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O-Zone: Idle Idol

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Nick from Palatka, FL

Zone, do you have any insight into how the recent disrespect of the Jags by the national media affects individual players? Do most get discouraged (YN91?), more fired up (GM15?), or do they give it a "meh" and go about preparing as usual ... well ... as usual as can be expected in this environment?

No player "likes" being disrespected. Most typically use it as motivation, and this seems particularly true this offseason in the case of quarterback Gardner Minshew II. As for defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, I'm not sure his "discouragement" has as much to do with how national media feel about the Jaguars as with how the Jaguars feel about how much Ngakoue should be paid. That's what most NFL players get fired up about the most – same as, you know, pretty much everyone.

James from Salt Lake City, UT

O-man: Do the players have to wear masks during practices and games? They expect me to wear one while I work out. So, I think they should have to wear one to play. What say yee?

There are reports that the NFL is looking into some sort of "modified" mask to be used this season. It's safe to assume the league is "looking into" pretty much every conceivable option along these and any other lines that could make the game – and attending games – feasible. I would expect this to be an ongoing process up until the start of training camp and beyond. Stay tuned.

Frank from Jacksonville

Regarding the comments from Greg in Section 122, apparently he has never watched the Grammys or Emmys before. Actors/artists are full of personal opinions and they use their forum to express them as well. Like Australia is burning, save the trees, political agendas, etc. …


Ricky from Jacksonville Beach, FL

I think I like Gardner Minshew a bit too much, Zone. I think about him in my sleep. I watch highlights on YouTube. I have more than one T-Shirt with his picture (more than two, actually). I have changed my Twitter handle so it includes his name. I'm worried, Zone. Help.

Go with it. Minshew is fun. He has a chance to be good. He's everything fans should like in a quarterback. He loves football. He loves his teammates. He likes his franchise. He likes his city. He wants to be here. He might be good. He might even be really good. We'll find out a lot more on that front this season, but meanwhile … why not enjoy it? What's not to like?

Zac from St. Augustine, FL

Steel Reserve is a malt liquor, not beer. Do some research O, you're better than this.

Except that I'm not.

Za from St. Augustine, FL

I take it back. Malt liquor is "beer." The irony of my last email is as strong as Steel Reserve.

Well, irony can be pretty ironic.

Robert from Tampa, FL

Why don't people talk about Tyler Eifert more? He's really good and he might be the most important free agent on the team.

You're right, but there's a good reason fans and observers don't talk about Eifert more than they do. While he is a capable tight end who indeed could be the Jaguars' best player at that position in a long time, he has battled injuries throughout his career and therefore hasn't always produced to his potential. The Jaguars absolutely consider his signing this offseason important. They believe he's a reason the offense could be much-improved. But he – like much of the tight-end group – must stay healthy to do that.

John from Jacksonville

What are the chances someone comes up with an app where you press the "cheer" button or the "moan" button and have virtual crowd reaction noise? Multiply it by how many people participating and there's piped in crowd noise that actually means something. Sort of.

I think we need football in the fall.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

It is now 4:11 p.m. on Friday afternoon and I am officially concerned. I have been lost to the wind today. I put my shoes on before my socks and showered after getting dressed. See what you have done John? Hope all is well. Now, please get back to work.

We got these throughout the day Friday and the O-Zone admittedly posted to later than usual. Call it a delay-of-game penalty. It's the dead zone. All's well. Moving forward.

Paul from Orlando, FL

I like it better on days when you don't write.

Call me later.

Mike from Neptune Beach, FL

Tell it ain't so! Hope you are OK.

I'm a-ight.

Matt from Green Cove Springs, FL

KOAGF, you had me worried that the streak was finally going to come to end. Now on to my question: why haven't we heard much more about defensive tackle Rodney Gunter? For a free agent making $6-7 million a year I'd expect him to have a pretty expansive role.

When the streak ends, it won't be a surprise. I'll let people know it's ending, then listen for the sound of silence that will befit the complete and understandable lack of fanfare for such a non-event. As for why people aren't talking more about Gunter … it's because he's relatively little-known other than to hardcore NFL types. But make no mistake: The Jaguars like Gunter and he will have a big role. He's one of the reasons they believe the run defense will be improved.

RUSS from Jacksonville


Why do idle minds with too much time on their hands always use CAPITAL LETTERS?

Andy from Kingsland, GA

Zone. I don't care what the haters say. I honestly believe the Jaguars will be good this season. I believe in Minshew. I believe in Marrone.

Good for you, Andy. And I, too, believe the Jaguars will be better than many observers and fans believe. I believe they will be better in 2021 than 2020 – and I actually believe they might push for the postseason in 2021 – but you're right to believe in this team. It feels like it's building a core and moving in a good direction. I don't know how long, exactly, it will take to get where it's going. But the direction does feel good.

Paul from St. Augustine, FL

You make me sick.

I get it. Believe me: I get it.

Stan from Duvvalll

Any updates on the Lot J project? Or are they taking a knee until COVID-19 is behind us?

Lot J continues to be used by the City of Jacksonville for COVID-19 testing, so planned the development in that and surrounding areas remains on hold. Still, major long-term development around the stadium remains a city and team objective. And the Hart Bridge ramp destruction that is so important to the entire project is underway. The project remains a priority for the franchise.

Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL

John, there are political statements made in movies plays and concerts all the time. Most artists make their opinions known on these issues and their fans love them for it. I've never been to a "dinner theater," but I'm sure there could be political statements made there too. Political statements exist in all facets of human entertainment and sports is no different.

True, and you should try dinner theater. You would enjoy it.

Jim from Whinot, ND

Hey John, did you realize that a person under age 35 is more likely to die in a car crash than of COVID-19?

There's more to the discussion than this. There's the matter of it still being counterintuitive to intentionally put yourself at risk – and there's also the matter of the contagiousness of the virus and the ability for people with the virus to spread it to more vulnerable people. Look: I don't have the medical answers. If I did, I wouldn't be answering questions on a football website every day.

Al from Duval

As to bad beers ... I'll drink anything and enjoy it, beer, wine, hooch, shine, spirits, liquor, you name it. I've been a Jaguars fan from the start and I will never ever stop. These things are related. I love America and everyone in it. Thanks for everything you do O. You've done a great job given all the wild out there. Let's all be healthy and blasted and kiss our Jaguars.


Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

Total Wine sells a beer that's meant to be served hot. And I'm pretty sure you can get sushi and all kinds of weird things on pizza in New York.

And while that doesn't sound as good as say a cold hazy IPA and a slice of pepperoni, it is nonetheless beer and pizza – and therefore good by comparison to many alternatives.

Sean from Jacksonville

Great weather today! Almost good enough for a white wedding or to start again.

You should still probably plan on dancing with yourself.