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O-Zone: Pure joy

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Brian from ROUND ROCK, TX

Sorry, O. It's well established that you know nothing about leadership or locker-room chemistry. They are your blind spots. I remember when you denied former Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey being a locker-room issue for almost all of his time with the Jags. Anyway, do you think Coach is capable of cutting his own son and ending his NFL dream?

A joke comes to mind reading your first sentence. Two hunters with no ammunition come face-to-face with a bear in the woods. One hunter turns to run. The other says, "You can't outrun a bear." The running hunter says, "I don't have to beat the bear. I just have to beat you." Yes, I believe Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson can make necessary decisions regarding an NFL team. I also know his son, Josh Pederson, grew up around the NFL and I would expect him capable of understanding how the league works. That's my answer, though why you would waste your time asking a question of someone with such a limited knowledge is forever baffling.

David from Orlando, FL

Zone - What's up with all the name changing to the stadium? I recently learned that TIAA Bank and EverBank are one in the same?

Banks often change names and direction. When that happens and the bank sponsors a stadium, the stadium name often changes. The bank's name was EverBank for a long time and the stadium was called EverBank Field. Then the name was TIAA Bank and the stadium name was TIAA Bank Field. The name is EverBank again and now it's EverBank Stadium. We're in an age where a lot of professional sports stadium change names, sometimes often. The Jaguars play in one of those stadiums.

Don from Marshall, NC

Making chocolate and Rolex watches is a lot different than the Team sport of football. Jalen Ramsey was an immature selfish malingerer who let the city and his team down. We know who he is! Go Jaguars!

When it comes to former Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey, Don is not "all in." Or nice.

David from Chuluota, FL

KOAF – Over the years, you have jokingly poked fun at fans for putting too much blame on the coaching when the team was losing. When fans suggested the play calling was predictable and unimaginative, your replies generally suggested that at the NFL level coaches were basically the same and if the players would just execute the game plan, success would follow, and those coaches would look like geniuses. I think, over the last couple of years, watching both former Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer and Pederson in action, it couldn't be more clear the importance of the head coach in creating a winning culture and standard for excellence. Yes, both players and coaches need to function at a high level for a team to be successful, but if the game plan is vanilla and the players aren't executing it properly, doesn't that fall back on the coach? There's 99 ways to lose a game, but with Doug Pederson, being outcoached isn't one of them. Thoughts?

When I say "it's always coaching in the NFL," it's noting that fans and media – and even coaches and players at times – often overemphasize coaching on a play-to-play, game-to-game basis. If your players aren't executing, and if your roster is deficient – and if you don't have a franchise quarterback – there is a limit to how much of a difference coaching makes. The easy, quick-trigger reaction for many fans is to criticize playcalling – whether or not such criticism is warranted. In that sense, coaching is often misunderstood and overrated. Where it's not overrated is at the head-coaching level in the sense that a head coach must create an environment and culture players trust. That's the overriding No. 1 job of a head coach – and if a head coach can't do that, he almost certainly will fail. On this front, you're right that even the most casual observers could easily notice some subtle differences between the Jaguars' former coach and their current one.

Nick from Virginia Beach, VA

The future is bright. We may get our wish in the throwback uniforms. What happens when the Jags realize those will sell more than the generic jerseys we wear?

Making money is cool. NFL teams like it.

Richard from St. Augustine, FL

The NFL is a copycat league. The latest angst over running backs pay will sort itself out. As with all positions there will always be owners and general managers who will pay dearly for some running backs. Other positions have fared similarly in the past. Bottom line: Some running backs will be paid handsomely and others not so much until it sorts itself out. After all your time covering NFL would you agree? Glad dead zone coming to an end so we can get ready for some real football! Moodachay Go Jags!

The NFL is a cyclical league, and I do believe we'll someday have a resurgence of the running game – at least to a small degree. As defenses adapt to pass-centric offenses, some offenses will adapt their offenses to take advantage of those changes with power running games – though I doubt the league will ever return to three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust stuff of past eras. However much an emphasis on the run returns, I don't know that running backs will ever be valued as much as most other positions. Too many teams view the position as largely interchangeable and the wear on the tear on the position is too significant. The biggest issue here is that many observers – and even players – frame contracts as "rewards" for performance whereas teams must frame them as projections for future performance. It's very difficult for teams to pay running backs franchise money when history tells us that running backs decline rapidly as they enter second contracts. There will be exceptions because there are always exceptions to generalities, but that figures to remain the norm.

Brad from The Avenues

Ok, on the no-forward handoff rule, let's say an offensive lineman scoops up a fumble and lumbers across the line of scrimmage at less than lightning speed. Can he not then hand the ball off to someone with the speed to take it to the house?

The offensive lineman can hand the ball off in this situation, but he must hand the ball backward.

Sprinkle from Duval

That settles it. I'm definitely buying a Travon Walker jersey. There's nothing better than when a professional athlete is incredible off the field. It makes cheering them on truly special. Who is the most outstanding athlete off the field that you have spoken to in your career Zone?

I assume you're referencing the story and video from when Jaguars Media recently visited Jaguars outside linebacker Travon Walker's hometown. Walker indeed is likable. I enjoyed very much getting to know him better and speaking with his family. I have been fortunate to speak to many memorable people during three-plus decades. I'll limit this answer to athletes and coaches I've covered for extended periods rather than ones I have spoken to in one-off situations. Among my favorites: former Jaguars running back Fred Taylor, former Jaguars cornerback Aaron Colvin, former Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne, former Colts tight end Dallas Clark, former Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy, former Jaguars middle linebacker Paul Posluszny, former Raines High School athletics director James Day, former Raines principal Jimmie Johnson, former Jackson basketball player and current Jackson coach James Collins, former Ribault girls basketball coach Al Austin and former Ribault boys basketball coach Bernard Wilkes. There are countless others. Those come quickly to mind.

Steve from Wallingford, CT

Hey, Johnny O. I agree fans fan, but also, fathers take care of their sons. I remember reading somewhere that Beathard was related to someone in the front office, but I was never able to locate the source again. Is that correct or did I make that up? He hasn't been too bad, although I still would prefer Minshew.

Jaguars backup quarterback C.J. Beathard is the grandson of the late Bobby Beathard, who – while one of the great general managers in NFL history and enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018 – never worked for the Jaguars.

Bruce from Saint Simons Island, GA

O, Maybe I'm misreading this, but it appears to me that the Jags have an excellent "chemistry" heading into this season. To me, this seems like a major advantage for the Jags versus other talented teams. Your thoughts?

Good teams often have good chemistry. Winning is cool. Players like it and tend to get along well when they're doing it. Locker-room chemistry will be a positive for the Jaguars against the NFL's best teams. But those teams typically have elite quarterbacks, and that's the biggest advantage in the NFL these days.

Kevin from Section 214 previously 114

"Drools prodigiously when someone eats in her vicinity. I tend to do the same, particularly on the weekends." You must be a joy in the press areas during game coverage.

I am a joy wherever and whenever.