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O-Zone: Naming rights

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

JR from The Squatchlands

Can we take a brief pause from the repetitiousness of the Dead Zone and focus on one of my personal favorite topics: food -- more specifically, player food? Can you tell us what you know about team meals? How often does the team eat together and where? Is it more buffet style or do the guys order from a menu? Are specific players on strict diets or is it up to the individual? To which position groups is diet most important? Thanks, and feel free to elaborate until September or so.

There's no league-wide NFL rule about team meals. The Jaguars provide football operations/players breakfast, lunch and dinner from training camp through the end of the season – and breakfast/lunch during the offseason program. That's common practice. It's buffet style with an emphasis on nutrition and quality because if it's not good, players won't eat it. Some players are on strict diets, though it's up to professional players to follow that diet. And diet is important to all NFL players these days, though I suppose it may be particularly important to offensive and defensive linemen. It's also very important to young players, many of whom need to add good weight and strength early in their careers. This is particularly true of players who didn't play at elite college programs with front-line training tables and strength staffs.

Ed from Jax by Lionel Playworld

I'm seeing reports that the community huddles about the stadium are bringing new ideas to team leadership. I'm glad the community is so thoughtful and creative but now I'm wondering how much due diligence the team has really done. Can Ben Hill Griffin really support the Gators and Jaguars for two seasons? I'm thinking about the traffic volume on 301 and how that could turn disastrous for fans coming from Jax. Has Bethune-Cookman or Valdosta State been explored? Other pots of money could be available at different venues.

The Jaguars have spent $2.6 million and more than three years on the recently introduced plans for the Stadium of the Future. The first step is getting an agreement done with the city for that stadium. The next step is getting NFL approval. Finding an alternative stadium is the next step. The due diligence for that is being done now.

Brad from The Avenues

Just submitted my name suggestion for the new Jaguar cub at the zoo. The first name that came to mind just stuck. "Weaver." Nuff said, right?


Chris from Fleming Island, FL

O-Zone. So Phil Rauscher likes his offensive line. Have you ever heard a coach say "these guys aren't very good. We need to upgrade?"

Not publicly. I can tell you that Jaguars offensive line coach Phil Rauscher is not alone in liking this group. The feeling inside the building is the Jaguars are in good shape there.

Fred from Naples, FL

Didn't Lionel Ritchie play for the Comodores?

Not when they did "Night Shift." There's gonna be a sweet sound, comin' down …

Eric from Jacksonville Beach, FL

I figured we were heading into the dead zone, waters so it was safe to throw this into the mix. As a fan of IPAs, what would you rank as your favorites here locally? I'm partial to Head High, I-10, and Karate In the Garage. You?

Bullet Bob at Strings, all day. As a side note, I've yet to have a bad IPA – or a bad anything else – at my other favorite Springfield brewery, Historically Hoppy. Good stuff up and down the menu – and, according to Mrs. Ozone, a great root beer, too.

Brad from Orange Park, FL

How often are suspensions reported that go on to not be made official by the league's reporting of it?

It's rare. I don't know how rare.

Johnny from Westside, via Section 404

Doing something just because "that's how it's done" is the worst possible argument. Maybe it's time for a new "how we do it." To wit: The billionaire owner of a business which literally cannot lose money or value pays the freight, and taxpayers don't. We Duval taxpayers will pay taxes literally only to save one individual money. I cannot think of another area in which this would be agreeable. No taxpayers are paying half to improve an Amazon building (tax breaks, yes, but not the same as a tax). So instead of saying, "We always take money from our fans for a stadium they then have to pay to enter, because that's just what we do" let's say billionaires who will be worth far, FAR more than basically ALL the Duval taxpayers combined "will [pay their own way, and make profit from their venture just like every other private business in America." I get that "if we want the Jags to stay we must be extorted by the ultra-wealthy, but stop trying to frame it like it's just a trifle - Shahid and the NFL benefit from the million taxpayers, even though only about 60,000 can even go to game if they wanted to. It's bizarre the NFL thinks this is OK, and that you do as well. I love you, man, but this is pure nonsense.

There always will be disagreement when it comes to taxpayer money and professional sports. A lot of that disagreement will be emotional and there will be some people who don't support public money invested there. It never has been my intention to frame this as a trifle. I have tried to assess the situation as I understand it, and as I understand it the cost for the proposed Stadium of the Future is pretty much the cost for a smaller-market city to be in the NFL. And I love you, too. Maybe. I guess. Not actually.

Aaron from Arlington

I was struck recently by how nonchalant you seemed about Fred's Hall chances. You think this is going to be that easy?

Not at all. While I believe Jaguars running back Fred Taylor will get in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, I think it will be a long road. He hasn't yet been named a finalist, and that's the first step. I expect that will happen in the next year or so. Once that happens and voters start really discussing his candidacy, I think his statistics – particularly his yards per carry – will reflect positively. I also think voters will go back and watch Taylor's career highlights. Once that happens, I think many will remember that this guy made players few backs have made in the last three decades.

Michael from Port Orange, FL

I am one of the original season-ticket holders who doesn't believe in Khan as long as he continues to take (steal) one home game from us taking one and now two (home and away) games to his favorite hometown London. When that stops, then I will believe that Khan is for the team and the city of Jacksonville. Until then he is just another greedy Billionaire.

People have the right to believe what they choose to believe. That's what's great about America. What's great about Jaguars Owner Shad Khan is he continues to be for Jacksonville and the team despite people believing otherwise. People who love the Jaguars in Jacksonville are fortunate that's true, even if they don't believe it.

Michael from Orange Park, FL

I usually am pessimistic this time of year, too. But I think this offense can be special. What am I missing?

I'm not sure you're missing anything. While I mentioned in a recent O-Zone answer that winning the AFC South in 2023 isn't the dead-solid lock for the Jaguars that perhaps many fans are assuming, that doesn't mean I pessimistic about this offense. Far from it. The thought here is that quarterback Trevor Lawrence will make a huge step in his second season in Head Coach Doug Pederson's offense. The thought, too, is that this will be a deeper and more versatile group of skill players with the addition of veteran wide receiver Calvin Ridley, Strange and running back Tank Bigsby. The addition of Ridley, in particular, has the look of a season-defining move. He not only gives the Jaguars another big-play element, but he is talented enough that teams likely will have shade defenses his way. That should help Lawrence and the other receivers immeasurably. The Jaguars improved from 14.9 points a game in 2022 to 23.8 points a game last season, averaging 26.5 in the final nine games. If they can get that average up to around 29 or so – and that's entirely possible – then this is a team that can consistently be in and win shootouts against the best teams. You have to be able to win those types of games in the modern NFL. This has the chance to feel like that sort of team.

Gary from St. Augustine, FL

It's the dead zone. You really suck.


Joel from Watertown, MA

Hey, John. I've seen dozens nay hundreds of nicknames your loyal readers bestow on you. Can you give us your favorites?

Ask Gary.