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O-Zone: Laying it down

JACKSONVILLE – We remain on hold here in the O-Zone.

That means we're still not receiving O-Zone questions through the form in the app. We therefore continue asking you submit questions through the form on, or via email at Sigh.

Let's get to it …

Marc from Oceanway

John, I think I now know why you pay no attention to external sports commentators. Hearing several try to argue that Julian Edelman somehow deserves to be in the Hall of Fame disgusted me. They should first pound the table for Jimmy Smith. Edelman wasn't half the receiver that Jimmy was, literally. I think Jimmy has about double his career yardage, AND he played in an era that was less pass-centric! Do you think the Hall will ever correct this gross oversight?

Former Jaguars wide receiver Jimmy Smith absolutely was a Hall-of-Fame level receiver. I don't know that he ever will be elected, but his stretch of 10 prime seasons from 1996-2005 matches up well with elite receivers of his era. He had nine 1,000-yard receiving seasons in that stretch, with the lone season not over 1,000 being an 805-yard season in 2003 in which he missed four games because of injury. That's elite-level production. And if you speak to cornerbacks who played then, many will tell you Smith ranked behind only all-time position great Jerry Rice in terms of difficult receivers to cover during that era. As for Edelman … he had some huge postseason moments for the NFL's greatest dynasty of the last two decades. There are Super Bowls the New England Patriots wouldn't have won without him. That's his legacy and it's unerasable. I struggle with that being an argument for him being enshrined in the Hall of Fame.


I want to test your theory that the Jags are not committed to taking Trevor Lawrence no matter what. Let's say the New York Jets, or whoever is drafting second, offer their No. 1 pick this year and also next year. So, the Jags get Brigham Young quarterback Zach Wilson plus an extra first rounder in 2022. Objectively this looks plausible, but I say they wouldn't give it a thought. Fan base too in love with TL. Am I wrong?

I'm not quite sure where the confusion began, but I do not currently have a theory that the Jaguars are not committed to selecting Clemson University quarterback Trevor Lawrence No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. They haven't officially announced this yet, but all reports and indications are that will be their direction come April 29. That's not about the fan base being in love with Lawrence. It's about Lawrence being an incredibly clean prospect with an incredibly high ceiling and strikingly few obvious flaws. That doesn't mean I'm going to write on that Lawrence absolutely, positively will be the selection. Until the selection is made, the selection is not official. You therefore must allow for the possibility of something else happening. But a theory involving a trade? Or one involving the Jaguars not selecting Lawrence? You won't find that in this space.

Marty from Jacksonville

_John, is not fixing your app sort of like when they moved that guy's desk to the basement in Office Space? Do you still have your stapler?  _

I have my stapler, but your premise … it's not wrong.

Jason from North Pole, AK

Bruce Arians is on record saying that if he finds out that an assistant coach missed a family event for work, he will fire them. Tony Dungy was well known for making a set schedule for his coaches and closing the office outside of those hours to force a healthy work/life balance. Having a good perspective on this seemed to serve these coaches well and I would hope the same is true of Trevor Lawrence.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians indeed has coaching in the proper perspective, as Dungy indeed did when he was the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Indianapolis Colts. The NFL is rampant with overworking and putting in hours for the sake of putting in hours for fear that someone on one of the other 31 teams might be working a few minutes more. Still, let's not paint this as Lawrence not needing or wanting to work. An NFL quarterback absolutely needs to be the hardest-working, most-dedicated, most-focused player on the team. The reality is he needs to be among the hardest-working, most-dedicated, most-focused people in the building. He must do this because he must set the tone for the organization, and because the demanding nature of the position from a mental standpoint requires it. Here's what's maybe the most important thing to remember in this discussion, though: There's absolutely nothing to indicate Lawrence is not uber-dedicated, uber-intelligent, uber-working. There is no "buzz" in league circles worried about this. It's a non-issue. You can have balance and be dedicated enough to be great. It's not an "either-or" deal. Except on Twitter.

Jeff from Jacksonville

We are just supposed to overlook the fact that our future franchise guy has a life outside football? What's next, asking us to overlook the fact his name is also an anagram of both "Retro Nerve Claw" and "Carl Never Wrote? " We were all relying on Carl, and now look. These things mean something, Mr. "King of All Funk," or rather, Mr. "Fungal Kinfolk!"

The 2021 NFL Draft is nine days away.

Rob from Fleming Island

John. After hearing the comments of you and others concerning the opt out/boycott of "voluntary" workouts and how it mostly impacts the newer players, will those players have a strong enough voice to go against the veterans' stance on this topic? Will they even realize the negative impact on their careers? Will this be collectively bargained in the near future?

How this plays out will be intriguing. I don't know that we'll ever get back to pre-2020 when it comes to NFL offseason programs, meaning I don't know that we'll routinely see 95-to-100 percent capacity at these voluntary practices and meetings. At the same time, players should move toward skipping these sessions at their own risk. The truly elite, veteran player easily can work out on his own without negatively affecting his career; that always has been true and won't change. But young players absolutely must work to develop in the offseason, and I don't know where that opportunity happens if not in the voluntary offseason program. And teams with new head coaches/coordinators absolutely need time to work with and communicate with players, and I don't know that those necessary happenings are as effective virtually as in a more traditional workout/meetings/practice environment. I also don't believe young players typically will have a strong enough voice to override veterans on this, so I do think – at least in the short term – that you'll see more teams with players skipping the offseason as groups. And I do think a lot of young players will fail to realize the impact of such a decision. My guess is that you will see some sort of compromise collectively bargained, though it feels like we're a long way from knowing the details of such a compromise.

Sean from Jacksonville

If the Earth is flat, why has no one taken a photo from the edge?


John from Jacksonville

_What are the chances the Jags fly in Trevor and his family in the day of the draft so he is here to celebrate with the fans gathered to watch the draft? _

Lawrence plans to watch the 2021 NFL Draft with friends and family in Clemson, South Carolina. That's not expected to change.

John from Cape May Court House

I just don't see the Jags taking an offensive lineman early – i.e., the first two rounds. This team was 1-15 last season, so we need all the help we can get. To me, that means that top draft picks need to be on the field playing and producing. Week 1. Our offensive line is set, so who is the rookie taking snaps from? It's not like you rotate linemen in and out every series. No, our priorities should be about getting more offensive playmakers and an edge rusher. Scoring and pressuring the opposing team's quarterback is what this game is about now.

If the Jaguars indeed are using the 2021 NFL Draft to fill immediate needs, then your premise is dead on – and they almost certainly in that scenario would not select an offensive lineman in the first two rounds. But the draft is not always about filling immediate needs, and there are many situations in which it's best if that's not the case. Considering two of the Jaguars' projected offensive line starters for 2020 – Cam Robinson and A.J. Cann – are scheduled to become free agents in the 2022 offseason, and considering it often takes even early-drafted offensive linemen a year to acclimate into the NFL, it wouldn't be absurd at all to select one early. Perhaps as early as No. 25 or 33.

Aqeel from Toronto, Canada

Beware NFL! There is a new sheriff in town ... and he is T Law! #TheLaw #HisExcelLawrence_

Aqeel has weighed in.