O-Zone: Poetic license

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Chris from Space City, TX

O, you usually remind your readers that the organization likes Jaguars left guard Andrew Norwell much more than observers and fans. Of course, this front office and coaching staff are entitled to their own opinion – no matter how idiotic it may be. Can we look deeper into exactly what they like about Oh Well Norwell? Casual observers are seeing frequent pass-block misses and being dominated too often when we run. This isn't a sarcastic question. I simply would like to know what the organization has seen in the last two years that they are comfortable "liking" Norwell in contrast to everyone else who sees Norwell dominated on the field.

The Jaguars see Norwell and other offensive linemen the way NFL personnel people must see them – i.e., by looking at the entire body of work and not only judging on bad plays. Their belief from looking at that entire body of work is that Norwell overall has played well during his two seasons with the Jaguars, and that a few really rough-looking plays don't make him a bad player. One thing to remember about how teams view offensive linemen – and how the Jaguars look at an oft-criticized lineman such as Norwell – is this: A defensive player might have a missed tackle or missed assignment go relatively unnoticed; that player can then make a tackle, sack or an interception and it be perceived that he had an outstanding game when in fact he may have played at a low level most of the game. The dynamic is the opposite for an offensive lineman, who can play at a high level for an entire game and have the game remembered by casual observers for one bad play. Offensive linemen – unlike other positions – also have few if any opportunities to make a standout play; such is the nature of the position. I'm not going to write that fans are wrong to criticize Norwell; I saw the same rough plays last season as everyone else, and I understand fans criticizing a player who came so highly touted and highly paid. But that's at least part of why the team often feels differently about a player than observers feel, and it applies to Norwell here.

Zac from Austin, Texas

On God, this isn't an attempt to be snarky. How long should a quarterback be allowed to show signs of being "elite" or the next level under that? It just seems that a lot of quarterbacks get to an elite point, but don't hit it out the gate? What is a fair form of assessment?

A quarterback typically gets a year or two these days to show this – a little longer if he is drafted early and usually not so long if he is drafted later. That's not fair. But the NFL isn't always fair for quarterbacks.

Steve from Nashville, TN

Over the last two months I have seen numerous pictures in the mainstream sports media of Tom Brady in a Tampa Bay Buccaneers uniform with pads. This picture does not yet exist in real life. Not exactly sure why, but I am not a fan of this longstanding practice to photoshop players into uniforms they have not yet worn.

Got it. Thanks. (Will text later.)

Emiel from St. Augustine, FL

Maybe keep three linebackers from playing out of position before they try four?

You're right. Now that former Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith is no longer with the organization – and now that the Jaguars have had an offseason to properly address that – the team will have a chance to get Myles Jack over to the weak side. While Jack for the most part played fine in the middle in two seasons there, and while the criticism of his play in the middle was dramatically over the top, I do think he will be a better fit on the weak side. Signing Joe Schobert as an unrestricted free agent from the Cleveland Browns to play the middle and putting Jack there should absolutely help the linebacker group as a whole.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

That's my point about Andrew Luck. When he was playing, he was one of the best quarterbacks in the league. It's such a crapshoot that you can draft a great quarterback and something like a chronic or recurring injury can derail their career. Luck worked hard, studied, played well and improved. Nobody could have predicted he would develop a problem with his shoulder. In addition to that, predicting how well their skills will transfer to the NFL is very difficult. The college game is very different to the NFL game. You have to draft them, and you have to draft them early, but to suggest that a team should sabotage its own season to get this or that quarterback because he is definitely going to be great is silly.

Agreed – though there are quarterbacks such as Luck good enough that the odds are very good he can change a franchise. That doesn't mean teams will or should tank an entire season.

Richard from Jacksonville Beach, FL

Hey O'Man, I love my parents, Salma Hayek, and Jaxson de Ville. There is a need for it.

I don't care about your parents: Salma Hayek and Jaxson de Ville. There's not.

Anonymous from Orange Park, FL

Here I am, Friday May 22, 2020, watching the 1972 Hopeful Stakes in Saratoga on YouTube. A horse named Secretariat was the victor. This was the beginning of Secretariat capturing the spirit of a country … and almost 50 years later the heart of a 36-year old kid who had just taken a chance on some advice given by a man known only be known as "KOAF." I envision "KOAF" leaning in a little with a seriousness and twinkle in his eyes hinting of long-hidden great truth and writing, "Leave me out of it. Finish the story. It's worth the read." I've heard some accuse KOAF of many things. What I do know is he helped forever etch that horse into my mind, having been brought there with detail and precision of the words of William Nack – all because of the type of men who care nothing of credit, accolades and recognition. The type who day after day after day remain faithful to writing a column for a select group of a hometown football team's loyal fans, who have very much become punch drunk in their unwavering support through all the heartbreak that their commitment to that team has subjected them to withstand. For that, that I and salute men like, KOAF.

No worries.

Shawn from the Mean Streets of Arlington

What is KOAGF?

King of All Grizzly Funk. It's a beard reference. If you miss a day around these parts, you miss a lot.

Matt from Green Cove Springs, FL

Is it just me, or does it feel like Leon Jacobs is getting written off too early? He's a seventh-rounder who's started since his rookie season and has held his own with the small amount of time being on the field play SAM. Maybe I'm fanning too much about this, but it seems the front has basically pushed him to a reserve role with all the recent moves.

Jaguars strong-side linebacker Leon Jacobs for the most part has played fine the last two seasons in what essentially was a first-down role. Cassius Marsh, who the Jaguars signed this offseason, can play the strong side with the added element of being able to play on third downs. It's not so much pushing one player aside as adding a player who can do more than one thing. Depth is good thing.

Aron from Aldie

Do people tell you that you have a strong resemblance to Simon Le Bon... and do you know the reflex?

Straddle the line … in discord and rhyme … I am indeed … hungry like the wolf.

Don from Marshall, NC

What quarterback has the best footwork in the game? Gardner Minshew II is really good. That really is the key to the great ones. Drew Brees and Peyton Manning just keep those feet a moving. Minshew can dodge two defenders inside a phone booth. That probably is because of his work with the late great Patches O'Houlihan. Go Jaguars!

Footwork is critical to a quarterback's success. Manning used to spend a lot of time after Indianapolis Colts practices working on it because if that went awry, a lot of other things did, too. Minshew has quick, athletic feet. That's the makings of good footwork.

Nicholas from St. Augustine, FL

why are we doing the same played over every season long they should thrown the ball 10 years or more they to offence defence help the quarter back out the quarter back should run away to run on the side line be open to see the players of every years on offence we or the worst offences every year

The written word, in the hands of the gifted poet, inspires a child to dream -- and it inspires the common man to soar to heights to which he never otherwise could have aspired.

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