O-Zone: Go your own way

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Braddock from Jacksonville

If OTAs aren’t important why are there 52 other guys that will make the roster there? Why is Jalen Ramsey special?

Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey is special because he has made two consecutive Pro Bowls and is one of only a few people on the planet who can do what he does at the level he does it. That’s why professional athletes can’t be compared to “normal” people who work “normal jobs.” The demand for their services is such that there is little normalcy involved. This isn’t “fair” in the sense that life is not and never will be “fair.” As for why most NFL players attend organized team activities, the reasons vary. Some attend because they believe the offseason work in a team environment helps them. Others attend because they aren’t assured of making the team and feel inherent pressure from the team to attend. Others attend because they live in the town where their team trains and it’s just as easy for them to train with the team as not. As for the importance of OTAs, it’s debatable. I believe they’re important for quarterbacks and receivers. They’re also usually important for young players, skill players or players new to a system. For a lot of veteran players, they’re not nearly so important. For some, they’re not particularly important at all.

Crash from the Westside

O Man! Get over to the Westside and check out the pizza at Uncle Charlie's. Carmelo runs the joint and he's from Sicily. Mama Mia! What a great pie!

Did he used to work at Sbarro’s?

Steve from Section 251

I think most of us know what “voluntary” means. And I suspect most of us would rather Ramsey be at practice but understand why he is not required to be here. But his refusal to return attempts by the team to contact him is a real issue. There simply is no way to put that in a good light. And NFL players are not so different from us plain old working stiffs that some basic rules/courtesies/business practices don’t apply to them.

Your passion, while impressive, is misplaced. Ramsey has been in contact with the team since early in the offseason. There were a few days early in the offseason when Head Coach Doug Marrone didn’t have his number. That was news for a short time. It was resolved quickly. Ramsey has not refused attempts by the team to contact him. Now, if Ramsey wasn’t communicating with the team … yeah, that could be an issue. But that’s not the case. So, it’s not.

Robert from Fernandina Beach, FL

Any truth to the rumor that Nike's upcoming ad campaign will be centered on the phrase Be Like Gene?

Shhhh.

Tom from Shanghai, China

Let's say Nick Foles retires in seven years having led the Jags to five division wins, two AFC Championship games and a Super Bowl win. Is he a Hall of Famer?

That would mean Foles quarterbacked multiple postseason victories across multiple seasons with two teams. It would mean he established himself as a perennial playoff quarterback. It would mean he won Super Bowls with two teams. And yes … it would mean he’s a Hall of Famer.

Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL

Another one fer the hammer. I once saw a play where Joey Porter got into his face after the whistle and the hammer grabbed him by his face and quickly placed him on the ground on his back. The announcer mentioned that if someone has the nickname “the hammer” you probably shouldn’t mess with them. Indeed. One fer Greg Jones.

One fer Jones.

Rog from St. Augustine, FL

So the question regarding Ramsey doesn’t seem to be that leadership is required of him, but his ability to be a teammate is. Being the best you can be is great, but if you don’t have your teammates’ back then that can be disconcerting. The locker room requires a positive environment, and we hope he is the teammate we all want him to be, otherwise a diva can be cancerous. Any insight?

I absolutely do have insight on this, with the biggest insight being that there is a mammoth gap between the perception of Ramsey and the reality. Ramsey has his teammates’ backs and teammates have his back. There’s nothing disconcerting about his approach, and speculation to the contrary is ill-informed. Attending a voluntary NFL offseason program is not a sign that you are a good teammate and not attending one is not a sign that you are a bad teammate. Players don’t care that Ramsey isn’t here. They don’t consider him a bad teammate because they know he is working and they know he will report to training camp ready to work and play at a high level. Outsiders don’t decide if a player is cancerous. Ramsey isn’t cancerous, and it doesn’t matter what kind of teammate fans want Ramsey to be. Teammates consider him a good teammate. That’s all that matters.

Andrew from Duuvall

Didn't Jalen's dad help train him into the athlete he is today? I don't understand why people would want to mess with what's been working for him his entire career. Fans gonna fan, I guess.

Apparently.

Clay from Jacksonville

My question relates to the question you took about trying other people out in the fullback role. My question is: Did something happen to the Bohammer? I thought he was still on the team?

Former Jaguars fullback Tommy Bohanon became an unrestricted free agent in mid-March and has yet to sign with another team. The Jaguars currently are working players from other positions at fullback in schemes where a fullback is needed. That is a common approach in the NFL these days, an approach that has led to fewer and fewer teams carrying fulltime fullbacks. It appears likely that will be their approach with the position under offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.

Scott from Jacksonville

Darn it, John! Because of you I just had to look up gavotting! And I still don't know what it means!!

Adversity is good for you. It builds character.

Otto from Ponte Vedra, FL

John, Jaguars defensive end Todd Wash says as a four-three defensive end Josh Allen will play defensive end with his hand in the dirt. He hardly did that in college. Why try to change a player from his natural instinct to fit a system? Wade Phillips, arguably the best defensive coordinator over the past 20 years, said he tries to get the best players and adopts a system around them. I do hope Wash really uses the brainpower of Dom Capers to help in this regard. Go Jags!!

Some successful coordinators change their scheme to fit players. Others keep their scheme basic and refrain from moving players – particularly young players – around very much in an effort to allow players to play as fast as possible. Wash made it pretty clear this week that Capers will have input into the defense, but it’s also clear this will not be Capers’ defense. The Jaguars drafted Allen to rush the passer. That’s what he did well in college. As he adapts to the NFL, he will focus on that. When he shows he is excelling at that, I imagine the Jaguars will move him around as merited.

Don from Marshall, NC

How do any of these so-called fans know what a leader does anyway? My guess is the leader of the glee club is a little different than the leader of an NFL football team. Jalen leads with his play on the field. From what I hear he works out year-round. So far, it has worked out pretty good for him. Go Jaguars!

Ramsey is fine. He’s a perennial Pro Bowl selection and one of the best defenders in the NFL. He’s not an issue.

Andy from St. Augustine, FL

Deep dish pizza is an oxymoron - not saying it's not good, but if it's deep dish, it's not pizza! The best pizza on the planet is found in NYC - just go into any of the Original Ray's and get a thin slice with pepperoni ... it's life changing (and almost as good as Sbarro).

Almost.

Keith from Palatka, FL

With the additions the Jaguars have made this offseason, do you think they have a chance of being "sneaky good" on offense?

Yes. It largely depends on Foles and the healthy/improvement of the offensive line, but if those areas play as the Jaguars expect then they absolutely should be improved on offense. I don’t know if that means they will be “sneaky good,” but it should mean scoring more points.

Pedal Bin from Farnborough, UK

Oh Mighty ‘O’ / King of Funk, so long time Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. “Gene” Frenette upset Carly Simon long before he upset Adele then? Damn, she took that hard. But I suppose it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way?

You should have been there during the three months Gene was in Fleetwood Mac. Wait … you didn’t have to be there. You can hear all about it on “Rumours.”

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