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O-Zone: No tantrums

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Zach from East Palatka

Our Week One matchup features David Culley and Joe Cullen. What are your thoughts on the familiarity that these two have? I give the Texans head coach the edge, only because I don't know how to game plan against them; we have no idea what their offense will be. I think game planning against our defense would be easier than the other?

Jaguars Defensive Coordinator Joe Cullen and Houston Texans Head Coach David Culley indeed worked together with the Baltimore Ravens the last two seasons – and they indeed will face one another in Week 1 of the 2021 regular season. But I wouldn't give either an edge just because they worked together in Baltimore – and the reality is neither has been an offensive/defensive coordinator at the NFL level, with Culley serving as the Ravens' passing-game coordinator and Cullen serving as the defensive line coach. While both certainly will have an idea about the other's offensive and defensive scheme, they undoubtedly will adapt game-planning and play-calling approach based on their new personnel with their new teams. I suppose you're right in one sense – that the Jaguars don't have a hard, fast idea about the Texans' offensive approach. But I suspect that's because they don't know whether Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson will play. Whether he does or not would change a lot about the game-planning on both sides.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

We often hear that one of the hardest things a rookie must adapt to is the speed of the pro game relative to the college game. We often hear rookies, after a few NFL games, say that the game has "slowed down" for them. My question: Does this difference in the speed of the game have any effect on college coaches who have made the jump to the NFL?

I've never heard a coach discuss this, probably because the speed of the game is so much more vivid for players reacting in real time to a dramatic increase in pace and violence. For a play-caller, there could be an adjustment in what will work and what won't, but this is more a player thing than a coach thing. For a head coach, the transition is more about the game playing on more of a margin than is the case in college, with situations therefore being far more important and far more games decided in the final minutes.

Stonehart from The OP

Hey O-Zone,


Ty from Fleming Island

O-Zone, I agree with you that the Stanley Cup hockey playoffs are some of the most exciting events in all of sports. As an incredibly talented Tampa Bay Lightning team just won their second Stanley Cup in a row, I see that the TV ratings for these games are minimal compared to many other sports. Why do you think that viewership numbers remain so low for the NHL?

This always is something of a mystery to me, and one explanation is that people in non-hockey cities for whatever reason don't give the sport a chance. It also may have something to do with the fact that many people don't skate and therefore never play the sport growing up, so becoming a fan means learning about the sport rather than inherently understanding it. Either way, it's surprising to me it's not more popular. It has everything we as a culture like in sports – violence, high speed, non-stop action. The postseason is incredibly dramatic, and overtime NFL playoff hockey – with its sudden shifts in momentum and sudden-death nature – is theater like no other in professional sports.

Dave from Jacksonville

Wizard, regarding the position group would you want to have three Pro Bowlers … defensive end sounds great, but give me three Pro Bowl quarterbacks and I'm good. All the rest would be unnecessary, right?

Having three Pro Bowl quarterbacks for any NFL team would be great because having one would be great. It puts you in a position to be very good and competitive each season. The issue is how much you would get out of the two Pro Bowl quarterbacks not playing behind the best Pro Bowl quarterback versus being able to get three Pro Bowl players on the field at other positions.

Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL

If you got room for one more, the Fitz quote is good, but I forgot my favorite football quote from John Heisman, "Gentlemen, it is better to have died a small boy, than to fumble this football." I never know whether to cringe or smile when I hear it.


Richard from Redlands, CA

During this pause in formal activities, is Lawrence working out with some of his receivers? Go Jaguars!

My understanding is that Jaguars rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence has worked out at Bishop Kenny High School with some receivers during the "pause" between the offseason program and training camp. I hope that has happened only occasionally. Lawrence and the receivers participated in organized team activities and minicamp until June 17. Training camp begins July 27. That's about five weeks of downtime to prepare for a grueling five-to-six-month season. It's OK to take that downtime. Even for a rookie and his receivers.

Dwayne from Jacksonville, FL

Good call on The Culligan Girl not joining Gene Frenette's Blues Band. That may be the one person on the planet that could upstage Gene.


Don from Marshall, NC

I think the Jaguars will be one of the most explosive offenses in the league. I am more concerned about how they are going to burn clock when they have to close out games. Go Jaguars!

I think the Jaguars have a chance to be explosive offensively in 2021 – and they certainly have a chance to be more explosive than they have been in recent seasons. I also think it may take a while before a rookie quarterback – even one as gifted as Lawrence – is ready to direct one of "the most explosive offenses in the league." I imagine the Jaguars will burn clock in close games as most good NFL teams do these days – with a combination of strong running and timely passing. Few teams can simply line up and blow defenses off the ball in short yardage. You need to work those last few minutes smart and be good in clutch situations.

Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL

Inside out backhand passing shot, inside out backhand winner, forehand cross passing shot, drop shot (gross), overhead lob, successful chip and charge, what do you like the best?

Inside-out backhand winner, particularly if it's a one-handed backhand.

Tim from Fort Wayne, IN

You've written roughly 3,623 O-Zone articles in a row, not counting any of the "Late Night O-Zone" articles. I've always wondered, has every title been unique? Do you have some massive spreadsheet that you use to track all your titles to make sure they never duplicate? The Dead Zone seemed like an appropriate time to try to cure my curiosity.

I actually don't know if every title has been unique. I do try to make them unique. Not too hard. I mean, not enough to put any thought into it. Or even google it. But short of that, I do try. Sort of. Sometimes. Once, I think. Never.

Jim from Middleburg, FL

John, Can Tebow block?

We'll see.

Zac from Austin, Tejas

You beat me to the punch, but my expectation of The Law is only that teams plan for him, yet he still wins. That was the core of why Minshew couldn't be "the guy." Also, picking Brazil and Argentina is the World Cup is accurate, but predictable. It's like guessing that the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers will go to the playoffs, although this year.

I expect there will be times as a rookie when teams game plan for Lawrence and he doesn't win. The key will be in the few games after that, when teams copy what has been successful against him. Does a pattern develop where Lawrence can't beat certain defenses? Is he showing improvement against those? Does he have the throws and the football awareness to adapt his game to beat those defenses? All logic would tell you that he does, but that's often the difference between young quarterbacks who make it and those who fail.

Big on Blake from Philly

Five dollar? Five dollar? Five dollar foot long? Where's the beef? I want it my way and lovin it too. That's why Sbarro and Taco Bell always reign supreme.


Jim from Montana

Hey O, Never having lost a regular season game in high school or college, how do you think Trevor will react to losing his first regular season game in the NFL?

I don't know, but it's not as if he never lost. He lost big postseason games in high school and college with no reports of tantrums or tears. I imagine he will handle a regular-season NFL loss as professionally as he seems to handle most situations.