Calais Campbell, tackle Marcell Dareus and tackle Malik Jackson having high 2019 cap figures and end Dante Fowler Jr. projected to be an unrestricted free agent after the 2018 season. If Smoot isn't a starter in 2019, he should be a critical member of the defensive line – and I would expect his playing time and importance to increase accordingly in 2018.

John from Jacksonville

I'm lying alone looking at my smartphone, scrolling through ads till it hurts. The Jaguars' site was trashed by the NFL brass, tormented and torn apart. I wish I could carry your hope in my heart, for times when my hope seems so low. It would make me believe what tomorrow could bring, when today doesn't really know … doesn't really know. Wait! Tomorrow could bring the Jags to the Super Bowl. I feel better now. Sorry to interrupt you.

I am the king of all funk.

David from Oviedo, FL

Johnny O – Could you beat any current Jaguars player in a foot race? How about Marcell Dareus? What if you imagined he was a bear trying to eat you?

I do not remotely believe I could beat Dareus in a race. I am old and he is not. He is phenomenally athletic for his size and I am not. Not only could I not beat him, I would sustain serious injury were I so bold and ridiculous as to make the attempt.

Juan from Ukiah, CA

John, nice "SOAP" reference. Did you ever watch "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman," "Maude," or "Benson?"

No. Occasionally. Yes.

Jason from North Pole, AK

The very first day of OTAs there were multiple non-contact, season-ending injuries around the league. I would be OK if more of our elite players decided OTAs are voluntary.

Yep. I personally wouldn't let Campbell anywhere close to OTAs –  or a few other players for that matter. That's perhaps a bit of an exaggeration – and I do understand there are football reasons for most players to be here – but I have zero problem if a few elite guys sit it out.

Connor from Dallas, TX

Hey, Zone: I can't seem to find the place to ask you questions in this new website layout. Where do I go to ask you a question?

You have to … wait … what?

Richard from Lincoln, NE

Ronnie Harrison … Rodney Harrison … both safeties in the NFL. Any relation between these two?

No. I know this because I asked Jaguars wide receiver Marqise Lee and his brother – rookie quarterback Tanner Lee – about it. They assured me the Harrisons are not related.

Paul from Jacksonville

Text is in English? Check. Zoom/resize still works on page? Check. Price remains at zero? Check. Content quality? Let's not get carried away. Website's fine by me. I've adopted the Oehser philosophy of keeping what few expectations I have low to save disappointment for important stuff like my social life.

Good thinking, Paul.

Ryan from Apopka, FL

I don't know how Leonard [Fournette] looked at OTAs (they are closed to the public) nor do I know how he looked on Twitter. But what I do know is he recorded the two fastest speeds by a running back last year. So whatever weight he is or was I have all the faith that he knows what he is doing.

Fournette is big. He is strong. He is powerful. As he showed last season, he also is fast. Rookies and young players often seek for a season or two an ideal playing weight, and perhaps Fournette will go through that process. But for the most part, he's doing fine.

Michael from Phoenix, AZ

Zone, less miserable does not equal happy.

I am aware of this.

Chris from Mandarin, FL

Didn't Jalen Ramsey have a minor meniscus tear in last year's OTAs? It seems to me he's best to avoid it since he hasn't hit his big payday yet and it isn't a required event.

That's one reason, yes.

Christopher from Jacksonville

Very few people actually "want" a player to kneel for the anthem. A lot more people actually "want" the players to at the very least, stand for the anthem. The real truth is, nothing happens when you kneel other than people start talking about you kneeling. Nobody places a larger focus on any social issues, not to any noticeable degree. No policy or laws are enacted due to some insight gained because someone knelt for the anthem and a light bulb went off. It's intellectually dishonest to say it has any reasonable affect at bringing awareness to any social or political issue. Pen an article, go on a talk show, write a book, speak on the radio. I do whatever you want to do when you aren't playing football. Basic as hell.

I agree that most people want players to stand for the anthem. My impression is that most players prefer standing for the anthem, but that many honestly believe that kneeling is an effective way to raise awareness. As far as kneeling and other forms of protest not prompting larger focus on social issues … I don't know. People have talked about this issue directly or indirectly for a couple of years now. That probably wouldn't have happened had Colin Kaepernick never started kneeling.

Duval Doom from Section 217

Hey man, long time no talk. How's it going? Quick question. Are you going to miss O'Halloran? I kinda miss him already.

You're referencing the departure of former Florida Times-Union Jaguars beat writer Ryan O'Halloran, now the Denver Broncos beat writer for the Denver Post. And yeah, I do sort of miss him. He brought a rosy outlook to the day-to-day that's hard to replace.

Sean from Jacksonville

Any thoughts on Marcedes Lewis joining the Packers?

I was happy to see late Thursday that Lewis had signed with the Green Bay Packers. From a personal standpoint, I was sorry when the Jaguars opted to release Lewis in mid-March after they signed Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Lewis was the longest tenured player on the Jaguars, and I enjoyed working with him for seven seasons. He was a professional who carried himself as such through a lot of difficult seasons here, and I was glad he got a chance to experience last season's run to the AFC Championship Game. Although I understood the reasons for the release I hoped he would be a part of the team moving forward. I also know he wanted to continue playing, so I was glad to see he apparently will get that chance. I like seeing players able to go out on their own terms. It didn't work out for Lewis to play his entire career here, but if he wants to continue playing, good for him if he can.

Nick from Palatka, FL

Mr. Zone, I was wondering what's this "dead zone" I keep hearing about? Since I've been reading this site, I feel so much more "alive." My faucets don't drip and my toilets don't run thanks to MCGOWAN'S PLUMBING. I just overnighted a request via UPS to the JAX JAGUARS ordering JAGS gear and tickets to the London game for the whole neighborhood. And I never pass a cyclist in an unsafe manner. Something about your website has really changed my life. Thank you, Mr. Zone. Thank you.

You're welcome. I do a great job.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

I love freedom of expression and freedom of speech until someone expresses an opinion I disagree with. Then, I believe they shouldn't be allowed to express their opinions.

You are not alone.

Nate from Fort Duval in York, PA

My boss often asks me to come in for voluntary overtime. I always refuse. I have no ill will towards my employer nor do I endure punishment. I simply enjoy my days off. I hope Jalen and A.J. are enjoying their days off. They deserve it.

The higher-ups long ago asked Shadrick to do this. Few witnesses remain, but those who were there this say his laughter could be heard echoing from the beaches to Palatka to the sunny shores of Amelia Island.

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