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O-Zone: Go big

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Chris from Mandarin

John, no, it really isn't more difficult than that. Teams don't get better. They get better quarterbacks.

You're referencing a recent O-Zone question in which I was essentially asked about the Jaguars making a deep playoff run in 2022 if rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence is about as good as Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. I responded that it was a little more difficult than that, but that that was the hope. It's true that quarterbacks are critical. It's true that a franchise quarterback can change things. But it's not true that a quarterback is the ONLY piece necessary for a franchise to make deep playoff runs – and for such runs to be a team's norm. Teams must still function around the quarterback, manage talent correctly and have a solid foundation/approach. Quarterback is the necessary and key piece, but is winning a championship and being a consistent playoff contender a little more difficult than just having that player? Absolutely. Then again, your confidence suggests you know better. Perhaps you're correct.

Jim from Middleburg, FL

Which of our no-name receivers is gonna take this opportunity and bust out of the pack?

This is a bit of a loaded question, because it implies that an "unknown" Jaguars receiver must have a huge season in 2021 or someone has failed to take advantage of an opportunity. I don't know that that's the case. I expect DJ Chark Jr., Laviska Shenault Jr. and Marvin Jones Jr. to be the Jaguars' top three wide receivers this season, and I expect a player such as wide receiver Phillip Dorsett II could have a role because of his speed – or that wide receiver Jamal Agnew could have a role because of the same. Wide receiver Collin Johnson also could have a role because of his size. But I expect the first three – along with rookie running back Travis Etienne Jr. – to get the majority of opportunities if healthy, and there might not be a "major opportunity" for a no-name receiver beyond that.

Ryan from The Dead Zone

O-Zone, regarding a recent response of yours … can you really call them "toppings" if they're in a calzone? I mean, they're on the inside, not the top. Shouldn't they be "fillings?" Or maybe something else?

Congratulations on your free time. It's enviable.

Steve from Nashville, TN

Are the nine "experts" allowed to be in the same room at the same time or would that violate team safety protocols?

You're referencing the nine "experts" in our Final Analysis pieces here on – Rick Ballou, Ashlyn Sullivan, Brent Martineau, J.P. Shadrick, Frank Frangie, yours truly, Bucky Brooks, Jeff Lageman and Brian Sexton. We're allowed to be in the same room. Our desire to share the same space is a far different question.

Jason from North Pole, AK

What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

African or European?

Marcel from Winnipeg, Manitoba

How do you feel about these "summits" the players are having these days? How does it help the Denver Broncos if Von Miller is teaching defensive ends and outside linebackers from other teams to sack his own quarterback? Or Travis Kelce teaching other tight ends to defeat zones that the Kansas City Chiefs may be playing, for example. I am old school; help your own team, not the other team.

Position summits have become fashionable among NFL players lately – and the word fashionable can bring a few different meanings here. It's not an entirely bad thing for NFL players to help out their brethren at the same positions, and the practice indeed seems to be done with the best of intentions. At the same time, it does seem it has become perhaps a bit too trendy and fashionable lately – and I tend to distrust such things, and wonder if the motivation sometimes is a bit for show. But that's the cynic in me. The goal of the summits for the most part is to help young players improve their skills, and players presumably don't give away secrets to beating their own teams – at least not intentionally. I suppose I generally respond to hearing about the latest summit with a shrug more than feeling irate. They're not going away anytime soon, and I don't think they do that much harm.

Brian K from The ATL

KOAF - I thoroughly enjoyed your snarky response regarding the possibility of an 8-8 final record in 2021. It got me thinking about the new 17-game format and how, with few exceptions, teams will now finish with either a winning record or a losing record. Right or wrong, I think this will resonate with American fans. "You're a winner or a loser - no middling allowed." Perhaps we could relegate any team that finishes 8-8-1 to the CFL or Arena League...

I'll pass this along.

Dangus from Duval

Dead zone: Readers and presumed Jaguars fans are crying about the Green Packers organization and Fans?! They've been the most spoiled team since 1992 by dumb luck getting TWO of the greatest of all-time and only have two championships to show for it. Is Rodgers a whiner and an idiot for signing on with that team again? Oh, yes, but rather let's cry for me: a fan of Blake Gabbert, Nick Foles, Jay Fiedler, Blake Bortles, Gardner Minshew II and on and on and on.

Winning Super Bowls is hard, so I'm not one to say a has come up short by "only" winning "X" number of championships in a given span. And it does strike me that you have some unhealthy resentment toward the good folks of Wisconsin and their team. My experience is they're rather a decent people. And they make a nice cheese.

Scott from Longwood, FL

If you could have a conversation with any living athlete that you've never interviewed, who would it be, and would you write it up for us?

I'd still like to have a chat with Roger Staubach and let him know how much I hated him when I was growing up. The man caused a lot of heartache in 10-year-old Johnny O's life. No, I wouldn't write it up. Some things are better left between icons and petty aging sportswriters.

Sean from Jacksonville

When fans complain about this or that, I wish they would dive deep into the madness of the Washington Football Team. A huge mess and now in the unenviable position of trying to find a new nickname in today's cultures. I feel better knowing there are teams out there who need to work really hard to get their house in order. (I thought I turned off my alarm AGAIN, but the technology escaped me.)


David from Orlando, FL

KOAF - On 1/1/21, Trevor Lawrence played his last game as a Clemson Tiger, falling 49-28 in the Sugar Bowl to the Ohio State Buckeyes. In that game, Lawrence was under heavy duress all game, as his offensive line was overwhelmed by the Buckeyes defense. I recall Jag fans half-joking "get used to it, that's what it's going to look like that in Jacksonville." There are some quarterbacks who will pick you apart when they know the blitz is coming, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers come to mind, while others get buried in the avalanche. Should teams test the rookie and blitz like crazy, do you have any sense how he'd fair?

I have no idea how Lawrence will respond to heavy blitzing in the NFL. I am sure we'll get to find out soon enough – probably in the week(s) immediately after he begins starting. NFL teams blitz all young quarterbacks until they show they can respond to it; it's up to the quarterback and his coaches to play well enough – and hurt defenses enough – to make defenses stop this approach. Remember: the quarterbacks you name as picking blitzes apart – Brady and Rodgers – are the elite of the elite. The better the quarterback – the more quickly he reads defenses, the better he navigates the pocket, the better his decisions – the better he will fare against the blitz.

Josh from Fernandina Beach, FL

Hey Zone, any idea where Corndog Billingsby was born? You're welcome.

I'm not at liberty to say.

Scott from Jacksonville

Interesting question posed by Palatka Scott... I mean, who listens to albums from start to finish these days? It has to be years since I did. Maybe "Use Your Illusion 2" by GnR. Or perhaps Uriah Heep's "Magician's Birthday"? Hard to say. If I had to guess, it was probably "Traveling Wilbury's Vol 1" for me.

I listen to albums start to finish all the time. Maybe it's a matter of attention span, or superior breeding. Or maybe not.

Dave from Jacksonville

Wizard, if Trevor reaches your generational standard, this fan will be very happy. Tampa has another boat parade Monday. Can't wait to see you and Shad rippin on his Yacht during our boat parade.

That sounds like a no-shirt day for ol' Zone.