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O-Zone: Sound the alarm

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Michael from Orange Park, FL

The dead zone is almost over. We made it, Zone. I feel good about the Jaguars.

The 2022 dead zone indeed is (mercifully, finally) drawing to a close. Jaguars 2022 Training Camp will open Monday, with players scheduled to report to TIAA Bank Field Sunday. O-Zone questions at that point likely will focus less on longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette and the positives/negatives of Bruce Springsteen and R.E.M. – not to mention the goods and bads of chicken wings – and more on the day-to-day goings on quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the rest of Jaguars. And hooray for that, I suppose, because it indeed feels like time to start gnawing more on the meaty issues surrounding this team. And you know what? You say you feel good about the Jaguars? Good for you. You should feel good. We don't know what the season will bring but Lawrence is a reason to feel good. So is Head Coach Doug Pederson. So are what appear to be some good offseason acquisitions – from drafted linebackers Travon Walker and Devin Lloyd to free-agent acquisitions such as wide receiver Christian Kirk, tight end Evan Engram and so on. Yes, there are concerns. And I still believe this team will be a year from contending for the postseason. But there also is plenty of reason to believe the Jaguars will be improved from the past two seasons. There are legitimate reasons to believe better days are ahead. So, yes, Michael … feel good as training camp begins. Absolutely.

David from Chuluota, FL

O-Zone – I need the weekly radio and video content on to satisfy my insatiable appetite for Jaguar news. Do you know what date the radio/video various shows will return?

The first Jaguars Reporters Podcast is expected to post Monday, the first day of training camp. I've heard tell of a second such podcast – featuring myself, Brian Sexton, Ashlyn Sullivan and J.P. Shadrick – the following Friday. I've also heard tell of a special edition of Jaguars Drive Time the first Thursday of camp (July 28). Details to follow when finalized.

Levi from Cd'A, Idaho

Would life be more enjoyable if I lived in Florida?

Yours? No.

Charles from Riverside

Hello, John. Tough to decide what makes the best of the best when it comes to quarterbacks. I guess a quarterback needs to have the big wins and the stats to be in the very upper echelon? But if it only comes down to stats like, say, Roger Staubach (no big wins really) versus big wins like say Ken Stabler (no high-end stats really), I'm taking Stabler every time. You could list a ton of quarterbacks on either side of this divide, lends itself to an interesting comparison and debate.

Your first point is correct – that deciding the best of the best when it comes to quarterbacks is difficult. It's actually difficult to the point of being impossible, which is why we endlessly debate the subject. And yes … winning versus statistics always will be one of the most debatable topics in this discussion. But while it's not in my football DNA to defend Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, I must disagree regarding him having no big victories. Staubach essentially started eight full seasons – 1971 and 1973-1979. The Cowboys made the playoffs in seven of those seasons, played in four Super Bowls and won two of them. He was the quarterback in some of the most remarkable late-game victories of the 1970s – a victory over the San Francisco 49ers in the 1972 postseason, the Hail Mary victory over the Minnesota Vikings in the 1975 postseason and a come-from-behind victory to knock Washington out of the postseason 1979 to name a few. He was, along with Stabler, perhaps the best late-game quarterback of the era. His ability in the two-minute offense left young O-Zone scarred to the point that I still illogically hate Staubach, even at our advance ages. I'm off on a tangent here, I know, but what's right is right – and to say Staubach didn't have big victories is just wrong.

DT from NW AR

When the Jaguars have playoff fun again will you write another book? Jags to Riches Part II: The Duke of Duval?

Stay tuned.

Nathan from Utah, US

Dead Zone, my two "players to watch" will be the running backs on offense and which D-lineman attracts most double-team protection. I say this is a very good defense. Are we perhaps underestimating its strength stemming from the interior line? On offense, are double-team protections assigned pre-snap? #SNOOOPVAL!!!

Good eye – multiple good eyes, actually. First, double teams are often predetermined either by play call or defensive looks. As for your other questions … the Jaguars' running backs are indeed among the positions to watch offensively. The combination of Travis Etienne Jr., James Robinson and Snoop Conner could be a deep, productive group with explosiveness and proven reliability. That's if the group is healthy. If it's not healthy, it could be a problem area without adequate depth or versatility. And it will be intriguing to see who among the defensive front can attract double teams. I expect Josh Allen to do so. We'll see if Walker is ready to be such a player as a rookie. And yes … this defense has a chance to be good. That's particularly true if Walker and rookie linebacker Devin Lloyd can make a quick impact. The interior defensive front is intriguing, too. The Jaguars believe players such as Foley Fatukasi, Malcom Brown, Roy "Don't Call me Roy Roberts" Robertson-Harris can make this area a stout strength. If they're right, the defense can indeed be pretty good. Stay tuned.

Andy Boy from Halifax

Do you think you are more frustrating or bemusing?

I am the King of all Funk.

Andy from St. Augustine, FL

I agree that Debbie Harry was cool - but to say no one was cooler? Stevie Nicks, Chrissie Hynde, Grace Slick and Ann Wilson (Heart's actual lead singer, no matter what Crash thinks) would like a word with you. (I'd also include Linda Ronstadt in that group, but she wasn't a lead vocalist of a group - more of a solo artist).

You listed multiple really cool female lead singers – and you're correct about Ann Wilson as Heart's lead singer. All the singers you listed are cool and talented, and I consider Linda Ronstadt the best female rock vocalist of all-time. Still, you didn't mention anyone cooler than Debbie Harry.

Jonathan from Jax

Robert Plant was the greatest front man in the greatest band of all time. No question. Freddie Mercury had the best voice but sung about women on bikes. Anthony Keitis, Eddie Vedder, Maynard all qualify from my generation as they are all still making relevant and great music. Agree with Mick Jagger to some extent but what about James Brown and Elvis? Really too many to reduce to just four but Led Zeppelin is the greatest. Nobody was more copied and imitation is the best form of flattery. Not to mention they were so diverse and all except Bonham were accomplished songwriters and Bonham, of course, is the best drummer ever.

Hey, one fer Plant and Zeppelin.

Jeff from Wake Forest, NC

Do you know the most pleasant thing about this offseason has been?  When I go onto NFL related sites, there has been no press about us. I know this has always been a hot point in regard to no one talking about us but after last year's debacle, it is refreshing to click on my team and not constantly being bombarded with bad news. To me, this means they are doing it right and are all business, no distractions. In fact, the last "news" I heard up here in NC about them was still in regards to cleaning up last year's mess. Boy, that's nice.

Fair – and good eye. When answering a similar question in recent weeks, I focused on the Jaguars' locker room currently being full of good and likeable players who seem to be focused primarily on football. I was remiss in not mentioning the most obvious change from last season, which indeed is having Pederson as head coach as opposed to Urban Meyer. When Pederson was hired, the assumption was that the culture/environment around the Jaguars would assume a calmer and more professional feel. That has been the case, and there has been a welcome media silence. All business? No distractions? Yeah, that has been nice. No doubt.

Alexander Pseudonym from Willacoochie, GA

Do you ever publish questions from readers who give fake names?


Sean from Jacksonville

Could you please give me a wakeup call when training camp begins?

No. Jaguars 2022 Training Camp will begin Monday, July 25, with players reporting the previous day. I assume you have a smart phone. Set the alarm.