JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Tom from Shanghai, China
Of course Dan Marino isn't a bust, just like Jim Kelly, Warren Moon, Dan Fouts, Steve McNair and many others aren't busts, but you don't think they're a little disappointed they never won a ring? You don't need a championship to be great, but it sure helps, right? If Trevor is as good as those guys and never wins it all, he'll be in the same situation those guys are in where the second thing everyone says is, "But he didn't win a Super Bowl." It's why we're here, right?
A couple of thoughts here. First, I don't know that Steve McNair – while certainly good – is in the same category as Marino, Moon, Fouts and Kelly when it comes to all-time NFL quarterbacks. The last four, after all, are Pro Football Hall of Famers and unquestioned all-time elite players. Second … of COURSE all the aforementioned players were/are disappointed they never won a Super Bowl. Pretty much any quarterback who becomes a face of a franchise, and therefore has his legacy affected by a team's postseason success or failure, is disappointed if he doesn't win a Super Bowl. And there's no question observers and experts judge quarterbacks on Super Bowls – sometimes almost exclusively. I don't happen to agree with that thinking. I don't consider John Elway greater than Marino because he won two Super Bowls and Marino won none. I consider Marino about as good as any quarterback ever to play and don't consider it his fault that the Miami Dolphins overall weren't as good as, say, the Buffalo Bills, during a lot of his career. Would we consider Kelly greater if Scott Norwood's last-play field goal in the Bills' first Super Bowl appearance had been good? I suppose some would. I don't. Kelly was great whether or not he ever won a Super Bowl. He made four Super Bowls and helped define a special time in that franchise's history. That's success, even if it's not the ultimate success. And that would be a successful career for Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, too.
Unhipcat from Carlsbad, CA
Before the 2022 NFL Draft, the major decision with the No. 1 selection was which player – Travon Walker or Aidan Hutchinson – the Jags would select. They were both listed as EDGE players. I don't follow college football enough to know how similar or different their positions, responsibilities, effectiveness and competition were. I think that distinction no longer exists, with Hutchinson seemingly destined to play a traditional 4-3 defensive end with the Detroit Lions and Walker playing outside linebacker with the Jaguars. A stats-to-stats comparison between the two may not be meaningful. I've read Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell's defense will be heavily linebacker-dependent. What should Jags fans focus on regarding Walker's play and his adjustment to a new role?
My answers on these sorts of questions – comparing and rating players – often annoy and disappoint. Observers understandably will want to compare Walker and Hutchinson, probably beginning in Week 1, and they will want to know who "won" the '22 draft between those teams and players. Fair or not, and meaningful or not, those comparisons will focus on sacks and turnovers forced – big, statistically-measured plays – far more than real on-field impact. As for how to assess Walker's play, you're correct that Caldwell's defense is linebacker dependent. Linebackers such as Josh Allen, Walker, Foye Oluokun and Devin Lloyd will be key, which is why the team spent big equity/money there this offseason by acquiring Oluokun in free agency and drafting Walker/Lloyd. Walker will be key because he is a versatile player who should be able to set the edge and be very good against the run very quickly. I expect he will be effective at times early as a pass rusher, though not as effective as when he acclimates to the NFL. Where should Jaguars fans focus here? Is the defense better? Is it stouter? Does Walker seem to be improving and making a noticeable play here and there more often? Start there.
John from Boynton Beach, FL
Are you worried about Gary from St Augustine getting in his car and driving around to submit questions as "Gary from Green Cove Springs," or "Gary from Atlantic Beach?" I'd be very leery of all Garys if I was you.
All those Garys know where to find me.
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ
O-man, who would you say is the most impactful rookie you have covered?
Fred Taylor for the Jaguars in 1998. Leonard Fournette in 2017 was very impactful, too. That's not surprising. In the right situation, running backs are in position to make the most obvious and immediate impacts of pretty much any position.
Scott from Aruba
What's your favorite part of the dead zone?
The 21-and-some-odd hours each day when I'm not writing the O-Zone. The period between mid-June and late July that we in the O-Zone refer to as "The Dead Zone" also is essentially the O-Zone's extended time off each year. So, yes … it's a little dead to readers. But downtime isn't necessarily a bad thing.
P Funk from Murray Hill
Sell me on Springsteen
I get why some people don't get Bruce Springsteen. I can't say I'm a mammoth fan of Springsteen's entire catalogue. I can't even really say I like much after 1981's "Nebraska" album. I don't dislike it; I just don't have that much interest. To grasp Springsteen's importance and greatness, reference the albums "Born to Run" and "Darkness on the Edge of Town." The songs "Thunder Road." "Born to Run." "Rosalita." "Because the Night." More specifically, reference them live before he became part of the nation's consciousness – when he and the E Street Band were young and hungry. This was a time in the mid-to-late 1970s when music had lost its way a bit. There was a sterility and a corporateness. Punk rock came along around that time and helped revive the energy and rebellion. Springsteen in that sense had fans in the punk movement, and he had a lot of that spirit. That connection weakened after 1984's "Born in the USA," after which Springsteen – as do most artists – matured and moved in a different direction. But 1970s/early 1980s Bruce – Skinny Bruce – mattered on a seismic, generational level. His live shows of that era were like nothing else of that time – or perhaps any time. It's very possible that that energy and his importance were so much about that era that people who didn't experience it – or who haven't studied it – wouldn't connect with Springsteen. That's fine. Many who were there did connect with him, and that connection was in many ways unmatched.
David from Ada, OK
I'm a bit upset when I heard that Trevor Lawrence lost millions of dollars (supposedly his whole signing bonus) by investing in cryptocurrency. I mean … he could have sent it to me and I'd have sent him a lengthy thank you card and maybe a Christmas card every now and again.
Lawrence addressed this via Twitter last week. It seems his response says more than anything I might on this situation.
Sean from Oakleaf, FL
I think a measure of improvement this year will be our record against division opponents. The last four years our record in the AFC South is 5-19 and we have not won against Houston since 2017. The 2022 home opener versus Indianapolis and future Hall of Fame quarterback Matt Ryan will be a good test of this team's progress in my opinion. A win in Week 2 will stretch the unusual record to eight straight years we have beaten the Colts.
The Jaguars need to be better against all teams, including those in the AFC South. Their 5-19 division record in recent seasons is kinda, sorta reflective of their overall record. But yeah … you're not going to the postseason winning one division game of every five you play.
Kyle from Riverside, Duval
_Hello, Johnny O. Not really a question, just an observation of sorts. This whole Michael from Middleburg/Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette beef is perhaps best thing to grace the O-Zone since the term Moodachay became a thing. I for one think the eventual Michael-versus-Gene showdown will top Ali-vs-Frazier lll as the greatest fight of all time. The ground will shake and bridges will fall. _
Longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette doesn't do "beefs."
AJ from Pensacola, FL
Do you have any idea what's behind the recent incidents of disrespect towards longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette?
Chuck Norris doesn't do a push up, but instead pushes the earth down. What would you say Gene's strength is?
Kevin from Richland, WA
I noticed that your cartoon caricature looks very similar to Dwight Schrute from The Office. Are you considered to be the Dwight Schrute of the Jaguar Office?
I am the King of All Funk.