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O-Zone: Not close enough

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

The real JT from Plano, TX

On one hand, I can appreciate the criticisms of Trevor's turnovers, his huge contract and the absence of deep playoff runs. But on the other hand, if you had to pick a guy and a family to admire and respect how purely classy they remain, through less-rich and more, injured and healthy, and win or lose, this guy is so incredibly mature, decent and likeable that you want to root for the guy, the team, the organization and the city just because he leads the right way: "I am Third," a la Gale Sayers. We are lucky to have a quarterback like that for the next handful of years, and I'm hoping big-time success comes along for him, the team and everyone who's a fan.

Your first sentence or two was what I often think of as "a heck of a sentence or two." I usually try to provide clarity and editing in these situations, but this one I let go after some minor work. So there's that. As for the question at hand: The thought here remains that the criticism of Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, while widespread and expected, is a bit extreme. Few – if any – rookie quarterbacks would have succeeded in the circumstances he faced in 2021, after which he had a nice second season in 2022 and was having a solid third season until he left three of the final six games with injuries. The Jaguars this offseason determined that Lawrence is their franchise quarterback of the future. They paid him as such. The entire package to which you refer is why that was an easy decision. Lawrence at minimum is a phenomenally good leader and a high-character kid who you love having as the face of the franchise – who also is a very good quarterback. There's a decent chance that he's all those things and that he will be much better than a very good quarterback. There's risk involved with any NFL mega-contract. Perhaps there's a little more involved with Lawrence's because he hasn't yet proven he's elite. But all in all, the risk with Lawrence's is tolerable. Stay tuned.

Stokes from Orange Park, FL

The quip "eight billion people on the planet and we can't find 32 good starting (current) NFL quarterbacks" was always one of my favorites, though raising kids (we have four) is beset by astonishingly more pitfalls than the NFL quarterback position is this day and age. Kind of an "apples and penguins" comparison to try and line them up. My call would be "I'm pulling for '1-6' to hoist the hardware as much as anyone could ... and for anyone taking on the latter challenge - getting their little ones through it unscathed even more."

Thus continues a recent "debate" about whether it's tougher to be a parent than to be an NFL quarterback. I am somehow reminded of a time in the 1990s when I was in my early thirties and called my father, then in his late sixties. I told him I had read or heard somewhere that medicine/science was advancing to the point that many people now could expect to live and function well past 100 and even to 110. He asked me if I knew the problem with living to 110. I said I did not. "When your 90-year-old son calls you and needs money." I don't know why this topic reminds me of this story. It just sort of does.

Michael from Sanford

How do you think you would have felt if you were present and working for the infamous Marshawn "I'm just here so I don't get fined" Lynch press conference?

If it were late in the day, I probably would feel like I wanted to go home.

Chevin from Jacksonville

Which position battles and storylines are you looking forward to the most for training camp and the pre-season and why?

It miiiight be a stretch to say I'm looking forward to training camp, but that's being a bit nitpicky and jaded – and goodness knows, that's not my style. For top position battle of Jaguars 2024 Training Camp, let's go with cornerback opposite Tyson Campbell. I'll be watching to see if rookie Jarrian Jones can push veteran free-agent Ronald Darby for a starting position. While Darby is pretty exclusively an outside corner, Jones could push for a starting position then kick inside to nickel in third-down and passing situations. Top storylines will be offensive line, defensive line and Lawrence's turnover issues. The problem with those three storylines is the same as most NFL storylines: it's very hard to know much about any of them in training camp or preseason. You learn more when the games matter in September.

Gator from Gainesville, FL

Wate! You only get twenty questions this time of yeer and my questions don't make it on the site? I ask all the best questions. I'm like relly relly smart! Remember when I asked about the dress code for the pools? I show up and they tell me no cut offs! If you wulda answered I culda packed my speedos. Thanks fer nuthin.

I get better questions some days than others whatever the time of year.

Rusty from New Iberia, LA

If I remember correctly, you started the streak when the Jags were having trouble selling out games. You said as long as we keep selling out, you would keep the streak going. If that's true, it might be a while until you can stop!

I believe you do remember correctly that the start of the streak had to do with me writing daily until the Jaguars had a blackout. Since NFL games no longer get "blacked out," it would seem on one hand that I am doomed to write the O-Zone daily forever. On the other hand, since mine clearly is not a career or life built on integrity, not being true to my word is not a "big issue."

Jami from Claxton, GA

John, I read the stadium of the future will not have a grass field. With all of the negative consequences attributed to turf fields, why would the Jaguars even consider a surface that could injure their players? I hope the answer isn't to save money. Thanks

There were reports in May that the Stadium of the Future would feature turf. I wouldn't assume this is a given. The stadium is scheduled to open in August 2028. Stay tuned.

Mike from Cartersville (AKA Trevortown), GA

If what makes a head coach good is being a leader, organizer and tone-setter, where would you rank Urban Meyer in these areas? Above average dexterity aside, I don't think he ranks very highly in leadership and organizing. #Whirlybird #NeverForget #NotKnowingWhoIsJJWatt

I have talked a lot here in the O-Zone in the last 18-to-24 months or so about the importance of "being nice." Considering that emphasis, and my role in the emphasizing, there are sometimes questions I would rather not answer.

Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire. UK

Oh Mighty 'O' / King of All Funk, on the subject of naming of the Stadium of the Future, might I suggest "O-Zone Palace?" Where high in one of the End Zone sits a Throne made of Bullet Bob cans and Sbarro boxes – think Game of Thrones style – where the King of All Funk can sit and be adored by his loyal subjects / reader. Or maybe there could be a Bullet Bob draft tap in one of the arms of the throne? Probably easier than all the cans? Hang on let me work on this a bit.

King of all funk, while appropriate, is not meant to be taken literally. At least not most of the time. And a throne seems a bit much. I'm fine with O-Zone Palace, though. Let's call it a working title.

Marc from Oceanway

Aha! So that's why I get answers during the Dead Zone and less so during the season. Hmmm, and here I am thinking I am so clever when I get published during the Dead Zone. Ah well, at least I now know you weren't ignoring my questions that one time after I sent in a drunken rant during a game.

Were you really thinking you were clever?

Marc from Oceanway

Zone, I'm in a Funk. I'm a little depressed that I'm not as brilliant a questioner as I thought I was. I'm hoping you will print this, the third question I have submitted today. I've seen you, on occasion, answer two questions from one individual. I've never seen you answer three questions from one person in one column. If you print all three of my questions, in one O-Zone Column, and I get the record, I think it will lift me out of my Funk. Since you are the King of all Funk, who better to lift me out of said Funk? See what I did there?

Two out of three ain't bad.