JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Alan from Orange Park, FL
You list weak-side linebacker Myles Jack as one of the five players the Jaguars can least afford to lose? Really? What? Is this the same guy who was awful last year? I guess he has talent, but he has been a disappointment.
I absolutely did list Jack among the five players the Jaguars can least afford to lose when making the list in Sunday's O-Zone. There are multiple reasons for this. One is that Jack wasn't nearly as bad last season as many observers believed; many of the breakout plays attributed to him stemmed directly from him trying to do too much to make up for youth and inexperience around him. Another is that I believe Jack will excel at weak-side linebacker, where he will move from the middle this season following the offseason signing of middle linebacker Joe Schobert as an unrestricted free agent. But mostly I still believe Jack is one of the Jaguars' most talented defenders. He has playmaking ability and the ability to force turnovers. And whereas the Jaguars are comparatively deep along the defensive front, the same doesn't appear to be true at weak-side linebacker. All are reasons the Jaguars can't afford to lose Jack this season. The Jaguars' defense could be improved this season, but it needs Jack to be a big part of the improvement.
David from Jacksonville
Zone … No contact in practice until late August? This barely feels like football. Truly ridiculous. Is this even training camp?
This indeed is training camp – Training Camp 2020, COVID-19 style. And it's understandable that it doesn't in a sense feel like football to some people – or at least won't for a while. Veterans will report Tuesday, but because of COVID-19 testing they won't enter TIAA Bank Field until at least August 1. Players will then be in strength and conditioning for 10 days – with full practices to begin August 12. The first full-contact practices are to begin no sooner than August 17. That adds up to essentially a three-week "ramp-up" period – a period for which the NFL Players Association fought because of the lack of an offseason program. Also: there will be no preseason games, so the first NFL practices will be after mid-August with the first game of any kind the 2020 regular-season opener between the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs. So, does this barely feel like football? I guess, but this is the way to have football come September – so it's perhaps not all that ridiculous.
Mike from Atlanta, GA
I'm going to be disappointed if The Washington DC Football Team doesn't choose some Space Force -theme-related team name. There are so many possibilities: The Washington Space Invaders, Space Commanders, Space Cowboys (Just to remind the Dallas Cowboys that they're just regular cowboys and their team name will always be inferior), Washington Space Ships, Washington Space Explorers, etc. They could have the coolest logo and the coolest helmets.
I fear you may be disappointed, but who knows? On a side note, some people do call me the Space Cowboy. Others call me Maurice. It varies.
Christopher from Riverside
So, now teams going to quarantine quarterbacks? Where does it end?
I assume you're referencing this weekend's reports that NFL teams may consider quarantining at least one quarterback, with the idea being to keep at least one player at the position always available. This idea originally was attributed earlier this offseason to Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians. It didn't seem to get much attention or momentum at the time, perhaps because many NFL coaches weren't "there yet" in finalizing plans for 2020. The concept strikes me less as an idea than a necessity. It's conceivable a team could sign a wide receiver or linebacker to replace a COVID-19-positive player for a week or two on extremely short notice and compete. That would be far more problematic at quarterback.
Jaginator from (formerly of) Section 124
The flag code for conduct during the anthem states that "(A) individuals in uniform SHOULD... (B) members of the Armed Forces MAY... (C) all other persons present SHOULD... men not in uniform SHOULD... all present SHOULD..." In other words, this "law of the land" is ... a suggestion. There are no penalties for "violating" any of those suggestions. They are nothing more than guidelines. Reading is fundamental.
True. The code is about expectations and guidelines. There are no penalties or enforcement, and leagues and players won't be subject to legal ramifications for not following the code. I debated bringing this up in the O-Zone. I sort of wish I hadn't.
Stan from Jacksonville
I'm confused. If a player tests positive for COVID-19, is he out for the season? Is he on injured reserve? Do teams just have to keep players active?
Your confusion is understandable because this issue has been the subject of much speculation – but little fact. That apparently changed Sunday, with Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reporting the NFL and the NFL Players Association have agreed on a temporary injured reserve for players who test positive for COVID-19. Rapoport reported that players can be placed on the list immediately, and that the "positive" player can return to the roster upon being medically cleared. Teams also reportedly can replace the "positive" player with a practice-squad player and return the promoted player to the practice squad without waivers. This is all a departure from "normal" rules that limit the number of players who can be placed on injured reserve with "normal" injuries. COVID-19 likely will mean teams needing more roster flexibility and access to more players on a comparatively temporary basis. The COVID-19 reserve list is a move toward that.
John from Jacksonville
Well, if we are going down that road, then perhaps "Wedding Crashers" is one of the greatest football movies of all time?
If a movie is a football movie for containing one extraordinarily good football scene, then yes … Wedding Crashers is one of the greatest football movies of all time. In addition to being absolutely brilliantly funny.
Cliff from Orange Park, FL
Have we forgotten "M*A*S*H*?" Johnny Unitas smoking on the sideline, classic.
That was cool.
Gary from St. Augustine, FL
I'm worried about our corner position. It seems like we're depending a lot on rookies and not much else around them. Prove me wrong.
Like many positions on the Jaguars, cornerback feels like more of a mystery than a strength or weakness. Rookie CJ Henderson has the look of a very good player, but he must play at a high level quickly for the Jaguars to be good at corner this season. Third-year veteran Tre Herndon opposite Henderson has the look of a solid No. 2 corner, but he must continue to develop at the same pace he did in his second season last season. The one known entity at the position is nickel cornerback D.J. Hayden, who has been one of the team's most-consistent players over the last two seasons. The fourth corner likely will be Josiah Scott, another rookie and a fourth-round selection from Michigan State. That's a lot of talent at the position – particularly at No. 1 corner, where I expect Henderson to be quickly and for a long time – but it's also a lot of unknowns.
Brian from Orlando, FL
No Yannick Ngakoue on your five most important Jaguars players entering the season?
Make no mistake: Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue is one of the Jaguars' best players. They will be better with him than if he opts to not play because of his disagreements with the team over his contract and the franchise tag. I didn't include him on my list of five players the Jaguars can least afford to lose because it still feels iffy if he will play in 2020 – at least compared to the rest of the roster – and because the Jaguars are comparatively deep at Ngakoue's edge position. The Jaguars want Ngakoue on the field, but they have good players who should be able to play adequately if he's not on the field. Other positions feel far more precarious.
Keith from Jacksonville Beach, FL
I just can't see Yannick playing. This has a bad feeling.
I expect Ngakoue to play. I don't expect he will report this week. I don't expect he will report next week. I expect he will report as late as possible and still get paid a lot of money. I wouldn't be knock-down, drag-out shocked if he doesn't play this season, but I would be a bit surprised.
Roger from Houston, TX
On the bright side, coaches wearing masks on the sideline won't have to hide behind one of those laminated game plans when talking to the coaches upstairs.
There are comparatively few "bright sides" with COVID-19 and there obviously have been comparatively few bright sides to 2020. I suppose this one's as bright a side as any.
Mitch from St. Augustine, FL
You have no idea.