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O-Zone: Not OK

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Armand from Jacksonville

Any word on how Bartch is progressing? I know he is on the PUP list.

Jaguars left guard Ben Bartch, a fourth-year NFL veteran who started the first five games of last season before sustaining a torn anterior cruciate ligament, began Jaguars 2023 Training Camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list. This was relatively expected. It's common for players with serious injuries the previous season to begin training camp on PUP as a precaution. Head Coach Doug Pederson estimated on Wednesday that Bartch could return on a similar timeframe as former Jaguars running back James Robinson did last season. That would mean Bartch returning late in training camp.

Sean from Saint Johns City

I may be too young to remember, but I seem to remember some powerful personalities before the #MEMEMETOO generation: Cornerback Deion Sanders, wide receiver Michael Irvin and quarterback Joe Namath come to mind. Other than constant coverage, is there a general difference between players then and now?

There have been powerful personalities throughout NFL history, just as there have been powerful personalities throughout world history. Constant coverage absolutely has amplified current sports celebrities, therefore making more people more keenly aware of those modern personalities. I don't know that the current "powerful personalities" are any more powerful, outlandish or outspoken than their predecessors. I do think social media and 24/7 coverage has prompted a greater percentage of modern athletes to be outspoken. A generation of cornerbacks and receivers grew up idolizing Sanders and Irvin. It stands to reason at least a few members of that generation would grow up to emulate players who took a "powerful" approach.

Mark from High Springs

OK. O, I've seen enough. Bubble wrap Ridley. Does he even need to play in the preseason? I've quickly gone from anticipation to excitement to terror of missing him for even a minute in the regular season.

Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley looked very good in practice on the first day of Jaguars 2023 Training Camp Wednesday. I wouldn't put the "bubble wrap" on him based solely on that day. He hasn't played since October 2021, so he needs a bit of padded practice to be ready. He also needs a bit of preseason playing time. I would have that bit be limited. Maybe very limited.

Jeremy from Gilbert, AZ

You wrote that Ridley looked like the best player on the field for Day 1 of training camp. That's great! I hope Lawrence looks like the best player on the field moving forward. That would be better for the team.

Of course.

Steve from Sunroom Couch

Dear John. One of the training camp pics showed an assistant coach or somebody with a shirt that said "Jacksonville Jaguars O-line 31st. Any insights as to what that observer might be seeing?

Offensive coordinator Press Taylor was among multiple Jaguars coaches wearing this shirt on Thursday. It was apparently a response to ESPN Analytics recently ranking the offensive line 31st in the NFL "pass-block win rate" last season. Whatever motivates ya, baby.

Luke from Brisbane, Australia

G'day O, can you please explain what the PUP list is for? What purpose does it serve? Are teams required to place injured players on the list? Thanks!

This is a little tricky to explain, but the Physically Unable to Perform is a roster mechanism that allows a team to differentiate between players who begin training camp injured and players who are injured once a training camp begins. A player placed on PUP at the start of training camp can remain on PUP at the start of the regular season and not count against the 53-man roster. Once a player practices, he cannot be placed on PUP. The PUP list therefore potentially allows a team to protect roster spots at the start of the regular season. It strikes me that perhaps that wasn't a great explanation. I did my best on this day. Perhaps that's all one can do.

Dan from Munich, Germany

Hi, Zone. Can you please ask your department to have a mic for the reporters when they ask their questions during coaches press conferences? It's very annoying to guess what the question was about. Thanks.

That's not my department.

Robert from Moorpark, CA

How noticeable is Calvin Ridley's footwork and quickness live? I saw a ladder drill with Jaguars wide receivers Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, Jamal Agnew and Ridley – and the latter's quickness stood out from them who are uber-talented in their own right? Also, last time I checked Jags over/under win total was 10. Thoughts?

Ridley's footwork is noticeable. He has many special traits, and that's one. As for the over/under on the Jaguars' victory total, I pay little attention to such things. Why 10? Maybe those who decide these things see a team that won nine games last season and needed a late-season winning streak keyed by some improbable rallies. Maybe those who decide such things wonder if that team can repeat that. That's a logical way to see it.

Eddie from Jacksonville

I wonder if "Alexa from Jax Beach" is a longtime reader. Those of us who are know it is the anticipation of whether or not your access code will work or not that gets you up in the morning.

So far, so good.


Zone!!!! The wait is finally over!!! Hoping we can stop talking about former JAGS and focus on the season. As we enter the early days of training camp my biggest concern is injuries. What concerns you most about our team and NOT being able to build on the success we had last season?

Injuries are at the top of the list. I also continue to keep in mind that the Jaguars were not a dominant team last season and must improve to be good this season. They must start faster and not rely on the comebacks that made the 2022 run to the AFC South title so thrilling. That means they must become a more mature, consistent team. I believe the Jaguars will do this, but it's not a given. Then again, it's professional sports and not scripted television. Nothing's a given. This answer shouldn't indicate that I think the Jaguars won't be good this season. I expect major improvement. I believe that more after two days of training camp than before. This team has a good vibe. We'll see if that continues.

Dave from Jacksonville

Zone is Calvin Ridley a scout's definition of a twitch athlete? He had my knees buckling just watching highlights. I never saw Jimmy Smith practice when the Jags practiced in Stevens Point, but he was fast. You've been to a few practices over the years. Is that twitch real, and do you have a comparison?

Ridley is a "twitch" athlete. Former Jaguars wide receiver Jimmy Smith was a different kind of receiver with his greatness built more on speed and physicality than twitchiness. Of receivers I've covered, Ridley reminds me a bit more of former Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison than Smith, although I don't particularly love that comparison. The great ones are unique for their own reasons. Harrison and Smith were great. Ridley certainly has the traits to be great. Stay tuned.

Bob from Sumter, SC

Shad Khan's ultimate goal to move the team to London is much clearer. First, Miller Electric Center. Second, Four Seasons Hotel. Third, billion dollar stadium. Then the move!

He's a crafty one.

Michael from Middleburg, FL

Does Ridley really stand out so much due to never having such a talent in Jax? Or, does he compared to the NFL?

It's unfair to say there never has been as wide receiver as talented as Ridley in Jacksonville. Smith was a mammoth talent whose size and speed made him as difficult to cover as any NFL receiver during his career. Although former Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon's off-field issues shortened his career, his hands and physicality were as eye-catching as Ridley's athleticism and route-running ability. Ridley certainly stands out compared to most recent Jaguars wide receivers and his traits are on par with many of the elite receivers in the NFL.

Chris from San Diego, CA

I've been a Jags fan since December 1, 1993. But you always speak of free agency as a time when the team has to look at whether a player is overvalued relative to spending elsewhere. Can't the same be said for the Jaguars as a team? A billion dollars can do a lot of good for the city. It could house the homeless, feed the hungry, make communities safer, pay teachers more, etc. Or we can watch the Jags play in the county limits for 21 hours/year. I'd love for the Jags to stay but if the Jaguars were a free agent player most fans would say "let him walk."

I guess. But then there wouldn't be an NFL team in town. A lot of people would say "OK" to that. A lot of people who lived here when there was no team would be less included to say "OK."