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O-Zone: Necessary strain

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Sandro from El Paso, TX

Blake Bortles is clearly our quarterback now and of the future. My only concern that I'm sure other fans also share is that the Jaguars need to get a true No. 1 wide receiver. Bortles will look average and continue to get criticism if we continue to leave the doubt that he's not performing due to lack of wide receiver talent. Sure, we drafted a wide receiver and got a tight end in free agency. However, to say our pass catchers rank in the top 20 would be pushing it.

Any team would love to have a true No. 1 receiver. The problem is there's only a few in the league, and they don't come available very often. The Jaguars have four or five receivers they like a lot, and the combination of Bortles with those receivers have looked good for the most part during training camp. They had some flashes Saturday against the Minnesota Vikings, and they had a good series in the opener against the New Orleans Saints. I'm sensing a weird panic among some readers over this. Relax. There were hold-the-breath moments in preseason last season, too. Remember? Remember?!?!

Howard from Homestead, FL

At risk of being ridiculed, let me say that I watch football because I believe it is one of the last havens for masculinity we have. As the father of two young boys, I fear for us all if we lose that. That's why some of us are worried about the penalties. It's not about the damage being done to the game. It's the damage being done to our society.

Remember in that first sentence when you said …

_ Tom from Aberdeen_

John, that roughing the passer on Cody Kessler was bad, it was a clear sack. Why...

The rule this season is any player deemed to be intentionally and unnecessarily coming down with his full weight on the quarterback will be deemed to be roughing the passer. It's designed to prevent unnecessary injuries to defenseless players.

William from Jacksonville

Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell says defensive lineman Taven Bryan is the best rookie he's had. When do we get to see him?

When he's fully healthy. Why? Would you like him to play before that?

Kyle from Noblesville, IN

I find it quite ironic of all people that are complaining about Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey's comments in GQ. All it has done is get the national media to talk Jaguars football all week. I bet you can find a few quotes in the past complaining how the national media never pays attention to the Jags. Strange how quickly the tide turns.

Irony can be pretty ironic.

Joe from Duval

It's time to consider trading for Teddy.


Bradley from Carson City, NV

I wonder how many of these holier-than-thou fans can name our starters on defense on the 2015-16 team? They would rather go back to that? Jalen Ramsey is the most talented player to wear the teal and black. I fully expect him to back up what he says. Also, Dante Fowler Jr. would be the star of a lot of other teams' defense. I expect he will be the best "non-starter" in the National Football League this season. No one wants to play us. No one.

I doubt any Jaguars fans wants to go back to the 2015-2016 team. Some fans would like the Jaguars to win and not be brash or cocky while doing so. I get the idea that many – if not more – fans embrace this team's players and revel in their approach. You can't please everybody, I suppose. Oh, well.

Thomas from West Palm Beach, FL

Do you know what happened to the Jaguars podcast? Will the new content (Jags Drive Time, Happy Hour, etc.) be available in a podcast format? Season ticket holder from out of town, I love the audio content including your contributions, but the formats I've found are difficult to keep up with and access with my devices (first world problem I know) so I'm hoping a podcast will return. Thanks!

The podcasts have been among the trickiest issues since we dramatically improved with NFL-mandated changes during the offseason. I'm told by people whose job it is to know such things that we are close to a breakthrough with the "Podcast Problem." So, I guess we are hopeful the situation will improve pretty soon.

Hippy from Fleming Island, FL

I could see the questioner, the question, and your gloriously snide answer without scrolling on my less than O-level phone AT THE SAME TIME!! Peasants rejoice!

We remain hopeful that the situation will keep improving.

Munchie from London, UK

Hi Zone,


John from Ocala, FL

Hi O! Those white-on-white uniforms ... is niiice!

The Jaguars have hit on two winning uniform combinations in two preseason games. We'll see if the streak lasts. I don't see why it wouldn't.

Antony from Columbia, SC

John, after considering the first two preseason games, I've been impressed by cornerback Tyler Patmon and linebacker Leon Jacobs. I would have expected those guys to kinda stand out by giving up some big plays as they would probably be considered by most to be a couple of the weaker links on a very good defense. They seem to be fitting in well and holding their own nicely. Are you impressed by what you've seen from them?


John from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

If the way the officials called the preseason game against the Vikings is an indication of what we can expect during the regular season, I will not watch the games. I understand the need for safety, but some of the personal foul calls were atrocious. As a fan, I want to see the outcome placed in the hands of the players, not the judgment calls by the officials. The officiating crews on the field are following the orders from the league office. It is up to the league office to stop this nonsense. What are your thoughts?

I think the league office must do something to make this game safer, and I think this is what it's trying to do. I don't think this is perfect, or even close. I think the league will work to make this rule better. Is the rule frustrating? Yes. Is the idea behind it nonsense? No.

Curt from Wilkes-Barre, PA

O-dude: You think the officials are going to figure out how to enforce the new NFL injury-mitigation rules before the real season starts?

I don't know.

Scott from Fernandina Beach, FL

Hi John, I realize Norwell is an All-Pro guard, but this is a new system. How critical is his missing all these reps in practice and preseason to the early success of our offense?

It would be beneficial for Jaguars guard Andrew Norwell to be practicing. If that weren't the case, teams wouldn't practice. But unless he's out for a very long time it's not something that can't be overcome. He was in full pads for a couple of practices last week in Minnesota. I consider that a good sign that he will be back sooner rather than later.

Braddock from Jacksonville

I'm watched the Browns-Bills preseason game and I've seen the two weeks of Hard Knocks. I can't help but thinking the Browns look a lot like we did a couple of seasons ago. What I'm actually thinking about is how lucky we got to have the right free agents available that fit the mold that we actually identified. My point is the Browns look like a young ascending team in need of leadership and aren't we so fortunate to have found ours: Calais Campbell, Tashaun Gipson and Barry Church.

I didn't watch the Browns-Bills game, and I haven't watched Hard Knocks. I do know the Jaguars have been phenomenally success in free agency in recent offseasons, with not only Campbell, Church and Gipson fitting in as veteran leaders but defensive tackle Malik Jackson and cornerback A.J. Bouye as well. That's five key starters acquired in free agency, including three who made the Pro Bowl last season. That's almost unheard-of success in free agency.

Brian from Gainesville, FL

Big O, there seem to be lots of questions and comments in the Zone about the Jaguars offense being unfocused and sloppy. I agree with your take that they were playing against a great defense, and, ultimately, the first team O did aight. But could there also be an element of tired legs from the training camp of Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone? I recall last preseason looked a little clunky too.

I would be surprised if that's not a factor in the Jaguars perhaps looking a bit clunky at times in the first two preseason games. Marrone runs training camp with the idea of making players uncomfortable and straining them to have the team ready for the regular season, not the preseason. It worked to great effect last season. Why wouldn't it work this season?

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