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O-Zone: Nerve ending

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, I know this isn't the "real deal" yet, but why do you think Trevor seems to have taken such a big leap? Is this a typical Year 2 leap, or something bigger ya think?

We indeed have seen significant progress from Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, but you're right that it's too early to call this a "real-deal" Year 2 leap. The improvement we're seeing, after all, has taken place in non-padded practices in the offseason and early in training camp. But we are seeing an improvement in decision-making quickness, accuracy and decision-making quickness. I don't know how to define "typical" when discussing Year 2 leaps. I do know if Lawrence looks as good in the regular season as he appears capable of looking, the leap has a chance to be huge. It wouldn't be unexpected. Good players are supposed to improve in Year 2 and Lawrence is a good player. But it would make the Jaguars a lot better very quickly.

Steve from Nashville, TN

I think the visuals presented at the Hall of Fame preseason game next week will go a long way to erasing thoughts and questions about last year's head coach. Just seeing our new coaching staff on the sidelines and all the new free agents and draft selections on the field in a semi-competitive contest will cleanse the bad memories.

Perhaps there's something to this. I don't on a day-to-day basis think much about the Jaguars' 2021 season or about former Head Coach Urban Meyer anymore. That's because I've been around Head Coach Doug Pederson and spoken to enough people around the Jaguars to know this now feels like a functioning organization in which people – particularly football players – can thrive. But fans and most observers haven't been around the Jaguars to experience this new feeling. Can the visual of seeing all that newness on the sidelines next Thursday help fans move forward, positively? Yeah, that's very possible. That sort of thing changes perception.

Steve from Nashville, TN

Just the fact that we don't have a fake quarterback competition in camp is nice to see this year.

It's important to be nice. That wasn't nice.

Cliff from Everywhere with Helicopter

The podcast episode featuring Fred Taylor was tremendous. Apparently, Fred can always be counted on to deliver on and off the field. It was a kick also to hear the game broadcast clips of Brian Sexton again. I grew up in the NYC area listening to legends like Marty Glickman and Marv Albert and for play-by-play, Sexton is right there with the best. Really enjoying the Boselli HOF podcasts, thanks for doing them.

You're referencing the Fred Taylor episode of the podcast series featuring people involved in the story of former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli, who next Saturday will become the first person associated with the franchise enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I appreciate your kind words and I enjoyed working on the series very much. I was privileged to speak with Angi Boselli, Michael McCrary, Jason Taylor, Fred Taylor, Leon Searcy, Mark Brunell, Anthony Munoz and Pete Prisco. I have not heard back from Bruce Smith. There's still time.

Johnny from Section 404 via Westside (bestside)

I wonder: If preseason should be about development, coupled with minimizing injury, wouldn't it make sense to have our first string play against the opponent's third string? We would dominate, like in a practice, and injuries would be lessened since opponent would be getting simply overmatched.

The Jaguars kinda, sorta did this last year against the Dallas Cowboys in the preseason finale. I don't recall if there were a lot of injuries that day. I do recall the Jaguars played well, won, and some people got pretty excited about it. Then, the regular season started. That wasn't as exciting.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, do the coaches take a day off with the players or are they working in order to prepare for the players to return?

Jaguars players had a day off Friday of 2022 Training Camp practice under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Coaches are not governed by the CBA and did not have the day off. NFL coaching is not a good profession if you like days off between late July and January/February.

Ken from Rabun Gap, GA

Hey Zone, Just wondering ... you often respond "Stay Tuned." I'm just wondering what you are envisioning when you type those words. Are you picturing in your mind an old radio with an analog circular dial and static? Are you picturing a tuning fork? How about the growl of your '68 Camaro? Encouraging your readers to stay in their current buff/peak physical condition? Walter Cronkite? Pepperoni? Just trying to catch a glimpse of the inner workings of the O mind. Appreciate the content.

There are no inner workings in the O mind. Just sadness, stale beer and chipped paint.

Fred from Naples, FL

Really upset to see that Fred Taylor did not make it as a finalist for the 2023 Hall of Fame. Roger Craig was actually taken off the list and he has been to four Pro Bowls. Unfortunately, I am not sure Fred will make it in during my lifetime. Also, no Tom Coughlin?

I think you're reacting to a slight that didn't actually take place. Former Jaguars running back Fred Taylor is still eligible to be a finalist for the 2023 Hall of Fame because the "cutdown" process for the '23 class hasn't yet started. Craig, a Hall-worthy running back who played mostly for the San Francisco 49ers in the 1980s, is eligible for the Seniors category of the Hall. Taylor has been a Hall semifinalist the past three years. I expect him to at least be a semifinalist in 2023 and likely a finalist. I also expect him to gain momentum once he is a finalist and eventually make the Hall. I also expect Coughlin to be in the Hall of Fame. Head coaches are elected to the Hall as contributors. It's a separate process, and one that could take several years because of a backlog of worthy candidates.

Sean from Oakleaf, FL

Why do the training camp press conference gnats attack everyone but Coach Pederson?

He's the head coach. They don't bother him. They bother me. I am the king of all funk.

Mike from Eagan, MN

In your response yesterday comparing Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, you made a comment that you really like them both as men (implying more than football players). Made me wonder … do you keep in contact with former players on a personal level (outside of normal media interactions, i.e. connecting professionally with Fred Taylor these days)? I'm not sure if that type of personal relationship is "out-of-bounds" for a member of the media … if you do keep in contact, who would you say you're closest to?

Such a relationship with a retired player wouldn't be "out of bounds," and there are certainly many players I once covered that I enjoy seeing when circumstances dictate. But outside of the former Jaguars with whom I work – Boselli, Taylor and Jeff Lageman, for instance – I don't really have any relationships or friendships with former players. One reason is such professional relationships usually stay professional. I'm also not all that likeable in "real life." Why should professional colleagues see me differently?

Nolan from Gainesville, FL

Mr. O, Our defensive depth is exciting! Outside linebackers Travon Walker and Josh Allen could be a force to be reckoned with for years to come. Defensive tackle appears to be a stacked position as well. We've got multiple great linebackers and cornerbacks now, and it's going to be fun seeing what Andre Cisco can do at safety now that the handcuffs appear to be off. All that being said, is there any way outside linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson makes this team? Doesn't seem like he has any chance of competing for playing time. If he was a camp casualty, wouldn't be very shocking. Would much rather see his roster spot go to a backup quarterback – or anything else really. You think he makes the final 53?


James from Jacksonville

With former Jaguars wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. doing interviews talking about how dysfunctional and unprofessional the organization is from the top down, not just speaking on the Urban Era, we are getting a peek inside the organization not just under the Urban Era. Doug seems to be working hard to turn things around, but do you believe that we need more organization restructuring?

The Jaguars have changed head coaches (twice) and general managers (once) since December 2020. Few prominent personnel officials or coaches remain from before that time. A football organization can't restructure much more than that.

Jonathan from Jax

Hit a nerve, did I?

Maybe. If I had the first earthly notion of what you were talking about, I could give you a better answer.