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O-Zone: Serenity now

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Travis from High Springs, FL

Since it's the dead zone, I have two questions for you. The knock on Telvin Smith was he was undersized for the weakside linebacker position, but he played it really well and had some great statistical seasons for us there. I've always heard Myles Jack is a natural will (weakside) linebacker, so do you believe Jack will be even better than Smith was playing will in our defense? Also, about trading Yannick for Jamal Adams: Doesn't Adams play strong safety? The same position as Ronnie Harrison? Or are those two positions interchangeable, and either guy could switch from strong to free?

I do believe Jack can be a better weakside linebacker than Smith because Jack's size could allow him to hold up better when teams run directly to his side of the field – and because Jack can be in better position and overrun fewer plays, which at times was an issue for Smith even while he made a lot of high-profile big plays. As for the oft-discussed, would-be trade involving New York Jets safety Jamal Adams and Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue … remember, this almost certainly is not going to happen. That said, yes … Adams and Jaguars safety Ronnie Harrison both play strong safety. In addition to the obvious fact that the Jaguars are very tight against the salary cap, it's another reason the trade is unlikely, and it's also a reason Adams' trade value may not be as high as many expect. It's not that strong safeties aren't valuable; it's just that teams sometimes find investing franchise-defining equity in the position a tricky proposition.

John from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

If you knew a player with the Jaguars had tested positive for Covid-19, but the team has not made the information public, would you tell us?

As is the case, say, when a player has not yet officially signed as an unrestricted free agent – or when a player is traded or released – officially reports "news" when the Jaguars officially announce news.

Bradley from Hudson, NY

It is much easier to block defensive ends/linebackers and catch passes over the middle than it is to play quarterback.

And it's extremely difficult to do either in the NFL if you don't have the skillset – or if you have no experience doing it somewhere else.

Beavis from the Southside

Having a right doesn't make it right. My friends fought and died to protect everyone's right to spit on their graves. To legislate away the freedom means they died in vain. We can't make people appreciate the sacrifices.


Wade from Westside

It was only a few months back where a buddy and I were sitting at a bar joking about ESPN televising cornhole competitions. I miss those days. This may be the deadest dead zone ever!

Also … fair.

Ivan from Orlando, FL

I'm glad you're coming around on Minshew – at last. The kid's got it. He's going to be a star.

You're referencing a recent O-Zone question in which I said I was coming around on Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II. And I am. I particularly like how he played late last season after a tough stretch of games that might have broken the confidence of many players. Minshew late in the season showed what we sort of sensed about him all along – that of the many things that might be a problem for him, a lack of confidence probably won't be one. Minshew also has been impressive this offseason, comfortably and naturally assuming a leadership role. No doubt: the kid's got every intangible you want in a franchise quarterback. We'll find out more next season about whether or not his tangibles will allow him to be the Jaguars' long-term starter.

Neil from Cheltenham, UK

Hi, Mr. O. I hope you and yours are staying safe. On the subject of crowd noise being piped into the live broadcast, here in the UK now that the English Premier FOOTBALL (see what I did there) has restarted, one has two choices. To watch the game with no crowd noise or with piped-in crowd noise which changes with the ebb and flow of the game. With the piped-in noise, it becomes extremely watchable and you do get used to it. Let's face it. It's sport back on the television! Thank you.

When I first heard the idea of "piped-in" crowd noise on sports broadcasts, I didn't like it much. I'm coming around (I'm doing a lot of this lately). I could absolutely see where a silent game would be difficult to watch. It reminds me of 1980 when NBC broadcast a December regular-season finale between the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins without announcers. People always complain about broadcasters and say they watch the game with the sound down, but the Jets-Miami game without announcers just felt weird; no network thought enough of the experiment to do it again. It strikes me that a televised game without crowd noise will feel similarly weird. So yeah … given the choices available to you on Premiere League broadcasts, I would probably go with the fake noise.

Tim from formerly of Section 123

Wondering when the NFL will realize sports was supposed to be a distraction from real life. I canceled my season tickets last week and I've never felt more right about this decision. I'm sad, though, that I have lost what used to be a fun distraction from the everyday hustle and bustle of work and daily life.

I'm sorry to hear of your decision, but I don't know that everyone agrees with your premise that "sports are supposed to be a distraction from real life." There are also those who want and expect athletes to express opinions over important causes and to be involved with the social fabric of their times. These are complicated times, and it's difficult to expect the people who play the games to not have opinions on what's going on in the world around them.

Robert from Fernandina Beach, FL

I feel that what Jesse from Jacksonville and others might want to consider and better understand is that by not taking a knee during the National Anthem, they are making a political statement. And they have just as much right to make that statement as those who do choose to take a knee.


Sean from Jacksonville

*Yawn* I woke up and thought... that coyote was adept at painting tunnel entrances on the sides of mountains.

It's truly one of the great underappreciated artistic talents of his or any other generation. And fast – goodness, was he fast.

Bruce from Groanzone, FL

I have heard Gene is looking into a story that a certain JP Shad- someone is plotting to pipe crowd noise into your office during naptime – or office hours – some say they are the same. Plotters beware.

We're working from home these days, but I was wondering a couple of weeks ago why there was cheering outside my home office window when I was writing. I admit suspecting longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette of being in cahoots with Shadrick, but you're email confirms it. 

Tony from St. Louis, MO

Have you seen a team win when their head coach is in a lame-duck situation? There are so many factors working against this team that they have to overcome to win.

I've seen plenty of NFL teams win when there are rumors that it must win to protect their head coach's job. Many, many NFL teams every year enter the season with their coaching staff on "hot-seat" lists and with the owners having made it clear they need to win. I understand your point, and I'm not trying to be dim. Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone and General Manager David Caldwell each realize the Jaguars need to be a lot better this season than they have been in years past. But it's not incredibly rare and the reality is most NFL coaching staffs work in pressurized situations with some level of worry about their job security if they don't fulfill expectations.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

How will the interior defensive line depth chart shake out? Seems to me that between the rotating of the lineman and having multiple looks up front, everyone will be playing.

No question. I would expect the season to begin with Taven Bryan and AL Woods starting at defensive tackle – with Abry Jones and Davon Hamilton and Rodney Gunter playing key roles in the rotation. But the rotation will be more important than who's starting. This isn't unusual in the NFL. Teams often rotate defensive tackles enough that who's starting is usually a bit of an overblown conversation when it comes to the position.

Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL

"It simply doesn't bother me, just as many things people do that don't directly affect me don't bother me." Sincerely, I would do anything to have that tranquility, I mean it!

I don't know if it's tranquility or a character flaw. I sense the latter. I have many.