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O-Zone: Keen humor

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Yoav from St. Johns, FL

Last year's preseason was a lesson in what we see may not be what we get. That being said, can fans really learn anything from watching these games?

It depends on what fans in fact are watching. Are they watching to see who wins or loses? Are they watching to see for absolute certain how good a certain unit is going to be without regard to who’s playing, or without regard to the fact that teams often don’t scheme extensively in the preseason? If watching in that way, fans may learn very little. If they’re looking to see if certain young players belong in the NFL, or if certain veteran players are ready for the regular season, then they might indeed see signs of those things. But one of the biggest, longest-standing truths about the NFL is that what fans and even media want to see – or think they see – in the preseason often is different from what teams see. Teams are looking to evaluate young players, and to get players enough repetitions to be ready for the regular season. If you’re trying to draw conclusions from anything beyond that, do so at your own peril.

Seth from Denver, CO

Current Jaguars starting quarterback Blake Bortles and former Jaguars quarterback David Garrard seem very similar to me. Good arm strength, mobile, big and able to take hits, beneficiaries of a strong running game, good locker-room guys, and perhaps a bit below average on accuracy and touch passes. So why did David Garrard get cut while Blake Bortles has the support of the coaching staff? Does it all boil down to a difference in opinion among the coaching staff about their physical talents and ability to win football games? Or is my comparison of these two quarterbacks off base?

Garrard got released in September 2011. It is now July 2018. No member of the Jaguars’ coaching staff from 2011 currently remains on staff – and the Jaguars in fact have had three head coaches and an interim head coach since Garrard was released. Would this current coaching staff have liked Garrard’s skill set enough to treat the situation differently? I have no idea. Different coaches and personnel people make different decisions based on different circumstances.

Bruce from Surfin’ USA

During the fireworks at the beach July 4 I looked out at one point when a particularly bright explosion lit the surf scape and could see someone on a longboard surfin' in; I swear it was Big Gene. And he was peeling an onion, while he sat cross-legged (hanging two knees) off the front of the board, clearly two feet off the top of the board, levitating having obviously achieved total Baklava. Either that or there was something in that Pale Ale I drank.

I can’t prove that what you saw indeed Wednesday evening was longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. “Gene” Frenette achieving total Baklava. Neither can I prove that it wasn’t. Only he knows for sure. Trust your gut. That’s what Gene would do.

Steven from Jacksonville

A ways back, I was at this hole-in-the-wall restaurant late on a Friday evening. I looked over to the near, corner booth and saw Bob Dylan. He was having a conversation with another man while diligently writing things down in a notebook. Shortly thereafter, the two of them left the restaurant and went their separate ways. Years later, I saw Gene Frenette’s photograph in the newspaper. It clicked in my mind that it was the familiar face of the second man who was with Dylan on that humid September night. I’ve always wondered... Did Frenette pitch song ideas to Dylan or was that someone else?

It was the other way around. #totalbaklava

Igor from Jacksonville

Very cool seeing Leonard soaking in the Wimbledon experience. Who ya got this year? Let’s hope for a Roger-Rafa classic, but the Djoker or Nick Kyrgios could disrupt that.

It was cool seeing Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette at Wimbledon this week, though I admit more than a little jealousy that he was there rather than me. Who do I got? I had Petra Kvitova on the women’s side before the tournament, but she lost in Round 1. I like Karolina Pliskova in the women’s now; her serve makes her dangerous. As far as the men, I got Federer. Always.

Chris from Mandarin

Your explanation for a lack of fandom towards football, including your alma mater when you don't work in that league, is harder to understand the more you try to explain it. How is it that Frank Frangie, being so good at what he does, can be a fan and you cannot? You're okay, too. I mean, I understand no cheering in the press box, but it seems to me that if you're not able to separate work from fun, well ... sounds miserable to be frank (not Frangie).

I like football very much. I write about it every day. I talk about it most days. I watch it quite a bit during the season, though I follow the NFL far more closely than the college game. I’m no longer attached to a team to the point that I become emotional over their victories and losses because I found once I began covering the NFL that I didn’t have a passion for whether my former favorite team, the Washington Redskins, won or lost. And once I began covering college football in the early 1990s, I found my emotions no longer rose and fell on the accomplishments of 19-to-22-year-olds. That’s just me, and I’m glad for others who remaining passionate about their favorite sports. I can promise a couple of things on this topic. One is that I am hardly alone among sportswriters and media who don’t follow particular teams with the fervency they of their younger days. The other is that while I don’t mind sharing how I feel on this subject, I honestly care not a whit if people grasp those feelings.

Nate from St. Petersburg, FL

Hey, buddy: hope you enjoyed your holiday. So, I was listening to you on Jaguars Today last week, and something you said regarding the way the Jags have structured contracts in free agency made me wonder: can we structure our OWN free agents to where there's no guaranteed money after Year 2 or 3? Or is that an unrestricted free agency thing? Just wondering if we're going to be able to keep up the financial and contractual flexibility that we've enjoyed over the past half-decade.

There’s no difference between free-agent contracts with players from your own team and players from other teams. The Jaguars absolutely could structure contracts in such a way that there’s no guaranteed money after Year 2 or 3. That’s not always doable, because sometimes teams’ salary caps are such that there’s no room to put guaranteed money in early years and it must be deferred to later years. The more signing bonus money and salary you pay the less your flexibility. You can structure things well – and the Jaguars indeed have done a great job of this – but eventually you’re spending will be limited.

Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire, UK

Oh Mighty ‘O’/King of Funk, is there any truth in the rumor that Eugene P. “Gene” “Finger” Frenette was the often ballyhooed, much anticipated but often overlooked “sixth Beatle” (George Martin of course being the “fifth Beatle”) with Paul McCartney not actually writing about the “Long and Winding Road” about the Highlands of Scotland but about the fact it is a quite a long way from Liverpool to Jacksonville?

Gene perhaps is best described as the seventh or eighth Beatle, having worked closely – albeit anonymously – with the band in the late 1960s during the fragmented Let it Be era around the time Billy Preston also was dubbed “the fifth Beatle.” Had the band had its way Gene might have officially joined as a member of the group; his clarinet prowess, in fact, was the one thing not only the entire band but Yoko agreed was giving the group a needed “kick in the butt” near the end. Ringo Starr reportedly believed Gene’s official presence might save the band – not only because of his crafty lyrics, but because of his keen sense of humor known for bringing otherwise fragmented people together; Gene is nothing if not a finder of common ground. Alas, despite the pleadings of the Fab Four, Yoko and others around the group, Gene declined repeated overtures to join officially. I asked Gene once, “Don’t you feel even a twinge of regret, knowing you could have been the one to save the Beatles?” He looked at me a long time. “I’ve always thought people were too down on Taco Bell,” he said finally. “It’s more than just a late-night stop after the club.” I turned away and nodded, humbled to be in the presence of genius.

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