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O-Zone: Nobody cares

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Robert from Elkton

Potential improvement from last season's players always seems a little undervalued during free agency and draft times. DaVon Hamilton's performance could be a major boost to the defense this year. He seems very mobile for a defensive tackle. Do you think there's any chance the new coordinator plays him occasionally at defensive end? I would love to see what he could do there in the right matchups.

Potential improvement from season to season is not "a little undervalued" as much as it's "dramatically undervalued." This is particularly true with young players. The biggest mistake many NFL observers make is assuming the value/production of a player is decided and etched in stone when the player is a rookie and never improves thereafter. Wise teams often trust their rookies to improve and eschew free agency because of this trust. It's indeed the case that Jaguars defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton could improve in 2024 after a lost season because of a back issue last season. I also expect players such as tight end Brenton Strange and running back Tank Bigsby to contribute in significant ways in their second NFL seasons. As for Hamilton specifically … I don't see him moving outside. To paraphrase defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen when he was speaking to the media Monday, the Jaguars' defensive coaches don't know exactly where every defensive player will play next season. But they know Hamilton's a defensive tackle.

Kevin from Jacksonville Beach, Fl

Hi, John. Do you think the NFL will ever have an International Division with four teams? They would play each other twice a year like other divisions and have one team the other divisions travel for an away game each year. Then they could be included in the playoffs. Think that could ever happen?

This is a good question. The word "ever" means it's also a tricky-to-impossible question to answer with much confidence. Just as I doubt the NFL's founders in the 1920s could have imagined the modern NFL, I can't pretend to imagine the version we'll see in the 2120s – and I therefore wouldn't rule out international play sometime in the next 100 years. As for the foreseeable future – i.e., the next decade or two – I would be surprised if we see a division or any team stationed in Europe. Among the reasons is the difficulty international teams would have signing free agents. This might seem like a solvable problem, but if a married free agent is considering a domestic team and an international team there's every possibility the spouse would balk at the arrangement. I doubt I would win that argument and many players wouldn't, either. This is to say nothing of the international income tax and travel issues inherent in the situation. The NFL wants to grow the game and it's addressing the issue by having its teams increasingly play regular-season games overseas. The sense here is that will remain the plan rather than a team or teams permanently there. We'll see.

Brad from The Avenues

John, in your response to Zach from Jacksonville's query about establishing an NFL team internationally, you mentioned teams traveling from the United States to London. But what about a London team that would have to make that trip eight to nine times in an eighteen-week season? Even if said team owned its own SST, it would still have to deal with what is essentially a 180-degree back-and-forth time zone flip for eighteen weeks out of the year to play what is pretty much the most grueling sport in the world. They would be in a constant state of jet lag. I really just don't see how it would be physically possible.

The NFL theoretically could schedule some back-to-back road games for this team. That might ease the situation somewhat. At the same time, back-to-back road games with a week on the road in between also is not ideal.

Ryan from Apopka, FL

Can we get a shout out to the "boom" guy? Seems like a thankless job that had everyone ragging on including Shad, Doug and Trent. Is it true he has shoulders like a tank?

You're referencing the "boom" guy in the latest episode of "The Hunt," a rarely publicized production of Jaguars Media. The aforementioned latest episode chronicled the Jaguars and the 2024 NFL Draft, taking viewers behind the scenes with strikingly transparent access to draft meetings and the draft room. The boom guy, who indeed has a thankless job, was needled at times in the episode by Owner Shad Khan, Head Coach Doug Pederson and General Manager Trent Baalke. It is not mine to give advice to this trio except to say this: The "boom guy" in this case is longtime Jaguars video producer/camera guy/jack of all trades Max "The Hitman" Hochman. He indeed has shoulders like a tank and has been known to "handle situations as he sees fit."

Cristiano from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

I do not understand how people can be praising the "The Hunt" recently released episode the way they are when it is actually appalling the amount of time it devotes to the Senior Writer.

You make a good point.

David from Chuluota, FL

Ozone – If the Jaguars organization gave you a vote, Orlando or Gainesville, which would you choose and why?

I don't care. Both are atrocious options. This is nothing against either city. I live a mile from TIAA Bank Stadium. The idea of driving more than an hour for a home game is horrific.

Armand from Jacksonville

Do you see a 20-game season with no preseason in the future?

No – and if it did happen it would be waaaaaaaaay in the future. One would hope, anyway.

Thomas from section 125 from Jacksonville aka DUUUVAL

Numbers don't lie. Fans do. Against Top 5 defenses, Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence went missing. We didn't have a run game, none, last season, so that's why his passing was terrible. But Head Coach Doug Pederson's philosophy is the passing game will open the running game. I thought it goes like the running game will open the passing game.

The lack of the ability to run hurt the Jaguars' passing game last season. No doubt about it. But it wasn't Pederson's philosophy that hurt the Jaguars' running game last season as much as the inability to block for the run in big situations. The Jaguars failed far too often in that area in 2024. Remember: What matters in the NFL these days isn't a team's total rushing yards as much as the effectiveness rushing. If a team is effective running, it can pick up yards in key situations and make teams respect the running game. Once those two things happen, then the entire offense typically gets much more efficient.

Richard from Jacksonville

I get Trevor didn't actually invest his signing bonus in Bitcoin, but Bitcoin's value has increased by more than $25,000 per coin since then. That hardly seems like a poor investment.

Thank you, Richard.

Rey from Longwood

Are there any OTAs or other events happening at the Miller Electric Center that I can bring my family to next week while we are camping at Hanna Park?

Unfortunately, no. Jaguars 2024 Organized Team Activities and the mandatory mid-June minicamp, while ongoing for the next three weeks, are closed to the public. The next open-to-the-public football activities at the MEC are expected to be selected 2024 Training Camp practices beginning in late July.

Keith from Saint Augustine, FL

O, in a recent Zone submission, someone made reference to a "comments" section. What is it and should I concern myself with it?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Stephen from 113 from Jacksonville via Pennsauken NJ

John, During OTAs, training camp and practices the media only gets a set amount of time to watch the players on the field. As a Jaguars employee do you get to stick around after the media gets the boot?

Select OTA practices are open to the media. Those that are open are open start to finish. The Jaguars open all training camp practices to the media, including those that are closed to the public. Practices during the season are open for a brief viewing period early in practice. Training camp practices are the only practices I consider "essential viewing." OTA and minicamp practices are second in importance, but they're a distant enough second to be closer to unimportant than important. Could I stick around if I so chose? I guess. The above periods are more enough. More than enough, actually.

Who cares from Round the way

The chameleon black/teal helmets were the best in franchise history. But I wouldn't expect you to give them their due. After all, you think those ugly Simpson skins were aesthetically appealing.

Your name is appropriate in this case. Indeed: Who cares what helmet or uniform I like? You like the "chameleon" helmet. Goody for you. I like the color rush uniforms. Goody for me.