JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Steve from Nashville, TN
How do coaches decipher the training camp tape in judging defensive secondary players when the receivers they are up against in camp are really, really good?
Nothing in life happens in a vacuum, which includes coaches and personnel types evaluating players in training camp. Coaches evaluate based on performance in training camp, also using their knowledge of the play call and what both players were being asked to do in a given situation. In training camp, the evaluating often isn't solely about "winning" a one-on-one matchup but executing the assignment correctly and playing well given the situation – and the opponent. Also: Training camp tape isn't the only measure determining if a player will make the roster and perhaps isn't significantly more important than preseason game tape.
Zac from Austin, Tejas
I'm playing catchup reading these. Sorry this is a late take. But it is not uncommon in a workplace to seek salary you believe you deserve, especially when you know how much money those around you are making. Especially if you feel that the system is set up in a way to prevent you from making as much as others. The emperor's fortune metaphor is bankrupt. We all seek higher pay in our jobs and want to be fairly compensated. But, I suppose fans can get their complaining out of the way before our star quarterback gets paid what several other players together make in a year.
Perhaps you're referencing NFL running backs being undervalued. Or perhaps you're referencing quarterback Trevor's Lawrence possible contract extension next offseason. Or perhaps we don't need to get specific about the timing of complaints here in the O-Zone. History tells us complaints will happen on their own schedule.
TBone from Jax
I personally think the Jags are headed in the right direction. I also have the opinion that you do a pretty decent job.
You can be right and wrong in one email. I forget just when I realized that.
Darwin from Cebu, Philippines
Hi, KOAF. When the Jaguars drafted running back Tank Bigsby, I was a bit surprised considering D'Ernest Johnson was already signed through free agency. With the anticipation that the Jags will lead often in games, do you see a scenario where all four running backs are on the 53-man roster come opening game in September?
I don't know that we can yet assume the Jaguars will lead often in games. It strikes me that many people are perhaps a bit ahead of themselves in pre-determining this team's "dominance." The NFL is hard and you win games however you win them. That unsolicited – and perhaps unwanted – cautionary advice aside, I expect the Jaguars to either have four running backs on the roster or three on the roster with easy access to a fourth on the practice squad. I'd lean to having all four – Travis Etienne Jr., Bigsby, JaMycal Hasty and Johnson – on the roster much of the season.
Bradley from Sparks, NV
I have always considered a football team to be the top 30 players and the rest is filler. You try to get the best filler, but that the vast majority of these players are interchangeable. Right? Wrong?
This is perhaps a little extreme, but not much. Teams build around their core players and typically overturn 15-20ish players each season because of the salary cap, age, drafting and developing, etc. That's pretty close to interchangeable, even if teams try not to see individual players that way.
Rob from Northside
Zone, did you just admit to faking the funk?
DenMiz The 904
We've heard a lot about Gerrit Prince, but what's going on with Brenton Strange? Has he showed any significant play at all? Haven't heard much about him. Thanks, KOAF.
Strange, a tight end from Penn State and a second-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft, has been fine during 2023 Training Camp. He has made multiple impressive catches, including one for a touchdown Wednesday. Strange is a very good player and could be a real strength as a blocker immediately as a rookie. It's harder to evaluate good blocking than receiving in training camp, so you're not going to hear as much about player such as Strange during this time as you will about a more receiving-oriented tight end such as Prince.
Bo from Jacksonville
As fans we only see the actually training camp practices which end at 10:30 a.m. What do the days look like after practice? Tons of meetings, workouts, etc? Curious to know what time the players leave MEC and do they still stay in hotels like the old training camp days?
Tons of meetings, a walkthrough, lunch, working out, more meetings, dinner, more meetings.
Tom from Cairo, Egypt
With the exception of some of the more uniquely built running backs, Maurice Jones-Drew and Jerome Bettis come to mind, isn't it fair to say most NFL running backs have the physical makeup to play multiple positions in the NFL had they pursued that rather than running back? I for one do not doubt that Travis Etienne, for example, has all the attributes to be a great NFL safety if that had been the path he chose.
This references a recent O-Zone email about a possible future shortage of NFL running backs because the so-called devaluing of the position could steer players from the position. I don't doubt some players might choose other positions for this reason. I doubt it would happen enough to cause a shortage. Players tend to gravitate to the position at which they excel and like. Some might have the foresight in their teens to veer from that, but would it happen enough to cause a shortage? I'm hard-pressed to say yes.
Jeremy from Gilbert, AZ
How many Pro Bowls or All-Pro seasons did former Jaguars defensive lineman Tyson Alualu have? He was a Top 10 pick, so I consider him a bust. I'm not sure what general managers are expecting out of Top 10 draft picks but I'm sure it's a lot more than a steady NFL career.
Ethan from Austin, TX
When a player's profile lists "experience," does that mean how many years they've played before this one? Only "accrued' seasons?" Or does it include the current season? And when does that number change; when the league year starts? When the rosters are finalized? Am I thinking too hard about this? I was looking up Tim Jones on this site after yesterday's O-Zone, and I know I could just look up when he was drafted, but I was curious about what that number actually reflected.
You're thinking too hard about this. I'll answer anyway. A player's "experience" on official NFL rosters is the "official" accrued season in which they are in at the moment. A rookie is listed as "R." A player such as linebacker Devin Lloyd – a first-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft – is a second-year veteran with a "2" in his listing. The numbers change when one League Year turns into the next each March.
Chris from Fleming Island
O-Man, in Wednesday's Times-Union. Tim Walters said the defense will be leaning on Jared Allen to lead the group. Jared Allen was really good in his prime, but isn't he a little old to have the defense lean on him? I know you can't report signings until they are official, but I didn't hear anything about this. Maybe you could ask Tim where he got his info.
I probably would do this if I cared. I don't. I won't.
Al from Orange Park, FL
"It's not as if good running backs are getting paid pocket change. There is still the chance for life-changing money." I'm glad that someone finally wrote that. I've been meaning to write in, but have been too lazy. There's the concept of "whatever the market will bear." If the market for running backs pays less, so be it. Not everyone in the sport needs to be mega-millionaires. If a crop of young men get life changing money for four years, albeit not mega-millions, then a new crop gets life changing money for four years, great! Share the wealth.
My sense is this conversation about running backs being devalued eventually will land here and that the market indeed will bear what the market will bear. I could be wrong. Weirder events have transpired. But I just don't know that it's realistic to change the Collective Bargaining Agreements because teams independent of one another believe certain positions are worth more than others.
Christopher from Conyers, GA
I just stayed up all night. How about we have wide receiver Calvin Ridley always with a football? So, he buys one every week. He autographs it and actually carries it around a little bit when he's not on the game field. Then they auction the football for charity. I think Calvin Ridley is really is going to take this offense to the next level in 2023. Duuuvaaall!!!
Go to sleep.