O-Zone: Sad eyes

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Seamus from Vancouver, BC

Hi, O-Zone. Am I missing something, or are this year's OTAs being covered differently? I seem to remember in previous OTAs that Jaguars.com and other fan sites had daily recaps and highlights. Is there something different going on this year that prompted the change?

I can’t speak for “other fan sites,” although it’s doubtful said fan sites have much in the way of first-person recaps and highlights because few if any of those entities cover organized team activities every day. As for how jaguars.com covers OTAs, we’re doing it essentially the same as usual – attending practice, speaking to players/coaches and covering coaches/players media availabilities afterward. You won’t find many recaps and highlights of practice because there isn’t much to recap from non-padded, non-contact work. We at jaguars.com will cover training camp in the manner of which you speak. The padded nature of those practices lends itself to such coverage.

Bill from Ponte Vedra, FL

I thought Jaguars wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. was one of the best gunners in the NFL as a rookie last year. Do you think the team will continue to use him that way if he becomes a starting receiver?

Not for very long.

Edward from Jacksonville

O-Zone, who are your Top 10 Jaguars of all-time?

My Top 10 leans toward players with I’m most familiar, which means toward players who played for the Jaguars from 1995-2001 and since 2011. With those as my unscientific parameters, I’ll go as follows: Left tackle Tony Boselli, running back Fred Taylor, wide receiver Jimmy Smith, running back Maurice Jones-Drew, wide receiver Keenan McCardell, defensive end Tony Brackens, quarterback Mark Brunell, defensive tackle Marcus Stroud, cornerback Jalen Ramsey and defensive end Calais Campbell. Apologies to defensive tackle John Henderson, cornerback Rashean Mathis and offensive tackle Leon Searcy. They’re most certainly in the conversation.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, I just returned from a long trip to the United Kingdom. The country and the people I met exceeded my expectations in every single way. It was amazing. We have more in common with these great folks than many want to believe. I hope the other Jags fans take advantage of the opportunity to go see their team in our second home. They will not regret it. Maybe someone in the UK can adopt me?

Googling this…

Isaac from Cocoa Beach, FL

I don’t get it, Zone. Everyone seems to be just whistling around the Maypole and forgetting that the Jaguars lost one of their best players, Telvin Smith. What’s being done to get him back? What’s being done to help him? It just seems everyone’s being very casual about this, no?

No one around the Jaguars is being casual about Smith, but the reality is the veteran weak-side linebacker has opted not to communicate with the team – and he has opted to announce via social media he doesn’t plan to play in 2019. The team therefore has had little choice but to move forward with an approach of being willing to help Smith if possible but knowing it must plan for the immediate – and perhaps long-term – future. The Jaguars would like nothing more than for rookie Quincy Williams to show he’s ready to start at weak-side linebacker, and to play at the level they believe him capable. If he’s what they think he is, the Jaguars should be OK at outside linebacker – though not at Smith’s Pro Bowl 2017 level. There’s a long way to go and this promises to be a major training camp storyline. It’s not ideal, but don’t think because the Jaguars aren’t showing panic that they’re being casual. They’re not. It’s being addressed.

John from Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Regarding the Jags’ prospects this year, you said you can "see a team that can push for the playoffs – i.e., be in the conversation in December and possibly win nine-to-11 games." I agree, but what makes this season so fascinating is that that also applies to every other team in the AFC South. This could be the closest division race ever in the south ...

Yep.

Mark from Prescott, AZ

Resolved: The Jaguars need quality depth at safety. A seasoned vet is available. No, not Eric Berry, way too many physical problems since '14. How about Glover Quin? Comparable stats and has never missed a game.

This is one of those annual O-Zone topics about which there seems destined to remain a disconnect until the regular season. The team appears content to enter training camp with Ronnie Harrison and Jarrod Wilson starting and C.J. Reavis and Cody Davis behind them. Also in the mix are undrafted rookie free agents Andrew Wingard and Zedrick Woods. This makes fans uncomfortable because the group other than Harrison lacks name recognition – and because the entire group lacks experience. Fans understandably want the team to sign a familiar name, while the team appears likely to monitor the situation and address it in training camp or late in the preseason if necessary. Referencing Quin, Eric Berry or any number of currently available free agents, I would say this: If the Jaguars thought those players made sense, they would have signed them already. They’re clearly taking the approach that under their current roster/salary cap structure they will play with younger, lesser-known players at the spot to complement the higher-priced, core players around them. This is very common around the NFL and it’s a necessary approach to have a sound, sustainable roster for the long term. I don’t expect the Jaguars to stray from that approach unless something unusual – read: disastrous – happens.

Bill from Atlanta, GA

I see all these questions about safety, but what about the weakest position on the Jaguars? Tight end? Why is no one concerned about that?

Many Jaguars fans are concerned about tight end. I imagine we’re not seeing more questions about the position because – compared to safety anyway – there are fewer familiar names on the lists of available players circulating around the internet this time of year. I agree that tight end is a major offseason unknown, but the Jaguars seem to have good news on this front. Josh Oliver, a third-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, looked very good and fluid during last week’s first week of organized team activities. He still must work on his blocking, and that can’t happen until the pads go in training camp. But the Jaguars drafted him to help the position as a receiver. I don’t think it’s realistic that he’ll catch 80 balls from the spot. But he appears likely to give the team a dimension it didn’t have last season.

Mike from 25 Years at Section 224

Hey, John: What do you think of Donovan McNabb’s assertion that he should be in in the Hall of Fame? He claims to have better stats than Troy Aikman, but Aikman has three rings. I believe rings trump stats in almost every instance. Also, my most vivid memory of McNabb is an early season, or maybe a preseason game at Alltel Stadium where the heat had him doubled over and puking on the field. #Duuuval

I’m not as tied in to the idea that “rings” equate to quarterback greatness as most observers. While a great quarterback can raise the level of players around him, I’ve always found it a bit of a stretch to think that a quarterback should be held responsible for all that goes on with the other 10 players on the field. As far as Aikman specifically, he was about more than statistics. He was a phenomenally accurate passer with a rare ability to place the ball in a position to allow receivers to catch the ball on the run. He didn’t have eye-popping statistics because his Dallas Cowboys teams usually were so good he didn’t need to throw as much as other quarterbacks. That doesn’t have much to do with McNabb’s merits for the Hall. I think McNabb should be seriously considered. His career merits that. But is he a Hall of Famer? I didn’t see him as such.

Brandon from Asheville, NC

Which NFL franchise has had the best quarterback situation throughout its existence? Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and Dallas come to mind.

All franchises have highs and lows at the position, but the four franchises you cite have had striking levels of excellence at the position. The Cowboys had Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman, and the Packers have had the late Bart Starr, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. The Steelers have had Terry Bradshaw and Ben Roethlisberger while the Colts’ back-to-back run of Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck has allowed that franchise to be competitive. But I wouldn’t leave the San Francisco 49ers off the list. They went Joe Montana and Steve Young back to back in the 1980s and 1990s and the result was one of the NFL’s great dynasties.

Gary from Palatka, FL

You’re not a joke. Jokes are funny. You’re just sad.

OK.

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