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O-Zone: Hard-knock life

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Igor from Jacksonville

Hey, John! I read some chatter from Mike DiRocco that Leonard Fournette is looking slimmer at the start of the OTAs, but looking at him on social media I would not say that is not the case. He does seem to carry a bit too much weight. Le'Veon Bell changed his body from roughly 240 pounds down to around 218, and even Adrian Peterson was more in the 220-pound range. Shouldn't Leonard focus on something like that to improve his quickness and agility and also help prevent these little nagging injuries he seems to carry all the time?

I haven't the faintest idea who "Mike DiRocco" is, but I agree Fournette appeared slimmer on the field Tuesday to start OTAs. Whatever his official weight, and however he appeared to you on social media, he appeared on Tuesday as he always does: remarkably quick, agile and athletic for his size. As for what Fournette should weigh, he has been playing running back for a long time. He is an elite athlete who appears to know his body. He is not Bell and he is not Peterson – and what works for them may not necessarily work for him.

Braddock from Jacksonville

I see a lot of similarities in this team and the one that was rising in the late 90s. We had two wide receivers – Keenan McCardell and Jimmy Smith – who were 1,000-yard guys and we had serviceable tight ends such as Pete Mitchell. But as much as I love former quarterback Mark Brunell, he wasn't a 4,000-yard passer and didn't need to be. The truth is when his legs broke down he threw more balls out of bounds than he ran for first downs. This is not a knock on Brunell; I just think we should all take a breath and realize Blake Bortles actually has a chance to be a better player than Brunell – and we have a better D on this run. That D was good; this one has a chance to be an all-time great. If we can put some points up and grind the drives out like back then, I can't foresee a scenario where we don't make several playoff runs. What say you?

Making the postseason is promised to no team – and making postseason runs is hard. For those reasons, I certainly can foresee scenarios in which the Jaguars don't make multiple deep playoff runs. Still, I agree with your basic point – that the elements absolutely are in place for this current Jaguars team to have the sort of sustained success it had in the 1990s. Those elements being in place don't guarantee future success, but they sure give the Jaguars a chance. That's the first step.

Jeff from Jacksonville

Someone cartwheels. You do some back flips. Sexton starts singing and dancing. What was Shadrick doing during that lunch?

Eating. He is capable of laser-sharp focus.

Cliff from Orange Park, FL

Your answer to the last question Wednesday, "Happy dance," was your best work yet. I like the website, shiny black helmets and am not bothered by the more "difficult" schedule. Last year we lost to teams that were subpar, but did well against better teams and in the playoffs. This seems to be a team that likes to be challenged. Agree?

I suppose last season could be seen that way. But I actually saw last season play out a little differently. I saw a team working to find its way early, starting 3-3. It then found its footing in a big way and played very well after that, with the only losses coming on the road at Arizona, San Francisco, Tennessee and New England. Two of those losses – at San Francisco and at Tennessee – basically came after the Jaguars' playoff seeding had been clinched and the Jaguars easily could have won the Arizona and New England games had a play or two gone the other way. Yes, this team does like to be challenged. There's no doubt about that. But once last season reached its midway point it was consistent.

Chris from Mandarin, FL

John, I'm wrestling hard with this, but ... you did a backflip? Get real.

I've found that most people possess a skill or set of skills that would surprise many people who don't know them well. Gymnast-like coordination and agility just happens to be mine. It's yet another burden I must bear.

Jeff from Wake Forest, NC

Good day sir. Inquiring minds want to know: did you rent the tie for your picture or does it belong to you. And if so, is it a clip-on? Hail to the king baby!

I did not rent a tie and I do not wear clip-on ties. I learned early in my days in the hardscrabble halls of Episcopal High School in the late 1970s that clip-ons were a quick way to get yourself what we back in the day called a "whuppin." Not possessing the strength to "fight back" or the speed to effectively "flee" – and not developing the aforementioned "gymnast-like" coordination and agility until sometime later – I learned strikingly quickly to tie my own tie. And I'm pretty good at it. It's yet another thing I do well.

Ryan from Miami, FL

O-man, as a former long snapper, I have to show some love to the position. After seeing three different snappers on the field last season, who is "The Guy" making the snaps this season.

Colin Holba and Carson Tinker currently are the long snappers on the roster. Tinker held the position from 2013-2017 and spent last season on injured reserve with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Holder held the position for the last seven games of last season after a season-ending injury to Tinker's replacement, Matt Overton. I would expect Tinker and Holba to be on the roster entering training camp. After that, stay tuned.

Dane from CryinYourBeerVille


I would assume she does. Why should she be left out?

Michael from Middleburg, FL

Please help us understand the new kickoff rule. It seems that it will make defending an onside kick a lot harder.

The new kickoff rule is designed to make the play safer. It essentially eliminates the running start for players on the kicking team, and eliminates wedge blocking for the receiving team. It also moves players on the receiving team closer to the ball before the kickoffs, which should significantly reduce the number of high-speed collisions. While many fans and observers focus on the returner and the ball during this play, most of the dangerous collisions took place elsewhere – and the thought here is the changes should be positive on that front. Could it make defending an onside kick harder? Perhaps, and it seems it particularly could make defending intermediate and squib kicks more difficult. There will be wrinkles within the game that will be affected by this rule. The onside kick could be one of them. If a changed intricacy such as that is the fallout from a rule to make the game safer, so be it.

Sonny from Melbourne, FL

There are ads in your column?

That's the rumor.

Scott from Jacksonville

I'm very afraid of the dead zone this year.

I see no reason to be more afraid of the dead zone this year than any other. The pace and focus of questions here in the O-Zone typically dips and sways a bit from late June through early July. This historically is a time when questions veer from football toward … well, toward whatever direction readers dictate. It seems to me the questions have veered a bit more than usual already this offseason, a happening I attribute mostly to Jaguars fans finding less to make them miserable this offseason. Such is the burdensome aftereffect of success, I suppose. I imagine it will be a bit slow this offseason, too. I also imagine we'll muddle through. Somehow.

CD from Fleming Island, FL

Hey John, regarding having the knowledge of the site change prior to it happening, here's my take. You see a movie. A friend tells you beforehand it's terrible, so you go into it with low expectations, and come out the other side saying "Eh, it wasn't THAT bad" maybe even appreciating the good parts. So all you had to do was get approval to tell us the site was about become a dumpster fire (or equally disparaging remarks) the day before launch! Our emotions were toyed with, Oehser … toyed with! I had flashbacks of the end of the Sopranos -- cursing frantically, and calling everyone I knew to see if their cable dropped, too. Then using all those same curse words when I found out it was intentional. What happened to Tony, John?!? What happened?!?

Wow. I had no idea what we had put you through. You do have a tough life, CD. My sincerest apologies. Stay strong.

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