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O-Zone: Mute point

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Brian from Gainesville, FL

Big O, regarding tight end, I get that the Jaguars have had bad luck with injuries and – to some degree – player selection, though I really do miss Marcedes Lewis. My question: why hasn't the team been more aggressive in the trade or free-agent market for a known commodity at the position given that it's universally accepted you need good tight-end play to win consistently in the NFL (and college, to some degree)? Have they swung and missed trying to trade or sign or have they just not tried hard enough? I know the team signed Tyler Eifert and he was good that one time, but history tells us he will be seriously injured before the halfway point of the season, right?

This isn't as much a lack of effort by the Jaguars over the last half-decade as a lack of execution. They signed Julius Thomas to a mega-deal in unrestricted free agency in 2015, and they signed Austin Seferian-Jenkins as an unrestricted free agent a few offseasons after that. They then signed Eifert this offseason. That's some consistent efforting at tight end. Remember: It's not as if elite tight ends hit the open market often, and it's not as if teams are anxious to trade big-time tight ends; why would teams willingly part ways with good players at a position that's comparatively difficult to find? As I have written multiple times regarding this issue, some of the Jaguars' inability to solve tight end has been circumstance. They were poised to take T.J. Hockenson No. 7 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft and changed course when defensive end/linebacker Josh Allen slipped to the spot. No one around the Jaguars regrets that. They then took Josh Oliver in the third round later in that draft, and he has been unable to play enough because of injuries. The reality is tight end is a tough position to find. First-round tight ends are comparatively rare, and there is a lot of projection and development involved with most of the good ones. The Jaguars haven't developed or projected well enough at the spot.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, has the intensity of younger players in this year's practices been greater than what you have seen in previous years given they don't have the preseason games this year in order to try and prove their case for making the team?

No. Young NFL players always practice with intensity in training camp. Lifelong dreams and millions of dollars are at stake. Such circumstance bring about maximum effort and enthusiasm, whether or not there are preseason games.

Nathan from St. Augustine, FL

Is Jake Luton starting to look good enough in camp to maybe consider him as the backup quarterback to Gardner Minshew II? Or does having no preseason make that a highly doubtful scenario?

Luton, who the Jaguars selected from Oregon State in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft, has looked strikingly good at times in camp. He has an NFL-caliber release and big-time velocity on his passes. He also seems to move in the pocket well. My sense right now is we would be ways off from the Jaguars considering him as the backup to Minshew with or without the preseason games. But having no preseason games this season absolutely makes it more doubtful.

Steve from AB

O, just watched K'Lavon's presser. If talent matches attitude the Jags have landed a gem!

There's a lot to like about Jaguars rookie linebacker/defensive end K'Lavon Chaisson. He has remarkable athletic ability, and Head Coach Doug Marrone said he actually looks better in practice since joining the Jaguars than he did in college. That's not always the case. Chaisson also appears to have unusual maturity and awareness for a rookie. Those are good signs. Seriously good signs.

Gary from St. Augustine, FL

That's it. I've had it with you.

I get it.

Kamelle from Little Rock, AR

Why not sign a guy like defensive tackle Damien Harrison to compete? From the sounds of our first scrimmage the starting unit still isn't strong against the run.

Harrison is 31 and not all 31-year-old players want to join an NFL team to "compete." Some want to pick their spots and sign with certain teams. Some don't want to join teams until closer to the regular season. Some want too much money. I expect the Jaguars to continue exploring ways to strengthen defensive tackle. They made a step in this direction by signing Timmy Jernigan last week. We'll see where they go next – if they go anywhere at all.

Tommy from Orange Park, FL

Zone, former Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles has stated he believes he could be a great tight end in this league. He is currently sitting at home, and if history serves as any type of indicator we'll be needing more healthy bodies in that room sooner than later. There is ample proof that you can play a tight end with limited experience at that position in a pinch. Heck, I would argue he could quickly become equally or more ready to contribute as a tight end this year than sixth-round pick Tyler Davis, with as little experience as Tyler has at the position and Bortles' knowledge of NFL defenses. I'm guessing Bortles has been instructed by his agent to hang tight for a quarterback group to sustain injuries so he can make $3 million this year holding a clipboard, but if that call doesn't come and our tight-end room gets thin, I would much rather see Blake's size, speed, athleticism, and willingness to put a shoulder in to someone on a veteran minimum deal than Joe Blow off the street. Call me naive, but I honestly think if given the opportunity, Blake could eventually become a good NFL tight end.

We all need football in the fall.

Bryan from Tampa, FL

John, we keep reading about the long passes completed by Minshew in practices, but how is he looking on the shorter timing routes that he struggled with last year?

Minshew appears to be throwing many of these routes well early training camp. They don't get reported or commented upon as often as the long throws because they're not as spectacular and therefore don't stand out as much. This also is an area where we will have wait until the regular season to assess Minshew. Timing and decision-making in the shorter areas of the field gets more difficult in the regular season because coordinators scheme to force quarterbacks away from their strengths and into their weakness. This is an area where most rookie quarterbacks struggle, and Minshew was no exception last season. How he adjusts in Year Two will determine much about his future.

Keith from Jacksonville

What is the purpose or benefit of the "Great Gazoo" helmets some players are wearing?

Concussion prevention.

Gero from Wenden, Germany

Hello, John. How do you feel about a season with or without fans in the stadium? Do you see it as a matter of solidarity, either all with fans or all without (even if only with limited capacity)? Or rather, who wants to have fans in the stadium should do it, who doesn't wanna do it, shouldn't do it? In general, I would be in favor of playing in the stadium without fans to contain the pandemic. At games without fans do you think artificial fan sounds are played? Or do you think it will only be played with the pure acoustics of the present players, coaches etc. like in the Bundesliga or Premier League? That in turn could be a problem with the frequent use of the "F"-word in the NFL, right?

I'll be transparent here: I don't really have a preference or passionate feeling about whether NFL teams should or shouldn't allow fans. I tend to lean more toward hoping that fans who are willing to take whatever risks are involved ultimately be allowed to do so, but I understand the view that teams and other involved officials have the right and responsibility to do try to act in the interest of public safety and health. For NFL teams, it's unlikely to be a matter of solidarity; the league has said teams will be able to determine their own approach based on local rules and protocols. Reports are that the league is considering pumping in crowd noise, which makes sense considering the weirdness that would be an NFL game with no noise. But I don't know that I foresee a problem on the horizon with the "F-"word if there's not pumped-in artificial "crowd noise" … NFL players do say "frittata" a lot, but no more than anyone else.

Ryan from Apopka, FL

Leaving yourself on mute! Must still be in preseason mode! C'mon, O-zone!

I indeed have erred multiple times on the media videoconference with players and coaches by leaving myself on mute. Ironically, I've been trying to mute Sexton for years and can't make it happen.