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O-Zone: Elite eight

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Michael from Orange Park, FL

What's done is done, I guess. Disappointed in Cam. Where do we go from here?

The NFL early Thursday evening announced that Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson will be suspended four games to start the 2023 regular season because of performance-enhancing drugs. It represents official word regarding what has been speculated for month. As such, it really doesn't change much in terms of how the Jaguars are approaching this situation. The Jaguars had been planning for this much of the offseason. Where do we go now? Well, Robinson will participate in 2023 Training Camp and the preseason. He then must leave the team at the start of the regular season. And while he can return midway through the suspension and be around the team, he can not practice or play until the suspension ends following Week 4. The NFL has modified that part of the rule in recent seasons to give players the best chance to succeed following the suspension. As for what happens on the field, I expect Walker Little to start at left tackle with rookie Anton Harrison at right tackle. The major storyline will be what happens when Robinson returns. I expect Robinson to return to the starting lineup at left tackle with Little moving to left guard and Harrison at right tackle. That's my projection. Injuries and level of play everywhere around the line will dictate the accuracy of that projection.

Nathan from Southside

I saw the press release on the Robinson suspension. One thing stands out. It says the suspension voids the $16 million guaranteed contract for 2023. Does that mean they could release him this year without a serious cap hit?

That wasn't part of the press release. At least not one I saw. But yes.

Tony from Johns Creek, GA

O, I can't speak but for myself, but Robinson receiving a four-game suspension looks like a win for the Jags. I'm guesswork the team was hoping for two. It could have been worse.

Yes, it could have.

Bill from Hammock, FL

Zone, being deep into the Dead Zone, I started rewatching a couple of last season's games. It is amazing watching Trevor in the first six games compared to the end of the season. The Las Vegas Raiders game was particularly significant, falling behind 17 points and winning at the end. This also brought back images of opposing wide receivers running wide open. Should our defensive backfield be the most concerning part of 2023?

Quarterback Trevor Lawrence's development indeed was remarkable in 2023. He gained confidence, and that development should continue in his second season in Head Coach Doug Pederson's offense. I expect the passing game's consistency to be perhaps the Jaguars' most notable improvement in 2023. As for the biggest concern … the secondary's coverage at times in 2022 was an issue. The area improved in the second half of the season. I don't expect this to be an elite coverage secondary in 2023. What you want from this group is to be good enough to cover well when the pass rush is effective, and to be opportunistic enough to force turnovers when the opposing quarterback is harassed.

Steve from Nashville, TN

A potential solution to the parking issue down the road similar to what we did for the Super Bowl with floating hotel rooms: Get a whole bunch of flat-top barges and charge people $50 a car to "party on the John." If one barge gets too rowdy, cut 'em loose. I cannot see anything bad happening with this idea.

Shad Kh an, hire this man!

_JR from The Squatchlands        _

O-man, I read an article recently that discussed this year's rookies who are likely going to be impact players this season. Jaguars safety Antonio Johnson made the list, which surprised me. Admittedly I know very little about him, but considering the way Rayshawn Jenkins played last year and the continued improvement of Andre Cisco, it has me wondering where he fits it. The article mentioned him as playing a "box safety" role. Can you elaborate on that position and also tell us who (whom?) you think he will be taking snaps from? ¡Muchas gracias!

A box safety is something of a hybrid safety/linebacker. I expect Johnson to primarily be a special teams player as a rookie. He can play both safety and nickel, so I suspect he will get opportunities in the slot as the Jaguars get more comfortable with his strengths. We'll find out a lot more about how the Jaguars see his role once training camp begins July 26.

_Josh from Green Bay    _

Just saw the piece on Jaguars linebacker Chad Muma and his minicamp for diabetes. As a fellow Type 1 diabetic, I think I just found my new favorite Jags player to root for.

He's a good kid. This is a good cause.

David from Orlando, FL

KOAF - After the NFL draft, it was widely reported that Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke made Buffalo Bills General Manager Brandon Beane and New York Giants General Manager Joe Schoen reveal details about who they were planning to draft to make sure the Jaguars were not at risk at losing the player the Jags coveted, offensive tackle Anton Harrison. The way this was reported made it seem as if this type of "negotiating" was bold and not how things are normally done. Now, that it's shown to be a successful strategy, do you think it may become more common practice?

Baalke traded down twice in Round 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft, first with the Bills and then with the Giants. Because Baalke knew he wanted Harrison, he indeed pushed for some level of information from both teams about who they planned to select with the selections to be acquired from the Jaguars. What was most unusual here was the level of detail with which Beane and Schoen discussed the conversations after the draft. It's not all that uncommon in Baalke's situation to push for some assurances that the team with which he was trading wasn't going to select his player of choice. Do I think more general managers will take this approach? I think general managers will do whatever they can to get as much information as possible in that situation. Smart ones will, anyway.

Steve at Work from Jax Bch

Just a dead zone hypothetical here. Suppose Shad offered to pay for the entire stadium renovation out of his own pocket. Every dime. But when it's finished the city would have to give up the land and he would own and generally control the stadium and real estate outright. All the city would get is property taxes (if that). Do you think the city would go for it? Even with such a sweet deal, somehow I don't think they would. Politicians being politicians and all that. Has this sort of thing happened anywhere else?

I'm not smart enough to know what politicians will do and why. What I know is Jaguars Owner Shad Khan won't offer to pay for the entire stadium renovation out of his own pocket. This is because the NFL model doesn't call for small-market owners to fund stadiums that way. Smaller-market stadiums such as Buffalo and Tennessee recently have been far closer to a two-thirds (public), one-third (team) split on stadium projects. That's the financial structure NFL owners believe works, and they're unlikely to approve a small-market proposal that strays far from that model.

Matt from Section 133

John, in an O-Zone column many years ago, when someone was complaining about the Dead Zone and wanting the season to hurry up and get here, you responded with a quote that someone had said to you in your past about why you shouldn't want to rush through life or the summer (or something like that). Do you remember what that quote was? I remember being moved when you wrote it that day.

I don't remember the exact quote. The person I first remember discussing that concept with me was my friend, David Lamm. I'm certain he's not the first to have that sentiment.

Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire, UK

Oh Mighty 'O' / King of all Funk, as it is the 'Dead Zone' let's play Desert Island Discs. You are marooned on a mythical desert island, but you can choose eight albums, a book and a luxury item to take with you as are castaway. According to the rules of the game you are also given the complete works of Shakespeare and the Bible (or whatever relevant religious text). Your luxury item cannot be anything that allows contact with the outside world, so no TVs, Radios, Phones, computers, etc. and cannot help you escape the Island, so no boats, planes, helicopters, submarines, etc. So what are you taking?

Albums: London Calling, Clash; John Prine, John Prine; Jason Isbell, Southeastern; Welcome to the Beautiful South, Beautiful South; My Aim is True, Elvis Costello; Moondance, Van Morrison; Reckoning, R.E.M; Boylan Heights, Connells. Book: High Fidelity, Nick Hornby. Luxury item: Rat Dog.