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O-Zone: Projection game

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Jay from So-Cal

Oh, O-Zone. What are you looking forward to the most with this upcoming season? Take it where you want. Go Jags.

There are multiple storylines around the Jaguars to eagerly anticipate in 2022. How an improved defensive front seven will perform. How multiple skill players – running back Travis Etienne Jr., tight end Evan Engram, wide receiver Christian Kirk and wide receiver Zay Jones – will fit into an offense of Head Coach Doug Pederson that emphasizes versatility. How the tight ends will perform in a tight-end friendly scheme. But the biggest storyline – and the one I'm most anticipating – has to be the development of quarterback Trevor Lawrence. I don't know that last season provided much insight into what he can become. Pederson seems very impressed and optimistic after his first offseason with Lawrence. How he plays this season could tell much about his future and that of the franchise. That's compelling stuff.

David from Orlando, FL

KOAF: On November 2021, Columbia Legacy quietly released "The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts Springsteen E Street Band." It's a wonderful two CD/one DVD live collection of Bruce Springsteen lean and mean and on fire! You said you're a fan of skinny Springsteen and saw him on the River Tour. This concert was recorded just prior to the release of "The River" in 1980, but he plays two songs from that album: "The River" and "Sherry Darling." Tom Petty and Jackson Browne appear for the encore. If you're one that enjoys strolling down memory lane, I think, you'll find it's worth the trip.

I did see skinny Bruce on the River Tour at the old Coliseum in downtown Jacksonville. I've never seen a better concert and doubt I ever will. I have seen clips of the legendary No Nukes Concert. It's Bruce at his iconic, crowd-aweing best.

Orville from Enigma, GA

How can a comments section with only three participants be called a "section?" Maybe someone who knows what a comments section is or should be can answer (in the comments section.)

I've got nothing.

JR from The Squatchlands

O-man, can you feel it? The excitement building? The whole world is waiting with anticipation for the return of the greatest sporting event on the planet and it's just a few more months away! I am talking of course about the World Cup of Soccer. The average match draws as many viewers as the Super Bowl- and there are 64 of them! It's like the Olympics, but entertaining. What say you about this, the holiest of sporting events?

I like the World Cup. It's unquestionably the most global, dramatic, important sporting event in the world and it must be acknowledged as such. I don't have the inherent, lifelong feel for the sport to enjoy locking in on every game every four years, and I doubt soccer will ever be a natural fit for someone of my generation in this country. But I'll watch. I'll have it on. I'll cheer. World Cup is cool. Millions like it. So does O-Zone. To a point.

Tom from Shanghai, China

Where we sit right now – the worst team in the NFL two years running; having losing records in nine of 10 seasons; fresh off the Urban Meyer loudspeaker, plane-ride skipping, kicker-kicking season – yeah … a Super Bowl appearance would be a huge success. If Trevor is the elite guy we drafted him to be (big if, I know) a single losing Super Bowl appearance in his or Coach Pederson's tenure would not count as successful.

People sometimes forget – or perhaps never realize – how hard it is to get to a Super Bowl.

Chris from Mandarin, FL

I'm afraid I caught you with your pants down regarding the Alshon Jeffrey statement. The point wasn't that they paid him to be a No. 1 and he wasn't. The point was that Doug Pederson intended on having a "No. 1 receiver." It was part of his design for their team … so to pretend having a No. 1 is unimportant to him is not really accurate.

My pants are always up when I write the O-Zone. I don't have that many Rules to Live By, but this is one. Pederson certainly would prefer a No. 1 receiver. Most NFL head coaches would. But Pederson also learned in Philadelphia it was possible to win without one. #pull'emup

John from Daufuskie Island, SC

I just finished reading Doug Pederson's book, "Fearless." It is a great book and shows several sides of Pederson. One great takeaway is he is definitely a man of faith. He is a "calculated" risk taker having been in the Top 2 in going for two as well as going for it on fourth down during his Super Bowl run with the Eagles. He loves developing young quarterbacks and believes one of his missions in life is mentoring young men. I say it could certainly be an exciting time for Jaguars fans.


KC from Orlando, FL

KOAF how did the kickers look this last camp? Has either one taken a lead?

Both Ryan Santoso and Andrew Mevis had strong enough offseasons that they are expected to be the two kickers competing for the Jaguars' kicker position. I didn't get the sense from either Pederson or Jaguars special teams coach Heath Farwell that either player had a "lead" after the offseason program. Both have strong legs. Both can kick off as well as kick placements. This is a major 2022 Training Camp storyline.

AJ from Pensacola, FL

Given how much Gary from St. Augustine dislikes you, has he ever asked you to "Cash him outside" or meet him in a dark alley? Has he ever asked you to meet him in the Comments Section? Wait, never mind the latter question, you don't know what that is. But, the first question stands.

Gary knows where to find me. And it's not in that place you mentioned. Whatever it is.

Unhipcat from Carlsbad, CA

Hi, John. Bruce Smith can't have it both ways. Either Tony did a great job against him that day, as was noted by announcers throughout the game and nearly everyone else afterward, or his performance was typical of his play against a generic left tackle on an NFL roster, which would not have earned him induction into the Hall of Fame. It's one or the other.

I sense perhaps we're reaching the end – for now – of this Tony Boselli-Bruce Smith discussion. Smith, as astute readers perhaps recall, posted on his Instagram account last week five pages of thoughts regarding Boselli's Hall of Fame "candidacy" – and specifically, how Boselli's "advocates" were using Boselli's performance against Smith in a Jaguars 1996 playoff victory over Buffalo to support that "candidacy." Never minding that Boselli's candidacy is no longer an issue with him being elected to the Hall in January, the post seemed to run counter to a longstanding policy among Hall of Famers to not disparage the careers of other Hall of Famers. I've written and said plenty on this topic in the last week, all of which can be found in previous O-Zone posts. Boselli did do a great job against Smith that day, just as he normally did a great job when playing all opponents in his career – great or otherwise. That's why he's a Hall of Famer. Smith didn't have a great day against Boselli in the '96 playoff game. He had great games against other great players. That's why he's a Hall of Famer. It's as simple as that, Instagram posts notwithstanding.

Adam from Allentown, PA

Bruce Smith needs to change his diet. Too many waah burgers and french cries.

That's not nice.

Doug from Jacksonville

As a Jags fan I hope Travon Walker is as good as every Jags fan hopes. Everyone is all excited about his "drive to be the best" and how he wore a helmet when cutting grass etc., etc. The problem I see, much like the fans who think it now looks like we are a playoff team despite the fact we were the team with the worst record the last two years in the NFL, is he hasn't shown anything to think he will be anything extraordinary. His physical traits are impressive, but they have been for years and he just didn't show anything even against subpar college teams. There is a legitimate argument he wasn't even one of the best two, three or four players on his own college team's defense. I hope he is an All-Pro Hall of Famer and breaks every record the Jags have. I also hope the Jags go 17-0 for the next four years and go down in history as the most dominate team the NFL has ever known. I just haven't seen anything, even through my rose-colored (make that teal-colored) glasses that would make me think any of this can happen.

You're right. Every player selected in the NFL Draft is an unknown NFL entity until he proves otherwise. The draft is a projection game. We won't know until we know. Couldn't agree more.