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O-Zone: Real stuff

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Jeff from Atlantic Beach, FL

With time to sit back and process all the offseason moves the Jaguars made, it seems like they've put themselves in a good position for the future. If Minshew turns out to be "the guy," then they have an extremely cheap quarterback and tons of cap room and draft picks to build around him. If he's not their quarterback, they have ton of cap room and draft picks to find "the guy."

Good eye. There absolutely was a strong element of preparing for the future for the Jaguars this offseason. While the mandate from Owner Shad Khan is to win now, the Jaguars also had reached the point that they needed to get their salary cap in order and they needed to shed veterans get younger/more affordable at a lot of positions. Because they now have done that, the cap is clean for 2021 and beyond; they also have nine selections – including two first-rounders – in the 2021 NFL Draft. Quarterback Gardner Minshew II obviously is key to the equation. If he plays well this season, they probably will select somewhere around the middle of the first round and be in position to draft and sign players around him. If he plays poorly, there's a good chance the Jaguars will select early in the '21 draft – and that quarterback will be a major focus.

Unhipcat fromcarslbad, ca

Oh hi, John. Who starts between Rashaan Melvin and Tre Herndon?

Herndon is expected to start for the Jaguars at corner opposite CJ Henderson next season. Remember: Herndon played as well as – and some believed, better than – than any corner on the team last season after Jalen Ramsey was traded. He obviously will have to play well in training camp, but the Jaguars expect him to start. If the Jaguars didn't believe in him, they likely would have gone a more high-profile route in free agency or taken another corner early in the draft aside from Henderson.

Tyler from Jacksonville

I hope the league cancels the season in favor of race debates.

Man, I sure don't.

Nathan from St. Augustine, FL

Hey, John: Assuming teams get to hold training camps, which is looking more and more likely, how do you think a training camp might differ this year as opposed to past years considering there has been no on-field work since last season?

I expect training camps to be different this year than past seasons in a couple of ways. First, they will be much more carefully monitored as to who attends. Teams almost certainly will remain in the mode of social distancing as much as possible because of COVID-19. I would be surprised if fans are present, and I would expect fewer team employees and observers than usual. As for on the field, I would expect some basic, drill work early trying to get rookies acclimated to how this coaching staff wants things done – i.e., a little bit of time basically teaching players how to practice. Bottom line, though: teams only have so many training camp days and hours. Unless those hours are expanded, teams won't be able to change that much from past training camps. Players will be expected to have retained what was taught in the virtual meetings in the offseason and they will be expected to perform on the field. You can only cram so much into so many hours.

Robert from Kinzel

With all the controversy of any protests at upcoming games, I cannot understand why you would post the other comments and not mine that was balanced and provided a simple and hopefully acceptable to 99.99 percent. That is, both teams and staff that wish to participate take the field right before kickoff. I might point out that one, this is when TV picks up coverage (anthem usually not) and this would unite the vast majority, while during the anthem there could be confusion of what the protest is about and disapproval. Unite us, don't divide us!

I get many comments and emails every day, Robert. I answer a lot of good ones and a lot of good ones don't make it into the O-Zone. It's not personal. It's an imperfect process by an otherwise perfect person.

Jimsure from DBS

No question. Just wanted to say your choice of older comics was perfect. Carlin was great with or without swearing.

George Carlin transcended the profession. Few ever do.

Tudor from St. Augustine, FL

I can't believe you excluded Tom Segura... you monster!

I'll have another listen, but for right now … meh.

Zac from austin, tejas

Deadzone Q: How did you feel about Eugene Levy in Schitt's Creek?

First, any show with Levy, Catherine O'Hara and Chris Elliott can't fail. I didn't love the show the way some did, but I liked it very much. As for Levy … well, there's no such thing as bad Levy. #Whataweekimhaving

Peyton from Sparta, TN

What are your thoughts on Ben Bartch? Do you think he'll be a starter this year or the near future?

The Jaguars expect Bartch to be a starter, but I don't think it's reasonable to expect it to happen this season. Multiple reasons. First, he's a rookie. Second, he was a fourth-round selection – and rookie offensive linemen selected after the third round or so typically need a season to develop. Third, he played at a Division III school, meaning he will need some time to get acclimated to the NFL. Fourth, he is entering the NFL during a year when there was no on-field offseason work. That means training camp will be his first extensive action against NFL players. Most rookies may need more time than usual to adjust; a former Division III player might need a bit more time than most.

Ron from Orlando, FL

People can like or hate the kneeling, but where the rubber meets the road is simply the leaders of this outburst. Namely Kap. I'd be more interested in his opinion if he didn't wear pig socks or Castro supporting gear ...


Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL

I support the players right to free speech ... that's it. No "buts." Either you support the first amendment (which includes the players right to kneel during the anthem) or you don't. It doesn't matter that they are at work and it is their flag just as much as it is yours. To express your views freely is to be American.


David from O-Town

O-Zone - I haven't been following the issue with NFL players disrespecting the flag too closely, but felt the need to pipe in. I don't think it's right for players to disrespect the flag. Instead of burning or stomping on the flag, maybe they should just kneel?


Bob from Sumter, SC

Really enjoyed the Keenan McCardell podcast. Great memories and sounds like a great guy.

You're referencing last week's O-Zone Podcast, which featured Jaguars wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell. McCardell and I spoke for about an hour. I could have talked to McCardell for 10 hours and not gotten tired. The podcast indeed was full of great memories, and McCardell's passion for the NFL and the Jaguars was evident throughout. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I did, too.

Lloyd from Section 202 for 25 years and going

If Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue decides to not play the entire season, wouldn't that mean the Jaguars could just do the first-time franchise tag again and again until he does sign or gets traded?

No. A team can only apply the tag for three seasons. It can't be applied in perpetuity.

Paul from St. Johns, FL

What is more likely in the 2020 season, assuming almost every player kneels during the anthem: 1) Their protests bring about real change in police practices; 2) Enough fans boycott football as a result of the kneeling to force it to stop or 3) most fans decide that the kneeling doesn't bother them at all, thus rendering the act a non-event?

I know my limits, and my limits in this area are I'm not smart enough to know if NFL players kneeling indeed brings about real change in police practices; the movement and discussion is widespread enough that we won't know precisely what group or action caused what precise result. As far as your second and third questions … while I don't doubt some fans will stay away because of the kneeling, I absolutely don't think it will be enough to force any kneeling to stop – and I don't think kneeling ever will be a non-event. Many people will understand why players kneel for the National Anthem and many others will never like it. I expect that always to be the case, and I certainly think it remain the case this season.

Spazman from Jacksonville

Zone - Maybe Henry from Mobile, AL should take a chill pill. Arrogance, vanity & sarcasm are great when it makes one chuckle. It's called schtick.

Ah, 'twere it only schtick.