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O-Zone: Poke the noggin

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Chris from Orlando, FL

How can you say there are only a few No. 1 receivers in the league? So, a few means "a small number … a handful … one or two … a couple … two or three." So DeAndre Hopkins, Antonio Brown, A.J. Green, Odell Beckham Jr., Julio Jones, Keenan Allen, Larry Fitzgerald and Mike Evans are a few? That is eight No. 1 wide receivers right there, and there are more. I think our lack of having a true No. 1 wide receiver might hurt us. So, do you want to change your response on that, John? Do you think us lacking one of at least eight or if not fourteen of the No. 1 wide receivers will hurt Bortles later in the year?

You're a bit caught up in semantics, but that's OK: there are worse places to be caught. Traffic comes to mind … or in line behind with someone rude enough to bring their dog into Home Depot. As for changing my answer about No. 1 receivers … nah. My point is that there are fewer No. 1 receivers than observers believe because true No. 1 receivers are players for whom defenses must game plan or stand a good chance of losing. They're so good they dictate how defenses will game plan against the offense, and they're so good they can produce through double teams and despite defenses shading toward them. Your list of No. 1 receivers is a good one, but it doesn't go much longer. Which is my point: that they're difficult to find. The Jaguars didn't think Allen Robinson was one, so they let him sign elsewhere in March. Would the Jaguars like to have one of the players on your list? Sure, probably. They would like to have an All-Pro player at every position. But you can't have All-Pro players at every position. What the Jaguars have is a balanced wide receiver corps with a lot of options. I think it's going to be better than people think this season. Would it be better if it included Jones? OK, yeah, but I don't think the lack of a go-to receiver will crush their season.

Don from Ponte Vedra, FL

Collectively, the Jaguars have the best receiver group in the NFL and that's because it's a team game. We do not need Hollywood receivers; we need winners. Our guys do it all and that means blocking. In addition, all of the running backs on this team are receivers. It's a team sport. That's how you win. If you're looking for a hero, you can find them on losing teams. Go Jags!

You're right that blocking matters at receiver for this team, but I can't go so far as to say this is the NFL's best receiving corps. It does have potential, though. And it can be effective for what this team wants to do.

Sid from Here

Can you explain how a wide receiver with the catch can be considered a defenseless player? Isn't the goal to tackle the player with the ball? What could the defender do other than tackle the receiver?

I don't know.

Roy from Chagrin Falls, OH

I'm all for improving safety for the players – and hopefully when the regular season starts the penalties and interpretations will be much clearer. Thinking back to the NFL implementing the quarterback-in-the-grasp rule for quarterback safety in 1979, I wonder how old-school Jack Lambert would react regarding the current rule changes if he were playing today? I get a laugh when I think about Lambert's interview with Howard Cosell regarding that change and he said "It might be a good idea to put dresses on all of them. That might help a bit." Likely this furor over the new rules will pass too in time with a lot less controversy, but as for now, "Ain't we got fun?"

I doubt Lambert would have liked these new rules, but we are in a new age of the NFL – and the old age isn't returning. And while I share the concern over how the NFL's lower-the-head-to-initiate-contact rule has been called early in the preseason, I don't share the vehemence of many toward the league office. This was not something the league wanted to do. This is something it believes it must do for player safety and for the future of the game. Also, remember: the way the rule is being called right now is a rough draft of what's to come. The league certainly will review and adjust by the week to try to get this right. I don't think that will mean going back to how it was five or even 10 years ago. I don't think that will mean an end to controversy or unhappiness over the rule. I do believe it can get better and not have the game feel like basketball on grass. No, this situation "ain't fun," but it's necessary and it still feels like something very much in transition.

Scott from Jacksonville

My biggest problem with the lowering-the-head penalty on Jaguars cornerback A.J. Bouye Saturday was that he had stopped moving. How can someone who is bracing for impact be called for lowering the head to initiate contact? What's he supposed to do? Just stand there and get bulldozed? Sounds like a good way to get injured to me.


Marcus from Jacksonville

So, here's the vibe I've gotten from local media these past few weeks: Training camp: Bortles is greatly improved, he's not a liability, this offense is going to be better than expected. Preseason Game 1: See, we told you the offense was good. Did you see how they moved the ball with ease and the confidence Bortles played with? Preseason Game 2: Whoa people, chill out, it's just the preseason, it doesn't even matter!

I can't control the vibe people are getting. I can tell you I didn't see much from Bortles that concerned me Saturday. I saw an early pass that could have been intercepted – and I saw wide receiver Dede Westbrook trip on that play. I saw a bad interception thrown by Bortles a little while later. Here's what I also saw: a touchdown drive from Bortles and the first-team offense immediately after the interception. I saw Bortles make three or four really nice throws. I saw him recover well from early adversity. News flash: Bortles is going to throw interceptions (all quarterbacks do this). Some of those interceptions might look bad. But Saturday showed again what the end of last season showed: that Bortles' resiliency and his command/leadership of this offense has developed dramatically in a year and a half. He's the Jaguars' quarterback. That's not changing anytime soon – certainly not because of a couple of plays in a preseason game.

Ward from Jacksonville

One pick in five games including three playoff games ... and here we go!

Yeah, it's quite the phenomenon.

Grant from Clermont

I'm a big fan of Yannick Ngakoue and I even purchased his jersey this year. His sack/unsportsmanlike penalty put a bit of a damper on my enthusiasm, however. That particular celebration was flagged by the refs earlier in the week, and since the two celebrations looked identical, I just can't imagine what he was thinking. What steps can the coaching staff take to curb such displays. It's preseason I know but come on!

Lighten up, Grant.

Joe from Clark, NJ

I would like to see some accountability for the abhorrent effort that Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson put forth on Saturday. After reviewing the tape, he was terrible. He was caught off-balance by a Danielle Hunter hand-swipe on the play where Bortles threw his interception to Vikings safety Harrison Smith. He was also caught off-balance a second time, allowing Vikings defensive end Stephen Weatherly to breeze past him and blow up a run by running back T.J. Yeldon. Lastly, there was the Weatherly sack that was merely him giving up towards the end of the play instead of playing through the whistle. All in all, while he needs to work on his hand technique and footwork in order to correct his balance, there's no cure for poor effort. I am extremely displeased by what I saw from him, and I hope he is embarrassed this week when he is in the film room. I hope he can turn this around, for everyone's sake.

I'm always intrigued when fans say they want to "see accountability." What would you like? Public ridicule? Flogging? A light poke on the noggin with a hammer? Kidding aside, it wouldn't benefit the Jaguars to bench Robinson, but neither will his performance Saturday be taken lightly. It was a rough day. The Jaguars' offense needs the left side of the line to be a strength, and it can't be a strength with Robinson playing that way. I haven't seen Robinson play that way before. I won't assume that this is the way he'll play in the future, and it certainly won't go unaddressed by the coaching staff – even if what the coaching staff does isn't something you can necessarily "see."

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