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O-Zone: Just maybe

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Jim from Jagsonville

How about Gardner Minshew II? That's a serious commitment he's making, since No. 2 is not an option! Hope he keeps being a regular guy, because no one likes a party pooper!

You're referencing a recent quote from Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II, in which he said he hadn't … er … relieved himself in the bathroom in a certain way for a couple of weeks because he had no mindset to accept being "No. 2." I'm paraphrasing (poorly and wordily), but that's the gist of the quote. And you know what? Good for him. That's precisely the attitude you want and would expect from Minshew, and there's nothing wrong with him entering Jaguars 2021 Training Camp singularly focused on winning the starting job. Is that probable considering the presence of rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence? Probably not. It's a bit of a stretch to believe Lawrence won't start for the Jaguars when healthy for a long time. But why should Minshew wake up every day and put himself through grueling practices – and the mental effort – it takes to play quarterback in the NFL and not take the attitude that allows him to prepare and compete? Now, as for his restroom habits … here's hoping he gets that solved. It's a health hazard (certainly for him, and perhaps for those close to him) – and presumably a darned uncomfortable one at that.

Dave from Jacksonville

Zone, I have seen new NFL coaches come in and pump their guys up and win the preseason only to find struggles in the first season. Jimmy Johnson comes to mind. Didn't he go 4-0 his first preseason then 1-15 during the regular season? Jimmy turned out OK. How does Urban make the adjustment? Teams are not going to gameplan the preseason. He had the guys (and fans) pumped to a frenzy during the offseason. Will he put too much into winning the preseason? It is a fine line.

It remains to be seen how Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer will approach the preseason. There's nothing wrong with encouraging players to try to win those games, and many head coaches want players to strive to win whenever they're on the field. And that makes sense: Anything short of maximum effort from players can risk injury and perhaps form bad habits. But the league has changed in the 30-plus years since Jimmy Johnson entered the NFL as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys in 1989. Teams have less depth because of free agency, and salaries – and the salary cap – are such that injury prevention is far more paramount in the preseason than it was then. I'm sure Meyer will prefer winning to losing in the preseason; most coaches do. I don't know if he will place a priority on it over health of players and keeping players fresh entering the season. We'll see.

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

If the Jaguars need CJ Henderson to be a "shut-down corner" or "elite," then they are probably already in trouble. Henderson showed flashes last year but was inconsistent. Even in the times when he was playing well, was he even a top 15 or 20 cornerback in the NFL? And what about when he wasn't playing well … was he a top 50 corner? Would seem like it would take a tremendous – and pretty rare – amount of improvement for him to get to elite/shutdown status.

Not necessarily. Henderson was a rookie last season, and one playing in a defense that was struggling mightily – and on a team that generated little pass rush. He also played just eight games. The only fair grade for Henderson's rookie season is incomplete. If he showed flashes of being a shutdown, elite corner last season – and he did show those flashes – then it's far from unreasonable to think he could eventually reach that level.

Zach from Wisco

The more I see or read about rookie Jay Tufele, the more I'm excited about seeing him as an active part of the defensive line rotation. What allowed this guy to fall into the fourth round? Seems like he could be a steal, but – again – as a fourth-rounder, what would the expectations for him be this year?

The Jaguars like rookie defensive tackle Jay Tufele. A lot. The belief is he could have been a first- or second-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft – and that he slipped to the top of the fourth round primarily because he opted out of the 2020 season because of COVID-19-related concerns. He indeed could be a steal. I would expect Tufele to be a part of the interior defensive line rotation as a rookie, and to help that area be stouter and deeper than it has been in recent seasons. I wouldn't expect him to start immediately because I don't expect most rookies to start immediately, particularly at a position where strength and stamina are as important as they are on the defensive line.

Tom from My Couch

Hey John … since we're still in the doldrums of the dead zone, do you prefer Fables of the Reconstruction or Reckoning?

Reckoning. It's close between the first three albums. Really close.

William the Contemplator from Jax

Comparing a player who parties to a player who refuses to get vaccinated is ridiculous. You can't give your teammate your hangover. And saying the vaccine did not go through proper clinical trials is ignorant. Plus, currently 99.2 percent of those dying from Covid have not been vaccinated. Players should worry more about the long-term effects of getting Covid, rather than the long-term effects of getting vaccinated.

This is a complex issue, as evidenced by the passion on both sides of the discussion. We can talk about shoulds and oughtas all we want, but it's not going to change the fact the NFL isn't going to be able to force players to be vaccinated. It's also not going to change the fact that the NFL is going to make the protocols and ramifications for unvaccinated players very difficult to navigate and very serious. It's not an easy situation. It's going to remain controversial. That's where we are.

Greg from Section 122, Jacksonville, FL

On the subject of the whole vax issue. So, I am a bit confused since I thought disclosing status was personal and not legally able to be forcibly disclosed under HIPAA? Doesn't the NFL respect medical privacy and understand the conflict it will create in locker rooms? This issue could seriously fracture a team cohesiveness. Sorry, but I disagree with the NFL on this one, they want to take precautions fine. But demonizing and vilifying those who chose not to take the vaccine (for whatever reason they believe) should be respected and not responded to in this way. What's next them dictating the same on the Flu?

The NFL to my knowledge has not disclosed players' vaccination statuses. Players may tell others – including the media – their status if asked. It's also true that it may be fairly obvious upon sight whether a player is vaccinated once training camp begins. I don't know how much vilification or demonizing is occurring in this story. The league's trying to get a season played in difficult circumstances, and it's taking as hardline an approach as is possible to do it.

Robert from Fernandina Bch, Fl.

How do you feel about the nickname, Trevor The Lever Lawrence?

I don't get it.

Rob from St Augustine Fl

So, Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Frank Reich tests positive after being fully vaccinated. Can you make what the league is doing make sense? I know we can get deep in this rabbit hole.

I don't know enough about every detail of COVID-19 to explain all ramifications of vaccinations, various tests and various strains. It is my understanding that vaccination significantly lowers the risk of contracting COVID-19 as well as potentially lessening the effects if a vaccinated person contracts the disease. I can't swear the scientific truth of that sentence. I can tell you the league is trying to reduce as much as possible the chance of a COVID-19 outbreak among its players, coaches and staff in an effort to play its entire season.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs FL

As you have said, training camp will begin to give us a feel for what we really have. Among the many questions is Tim Tebow. Most NFL teams keep three tight ends on their active roster. Even if the Jaguars keep four, I'm not seeing Tim winning a fourth spot. I could, however, see him signed to the practice squad. That would be a win-win, right? Tim would make $12,000 a week for 17 weeks. He would be exposed, but I don't see any other teams picking him up as a quarterback or a tight end, so he would have plenty of time to develop. One injury to a tight end on the active roster, and Tim may get his shot. Plausible?

Yes.

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