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O-Zone: Positive influence

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Kevin from Jacksonville

I only went to one practice. However, I watched Taven Bryan get stood up in the one-on-one drills – and after he got stood up, his "motor" quit churning. Our 6-feet-5, 300-pound rookie defensive lineman ended up on his backside while getting double-teamed. Is this something we should be concerned about or am I just making a mountain out of a mole hill?

I'll take this opportunity to reiterate that I have no idea how to tell people whether to be concerned about something. I'll reiterate, too, that people tend to be concerned about things regardless of advice they receive. As for Bryan, if you believe his entire NFL career will be defined by one play in a practice you happened to attend … by all means, worry to your heart's content.

Robert from Fernandina Beach, FL

Considering depth at each position, and leaving out the quarterback position, which player do you think a season-ending injury would hurt the Jags the most? I am going with Myles Jack or Marcell Dareus.

Jalen Ramsey.

Bradley from Carson City, NV

I have been a little preoccupied with other things so somehow I missed the whole Jalen Ramsey missing the beginning of training camp. I could only shake my head in disgust. If anyone can't afford to miss three days of TRAINING CAMP it's Ramsey. He was clearly beaten by Donte Moncrief for 25 yards yesterday in PRACTICE. I don't want to hear about his lucky semi-athletic interception later on, which looked like pass interference to me. His lack of dedication and clearly eroding skills should concern us all. Furthermore, I'm repulsed by the front office and coaching staff and other "football experts" giving him a free pass. Then the man has the unmitigated gall to have a daughter! She will be lucky to be an All-American corner as a fifth-year senior. I bet she will have to redshirt like a loser. Early second-round pick at best. Sorry to rant, but when will people get their priorities straight?

You go, girl.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

The new helmet rule and other rules intended to make the game safer are causing major angst for fans. We want to believe that it's simply a matter of tough men playing a tough game, and we don't want to see it "sissified." But we also need to maintain perspective. Pro careers are short. There are thousands of former NFL players with debilitating injuries they must live with for 50 years or more. Many are financially strapped and lack adequate health-care benefits. Sure, part of the solution is to improve on assistance to former players, and the league has made some progress. But the better solution is to try to prevent injuries. Some ideas work. Some don't. Some are unproven. But even as a football "purist," I applaud the effort to keep the players healthy.

I understand fan angst – and players must be far more careful and are far more limited in ways they can deliver high-impact collisions than was the case in the mid-1970s, 1980s and early 1990s version of this game I grew up watching and loving. But another side of me remembers players and fans expressing concern over these same issues in the 1970s. Former Pittsburgh Steelers and Hall of Fame middle linebacker Jack Lambert famously suggested putting dresses on quarterbacks after he was called for a late hit on Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Sipe in the late 1970s. My point in recalling this story is not to say that those who dislike safety-based rules changes are wrong in their points. It is to say that the league has been changing rules to make the game safer for at least four decades. Bottom line: the league will continue trying to make the game safer. It's necessary to its survival, and it's also the morally right thing to do for those who play the game.

Logan from Wichita, KS

I have been sideline watching. Keeping my inner fan quiet. But now its preseason and I'M BACK, BABY!!!! I could ask why we are paying Donte Moncrief to be our best benchwarmer. I could ask how much better Bortles is now that his wrist is repaired. I could ask if Tashaun Gipson is faltering and if his replacement could be playing sooner rather than later. I could ask if our O-line is going to be as dominant as our D-line. But nay! My actual questions for you O-man are ... How great is it to be one day away from a Jaguars football game and ... DID YA MISS ME?!?!?!? I bet the answer to both is._

Great. Logan's back, too.

Seth from Denver, CO

Let's assume that both Calais Campbell and Malik Jackson have very productive seasons. If one of them has to go to free up cap space next year, who do you think is the likelier departure? I've read a lot of speculation that it would be Jackson, but I'd argue it would be Campbell instead. Malik is younger and slightly "cheaper" to hold onto, and with Bryan being projected to get snaps both on the inside and outside of the defensive line, it would seem he's being groomed to replace Campbell. Am I close on this one?

Perhaps. Some of this may depend on how other players play, too. If Bryan looks good this season, that could cause the Jaguars to feel better about letting a player such as Campbell go. If Jackson and Campbell have equal seasons, then yes … I would lean toward keeping Jackson based on being younger and therefore having a better chance to remain in his prime for a year or two.

Cliff from Callahan, FL

Click "O-Zone: Pass the cream cheese" ... "The page you are trying to reach cannot be found" ... Despite your hopefulness, the situation does not appear to be improving ...

We remain hopeful the situation will improve.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

The question you are trying to reach cannot be found …

We remain hopeful the situation will improve.

Rick from Franconia, VA

O, the so-called helmet rule says "it is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent." If you lower your shoulder pads to hit your opponent with your shoulder, your head lowers regardless of where your eyes are focused. Even if you just brace for head-on impact, your head lowers regardless of where you are looking. And since your head is at the leading extremity of your body in these situations, more often than not it's your head that is going to hit the target first and therefore initiate the contact. Can you help me understand why you, Ian from Duval, and others seem to think as long as "you see what you hit" it isn't a foul?

I don't believe seeing what you hit is the cure-all that will eliminate all confusion and end all leading-with-the-helmet penalties. But the league office has continually cited seeing what you hit as one of the ways to hit correctly according to the rules. The spirit of this rule is that the league wants to eliminate hits in which players are intentionally initiating contact with their helmets and using their helmets as a weapon. Seeing what players hit in theory should allow plays to avoid that a lot. How the rule plays out remains anyone's guess.

Dakota from Dupree, SD

Zone, can you teach me to football?

No, but I can teach you to—

Ian from Jacksonville

The linebacker position is about the only defensive question mark on the Jaguars' defense – i.e., the regarding the replacement of Poz. Looking at the size and speed of Leon Jacobs it would appear he would be a great fit. What is your perspective on Leon Jacobs both in physical talent and what he has done in camp so far? Thanks.

Jacobs, a rookie seventh-round selection from the University of Wisconsin, has the physical skills to play strong-side linebacker. He has looked good in coverage when I've watched him. He also has drawn high praise from teammates and coaches for his knowledge of the offense. All signs point to Jacobs starting at strong-side backer.

Kris from Neensh, WI

I'm back. What year is it?


David from the Island, FL

In past years after the Jags made the cut to 53 players they'd pickup several players cut from other teams. What is the over under one free agent pickup for the Jags this year?

Few, if any.

Don from Lake Mary, FL

A lot of us O-Zone regulars could not care less that "Jerell is back." He tends to be a negative whiner and Blake Bortles basher no matter what the facts tells us. If he's back to give his negative opinions I might skip the O-Zone that day … didn't miss him, just sayin'!

I'm sure he'll be mostly positive.

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