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O-Zone: Men at work

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Paul from Saint Johns, FL

There has been a lot of talk about Calvin Ridley helping the other receivers, etc., due to him requiring extra coverage. With him being in his first year in the offense and Christian Kirk/Zay Jones/Evan Engram being in their second season, isn't it possible – even likely – that Ridley is helped by that trio and their familiarity of the offense? Or at least at the beginning of the year? I guess I'm just trying to understand how much of an advantage a wide receiver has for being in Year 2 of a system versus Year 1.

Football is a complementary sport in situations such as this, and the reality is all good offensive skill players help one another by drawing coverages and forcing double teams, etc. The thought here is that Ridley's impact on the offense will be the most notable difference because defenses tend to change coverages significantly for and double receivers with "WR1" potential. Kirk, Jones and Engram absolutely will benefit from a year working in Head Coach Doug Pederson's offensive system – and with quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence's familiarity with that trio should mean more consistency, easier reads and quicker connections when Lawrence changes plays at the line of scrimmage or comes off receivers because of coverages, etc. Whether Ridley helps the returning trio more or vice versa really doesn't matter. The thought here is all members of entire group will help one other, which could make this season very intriguing.

Mike from Azores

Hey John, I believe the Robinson 4 game suspension will really end up being 5 games. With the no practice restriction along with the Jags being in the middle of their London trip, I don't see Cam being ready for week 5 against Buffalo. How do you feel this will likely play out?

Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson was suspended by the NFL for four games to start the season for performance-enhancing drugs. You're right that his return will be after the Jaguars home game against the Atlanta Falcons in London and before their road game against the Buffalo Bills in London. While he won't have practiced in Weeks 1-4, I expect Robinson will be able to play against the Bills.

William from Jax

I am so glad Jax doesn't have a baseball team.


Charles from Savannah, GA

Does the NFL have a list of performance-enhancing substances that are prohibited? I was wondering if it is clear cut, or an area that seems pretty gray.

Yes, there is a list of performance-enhancing substances banned by the NFL. It's an extensive list and can be found here. A list doesn't mean a player can't make a mistake, or exercise bad judgment, or both. These people are human. They just happen to be humans who are good at football.

Tim from Savannah, GA

Do we know when the Jaguars will have open training camps for fans? Or special events for season-ticket holder?  First time season-ticket holder, son is getting excited about the possibility of getting some autographs. Thanks.

Jaguars 2023 Training Camp is expected to open at the Miller Electric Center July 26. If that first day isn't open, there will be multiple open days shortly after that.

Nicholas from Fort Cavazos, Texas

KOAF: 31 years, hopefully they were all good. Do we need to call you the KOAM (King of All Marriages)?

I indeed am the King of All Marriages. This is due in part – but not in total – to having been married to Mrs. O-Zone 31 years as of July 11. Or was it July 10? I'm never sure.

David from Southwood Jacksonville

Let's look at the new stadium from a different lens. The City of Jacksonville is building a new state-of-the-art stadium for year-round sports and entertainment. The Jaguars are in for 50 percent of the cost so the taxpayers don't get hit for the whole cost. What a great partnership!


David from Macclenny, FL

Is it too soon to ask about Cooper Hodges and how he might fit on the team? Him being a hometown boy here, we are hoping he makes it.

It's not too soon to ask. Hodges, who played at Baker County High School and Appalachian State, was a seventh-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft. The Jaguars like him a lot and think he may have a bright future at guard. I expect him to be on the active roster – or at least the practice squad – with a chance to be in the rotation as a rookie and to be a starter moving forward.

_Bob from Sumter, SC    _

I hope Arden Key will be involved in the stadium negotiations so he can finish the job of reshaping the city.

Good one, Bob.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, What's your take on Chaisson for this year? Is he going to get a real opportunity this year to take his game up a notch?

I expect Jaguars outside linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson to be on the roster as a reserve and special teams player in 2023. Opportunities are earned in the NFL. If he plays well, he can "take his game up a notch." Coaches will play deserving players who can help win games.

Gary's former friend formerly from St. Augustine, FL

You've been doing a nice job lately.


Marlin from Greenway Palms, FL

Hey, Zone: Dead Zone question for you. Which of the following team records do you see falling first, if ever? Running back Fred Taylor's all-time team rushing with 11,271 yards, or wide receiver Jimmy Smith's all-time team receiving with 12,287 yards?? I think someone will eventually break quarterback Mark Brunell's all-time passing yards record (25,698), Smith's season receptions (116), running back Maurice Jones-Drew's season rushing yards record (1,606) and I will be disappointed if quarterback Trevor Lawrence doesn't break quarterback Blake Bortles' season passing yards record (4,428) this season. But I don't know if those first two records will ever be broken.

The game changes so fast and often that football statistics aren't quite the end-all as they are in, say, baseball; a 1,000-yards rushing was once a benchmark, and 4,000-yard passing seasons were once rarities. My thought on records usually is that they eventually will be broken, and I think that's true of most of the statistics you cite. I would be stunned if Lawrence doesn't eventually break Brunell's career passing records, and I supposed someone in this passing era will break Smith's single-season reception record. The guess here is the rushing records could stand the longest because the game has veered toward the pass in the last two decades. Remember this about statistics: They don't always indicate greatness, particularly over the course of one season. Lawrence could have the best quarterback season in franchise history and not break the single-season passing yardage record. In fact, if the team is playing well and therefore leading a lot, Lawrence might not come close to that record. And that would be a very good thing.

Robert from Fernandina Beach, FL

My wife and I read your column daily, typically over afternoon tea. She has seen your bio picture, and yesterday she commented, "This charming man, John, forced to offer his opinions from readers' questions, readers often insolent and severe; it's gruesome that someone so handsome should care." At any rate, it's the weekend; are you going out tonight?

No. I haven't got a stitch to wear.

Deane D. from Daytona Beach, FL

Yo O-Zone! So, I read the article about which group is trusted beyond quarterback and it was a consensus that wide receiver with the addition of tight end Evan Engram. Which I echo their sentiments, I believe it was Bucky Brooks who said that our offense could produce three 1,000-yards receiving. However, JP Shadrick did mention how our "running game that can travel…" What would be the likelihood that Etienne just might come close to 1,000 yards receiving and 1,000 yards rushing due to the success of our quarterback and receivers? What says you O-Zone?

This is another example of how statistics aren't always the end-all – or even an accurate gauge of success – in football. While I think running back Travis Etienne Jr. could have a very good season running and receiving, I would be surprised if he reaches 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving. This is at least in part because the Jaguars are so good at receiver that I doubt he will get the opportunity to have 1,000 yards receiving. As good as Etienne might be as a receiver, if you're Pederson and offensive coordinator Press Taylor, you're not going to have that many plays in the game plan that focus on Etienne as a receiver if it takes away opportunities for Engram. Or Ridley. Or …

Don from Marshall NC

You have Covid and you're still working? It looks like you're all in! Get Well Soon and Go Jaguars!

Don remains "all in" on … well, me.