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O-Zone: Eternal optimism

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Michael from Orange Park, FL

So, here we are again in the dead zone, huh? What uuuup?

We indeed are officially in the O-Zone "Dead Zone," with the 2024 offseason program well in the rear view and Jaguars 2024 Training Camp scheduled to open in late July. What uuup? Well, we're waiting for the City Council vote on the Stadium of the Future on Tuesday evening. That's uuuup next in these parts, and that's when we'll know for certain if the city is going to approve the proposed stadium. It's also when a lot of the aspects of the stadium deal that have been reported, rumored and discussed will become official. As I have written and said for several weeks/months/years, I expect this deal to get done. That doesn't mean I am nonchalant or casual about its importance. If/when it is approved, it will be one of the two of three most important days in the history of the franchise. If/when that happens, it won't feel as dead around here for a day or two. Stay tuned. Fingers crossed.

Philip from Orange Park, FL

Booo! Three games in London? Sounds like another excuse, Zone.

You're referencing a report that the Jaguars could play three home games in London in 2027. That's the season EverBank Stadium is to be unavailable because of the renovation that will be scheduled to be completed by 2028. According to a recent report in the Florida Times-Union, Jaguars President Mark Lamping said the team will have the option – but will not be required – to play three home games in London that season with the other homes games to be played in Orlando or Gainesville. I'm not sure what "excuse" means in the context of your displeasure. This seems like a fairly logical option considering the circumstances.

William from Savannah, GA

O-Man, please clarify: Are you afraid of heights, or does the thought of gravity scare the hell out of you?

I'm afraid of everything, mostly the unknown.

David from Jacksonville

Talk me down, Zone. I'm nervous about this vote? What if it doesn't get approved?

I suppose this falls into the category of worrying for the sake of worrying. It's true that something isn't official until it's official and until the City Council approves the Stadium of the Future the Stadium of the Future isn't approved. But there has been remarkably little "noise" or "controversy" around this issue. There from the start has been an overriding feeling from the City and the team that what is proposed generally is a positive for both sides and there has been a corresponding feeling from both sides that a deal must get done. That positivity has produced an overall feeling of confidence. Stay tuned.

John from Jacksonville

Hi, KOAGF. Do you wonder how our mascot will look on the bungee jump wearing a gold jacket? Could be a historic event. It would be even better if Boselli jumped with him.

Would Boselli have a cord?

Eric from Jacksonville Beach

If you had to rank these in terms of things you were worried about, where would you put them from most to least worried? 1, Newly-signed 10-year veterans getting injured; 2, New receivers not gelling with Trevor; 3, O-line remaining an issue on the team; 4, Depth at cornerback or pash rush; 5, Defense adjusting to the new scheme. Any major concerns I left off the list?

I worry about the health, safety and well-being of my family, a friend or two, Rat Dog and – not to be forgotten – myself. I don't worry about the Jaguars. Head Coach Doug Pederson and General Manager Trent Baalke make far more than me to handle the worrying. My biggest questions about this team are older players staying healthy and Lawrence reducing turnovers. If this team stays healthy and Lawrence reduces turnovers, a lot of other "issues" become more manageable and less overwhelming. I suppose that makes No. 1 on your list No. 1 on my "non-list," with all the others a sort-of-distant second.

Tony from Jax

I recall Doug using two tight end sets when he was with Philly. Has Brenton Strange made enough progress where we will be able to utilize him and Evan Engram in two tight end sets more this year? Seems like that would add a great weapon along with wide receivers Brian Thomas Jr., Christian Kirk and Gabe Davis.

Pederson indeed long has been known for his ability to use tight ends effectively. This was among the reasons tight end Evan Engram signed with the Jaguars before the 2022 season, and Engram indeed has flourished in Pederson's offense in his two seasons with the team. I do expect the Jaguars to use multiple tight-end sets at least a bit more in 2024 than they did in 2023 – and I expect Strange to be more consistent as an option opposite Engram. Remember, though: The Jaguars' offense is going to use its best four or five options as often as possible. I expect the best five options as often as not to be running back Travis Etienne Jr., wide receivers Christian Kirk, Gabe Davis and Brian Thomas Jr. and Engram. This is not to say using two tight-end formations will be wrong, but you do want that fivesome on the field.

Bo from Linwood, NC

Maybe the dead zone will go by quicker with the summer Olympics here to entertain us. Is there an Olympian that towers over the rest in your mind? Or do you have more of a Mount Rushmore list?

Jesse Owens, Michael Phelps, Carl Lewis, 1980 U.S. Hockey Team. That's my Rushmore off the top of my head. It skews a bit toward the U.S. team, but that's my perspective.

Pedal Bin from Farnborough. Hampshire. UK

Oh Mighty 'O' / King of all Funk, I see you mentioned no one altercates with longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist, Northeast Florida cultural icon and force of nature Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette as his speed and power make him too formidable a foe to challenge physically. Is there any truth to the rumor that Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell were in fact named "Thunder and Lightning" after Gene's left and right fists rather than due to a TV Guide photo shoot in 1997?

It's probably best if I don't say.

Steve from Nashville, TN

You scared your lone reader Sunday with an O-Zone afternoon post time. Where can I write Mr. Khan to request the O-Zone continue on a daily basis regardless of who the senior writer is?

Jaguars Owner Shad Khan is a remarkably busy, successful man. Receiving a letter or email regarding the O-Zone would fall under the category of "time drain." A significant one.

Bill from Jacksonville

What are you going to do when you can't talk about Trevor anymore?

I guess you're referencing me writing about Lawrence a lot in recent days and not writing about all that much else during that same time. Let me explain how this works: People ask questions and I answer to the best of my admittedly sometimes limited ability. With the offseason program ending two weeks or so ago, and with Lawrence signing a contract extension, he has been "newsworthy" in an otherwise comparatively slow period. I expect the coming weeks to be "slow" in the inbox compared to other times of the season and offseason. Someone may ask about Lawrence again during that time. When/if that happens, I expect I'll answer the question. I'm zany that way.

Gary from St. Augustine, FL

Even during the dead zone, you suck. Actually, I the dead zone, you super suck.

I am the king all funk. Even when I suck.

Christopher from Roseville

I can help answer Steven's question. I grew up a diehard Dallas Cowboys fan and moved to Jacksonville in 2001 when my oldest daughter was just a baby. Her first NFL game was the Jaguars beating the Denver Broncos 7-6 in very exciting fashion in 2004. She's been a diehard Jaguars fan ever since and I came around shortly after that game to share the passion with her. We moved to NorCal in 2016 and the Jaguars are still our team!

Cool stuff.

Gator from Gainesville, FL

Favrite teems are easy to change. I was a Jags fan. Then somethin happened and I became a Broncos fan. Lot long after that I became a Jets fan. After that I was a Patriots fan just for the preseason. For a little while I gave up on football and was a Mets fan but then I was a Jaguars fan again. The wurld sure is a funny place.

Not as cool.

Don from Marshall, NC

This is the most optimistic you have ever been about the season since you started. Go Jaguars!

When it comes to not remembering that I figured the Jaguars would go 10-7 or 11-6 – at least – and win the AFC South in 2023, Don remains "all in."