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O-Zone: Natural reaction

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Travis from High Springs, FL

Do you believe Leon Jacobs working exclusively with the first-team defense is the coaches just trying to get a look at a new player because they have already had a year to watch Blair Brown? ... Or is it becoming his job to lose? Or is it just early in training camp and we're reading too much into it and it will be decided in the preseason games? Also, what's up with Tink? Haven't heard his name at all so far.

There seems to be a level of disbelief among fans at the concept of Jacobs starting at strong-side linebacker for the Jaguars this season. This certainly stems from Brown being mentioned as the starter at the spot during the offseason, and from Jacobs’ status as a rookie. But this isn’t all that surprising. Jacobs impressed coaches during organized team activities and veteran minicamp in the offseason, and his size and strength make him a good fit for the run-oriented, physical strong-side end position. The Jaguars like Brown as an off-the-ball linebacker, meaning they like him backing up Telvin Smith on the weak side. And while there’s a long way to go – and while preseason will matter – Jacobs does have a very good chance to start. As far as “Tink” is concerned, Jaguars long snapper Carson Tinker currently is the lone long snapper in training camp. He appears close to recovered from the torn anterior cruciate ligament that kept him out all of last season. Why haven’t you heard his name? He’s a long snapper. That’s how it is.

Jeremy from Jacksonville

Better get the bologna and dogs ready. Gonna be some sammiches being ate and some dogs being pet. Go Jags.

DMTWD?

Tommy from Cherry Valley, IL

John, how is D.J. Chark looking out there? I haven’t had much time to keep up with camp. Is he a threat to get significant reps on the field within the first few games?

This story is playing out as we speak – and the longer camp goes on, the more it appears Chark absolutely has a chance to get significant repetitions quickly. He rarely goes a day in camp without a big reception, and he is drawing praise from quarterbacks and defensive backs. His speed and athleticism were evident coming out of the draft – and both traits have been evident in camp thus far. What has impressed me most about Chark has been his body control. He has made some tough routes and some tough catches look easy, and he has made some adjustment in routes and with the ball in the air that not every receiver can make. Those are good signs for a young receiver.

James from Jacksonville

How did you end up in Indianapolis and what did you think of the city?

I left Jacksonville for Indianapolis because the Colts offered me a lot more money to work for them than I was making for the Florida Times-Union. I liked a lot of people I met in Indianapolis, but I didn’t like Indianapolis as much as I liked Jacksonville. Jacksonville’s home, and home matters.

Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville

I get the reason behind going to the electronic ticket method. But I will have to admit I was sad when I found out I would not be getting that large manila envelope in the mail which signaled football season was here. Also, the swag that came with it was very cool; it too, shall be missed. OK … in all honesty I was hoping this year they would feature the most important person on the team – THE OMAN – on one of the tickets. Alas, it was not meant to be.

I’ll pass this along.

Mike from Jacksonville

I've come to deal with no paper tickets. I can live with that, but no schedule magnet? They have gone too far.

I’ll pass this along, too.

Dylan from Aurora, OH

Has Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette trimmed down/added more lean muscle this offseason? He's looked faster and a little less bulky in training camp.

Sometimes it’s easy to know who reads the site every day and sometimes it’s easy to know who reads it every week. Fournette reported to camp around 223 pounds – which is about 15 pounds lighter than he played as a rookie. He appears faster and quicker. We’ll see if that gives him some added miss-ability. If it does, look out.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, I’m in town for all the wrong reasons this week, but thankfully the neurosurgeons at the Mayo Clinic are amazing and Mom is doing great! Tomorrow will the first practice that I’ve been able to attend. What should I be looking for to get the most out of it?

Shade (and good for you and Mom).

Charlie from Jacksonville

Hey John, if this question has been answered, then I have missed it. But why does Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey have a mouthguard attached to his facemask if its only purpose is to dangle uselessly? I can't remember ever seeing it in his mouth where it might have some usefulness.

If Ramsey put his mouthpiece in his mouth it would keep him from talking. That might in his case be counterproductive. At the very least, it might take away from his enjoyment of the game.

Pete from Miami, FL

Is there a bigger dork than Brent Martineau?

I can think of at least one in Miami.

Amar from Duval

Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles has always emulated Brett Favre on the field. He's a risk-taker, gun-slinger, mobile quarterback, plays big in the big moments (Fiesta Bowl, 2017 playoff run), and has a great Iron Man streak (look at the other AFC South quarterbacks over the last four years). Now that Bortles has consistency with offensive scheme and coordinators, do you similarities with Favre's 1992-1997 run?

That’s a tough connection to make. Favre played in two Super Bowls, and was a league Most Valuable Player. He also for a long stretch – including the stretch to which you refer – was one of the two or three best quarterbacks in the NFL. Bortles improved late last season, but it’s a reach to put him close to the elite category.

Devin from Washington, DC

I've heard a lot of good reports on Rashad Greene Sr. and how well his offseason has gone. If Greene makes the roster do you also keep a return specialist, or would he fill that role? Also, how has Jaydon Mickens played?

This is yet to play out – and the wide receiver/returner competition is one of the more fascinating storylines of Jaguars 2018 Training Camp. The more I watch Greene in camp, the more I think he may make the roster regardless of whether he returns punts. I think Dede Westbrook has a chance to be the return specialist, but I also think realistically there’s a lot of moving parts to this situation, with Westbrook, Mickens and Greene all playing a role. My best guess right now is the Jaguars keep six receivers – Marqise Lee, Donte Moncrief, D.J. Chark, Keelan Cole, Westbrook and Greene with Westbrook as the punt returner. But that’s way premature and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if that’s wrong.  

George from Drummonds, TN

Mr. O, how and when do NFL rules such as the leading with the helmet, trickle down to college and high school? I thank you for your time.

Awareness and time. If a rule regarding safety proves successful in the NFL, colleges and high school often follow suit.

Chris from Delray Beach, FL

I'm fascinated by the Sam linebacker camp battle: Jacobs versus Brown. Can you shed some light on how a seventh-round pick is in contention for a starting spot on this defense? Was he undervalued by other teams or is it just a flyer we took that seems to be working out?

The strong-side linebacker competition isn’t between Jacobs and Brown at the moment. Jacobs worked with the starters at the spot in the first five practices of camp – and when he missed Wednesday’s practice, it was Brooks Ellis who worked with the starters. Brown remained working at weak-side linebacker. As for how a seventh-round selection is in contention to start, it’s really as simple as Jacobs being a fit physically for the role. Linebacker also is typically a position you can get well outside the first round these days. It’s a bit unusual for a seventh-round selection to start as a rookie, but it’s hardly unusual for later-round selections to start at linebacker, particularly at strong-side backer – which is often the least high-profile position of the three linebacker positions in a 4-3 scheme.

Robert from Fernandina Beach, FL

I recently visited the Taj Majal and got into a discussion with a security guard there. When he found out I was from Jacksonville, he asked if I knew Gene Frenette. I hesitated at first and then ran like hell.

I laughed at this. Funny emails are cool. I like them.

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