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O-Zone: Past his prime

JACKSONVILLE – Our long national nightmare continues.

Questions to this forum still aren't being received through the app. So, please continue submitting questions through the form on or via email at

Apologies for the continued inconvenience. Again.

Let's get to it …

Juanie from New Jersey

Looking ahead to next offseason, what players are scheduled to become free agents that might have an impact on potential draft picks this year? If the staff is planning ahead for possible departures. Also, do you still keep track of the O-Zone streak? Curious to see what number it is up to now.

Jaguars players such as right guard A.J. Cann and left tackle Cam Robinson are scheduled to become free agents following the 2021 season, as is wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. – though it is the nature of NFL contracts that other players could be released for salary-cap reasons next offseason. And yes … the Jaguars' personnel staff always plans ahead knowing certain players under contract might not be retained. For that reason, it wouldn't be surprising if the Jaguars selected a versatile offensive lineman early in the 2021 NFL Draft. As for the streak, I do not keep track of it on a daily basis. I am able to calculate it when asked. And since you asked, including today's version, the streak is now at 3,361 days. As long I continue to receive questions, be they through the app or otherwise, I suppose the streak will continue.

Alon from Malibu, CA

Considering Andrew Norwell, Cann, Robinson, Tyler Shatley and Will Richardson Jr. will be free agents next offseason, and considering continuity on the offensive line is important – and considering the Jaguars are gonna need to protect their precious Trevor Lawrence – don't you think Jaguars will need to go early on drafting some O-linemen? If not, the Jags are putting themselves in a pickle. Do you think any of the upcoming free agents will be signed to an extension this offseason or early in season?

It wouldn't be surprising at all if the Jaguars selected offensive line in the 2021 NFL Draft, and it wouldn't be a surprise if such a selection came early. There absolutely is a chance the Jaguars could re-sign one or more current offensive linemen. I doubt it will happen this offseason – but once the personnel/coaching staff gets a feel for how players play in this offense, it could certainly occur anytime next season.

Steve from Woodbine, GA

I don't recall the Jags ever wearing a blue uniform.

Me neither.

Bruce from Lawrenceville

Helloooo, ZONE! Thinking about tight end, the draft and current talent. Is it possible or would it make sense to you to take wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. and use him as a hybrid running back/tight end/wide receiver and even H-Back in the offense - use his speed in the middle as a tight end to pull corners off the wide receiver, use him as a pitch option on an run-pass option-type play and shake the NFL defenses with something never seen rather than try to get a tight end? Does his skill set and Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer's creativity as an offensive designer make this a possibility?

I expect the Jaguars will be creative using Shenault in some of the ways you describe. That wouldn't preclude them from wanting to address tight end.

Jordan from Jacksonville

I have heard some fans and media members call Trevor Lawrence "Sunshine." Honestly, if you want to give the quarterback a nickname, totally fine. It only gets weird when that is the same nickname of a past Jaguars first-round quarterback. It's like calling your significant other the exact same name you gave to your ex.

People like to call quarterbacks with relatively long blond hair Sunshine because of the character in Remember the Titans. People called former Blaine Gabbert "Sunshine" a little when he played quarterback for the Jaguars and had long hair. People have called Clemson University quarterback Trevor Lawrence "Sunshine" a little for the same reason. I guess you'd call that a nickname. It doesn't feel like one that will stick with Lawrence, in part because he has said he doesn't much like it and in part because it's just sort of a meh nickname anyway.

Paul from Jacksonville

Irreplaceable? I guess those naps aren't gonna take themselves....


Mike from Atlanta, GA

The Atlanta Falcons is what happens when you can't find a good pass rusher and also can't stop the run. They have been bad since John Abraham got old and left. They've been unable to find a good pass rusher since. They've also had an inability to find a good front seven to stop the run. They have had a good offense the entire time finding lots of good backs and multiple receivers for Matt Ryan. It seems to me in the modern NFL if you can't put pressure on the opposing quarterback you aren't going to get very far. In importance for the roster, yeah … quarterback is the most important, but a good pass rusher is just about as important. I'd say it's like QB 1a and good edge rusher is 1b.

It may not be an absolutely necessity to have a big-time edge rusher, per se, but if you can't stop the run in the NFL well enough to have a chance to rush the passer – and if you can't rush the passer effectively in critical situations – yeah … it's tough to win.

Ron from Austin, TX

O, I heard you had the juice to do this! Can you bring back the 2017 defense, Fred, Jimmy and Tony for the 2021 season to go along with Trevor Lawrence? Someone said you could write it into existence ...

I can't write it into existence, but I'll make some calls.

Robert from Reno, Nevada

Mr. Funk, they say, "the best player in his class," but is he worth the No. 1 selection overall? And due to media and gossip, are we kinda forced at this point to take him? When it comes to rookies, I have no clue of the analytics involved, I just hope the couch is making the best choice, and not because of the opinions of others. I too would love to win NOW. But we've also taken a lot of hits on our faith in quarterbacks. If it goes wrong, I don't want to hear it. By the way, I know how hard you work.

Lawrence is considered not only the best player in this class, but the best quarterback in any class in a while. He absolutely is considered worth the No. 1 selection overall. And no one will force the Jaguars to do anything in the draft; that's not the reality of how the NFL works. And don't worry: the couch absolutely will make the best choice. That never should be put into question.

Mark from East Hampton, CT

The Browns recently released defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. Due to the unfortunate demise of the Alualu signing and further need to strengthen the defensive line, do you think that Richardson will be a potential target of the new regime prior to the draft?

If the price is right …

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

Looks more and more like "Minshew Magic" –AKA, "The Mullet" – may be traded. As teams get more and more desperate for a quality backup that may be able to legitimately push a starter, Minshew's rookie contract salary and his statistics (other than wins/losses) may result in a trade offer that is too good for the Jaguars to pass up. If that happens, and you are elected to give him a farewell dinner, where will you take him?

I don't know what the end game is for the Jaguars this offseason with former starting quarterback Gardner Minshew II. My thought is he may be traded during or after the draft, primarily because the team signed veteran backup C.J. Beathard recently. As far as farewell dinners go … Sbarro. I mean … right?

Steve from Nashville, TN

How many seconds or minutes between NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announcing the 2021 draft is open to the "pick is in?"

Comparatively few.        

Seamus from Vancouver

Why don't we consider Mark Brunell our "Franchise Quarterback?" He was pretty darn good when he was our QB, if memory serves.

Brunell indeed was pretty darned good for the Jaguars from 1995-2002. A lot of people remember him as a franchise quarterback. But while he made three Pro Bowls for the Jaguars and led them to four playoff appearances, he also was traded to the Washington Football Team in 2003 and was only a full-season starter once more in his final 10 seasons. For a lot of people, that's maybe not quite a franchise quarterback – whatever "franchise quarterback" means.

Steve from Nashville, TN

A long time ago you responded to one of my questions by starting with "good question" - best day of my life! You have not said this since with any of my questions, why is that?

No comment.