O-Zone: Just asking

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Bill from Hawthorne Woods, IL

How did the team do last preseason? Right ... no one remembers, because the score doesn't matter. If the Jags' ones played the Ravens' twos, it could have easily been 29-0 the other way. (For the record, the team was 3-1 last year, which clearly did not equate to a successful regular season). Oh, and since you wondered, the team went 2-2 in 2017 before going to the AFC Championship game.

It’s understandable that people panic, lampoon and criticize a preseason one-sided result – and the 29-0 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Thursday’s preseason opener was about as one-sided as it gets. But the reality is that Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone didn’t approach that game like anything close to a real game. When you sit 30 players, and when most of those players are starters and front-line players, you’re not approaching it like a game. You’re not even approaching it like practice. You’re approaching it like second-team reps during practice, which means you’re trying to get some evaluation done – and you’re trying to figure out your roster. And you’re trying to do all of that without jeopardizing player health. You in theory may be trying to win with the players on the field, but you are certainly not selling out 100 percent trying to win.

Ben from Columbus

When are the Jags going to vote on captains this year? Who do you think will be nominated? Would love to see Yann get one captain spot.

Captains are typically named close to the regular season. Marrone’s philosophy on this is to allow players to vote on captains without input from the coaching staff. I would anticipate end Calais Campbell being a defensive captain and perhaps defensive end Lerentee McCray being a special teams captain. As for who else will be captains, I have no idea. This is a young team with a lot of ascending players. It’s something worth watching.

Tom from Middleburg, FL

I get protecting the starters and looking at backups for depth. The elephant is the room is the money teams charge for preseason games. Paying full price to sit and watch players that for the most part will not be on the roster Day 1 of the season is fleecing the fans. Time for an 18-game season and two preseason games. The Ravens game was not worth watching ... and definitely not worth paying for.

All true. I don’t know that an 18-game regular season will happen because those negotiations will be tricky – and because adding two more games to what already is a sport of attrition could prove counterproductive. If an 18-game regular-season schedule does happen, I anticipate most coaches using a half of both remaining preseason games to evaluate starters and the other two halves to play backups. That still won’t be enough time to evaluate bottom-of-the-roster players and depth, though I would anticipate many coaches trying to solve that issue with more “live” situations in dual practices. You might even see some teams have scrimmages between players that need the repetitions. That would be a departure from how teams run joint practices now, but it could provide the necessary evaluation opportunity.

Jason from North Pole, AK

You know what I didn’t see during the Jaguars first preseason game? Any injuries to key contributors. Do you think we would have played some starters had we not practiced against Baltimore all week? Do you expect starters to play next preseason game or continue with the current trend?

Marrone is taking the ideas of keeping players healthy and learning about the team’s depth seriously enough that I think the Jaguars would have held starters out of the preseason opener whatever the nature of the practices leading to the game. I’m leaning toward Marrone taking the same approach in Preseason Week 2 before playing some more starters in Week 3, but this is going to be a weekly story.

Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville

Here is the thing, O-man: Given the performance of our backups, it seems we are lacking depth. This is a huge concern given the injuries we suffered last year. What can we do to help address the depth issue?

Not much except develop who’s on the roster. Improvements aren’t available on the street, at least not significant improvements.

David from Chuluota, FL

Z - Next year, the Jags can pick up the fifth-year option on cornerback Jalen Ramsey. I suspect that will cost them between $15-20 million for 2020? At that point, if you were the general manager and a non-division team offered two first-round draft selections for Ramsey, would you take that deal?

It depends on the team doing the offering. If it’s a team that I believed would be selecting late in the first round, I doubt I would consider it. If it were a team I believe would be selecting early in the first would, I would have to consider it – and perhaps take it. Not all first-round selections are created equal because Top 5-to-7 selections are often superstars and late first-round selections are far more of a crapshoot.

Sam from Winter Park, FL

Weird. A sixth-round quarterback with arm strength concerns had glaring arm strength concerns in his first taste of NFL action. NO WAY!

It’s something, isn’t it?

Mark from Jacksonville

Is Taven Bryan the next Tyson Alualu? A serviceable defensive lineman, but drafted way too high?

Alualu is entering his 10th season in the NFL and has been a good player for a long time. Bryan has a ways to go before he is Alualu.

Jeff from Wake Forest, NC

Either Tom Coughlin doesn’t want to win lunch anymore or this team has hired Allen Iversen for its practice regimen.

It was the preseason opener. The Jaguars held out 30 players.

Doug from Jacksonville

Concerning the hit that got the Jags into the top 10 plays of the week, shouldn't that hit have been a defensive penalty? I thought quarterbacks were protected from hits to the head/neck area. Certainly if the hit had been on Tom Brady, it would have been flagged.

I was surprised that the hit delivered on Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew in the second quarter Thursday that knocked his helmet off wasn’t a penalty.

Stu from Westlingsworth, UK

O-Zone! Angst! Teeth gnashing! No depth on the team, undisciplined play. The season’s already over - cancel my tickets I’m staying home to watch the English Premiership and a load of overplayed morons kick a ball around a pitch for 90 minutes...!

Sounds good.

Scott from Jacksonville

Our team didn't look any better after Baltimore's starters left the game. Their backups looked better than our backups too.

OK.

Strnbker from Dothan, AL

Evidently, penalties are a chronic condition affecting the Jaguars. What is the most common reason for this to occur on such a relentless manner?

The reason? Players not doing as they’re instructed. Marrone clearly was not pleased with 10 penalties for 109 yards against the Ravens. He said after the game there will be an emphasis on the area, and that the Jaguars won’t be a dumb team this season. Stay tuned.

Bob from Sumter, SC

Assuming that a young defensive lineman is big, fast, strong and works hard, in your experience, what keeps them from having success in the NFL? Reading blocks, getting off blocks, holding the point of attack, other, all of the above? Wondering what aspect of Taven Bryan's game is lacking at this level so far.

The main issue for Jaguars defensive tackle Taven Bryan as a rookie last season appeared to be football instincts – i.e., a feel for the game. Those things are hard to teach. They often come with experience and getting more comfortable in the NFL. Stay tuned.

John from St. Augustine, FL

So, who is this man Reavis?

C.J. Reavis is a first-year veteran from Marshall who spent time on the Jaguars’ practice squad before signing to the active roster late in the season last season. The Jaguars liked him a lot last season and believe he can back-up safeties Ronnie Harrison and Jarrod Wilson. He’s showing why this preseason. 

Jason from North Pole, AK

You know what’s embarrassing? The reaction of the fans in this column to a meaningless game. Marrone makes a savvy move to prevent injuries and people are angry our scout team didn’t score against the number one defense in the league? Be better than that.

Fans fan. It’s what they do.

Logan from Wichita, KS

Could our offensive problems be psychological? Our play-calling seems timid, our offense always has their head down. It's as if when we get the ball, they know it will be a three-and-out or turnover so they have zero hope of success. Thoughts?

Did the Jaguars play a game with their starting quarterback, starting offensive linemen, starting running back and starting wide receivers playing that they didn’t tell me about? Asking for a friend.

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