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O-Zone: Me and the mouse

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Robert from Fernandina Beach, FL

I remember this athlete back in the 1960s who constantly talked smack about his opponents. He basically said and did whatever he wanted and didn't care what anyone thought about it. His confidence and bravado gave lots of kids from a similar background confidence as well. When he died, he was considered one the more important figures in world history (his name is Muhammed Ali, of course). Elite-level sport is both physical and psychological, and different elite athletes handle things in different ways. They only have a few years their bodies will allow them to do it. If all of Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey's critics could be Jalen Ramsey for a day and experience what it must feel like to be among the most physically and mentally gifted athletes in the current human race – and to feel the euphoria that must go along with that – I bet a good many of them would go around talking smack, too. Let the young man enjoy being the greatest athlete in the NFL and perhaps on the planet for a few years of his life, for goodness sake. Now leave Jalen Ramsey alone and go back to your mundane existence.

Though I get your point, I can’t quite go with you in discussing Ramsey and Ali in the same paragraph. Ali was an athlete who in many ways defined his time both in and out of the boxing ring. I doubt his career/legacy ever will be approached – much less repeated. It would be difficult for an athlete to aspire to a similar career as because it’s a different era with a different cultural dynamic. Ramsey’s career is just beginning, so we don’t know where it will lead. What we do know is he’s not doing anything awful in the grand scheme of things when he talks. And remember: that’s what he’s doing that has people so angry, talking. He’s actually doing what a lot of media and fans are already doing on Twitter – though his status of course makes what he’s doing more notable. Until Ramsey does something worse than saying something many people tweet or say in a sports bar maybe we should just relax. Just a touch?

Craig from Jacksonville

Zone, your recent reply to a question from Kyle recently dare I say puts Jerrell in a lofty territory of greatness. Is it possible we can have two iconic treasures in Jag land? Gene and Jerrell. The mind is not built for such debate. How lucky are we?

Phenomenally.

Rob from Jacksonville

Can you explain "waivers/clearing waivers"?

Yes. Players with less than four years NFL experience are waived rather than released. Teams then may claim players off waivers. If more than one team claims a player off waivers, the team highest in the waiver order at that time is awarded the player. The waiver order is determined by record, with the team with the worst record being first in the waiver order.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

Fans bashed Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles for years, and he (along with the defense) took us to an AFC Championship Game. Fans bashed rookie quarterback Tanner Lee after his first (disastrous) preseason game, and he showed up in the fourth game looking like exactly what he is: a young, talented player that with time and coaching could be a serviceable backup – if not more. I could give many more examples, but here’s my point: we have a front office and coaching staff who obviously see much more than we, the fans. So, for now, I think I will just sit back and enjoy the ride. After all – in your own subtle way isn’t that what you’ve been suggesting all along? Then again, if everyone refrained from fanning, what would you have to write about?

I imagine I would think of something. I’ve been doing this a minute or two.

JR from Jacksonville

Great-O Br-O, your literary works of genius continue. “Key statistic” stands out as your finest in near-recent history. You came out of the gate guns a-Bill-lazing, you held serve like Federer – and in my eyes, finished with a flawless performance that even Jerrell would admire, maybe. Can you continue to play like you are in your 20s, like this, every day?

I imagine I would think of something. I’ve been doing this a minute or two.

Roger9965 from Greenbush, MN

Hey, O: Do practice-squad members get a one-year contract, or is it a week-to-week deal? What’s a base salary of squad members? How’s this all count toward the Cap? Thank you.

Practice-squad players are on week-to-week deals and can be signed by any team at any time. A team signing a player off another team’s practice squad must keep that player on the active roster for three weeks. Teams must pay practice-squad players a minimum of $7,600 per week, though teams can pay more. All practice-squad salaries count against the cap.

Shabbe from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

What are your thoughts on New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning's performance Sunday with our hungry defense swarming all around him? Do you think our defense will hold them to scoring only field goals?

No.

Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL

Which surprises you more – that the Jags selected no one on waivers (or didn’t get to them) or that no one cut by the team got picked up by another club?

Probably the latter. I was surprised no team picked up any of the Jaguars released players, though I imagine more than a few of the players released will wind up on other rosters as the season continues. That’s often how young players start catching on with teams.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

I think it says a lot about the roster that there were no surprises with the cutdown to 53. They've built a very good roster using a mixture of great drafting and even better free-agency signings. This has to be some of the best roster management this century. Great work by General Manager David Caldwell, Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin and the data analytics team.

Coughlin, Caldwell and the rest of the Jaguars’ front office have put the team in position for a serious run this season – and yes, getting in that position has taken a combination of free-agent success and quality drafting. This situation was created because of how Caldwell handled the salary cap from 2013-2015, allowing the team to have room to be aggressive in free agency the past few offseasons. The next step will be navigating trickier waters in the coming offseasons, but for now the approach has been effective.

John from Cocoa, FL

Big O. I have to say I was very impressed with Tanner Lee's improvement from the first preseason game against the New Orleans Saints to the last game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He showed much poise in the pocket and control, with no interceptions. I am a big fan of BB5 and I remember he struggled in his first year. I believe Blake is starting to break out as a great quarterback and I believe Tanner has the potential to be a great quarterback, too, with the right guidance and time. I hope Tanner does stick around for the practice squad.

Congratulations.

Yoav from St. Johns, FL

When a player like Jaguars wide receiver Marqise Lee this year – or wide receiver Allen Robinson last year – suffer a season-ending injury very early in the season, besides rehab how involved are they with the team? Do they travel on the team plane to away games, hang out on the sidelines, attend practice, or remove themselves from the day-to-day operations we're familiar with?

This varies depending on the player and injury. The first priorities for an injured player is to undergo, recover from and rehabilitate from surgery. Everything else works around that. A player wouldn’t be at practice routinely, partly because standing for that length of time would rarely make sense for a player rehabilitating. But the player quite often will be in meetings – and once his recovery permitted, traveling on the charters would become an option.

Brian from Round Rock, TX

The black jerseys are lame. The all whites are great away uniforms. The teal jerseys and white pants are classic! So, we'll see the boring, bland black and whites on Thursdays only, right?

I hope not. I liked them.

Emiel from Texas

The black jerseys/white pants combo is pretty sweet.

Sure, but try telling that to Brian.

JagsMavs from Virginia Beach, VA

Over/under for point differential of only the Jags’ losses this year? I say 32, which is what it would have been last year minus the 21-point loss to the Titans in Week 2.

I haven’t the foggiest notion about this, nor do I have the foggiest notion why anyone would care.

Charlie from Jacksonville

"We need Jerell??” Do you have a mouse in your pocket, John? We don't need no stinking Jerell. He was amusing maybe the first submission or two, but his shtick is beyond old.

So you say.

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