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O-Zone: How bizarre

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Scott from Jacksonville

Strange. No special teams captain selected? Or is one of the guys we expected to be a full-time starter going to be playing more special teams than we expected?

The Jaguars on Wednesday announced seven captains for the 2021 season: quarterback Trevor Lawrence, defensive end/linebacker Josh Allen, wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr., cornerback Shaq Griffin, safety Rayshawn Jenkins, center Brandon Linder and linebacker Myles Jack. Linder was named captain for a fifth consecutive season, and Jack received the most votes from teammates – with Lawrence receiving the third-most votes. While the captains were decided by player votes, they were not – as often has been the case around the Jaguars in the past – divided into offense, defense and special teams captains. That's why there was no "special teams captain" named.

Richard from Jacksonville

Zone, I won't overreact to all things Urban Meyer. I have paused and tried to look at his time here as whole. None of things that transpired matter if he wins. I am encouraged at the progression of Lawrence. He can hit the window and his adjustment to NFL speed was rapid. I know he still needs to improve. I find his work ethic and personality reminds me of Peyton Manning. I expect him to win some games. What happens if a rookie head coach fails at the NFL level, but his quarterback is franchise material? Are there any actual scenarios where this happened and QB1 had a great career?

There's a bit of a chicken-egg phenomenon here. If a rookie quarterback projected to be an elite player develops quickly and is heading toward a great career, that means he's probably winning enough for the head coach to not get fired – and therefore, for the head coach to not be a failure. Maybe that's chicken-egg, or maybe it's something else. Either way, you're right not to "overreact to all things Urban Meyer." And at this point, there's really no reason to be reacting either way. He has yet to coach a regular-season NFL game. Everything that happened this offseason is prelude – and most of it has been overblown by analysts and observers desperate to pass immediate judgement on a polarizing figure. I don't have any idea if Meyer will be a success in the NFL. But nothing that happened this offseason – even the oft-criticized Tim Tebow signing – will decide that. That story – the part that will matter, anyway – starts Sunday.

Chris from Mandarin

Jeff from Atlantic Beach seemed to think in his question that all Jaguars fans have the same opinion about every facet of the team. People cannot seem to agree on any topic under the sun nowadays. Why would the Jaguars be any different?

I receive many questions wondering why the team doesn't listen to fans and do as fans say. My thought always is just how is a team supposed to "listen to fans?" Which fan? Which fans? Which group? Should there be a poll? Online voting? A show of hands? The possibilities boggle the mind.

Justice from Atlanta via Jacksonville

I'm optimistic about this coming season for a reason besides Lawrence/Urban. While we did go 1-15 last year, I feel that we had a few intriguing pieces in place that most teams with such a poor record don't. One: Many young defensive players with high upside in cornerback CJ Henderson, defensive end/linebacker Josh Allen, defensive end/linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson and nose tackle DeVon Hamilton. 2. A veteran offensive line that is at worst serviceable. 3. A potential impact running back. I remember some of those lean years of two or three wins and we basically had to go back and start from scratch at nearly every position – AND try to develop a young quarterback WHILE we had a young head coach adjusting to the NFL. So, I think this team can make a jump in wins just for the simple fact that the incoming quarterback and head coach aren't working with a bare cabinet in terms of talent. Am I looking at this through rose colored glasses or does that have some merit?

There's merit. As Meyer repeatedly has said since taking the job, there's talent on this team. That returning talent was a big reason he took the position. Now, it's equally true that a lot of that talent is potential talent and must still fulfill that potential … but there certainly is more talent than last season's 1-15 record indicates.

Marcus from Jacksonville

You've always said that the best scenario for a defensive front is to be able to apply pressure to the quarterback without having to blitz. That makes sense. So why is it not the same with stopping the run? Whenever we face a run-heavy team, the theory is to "stack the box" and force them to throw. Wouldn't it be better to stop the run without having to do that, just relying on your front seven and not having to bring safeties and others into the box? Or is the theory that you want to take away what they do well and force them to do something they're not as comfortable with? I'm no NFL coach, but I think the best game plan would be to take away and the run AND the pass … and also score more points than the opponent. I feel like if you can do those three things, you have a decent chance of winning. But that's just me.

You ideally would be able to stop the run with your front seven, but remember: Most teams run block with five linemen and at least one tight end so your odds increase if you can put an eighth player in the box. And yes … the idea of an eighth player in the box is to force teams away from the run and into passing situations. As far as your three things teams must do to win, you can focus on the third – scoring more points than the opponent. Do that and the rest takes care of itself. Or something like that.

Dave from Jacksonville

Wizard of O-Zone: Why is there not much hype about our opening game? Are we the fans stuck in 1-15 mode? Winning starts with the division. Win the opener against a division opponent and we got a season. Does anyone even like Houston? Why are we not more fired up to kick Texan rawhide?

I never quite know how to answer questions like this. What is hype, after all? Who defines if people are excited? I know I am excited, then again I usually am excited. And optimistic. And usually brimming with joy and optimism. As for why others might not be overhyped about this particular game … perhaps some Jaguars fans are taking a wait-and-see approach. That would be fair considering the results of the past decade. And perhaps many fans nationally see a game between teams that won a combined five games last season. But as for me, I am hyped, baby. So hyped. Someone get me a seltzer.

Nathan from Utah, US

Week 1 Zone, my take on the recently-cooled nickname topic is more of a one-fer. I say wait until the kid takes a regulation snap before we start thinking of rookie-quarterback nicknames – and show recognition and true fandom to "Train Rob" for what undrafted running back James Robinson - who was not even mentioned in 2020's Rotoworld fantasy magazine – had accomplished during his crash-course rookie campaign. Dude's a stud. GO JAGS!


Steve on his Desktop from Jacksonville Beach

OK so John McKay or Eugene Frenette? Winner take all!

Longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette undoubtedly would win in a contest of either strength or stamina against former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and college-football coaching legend John McKay. Then again, McKay died in 2001 …

Sean from Jacksonville

It turns out as a tight end, Tim Tebow was a tremendous baseball player.

I suppose.          

JT from Palm Coast, FL

Is there a bizzaro world that the Jags make the playoffs in year 1? If so, what would it take for this team to make such a huge jump?

Sure, that world exists. I don't know that it's "bizarro" as much as a world in which many projections must go right. Many people project Lawrence as being very good. Many people project the Jaguars' wide receivers being much-improved and perhaps a strength. The Jaguars are projecting the offensive line to be more consistent than in years past. Many are projecting the run defense to be improved. Many are projecting the secondary to be improved. If all those things happen, particularly the improvement of the run defense and quick development from Lawrence, the Jaguars indeed could make the jump. But you're talking about a lot of things going right. Those things could go right. Obviously. But having so many projected things go right is difficult, which is why it's difficult to jump from 1-15 to the postseason.