JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL
Zone, we need some conversation starters for a couple weeks. What's the best (and worst) press box food and where? Did you see any of Tom Grosso's 30 in 30 fundraiser on YouTube? What's something you watch on TV you hate to admit you watch? Who are the two-to-three most underrated players you have covered? If you could change one thing about the NFL with a "Bewitched"-style nose wiggle, what would it be? Outside of Fred Taylor and Jimmy Smith, who is the next Jaguar player to generate conversation about being in the HOF?
A lot of questions, I'll spray around some answers. The NFL's best press box food is a tough call because I don't care if the food is great as long as it's not awful; I'm more about reliability than high-end fare. The food in Cincinnati has been good since Paul Brown Stadium has come into being, and the food at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. is always solid. But most NFL stadiums are fine on this front these days. On the other end, so many stadiums have upgraded press-box food as they have upgraded their facilities that no press box really stands out as the worst anymore. I did not watch Grossi's 30 for 30 fundraiser; I had nothing against it, I just didn't take the time to watch. I pretty much just watched streamed television and movies these days, so I don't mind admitting watching anything; I'm currently alternating between watching 10-Year-Old Tom and Barry on HBO and am proud to admit to both shows. As for twitching the nose and changing the NFL, I wouldn't mind returning to defensive players being able to hit and contact receivers a little more as they did before the rules were changed to favor passing – though I hold out no hope of that in this safety-driven era. Next: I don't know that I have two or three "underrated" players I've ever covered, though I certainly think running back Fred Taylor and wide receiver Jimmy Smith are overlooked by Hall of Fame voters. I might throw former Jaguars linebacker Daryl Smith into that category, too; he was really good and rarely was recognized for it. Finally, I suppose former cornerback Jalen Ramsey eventually will generate Hall-of-Fame conversation. Will he be the next former Jaguars player to be so considered? Will Ramsey eventually be enshrined? I suppose, but I don't know that it's a lock.
Chief from Biloxi, MS
It seems that we're reapitting the tight-end story once more (Tim Tebow)?
I guess you're comparing the Jaguar reportedly signing tight end Josh Pederson, the son of Head Coach Doug Pederson, to the Jaguars signing Tim Tebow when Urban Meyer was the head coach. I said this often during the "Tebow saga" and the same is true now: It's one roster spot. There are many, many players signed by every NFL team each offseason with little chance to make the team. Of all of Meyer's missteps while the Jaguars' head coach, that was low on the list in terms of real damage done. There is also a notable difference here: Josh Pederson has played tight end his entire career, spending time with San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs and recently playing for the Houston Gamblers of the USFL. That's a smidge more experience than Tebow had at the position.
Carl from Jacksonville
Happy 10-year Anniversary of #Moodachay, John!
JR from The Squatchlands
O-man, there has been a lot of talk this season about the ongoing devaluation of the running back position. What's your take on this? Are running backs going to go the way of fullbacks? Is the NFL going to start looking more like arena football?!
I've received multiple emails along these lines this offseason, and many people are seemingly missing the point on the NFL's "devaluation" of running backs. Production from the position still has great value. Teams must be able to run. What doesn't have as much value are individual running backs, particularly running backs with more than four or five NFL seasons of wear and tear. I can't imagine the league ever not having running backs. I can even see teams using the position more and emphasizing the run more in the coming seasons; while it's a passing league, it's also a cyclical league. I mostly expect running backs to continue to be used as they increasingly have been used in recent seasons – as workhorses for the first four or five seasons of their careers and then viewed with caution as long-term investments thereafter.
Tom from Jacksonville
Please let me second Rat Dog Field as the name of the new stadium. EverBank should change its name to Rat Dog Bank to accommodate the suggestion. It would be unique and attract attention throughout the U.S. (and London). Since you own the original Rat Dog, you might be entitled to a small fee for naming rights.
Rat Dog cost us $25 at the Nassau County Animal Shelter – and, of course, thousands in food, medicine and vet bills since. I'm not expecting financial return on the investment.
Sean from Oakleaf, FL
I do believe realignment in the NFL will come someday; the three trips the Dallas Cowboys make to the Northeast each year and the three reciprocal trips for the rest of the division will eventually be deemed not planet friendly due to the greenhouse gases created from those long trips. It will be symbolic only as those six flights' contributions to the problem are minuscule.
If/when realignment becomes a pertinent enough topic to be possible, I expect teams in the NFC East and other divisions to emphasize traditional rivalries over travel distance. For this reason, I will be surprised if a division such as the East is ever broken up. I could be wrong. I'm old. I can't be expected to maintain perfection forever.
Mayo from Tennysee
Zones, Wie kant weight fer thee Footsball seeson 2 bgin. Uss uphear in Tennysee R gonna beet up on u Jagwires. Sea Yew reals oon!
An old sports editor of mine once told me, "You can't force funny" when you write. You either are or you aren't – and if you're not, you're not. Or something like that.
Richard from Jacksonville
In 1995 I was in my 20s. I worked for the NFL at the Jaguars brand new stadium. Life was good. In 10 years, I never missed a home game from the sideline. I knew every inch of that stadium. Then in 2005, I had some problems and could no longer handle the 12-hour Sundays. Later, the stadium got upgrades inside and out. I knew the stadium a little bit less, but it was still familiar. Same with me. I've had some upgrades, too. Recently they catastrophically failed. I have to have a complete rebuild on Tuesday. It's necessary, but I'm still nervous about it. I have to spend a lot of money I don't want to on it. I need to keep making memories, so I'm doing it. I started to think of the stadium the same way. I'm sad The 'Bank is going away. I'll never know the new stadium in the same way. When staff left for the Miller Electric Facility, it was the end of an era for the current stadium and me personally. I felt it in my bones. Literally. There is a necessity in life to become new. Now is that time. Don't let something that doesn't really matter (Like the joy of complaining about where your lifetime $120 dollars in a half cent tax will go) stop you from having something you enjoy and create lifelong memories with. (Like the Jaguars in Jacksonville and a new stadium.) The desire to keep making memories trumps all. It's what pushes us to live. I can't imagine my life without The Jaguars in it. Keep making memories. One of 32. Thank you, John.
Best of thoughts with you Tuesday.
Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire, UK
Oh Mighty 'O' / King of all Funk, Farnborough definitely needs lots of bins with pedals. Who can forget the horrendous 'Bin Wars' of the early 2000s? Farnborough never forgets! Clearly Unhipcat has. Shame.
Ted from Jacksonville and section 221
John. With training camp opening in just over two weeks, my grandson is excited to be able to go and experience the new Miller Electric Center. Have you heard yet of any dates that will be open to the public? With last year's camp being closed to the public and the year before limited interaction with the players due to Covid, my grandson is hoping to finally get some autographs of some of his favorite players. Thanks and Go Jags.
Jaguars 2023 Training Camp begins July 26, with practices likely to be open that day – and multiple days during camp. I would expect a schedule of open days and practices to be announced – and therefore official – very soon.