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O-Zone: Pretty, pretty good

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Dakota from Dupree, SD

Zone, I am looking forward to the season. Hopefully, this youth movement turns out better than the last one. What's your take on this roster?

The Jaguars' 2020 roster has good young talent with potential. It will surprise me if defensive end Josh Allen, wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. and right tackle Jawaan Taylor aren't generally seen as rising young stars and the team's core by season's end. It won't surprise me if by season's end rookies CJ Henderson, defensive end K'Lavon Chaisson and wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. are viewed the same way. It's also a roster that includes potentially very good veterans such as tight end Tyler Eifert, center Brandon Linder, guard Andrew Norwell, left tackle Cam Robinson and linebackers Myles Jack and Joe Schobert. If quarterback Gardner Minshew II plays well and the aforementioned players stay healthy and play to their potential, this team can be more competitive than many observers believe possible.

Truuujagfan from Southside

Why do so many analysts hate the Jaguars? We are ranked 32 out of 32 teams. I'm just trying to see what they are basing this off. The loss of old player or players that don't want to be on the team shouldn't take away from the players who deserve to start. Your thoughts, big O!

Analysts don't "hate" the Jaguars. They see a team that parted ways with familiar names in the offseason and preseason and they see a team that's very young. They also see a team with a young quarterback and a team that finished last in a tough AFC South last season. Analysts rarely project how returning players can improve from one season to the next. It's understandable they don't do this, because it's difficult to do. It's very fair and understandable for the Jaguars to be "ranked low" for the aforementioned reasons. What's awesome about professional sports is rankings don't matter. The Jaguars are 0-0 and can improve their ranking by winning. It's all up to them.

Jackson from Jacksonville

Instead of fans complaining about ex-Jags tweets, should we maybe consider that they weren't happy with their treatment by the team?

Happy? What does that even mean? Who the hell is happy?

Scott from Wichita, KS

It seems that third-year players who perceive themselves as great or elite will now expect teams to renegotiate or extend their contracts as soon as possible or they'll feel "disrespected" or whatever else they'll feel. But didn't former Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue hold out at the beginning of his third year and then again this year – or am I remembering that incorrect? Why hold out if the team can't do anything? By allowing teams to renegotiate or extend at the end of their third NFL season it seems like the NFL is unwittingly promoting this kind of "time for me to get paid" behavior. You're sure defensive end Josh Allen won't feel disrespected at the end of this year?

I'm reminded of the late, great Gilda Radner's character "Rosanne Rosanna Danna," who would ramble and rant passionately about a topic before being gently told her premise was … well … wrong. Never mind. Ngakoue first held out in training camp following his third season when he and the Jaguars under NFL rules could renegotiate his contract. And that's what often seemingly gets lost in the Ngakoue story: the Jaguars did negotiate with him pretty much as soon as NFL rules permitted – i.e., the offseason following his third season. While Ngakoue didn't like what the Jaguars offered, they absolutely were trying to get a deal done. As far as players feeling disrespected … I'm sure it will continue to happen. There just doesn't seem to be enough respect to go around these days. I suppose most players who don't get exactly what they want when they want it will perceive that as a lack of respect. Either way, I expect the Jaguars will make sure Allen feels very respected when the time is right – at least partly because he'll behave respectfully as well.

Dean from Rochester, NY

It's MAY I mumbo dogface to the banana patch. I expect better from you.


Bill from Ponte Vedra, FL

I hope former Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette and his quarterback lose every game. Only guy who might want this more might be Bill Belichick, who must want to prove he can win without Tom Terrific.

Bill (from Ponte Vedra) is not "all in" with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bill (Belichick) probably doesn't care all that much.

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

Would an 8-8 team automatically qualify for the playoffs before a 6-6-2 team, or would it go to tiebreakers?


Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, who do you think the biggest "breakout year—" Minshew, Allen or wide receiver DJ Chark Jr.? I'm hoping for Minshew because, well Quarterback!!! However, I really love both Allen and Chark. So who's it going to be KOAF?

You're right to hope it's Minshew. Nothing would be better for the Jaguars than if he were the team Most Valuable Player and breakout player all rolled into one. I'll go with Allen, though. While I can't guarantee his sacks numbers, he's pretty close to "can't miss" in terms of his level of play.

Roger from London, UK

Hi, John. I don't get time to read the mass of reviews and analysis flying around right now on the brink of the season, but when I saw an article with the title "NFL Week 1, Madden simulation for every game," I thought that would make for an interesting read. And I'm so glad I did. End of Week 1 sees Texans L, Titans L, Colts L and Jaguars W. Hey - all's right with the world, we're top of AFC South, we're going to the Super Bowl! Isn't life swell?

Oh, it's just great.

Marc from Oceanway

Listening to Josh Allen talk about the Jaguars and our city and his family gave me chills. I couldn't stop smiling. Do you think Josh has the potential to surpass Gene Frenette's legendary status?

Allen talking about Jacksonville this week was special – and heartfelt. He appears to truly want to be in Jacksonville throughout his career and wants to be a foundation piece for this team, and for the fanbase and city. As for surpassing longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette … well, Marc … Allen is special. He has the look of someone who could define Jacksonville for a longtime. But that doesn't make you a "Gene" now, does it?

Chris from Space City, X

Fournette's comment about "finally having a quarterback" is not off base. Blake Bungles and Minshew didn't exactly strike fear in opposing secondaries. The box being stacked was a constant occurrence. We can't blame Fournette for telling the truth. Blame the worst front office in the NFL for doubling down on Blake Bungles and not addressing that No. 4 overall pick with a real franchise quarterback.


Alan from Jacksonville

I'm a glass half-full Jaguars fan, especially before the season starts, but this year I think my glass has a crack in it. Most of the players we've let go this year have ended up on really good rosters, which makes me question our team's judgement. The majority of pundits are predicting both our defense and offense will be bottom dwellers. Can you give me any reasons why I should feel better about this team? Or at the very least, can you give me some tape for my glass?

Your question implies the Jaguars have released a bunch of players who have been picked up by other teams. While Fournette indeed was released, the Jaguars traded players such as defensive end Calais Campbell, Ngakoue, cornerback A.J. Bouye, etc., so I'm not sure I grasp that premise. As far as reasons for optimism … if you're looking for familiar names or common thoughts, I can't help you. There is a lot of youth on the roster, and the common thought around the NFL is that the team will struggle. But the Jaguars believe this offense – particularly the offensive line – has a chance to be good, and they believe they will be improved enough against the run to improve the defense overall from last season. If those things happen, they have a chance to build on the 6-10 record from last season that included a 6-6 record for Minshew as a starter.

Josh from Yulee, FL

Could you please ensure that the team watches "The Last Dance" before Sunday? The Jordan mentality is what sports are all about. Win at all costs for your city and get motivation from doubters. If you are able to get the team to sit down and watch together, I predict a 42-3 Jags win Sunday. If not it's 24-7 still in Jags favor.

I floated this. It got nixed. They're watching Curb.