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O-Zone: Healthy beginnings

LONDON – Let's get to it …

Unfortunate from VA

Sad to hear the news of Dick Butkus passing, a true legend ... sadder is the highlight reel on repeat, most of the hits would probably be illegal these days. RIP

I was saddened by the news of Butkus' passing, too. I started watching the NFL in the 1970s, when Butkus was nearing the end of his Hall-of-Fame career with the Chicago Bears as the era's defining middle linebacker. I don't recall specific Butkus moments, but even after retirement, his aura somehow remained bigger than the game. As far as the legality of his hits, I always consider such things in the same vein as I consider the question of whether greats of past eras would have been great if they played in the modern era. My thought is they would have been great because they would have adapted the training, technology and approach to the game of the modern athletes. Greatness tends transcends eras, and those who are motivated enough to be great in one era would find ways to be great in any era. Butkus would have adapted how he played to the modern rules. His career may not have played out exactly the same, but the thought here is he would have found a way to be great and would have had highlight reels whatever the era.

Mike from Navarre, OH

Did Dawuane Smoot travel to London with the team? Does he have a possibility to start for the team this week against the Bills? It seems he would provide some depth and experience to the defensive line and has been undervalued in all the talks about the lack of pass rush. Hopefully he returns to the team soon!

Smoot, a defensive lineman who missed the first four games of the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list, indeed traveled to London and practiced this week after the team this week opened his 21-day window to come off the PUP list. The window is designed to allow players to practice to work their way into game shape. Smoot sustained a serious Achilles injury last December, and it wouldn't be unusual for him to need at least one week of practice to be ready to play. The Jaguars indeed ruled him out Friday for Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills at Tottenham Stadium in London. Head Coach Doug Pederson said Friday Smoot could return next week against the Indianapolis Colts in Jacksonville. That feels right. I doubt he will start when he returns, but defensive line is less about starters than just about any other position in the NFL. When he does return, I expect Smoot to be a key part of the rotation and to indeed help the pass-rush package.

RAF from PVB

I think the Jaguars' defensive backs have dropped two potential pick-sixes this year. I can't name names, but I've seen a few other drops in games I've watched so far this year. It caused me to wonder if defensive backs regularly practice just catching the ball in their regular organized team practices?

Yes, NFL defensive backs regularly practice catching. And it's OK to name names. No one reads this drivel anyway.

Greg from Section 122, JACKSONVILLE, FL

I'm on a cruise in Europe less than 30 minutes from the game and can't watch it. Curious why it doesn't appear on the local stations here? At least not on board. And the irony and frustration of being so near a bucket list item without being able to complete it. Frustrating. But what the wife wants she gets. Hope we beat the Bills as we usually do. Next year London game is going to happen for me.

We now know these things about Greg we didn't know before.

Scott from Hobo from Random Locations

Do you get charged a tax for your work in England?

Professional athletes can be taxed up to 45 percent in the United Kingdom. I am not a professional athlete. I realize this is hard to grasp considering my impressive physique. It is nonetheless true.

Randy from Jacksonville

Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud is only the sixth player in NFL history to average 300 passing yards and have zero interceptions through the first four games in a season (as a rookie no less). The other five are Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers. This year's Texans are last year's Jags and here's why. It's the general manager's third season with the team and third head coach (like us). They have a fourth-place schedule (like us). They have a young team and quarterback and started 2-2 with a division win (like us). Their first-year head coach is a former player that's well liked (like us). There's no quarterback or running back battle and they signed a free-agent receiver (like us). The Texans would win the division after Week 4 (just like us) Didn't we go worst to first the same way?

It sounds as if you really like the Texans' chances this season, and why not? Stroud looks good and they have played well the past two weeks. The other parallels with the Jaguars are interesting. Will that translate into the Texans winning the AFC South? They're in first place with the rest of the division through four games. They have as good a chance as any team.

Larry from Wattsburg(h), PA

Are you homesick? (That first response recently was a tad impertinent!) Perhaps a viewing of The Producers would be in order?

What's "home?"

Jim from St Johns

When do we give up on the Luke Fortner experiment and move Tyler Shatley to center? The almost constant pressure up the middle is stifling the offense.

I thought they might consider moving Tyler Shatley to center this week for the reasons you cite. Pederson on Wednesday definitively said that wasn't being considered, saying: "Luke is solid in there. We have no issues with Luke at all. He's done an outstanding job. We do know that Shatley is a backup center for us, so if something would happen to Luke, Tyler would be the one to go in. There's no conversation at all about that, I'm fully confident in Luke."

Daniel from Johnston, IA

O, can you shed light on why Tank Bigsby isn't being used in the short-yardage situations in which we've inexplicably been stuffed? Been multiple situations where it seemed like a perfect fit for Bigsby to make a difference (4th and 1 etc). Isn't that why we picked him? Does he not have the coaches' confidence?

Rookie running back Tank Bigsby has converted a first down on all three short-yardage situations in which he has carried this season – two in a Week 1 victory over Indianapolis and another in a Week 3 loss to Houston. He didn't get any such carries this past Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. But I don't think this is a case of coaches ignoring Bigsby or losing confidence in him. This is because the Jaguars perhaps haven't faced – or failed in – as many of these situations as you think in recent weeks. For example, the Jaguars only ran a running back once on third- or fourth-and-2 or less this past Sunday. Running back Travis Etienne gained a yard on third-and-2 in the first half. They did it three times in the previous week's loss to Houston – with Etienne getting stopped once for a one-yard gain on third-and-2, Etienne gaining nine yards on 3rd-and-1 and Bigsby scoring on a one-yard touchdown run on first-and-goal. I suspect as the season moves forward Bigsby will be a primary option in these situations. I doubt they'll use him exclusively there, though. Etienne's better in short yardage than many people realize.

Jami from Claxton, GA

John, I think that not having wide receiver Zay Jones has hurt the Jaguars offense these past two weeks. Even so, I hope they don't rush him back if he's not 100 percent. I don't know what his injury is, but would it possible/probable that he could make the injury worse try to play too soon?

They won't rush him back if he's not 100 percent.

Don from Marshall NC

Buffalo is such a great team they crushed the Fins yada yada yada! The Jaguars are not the Fins. There is too much lack of respect given to the Jaguars who in my opinion are contenders for a championship. Buffalo seems to also be a contender so let's get it on ! Go Jaguars!

When it comes to the Jaguars having a chance to beat a Buffalo Bills team playing very well entering Sunday's game, Don remains "all in."

Jeff from Wake Forest, NC

Enough of these easy questions. Let's get to a hard-hitting, controversial one. Have you had a proper English breakfast yet and why does it include pork n beans?

I rarely eat breakfast. When I do, as is the case with all meals, it always includes pork and beans.