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O-Zone: Move on

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Marcus from Jacksonville

I completely agree that the Travis Etienne Jr. thing is one of the most overblown things I can remember! I saw one national analyst who gave the Jags a lower draft grade because they picked a running back in the first round when they had a solid running back already turn around and rip the Jags for practicing their first-round running back at wide receiver in rookie minicamp! It's truly outrageous that this is even a story. I'm wondering … is this because he was drafted in the first round, or because he is a running back? Was there any question about Laviska Shenault Jr. rushing the ball last year as a WR?

Analysts and observers criticize because they are paid to have opinions, and it matters little if those opinions are informed. Fans are so used to hot takes that they value volume over reason. Therefore, few who use Twitter as a forum bother to understand what's really happening. Why should they when they can quickly tweet some version of what's happening along with a hot take – then move onto the next story? That's a bit of an old-man rant, but it's pertinent to this situation. From my view, this "issue" accelerated because people heard Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer on Saturday say Etienne was working pretty much solely at wide receiver during rookie minicamp and interpreted that as Etienne moving to wide receiver. They didn't bother to consider that Meyer had said multiple times that Etienne was going to play a hybrid running back/receiver role. They didn't bother to consider that because of quarterback Trevor Lawrence's February labrum surgery there wasn't a quarterback in camp who could hand off. They also didn't bother to consider that it's a ROOKE MINICAMP, and there's no better time to let a young player begin working on routes. They lastly didn't bother to consider that it's harder to learn the receiver position than the running-back position, and that Etienne will be able to take a hand off and run with the football next season without having drilled in that area on May 15. And no … there wasn't much question about Shenault running last season. I suppose the biggest reason this is getting criticized is people like to criticize Meyer. He's a polarizing figure and polarizing figures get criticized. The good news: I don't know that Meyer many cares about the criticism, overblown or not.

Darren from Las Vegas, NV

You're not convincing anybody that if Tebow makes the team "he earned it." If Tebow makes the team, it's because he's friends with Urban Meyer, not because he's qualified. We all know that.

I honestly couldn't care less if I convince anyone of anything about Tim Tebow. He, too, is a polarizing subject. As is the case with most such subjects, people tend to consider their own opinions facts – and there's presenting real facts or logic rarely changes that. Meyer has one objective, and it's one that has dictated his entire career. That's winning. You don't compile the record he has had as a head coach without that being true. Does anyone really think he would let friendship get in the way of that? Really? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Tyler from Cartersville, Georgia

When will fans be allowed in for preseason practice? (OTAs, rookie minicamp, etc.)


Marty from Jacksonville

John, now that the regular-season schedule has been released, when will they release the preseason schedule?

Much of the preseason schedule has been released, with the Jaguars playing host to the Cleveland Browns in Preseason Week 1, visiting the New Orleans Saints on August 23 in Preseason Week 2 and visiting the Dallas Cowboys in Preseason Week 3. Specific dates and times will be released at a later date, which typically is sometime relatively soon.

Dringus from Duval

Still can't believe we have Lawrence.


Greg from Section 122, Jacksonville, FL

You said the schedule makers want "compelling matchups" to make the TV contracts happy. How are two large-market teams that stink a compelling matchup? Let's take the Raiders at Houston as a hypothetical scenario. Two really big-market teams, but you really think that would be compelling this year? This is why the NFL needs to rotate their prime-time schedule like they do the rest of the schedule. Every team gets to host one prime-time game a year. The point of this, exposure builds a fan base, not going to London and playing a game at 9 a.m. local which no one except the team fans will watch. Maybe the NFL should try helping the smaller market teams by leveling the exposure playing field like they do with the draft and scheduling.

The league's broadcast partners pay the league billions. Their interest is not building a fan base for an individual team. Their interest is compelling matchups that will allow them to justify the billions spent on the league. Big markets and teams with high profiles are the safest way to do that from the perspective of the partners, so that's why those teams are going to dominate the prime-time preseason schedule. When the Jaguars improve on the field, they will work their way into more prime-time games.

Keith from Palatka, FL

Tight end Chris Manhertz value is as an "eraser." He can take out, "erase", the other team's best pass rusher. Look at some highlight film on him to see evidence of this. Having someone who can do that is invaluable if you have a rookie quarterback. This is not fantasy football or Madden Football. This is real football and Manhertz is really good at what he does.


Chris from Mandarin

Since Elvis Costello is so influenced by the Beatles, and you're a big Elvis Costello fan, I wouldn't be surprised if you liked them too. In that case, what early Beatles albums do you like best?

Everyone who followed the Beatles was influenced by the Beatles, but yes … I was a huge Beatles fan and remain a fan. I typically think of Beatles albums only as those released in the United Kingdom. I typically think of their first five albums – "Please Please Me," "With the Beatles," "A Hard Day's Night," "Beatles for Sale" and "Help!" – as their "early albums." Of that group, I prefer "Help!"

Marc from Oceanway

Hello … is this thing on?


Steven from Charlotte, NC

I agree that the hoopla about Etienne is stupid; however, let's not pretend that every time you have ever been asked about a rookie playing multiple positions, you immediately state something along the lines of "it's their first season out of college, maybe we should let him learn to play X position in the NFL before having him learn a new position". Just sayin.

True. But the Jaguars selected Etienne specifically to do this role. Shouldn't they train him to do that role when he arrives? Or should they wait until Christmas?

Shawn from The Mean Streets of Arlington

Why are so many people walking on your lawn?

Because people are the worst.

_Kenneth from Fernandina Beach, FL       _

O-Zone, who comes up with NFL playbooks? Is it the coordinators or the head coach? I see Jaguars wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. "knowing" the system much better (with the same offensive coordinator) than, say, quarterback Carson Wentz, who joined the Indianapolis Colts, who has a different offensive coordinator but whose head coach used to be his offensive coordinator? Is it the same with defense? I think in the Jags case, it's more defensive coordinator Joe Cullen's and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell's systems with a heavy fingerprint of Head Coach Urban Meyer. I can see how changing offensive coordinator or defensive coordinator can affect a team drastically upon leaving – i.e., Atlanta.

This can vary a bit depending on situation. In the Jaguars' case this offseason, the respective staffs – offensive and defensive – sat down shortly upon being assembled and put together the playbooks page by page. In the case of the offense, for example, that was as basic as deciding how players would line up in the huddle. The schemes were put together, with each staff – with Meyer overseeing the process - -deciding what personnel groupings and formations would be used in what situation and what terminology would be used to describe groupings and plays. The result of this process is that while the offensive and defensive schemes will bring elements of all the coaches' past stops, the schemes will be unique to this staff and the Jaguars' personnel. That's how offenses and defenses evolve. A major element of this is terminology. So, if the Jaguars' offensive terminology moving forward indeed is heavily based on offenses Bevell has run in the past, then a player such as Jones – who played for Bevell in Detroit the past two seasons – indeed would have a bit of an advantage early over a player who never had been around a team that uses similar terminology.