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O-Zone: Really great

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Jason from Port Orange

KOAGF, Glad Engram is back. Well done, Jags. That's all.

The Jaguars reportedly agreed to terms with tight end Evan Engram on a contract extension Sunday. It reportedly is a three-year deal and he likely officially will sign the contract Monday. That needed to happen before Monday or Engram would have had to play the 2023 season on the franchise tag – a one-year deal for $11.36 million. While Engram did not attend the Jaguars' 2023 offseason program, there never was any danger of Engram not playing for the Jaguars this season. What the contract extension does is make it likely Engram will be with the Jaguars beyond 2023 and it presumably will help the Jaguars' short-term salary cap situation this season. The deal is done. The offseason storylines are wrapped. Bring on training camp.

Michael from Orange Park, FL

Zone, you said all along you would be surprised if the Jaguars reached a long-term agreement with Evan Engram. What do you say now?

I say I was a little surprised. I thought as time continued in the offseason program – and into the offseason – that the chances of a long-term deal being reached were diminishing. I figured on this one if it hadn't been done already that perhaps it wouldn't happen. I'm glad it happened. Engram seems like a good person and from this view is a class act. Good for him.

Jami from Claxton, GA

Why did it take this long? I doubt the signing of young Pederson worried the Engram brain trust.

The Engram deal had nothing to do with the Jaguars signing Josh Pederson – Head Coach Doug Pederson's son – recently. It took this long because the deadline for a deal was July 17 and deadlines have a way of making deals happen.

Big Jags Fan from Jacksonville

In Trent we trust! Baalke finds a way to keep Engram in the teal for a few more years. If the defense can be at last average this year, I smell another division title.

One fer Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke.

CaptBob from Jax



David from Maplewood, NJ

Zone, I for one am really, really, really happy you were wrong about Engram having to play on the tag. Very pleased he is here beyond this year, he was a huge part of last year and excited to see Engram and quarterback Trevor Lawrence continue to develop the connection they established last season.

I'm glad, too. One fer Engram.

DenMiz from Jagsonville

Signing Engram was absolutely monumental. We are gonna light up so many points with Ridley and the majority of a maturing young team. IF our defense can get the ball back to this offense, it's looking like a great year in Doug's and Trevor's second year. DUUUVALLLL!

Engram never was going to not play for the Jaguars in 2023. This deal does ensure Engram likely will be with the Jaguars beyond 2023.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, is Boselli wearing his gold jacket around Jacksonville daily in the summer heat and is it true that he sleeps in it?

I'd rather not say.

Chris from Roseville, CA

The HoF didn't make Earl Campbell wait because he had a relatively short career without tons of playoff highlights. Do you think he was just so dominant when he played that the length of his career was overlooked by the voters?

Campbell dominated the league in his first six seasons, rushing for more than 1,300 yards in five of those seasons with the only exception being the 1982 strike-shortened season. This wasn't necessarily in the height of the run-oriented NFL, but it was certainly a more run-centric league than it is today. And while the Houston Oilers never made the Super Bowl, an argument could be made that they were one of the top three or four teams in the NFL during Campbell's first two seasons – 1978 and 1979. Only a Pittsburgh Steelers team that may have been the best team of all time was clearly better. Campbell was a three-time first-team All-Pro, the 1979 NFL Most Valuable Player and a three-time Offensive Player of the Year. He led the NFL in rushing his first three seasons. Yes, his dominance was such that he was an easy selection for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Boomgrounder from Moundsville, WV

Hey, Zone. That would be from waaaay "Downtown" Freddy Brown … swish.


Reese from Loyal Jaguar fan in VA

How is your summer going so far? Go Jags!

Just great.

Kathy from Palm Coast, FL

Have you watched any of the Quarterback episodes on Netflix? It's produced by Peyton Manning and is a good show for the offseason.

I haven't watched it. I try to get somewhat away from football the last few weeks of the offseason. I expect I'll watch it at some point.

Doug from Jacksonville, FL

Jalen Ramsey isn't anywhere near Hall-of-Fame caliber. He was a Round 1 promising cornerback and was traded where his precious team fleeced his new team for two first rounders (then wasted them). He was on the team that won the Super Bowl, then has been getting worked since. He continues to live off the expectations of what he looked like he was going to be, not what he turned out to be. In fairness, that back injury may be the reason for the drop off.

Loyal readers of the O-Zone – and he knows who he is – know I don't bend over backward to praise former Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey. I do try to be fair and correct when possible. If he's not Hall of Fame-caliber, he's certainly close. The Los Angeles Rams won the Super Bowl in 2021, and people around the Rams will tell you Ramsey played well last season – and certainly didn't "get worked." Also: The Jaguars used one of the selections in the Ramsey trade – a first-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft – on running back Travis Etienne Jr. I'm hard-pressed to call that wasting a selection.

Tom from Nocatee

Urban Meyer thought the Jags had a core of solid defenders in Yannick Ngakoue, linebacker rMyles Jack and Ramsey. Can you imagine his surprise when he showed up and learned that they were no longer on the team?

I thought we'd discussed this whole thing about "being nice." Apparently the message is not getting through.

Chris from Tampa, FL

I agree that defensive backs should be allowed to harass receivers much more; anything short of holding, of course. While safety is one factor in that not happening, I think the bigger reason is fantasy football. Your predecessor started referring to the league as "basketball on grass." This all came about with the emergence of fantasy football. Being the overall desire of the league is more eyeballs on their product, it's easy to believe it's a big factor in the league's rules favoring offense.

Offense is cool. People like it. That's true of people who play fantasy football and it's true for casual fans. There is little question the league since around 1978 has consciously moved rules toward favoring offense to promote scoring – and presumably excitement. The popularity of fantasy football in recent seasons undoubtedly has helped the league's popularity, so fantasy is at least a little intertwined here. But the hard push of the last half decade or so against defensive backs hitting "defenseless" receivers – one of the primary ways to keep receivers from running free – is without question a safety concern that has helped open up the game. That no doubt has helped scoring, but it wouldn't have happened if not for the push to make the game safety – and therefore, to save the game.

Kerry from Millersville, MD

John, going to have to disagree (And get scientific about it) on the "player safety" aspect of your theory against bump and run coverage. Reduced physicality by defensive backs, as required by newer rules, mean that offensive players can build up much greater speeds than in the past. As the force of impact is determined by multiplying the mass of the colliding objects by the velocity (speed) of the objects, the current rules actually favor more violent collisions. That is why so many other rules have been added (defenseless receiver, targeting, etc) have had to be added. Allowing defensive backs to again engage receivers would slow those eventual collisions but would inhibit offensive potential so that's a no go. When does training camp open again?!

When recently discussing player safety and defensive backs hitting receivers, I wasn't referring to bump-and-coverage as much as I was referring to safeties not able to hit receivers as freely as once was the case. This is a dangerous part of the sport and it needed to be curtailed. But curtailing it also helped make the passing game much easier and less physical. I'm not smart enough to multiple speed times mass. I was pretty good at Algebra once, though. And I was great at spelling and grammer.