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O-Zone: Identifying traits

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Gary from St. Augustine, FL

KOAF: It's here. It's finally here. What are you looking forward to the most? What storylines will be the most interesting?

We'll assume because this is a Jaguars-related column that your excitement and anticipation centers on Jaguars 2021 Training Camp, which indeed will begin this week. Rookies and quarterbacks already have reported, with veterans scheduled to report to TIAA Bank Field on Tuesday. Practices will begin Wednesday with padded work to begin the following Tuesday. We at Jaguars Media will begin reporting intensely on Wednesday along with the rest of the media, so that's when I expect it will really start feeling like training camp. What am I looking forward to the most? Besides hanging on the sidelines with longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette? Well, besides that ... I'm just looking forward to really seeing what we've been discussing the past six months. We've discussed Head Coach Urban Meyer, the coaching staff, quarterback Trevor Lawrence and this new offensive/defensive scheme ad nauseam, but we haven't seen any of the above doing anything real. "Real" in the NFL isn't about non-padded offseason practices; it's about padded practices in August and preseason games and mostly, of course, the regular season. We want to see how Lawrence really responds to pressure. We want to see if the defensive front is really improved. We want to see this offensive/defensive scheme and how it's really going to look. It's basically all new. That means every area is a storyline. It starts this week. Woo.

Bruce from Owensboro, KY

In response to Bill from Ponte Vedra, if a star player stays up partying before a game it is not written in stone that he gets cut. I remember Freddy T did just that, then broke the rushing record in Pittsburgh's home stadium the next day. It's still a free country, so it's the right of the individual player to know and judge his body. No one should be forced to get a vaccine that has not been through the usual clinical trials that every other vaccine has been through. It's the players right to choose and I hope it stays that way.

People are going to disagree on this topic, and sometimes those disagreements will be downright … disagreeable. The players absolutely have the right to choose, and that's not likely to change. At the same time, the league is going to make it very inconvenient – and potentially expensive – for unvaccinated players. This story feels far from over. Stay tuned.

Sean from Jacksonville

One fer Bobby Bowden. No need to explain.


Gregg from Jax

If two players were on the bubble to make the 53-man roster, if one player is fully vaccinated and the other refused to get the jab, how much would that factor into the roster decision?

This is hard to answer with authority. There are many variables, and you have to be inside the head of the decision-maker(s) to know for sure. If one player were significantly better than the other, the players being vaccinated or not vaccinated probably wouldn't matter much in this scenario. If it were close … absolutely it could be a factor.

Joe from Hall of Fame City, OH

You might need to talk to somebody ... you know, professionally. No, really: .500 is not good enough. Coach Meyer isn't a .500 coach. T-Law isn't a .500 quarterback ... or a .500 athlete. I know it's 12-5. I said it. Jags will #shockdanation (maybe).

OK (maybe).

Dave from Jacksonville

Wizard, what are we to think of Deshaun Watson announcing he will report to camp? What effect will this have on the Jaguars as the first game comes into sight?

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson indeed announced he will report to training camp, reportedly doing so to avoid the $50,000-per-day fine he could receive for not reporting. This checks perhaps one box in this story, but there are so many loose threads that we feel no closer to knowing anything real. Will Watson play this season? Will it be for the Texans? Do they even want him to play for them considering the off-field concerns? It's as strange a story involving a franchise quarterback entering a training camp as I can remember. I don't expect Watson to start Week 1 against the Jaguars because that day is fast approaching, and it doesn't feel like all the necessary questions will get answered by then. I don't expect the Texans to be able to trade him for the same reasons. That's speculation about a story I don't cover closely, but that's the thought here.

Scott from Longwood, FL

Starting a Fantasy Football league - $10 entry fee and all the money goes towards buying KOAF beer. Can you let us know what VENMO to send to?

What's "beer?" Is that new? I might try it. Let me know where I can find some.

Robert from Fernandina Beach, FL

Funny you mention the nifty outfit recently worn by longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette at Jaguars activities. I was recently perusing through Nordstrom with my wife and was thrilled to see Gene's new clothing line- GeneWear. Really good stuff, actually. Loved the clever marketing (the jeans are called Genes, of course, and the ladies line is named Frenetic), but I was taken aback by a pair of GeneWear ladies shoes stilettos given the name "The Stellino Stiletto." You got any background info on that move?

I'm still waiting to see the Stellino Stiletto. Gene's specialty is actually Gene Shorts with a Gene jacket and untucked denim shirt. I get that it sounds like an odd combo, but he pulls it off.

#20HOF from Canton, OH

Well, based on these quotes from general managers and coaches – the experts – is it finally time to admit Jalen won and we have NO ONE to cover his position? "There's Jalen Ramsey, and there's a line," an NFL head coach said. Ramsey's play did all his talking in 2020, with his versatility essentially allowing the Rams to play whatever coverage they wanted. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Ramsey gave up 358 yards as the nearest defender this season, equivalent to 23.9 per game over his 15 games. AND restructured that contract to help the team. Sounds mature and pretty team friendly to me. Wish the maturity happened here but the clowns screwed that up.

I don't know that restructuring his contract indicates much about former Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey's current character or maturity. Such a restructuring is more about timing when a player gets paid rather than the player sacrificing financially for the team. As for admitting Ramsey "won" when the Jaguars traded him to the Los Angeles Rams in 2019 … no one ever has debated Ramsey's talent, and the odds of trading Ramsey and finding a cornerback of the same level were always going to be low. But when discussing Ramsey's career and how it ended in Jacksonville, it always will be dangerous to assess blame directly to anyone in particular – and while it's easy in retrospect to blame management or decision-makers who are no longer with the organization, that's a little too easy in this case. The Jaguars certainly could have handled situations involving Ramsey better, but Ramsey didn't always make it easy to handle his situations, either. And who knows? Perhaps you're correct that Ramsey now is mature and all grown up. My thought always has been he will be fine with an organization so long as things are going well and everything is as he likes. How will he behave when things aren't quite to his liking? In the NFL, as in life, things aren't always quite to one's liking. That question has yet to be answered. Perhaps all will be awesome and he will play there a long time without incident. We'll see.

David from The Island

Work with me here. You go the barbershop and you're looking to change it up a little. What instructions do you give the barber to cut your hair like Mark Davis?

Just bowl, baby.

Glen from Jacksonville Beach, FL

What's the most important position group on the Jaguars?

The most important position group always is quarterback, but if you're asking what's the position group to watch entering training camp … I would go with defensive front. The Jaguars made multiple moves to upgrade that area in the offseason, trading for defensive tackle Malcom Brown and selecting Jay Tufele in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft. They also signed Jihad Ward and Roy Robertson-Harris as unrestricted free agents. Those moves on paper looked very good. Will they be enough to make the necessary improvements to turn a weakness into what must be a strength? That's my major area to watch in the coming weeks.

Mike from Orange Park, FL

Why are you the way you are?

I don't know.