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O-Zone: Real enough

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Greg from Jacksonville Beach, FL

The Jaguars are going to get lucky. There's going to be no season, so no one will ever know how bad they were really going to be.

A couple of thoughts on your rosy thoughts. One: I believe the NFL will have a 2020 season – though what form it will take and the precise obstacles that will have to be overcome very much remain to be seen. There's also the reality that while the NFL season seems likely to start on time there is legitimate question about whether it will finish as planned. Whatever happens, I imagine we will reflect on 2020 as the weirdest season in recent NFL memory – perhaps ever. As for the Jaguars being bad in whatever form the season takes … I get that that's what observers expect. And I understand why. They're unproven at quarterback – and they traded away a few key, high-profile defensive players. But I keep going back to what we saw from quarterback Gardner Minshew II as a rookie. There was a savvy, and an ability to play with poise late in games. He got better late in the season. I don't expect those traits to put the Jaguars in the playoffs in 2020, but I expect the Jaguars to be far more competitive than many observers believe. I think they will be very interesting and have a chance to get to six-to-seven victories. That's not great, but it's not remotely bad enough that they would feel fortunate if there was no season.

Jake from Cary, NC

When did kneeling become a sign of disrespect? In most circumstances I can think of, kneeling is a sign of heightened respect.

Players kneel for the National Anthem to make a point about police brutality. That's why former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick did it in 2016. How people interpret that act and what they call it is up to the people doing the interpreting.

Jason from Suffolk, VA

I appreciate you allowing your forum to be a place where we can debate about appropriate ways to respect the flag. When I initially sent my response, it was to show that not everyone was taught the same way. I am in the Navy and was taught from a young age you at least stand up to show respect for the men and women who have fought for your freedoms. As a member of the military, I understand that sometimes protecting peoples' freedoms means allowing them to express themselves in a manner that you may not agree with. As a Christian, I was also struck by someone's response of kneeling as a sign of respect. I had never looked at it that way before based on how I was taught, and now I have a new appreciation for that side of the argument. I hope the discussion continues, and that more people seek to understand each other. I think that is the most import aspect during this difficult time.

Well said.

Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville

While I understand the sentiment, you stated about players having causes or issues they want to endorse, sports are no different than movies, plays, concerts or dinner theater. We don't really go to those for hearing political messages and pretty certain if this continues it won't be a positive for the NFL or its players. Stick to entertaining and by all means pursue your passions on your own time. Think about it this way: how do you think it would impact movie attendance if every movie began with the actors giving us two-to-five minutes of their movements/passions before the film starts? Especially if this was considered controversial as kneeling for the anthem? I know we have beat this subject to death and for that I apologize, but at the end of the day this is not a fight the players will win. Because the customer is who they are impacting, which impacts their bottom line.

You can think about it however you choose, and I suppose you can interpret "winning" however you want. But there are people who want and expect athletes to have opinions. I expect many NFL players to kneel for the National Anthem in the fall and I expect many people will continue watching the NFL. I expect it will remain the most popular sport in this country despite whatever controversy arises from kneeling. Perhaps I'm wrong on this one. I sort of doubt it.

Crash from the Westside

No fake noise! Ring the field with microphones. I want to hear the noise from the action on the field and sidelines.

OK.

KC from Orlando, FL

My understanding is that home games are not televised if the ticket sales do not reach a certain level. With the pandemic, do you anticipate that the NFL and the broadcast stations will go back to the table to renegotiate as television may be the best/only way to offset stadiums that are not full? Also, have you heard anything about protocols involved to protect players for the upcoming season? I would be curious to see if we see something like a scarf or some other accessory that goes over the face mask to help control droplets.

The NFL policy that home games can be "blacked out" if 85 percent of tickets are unsold has been suspended since 2015; considering the circumstances around Covid-19, it certainly wouldn't be in place for 2020. As for your second question, the NFL is working to determine realistic protocols to protect players. If something could be implemented on helmets/facemasks protecting players while allowing them to play, the league unquestionably would do so. I expect discussion on that front and perhaps some experimenting. Time will tell if anything is implemented.

Charles from Riverside

Hello, John. A major sports network estimated the gate revenue for the average NFL team for the season at around $70 million. If we kickoff as scheduled, but without attendance allowed, that is 40 percent of the typical team revenue (according to the source). Sure, glad our owner is a billionaire!!

I'm sure Jaguars Owner Shad Khan is glad he's a billionaire, too. Billionaire or not, losing $70 million in revenue is significant.Really significant.

Don from Marshall, NC

We all know it is impossible to be competitive if you do not have the talent. That is not the case with the Jaguars. They have the talent on the team. Why the experts have this team so far down the list?

Because they're young, with an unproven quarterback. And because they traded away some well-known players. And because they weren't very good through most of the second half of last season. That doesn't mean the Jaguars necessarily will struggle in 2020, but it's a formula for low expectations. 

Paul from Jacksonville

It's the Dead Zone. What are the three best movies you've ever seen?

I struggle with questions like this; I don't really watch movies over and over, and don't really spend a lot of time making lists. And I find it hard to compare, say, comedies to drama. But in the interest of answering your question – and because it's the dead zone – let's go with Goodfellas, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and Zelig. Oh, and the Aristocrats. I've watched them all over and over at various times in my life.

Brian from Atlanta, GA

Mr. O. I like your optimism. Give me one good reason the Jaguars might make the playoffs.

Mr. B: I indeed am known for my optimism. My co-workers, in fact, often tire of me commenting on the awesomeness of life in general. As for your question, I think the most overlooked aspect of the Jaguars this season might be the potential for the run defense to be improved. The Jaguars allowed 200 or more yards rushing five times in 2019 and lost all five of those games. Had the run defense been marginally better, and had the Jaguars won two of those games, they would have finished 8-8. I don't think the Jaguars are making the playoffs in 2020, but if you're looking for a way they could be improved and surprise people, that maybe it.

Rich from Orlando, FL

What's the best Christmas present you ever got?

Tube socks.

Mike from Tallahassee, FL

Who's the best players in Jaguars history that no one ever talks about being good?

I would say linebacker Daryl Smith. Not that no one ever talks about him being good; football people and many Jaguars fans certainly thought highly of Smith. But he certainly never got the credit he was due. He was one of the NFL's best and most versatile linebackers for a long time, and never made the Pro Bowl. That's a shame and he certainly deserve to be remembered as one of the best players in franchise history.

Paul from St. Augustine, FL

How do I know you're real?

Let me punch you in the face.

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