JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Julius from Austin, Tejas
I am not a betting man, but I bet you don't keep up with the Jaguars Reddit. There is a lot of talk about the primary jersey colors from the photoshoot on August 1. Suddenly, everyone *always* hated the black and are happy it's gone (lame). Do you have a favorite jersey from the Jaguars history or any team in particular?
I don't have "favorites" in these areas, primarily because I focus on what's happening on the field – and with players – more than the uniform. I obviously have fond memories of the 1990s Jaguars teams, though. I was fortunate enough to cover the team's 1995 expansion season and the four playoff teams that followed that when working for the Florida Times-Union. I also was fortunate enough to do this when I was comparatively young. It's natural to reflect fondly at first times and things that happen when you were young, so those 1990s Jaguars teams always will be special to me.
Marlin from Newberry, FL
Hi, John. Since the money that players receive is an advance on their 2021 salary, what happens if the player doesn't make a roster in 2021 or (as could happen with Al Woods) retires? Do they have to pay that money back?
Yes – if the player voluntarily opts out of the 2020 season. Those players receive a $150,000 advance on their 2021 salary – and that must be paid back if the player isn't in the NFL the next season. A player who opts out because he is deemed high-risk, a category of players that will receive $350,000 for 2020, does not have to repay the money.
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville
The whole COVID-19 designation list and players electing to sit out got me thinking. This year is going to be even more unpredictable than any in the last 15 years of the NFL. Combine that with former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady moving teams to Tampa Bay, a whole TRUCKLOAD of new, young talent across the league emerging, this literally could be anybody's year to take the trophy. No one is a sure thing because the rosters are all so uncertain. Man, it would be sweet for a few twists of fate and luck to go the Jaguars way and get us to the promised land. We are due for a break, aren't we KOAF? I mean haven't we suffered enough?
Yes. And yes.
Bill from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
I'm old enough to remember former New England Patriots wide receiver Darryl Stingley, who got hit in a preseason game and became a quadriplegic for life. Every NFL player takes that risk every time he suits up, not to mention traumatic brain injuries and all sorts of gruesome orthopedic trauma. For a player to sit out a whole season because he might catch a virus that he could also catch going to the grocery store is just plain silly.
I have received many emails expressing the sentiment, so I realize you're not alone in this thinking. But know this: NFL players don't casually decide to sit out a season, and players aren't making this decision without serious thought and consideration. And these are difficult decisions. Could those players realize later that sitting out 2020 wasn't necessary? I suppose that's possible. Are there substantial risks every time NFL players – or football players at any level – step on the field? No doubt. But considering the current climate, and considering the staggering amount of information supporting many different opinions, I can't in good conscience call anyone opting to sit out "silly."
Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC
We're a few O-Zones past this reference, but I just wanted to reiterate: Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. I hope I'm not the only one who responded to this.
I had hope once. It didn't take.
John from Jacksonville
I like a good friendly scoff from you on occasion when I post a question or comment. With regards to a recent observation of mine about the useless COVID-19 turnstile updates, and your friendly scoff response, the recent example of Minshew makes my point. He was added on Sunday and removed on Tuesday. That's 47 seconds of reading time that I'll never get back, but I somewhat understand we are resurrecting still from the dead zone. :) I'm guessing the NFL wants teams to report these transactions so it's probably a moot point on my part anyway.
I'm intrigued by your mindset on this topic. Your belief is that updating players who come on and off the reserve/COVID-19 list is a waste of time. You then use the case of Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II this week as an example of this pointlessness. Considering the fact that Minshew is an NFL starting quarterback – and considering that a quick perusal of Twitter confirmed that many people indeed were interested in Minshew's status – I would say the incident confirms the demand for these updates. No, Minshew wasn't on the COVID-19 list for long this week. And no, he didn't in fact test positive or have COVID-19, but people don't know that unless they have a way to learn it. That's what we at jaguars.com and Jaguars media strive to do -- inform. So, yes, Bruce … we will continue to update the COVID-19 list when appropriate. I don't know if it will be every day and every transaction all season. We'll see how the ebb and flow of the season plays out. But for now, people are interested – and we'll try to inform when possible. I suppose people who aren't interested might … I don't know … not read it?
Chris from Tampa, FL
Regarding the kickoff deferment question, it really came about because of a rule change in 2008. Prior to that, the coin-toss winner was almost forced to receive in the first half. If they didn't, they wouldn't receive in the second half, either. Old habits die hard, so deferment wasn't widely seen immediately, but eventually came about for the reasons you mentioned.
The NFL indeed implemented the rule allowing teams to defer kickoffs in 2008. The only reasons to defer before that were inclement weather – most often high winds – or if the team believed so fiercely in its defense that it made sense to kickoff rather than play offense. The instances were rare enough that deferments weren't a "thing." Teams now defer and kickoff to start the game more than 90 percent of the time, with the idea being to have a chance to gain momentum at the start of the second half – preferably after scoring at the end of the first half and therefore potentially changing the game's dynamic in a comparatively short time.
Al from Orange Park, FL
Would you please mention to Jess from Carbon that players who chose to opt out due to COVID are probably averaging about 1/10 of their normal salary, while millions of folks are making MORE than their normal salary thru the CARES Act unemployment due to COVID? I'm not begrudging anything to/for anyone. Just pointing out that it's a very strange world we're currently living in Master Jack. I think we need us some football …
We all need football in the fall.
Nicholas from Fort Hood, TX
KOAF: We are about a month away from football and starting the "ramp-up period" so our "dead zone" is finally over. How is life treating you at home with preventing COVID-19? Are you having to distance yourself from Ms. O-Zone to stay in the "protective bubble?" Will key staff be isolated in hotels for the entire season away from family? More importantly will you still be able to interact with "Rat Dog" and "Spike the Cat"? We can't afford our best senior writer to go down this year.
Life at home has treated me fine during the pandemic; the rest of the world prefers me isolated, so this circumstance has relieved local authorities of an unneeded burden. Mrs. O-Zone long has practiced social distancing when it comes to me; she has practiced this so much, in fact, that she's become an expert in this area. As far as isolation in hotels … I'm not "key" staff and actually am barely hanging on to staff status, so the team has no interest in coming out of pocket for me to stay at even the cheapest of hotels. Spike, unfortunately, used the last of his nine lives and left us in 2019, though I am happy to report that Rat Dog typically sleeps by my side when I'm working. She has been happy to have me home during the pandemic. She's an O-Zone fan. She pretty much flies solo on that front.
Jeff from Atlantic Beach, FL
How many of the "play or don't get paid" crowd sent back that stimulus check?
I am proud to say that I did. No, wait … I didn't.