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O-Zone: Still staying gold

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Levi from Boise, ID

Two-parter here, honest answers only. 1. Do you imagine that since the NFL started there has been a team with a high Round 1 draft pick but also was in cap hell, so they decided to trade out of the first to avoid paying more on high-round rookies? 2. If a player has issues with a coach or a member of their team's organization, what avenues do players have to communicate up the chain about any issues with staff?

Thanks for the instructions. I was going to reference my book of dishonest answers for this question, but I'll wait for that until next week. First question. The NFL only has had a salary cap since 1993. While cap issues and the then-ridiculous cost of certain early draft selections – i.e., quarterbacks selected in the Top 5 or so – did for a time cause teams to consider trading out of those early selections, the implementation of the rookie wage scale in 2011 did much to correct that situation. While early draft selections are still more expensive than later selections, the cost no longer is extreme enough to break a team's salary cap. Second question. How players handle tricky situations with a head coach or members of an organization's staff varies from team to team. Most wise head coaches these days have player leadership councils to try to prevent or handle such issues. The NFL Players Association also is in place in part for this reason.

Sean from Oakleaf, FL

I enjoyed reading your piece on Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. Can you expand a little on the importance for a runner to stay behind his blockers to get a few more yards and perhaps absorb less of a full-speed tackle by a defender? I will assume there were some unharvested running yards last year by Travis running around his forward moving blocking wall versus staying behind it?

I wrote about Etienne last week. In the story, Etienne discussed a bit about wanting to continue improving fundamentally as a runner. Part of that is being more patient as a runner. When Etienne discusses this, it's not about protecting himself and it's not getting hit hard. It's about better following blockers and the play as designed as opposed to trying to break a long gain on every play. The more he improves in this vein, the more consistent Etienne and the running offense will become. Etienne has talked often in recent seasons about his tendency to look to break outside for a long gain, a habit that stems from his collegiate days at Clemson when – as he put it – he was fast enough and good enough to look to score on every play. That's not possible in the NFL, where it's necessary to follow blocks and run the play as designed. Etienne improved in this area last season. His objective now is to continue that improvement.

Thomas from section 125 from Jacksonville aka DUUUVAL

I see consistency with Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud heading into Year 2 after winning Rookie of the Year. This year he might be MVP! He's a more vocal leader than Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who just be nonchalant after he turns the ball over. Like in his Clemson days because everything was given to him, not earned. He was surrounded by pure talent in a weak ACC conference. He's all hype and a bust! The organization will be stuck with a bad investment for the next five years. Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke ruin the 49ers' organization and it took John Lynch to come clean it up and that's facts.

You seem to confuse exclamation points and passion with "facts." That's OK. You're far from alone in this.

Thomas-section239 from Ocala

Is Jarvis Landry still working out with the Jaguars?

No. Veteran wide receiver Jarvis Landry participated in 2024 Rookie Minicamp earlier this month on a tryout basis. He did not sign with the team and therefore is not on the roster – and is no longer working out with the Jaguars.

Richard from Lincoln, RI

Zach from J-ville seems to think we're in the dog days of summer. I'm looking at my calendar and it says it's May 2, not August 23. Doesn't summer begin on June 20?

The first day of summer indeed is June 20. Let's go easy on Zach, though. I sense he, like most of us, is just trying to get by.

Fred from Naples, FL

Max "The Hitman" Hochman vs. Gene "The Dream" Frenette. Who do you like and why?

Longtime O-Zone readers – and he knows who he is – well know my respect intellectually and physically for longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette. He is dynamic and cross him at your peril. That said, this Hochman fellow is just built different. I usually lean toward Gene in one-on-one competition. On this one, I don't know. I just don't.

Big on Blake from Philly

Zone, just trying to figure out the thinking better of inviting the O-Zone submitters together. A) if you put the invite on O-Zone, your fan will be the only one that shows up; B) You are all the submitters and if one of the legitimate submitters attends it will be an awkward charade of costume changes and accents – ala classic sitcom switch-a-roo hijinks. I mean that'd be a good time, but then again I am you.

If I have a goal this summer, it's to minimize switch-a-roo hi-jinks. I think we all can get on board with that.

Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire, UK

Oh Mighty 'O' / King of All Funk, how long can a team keep an International Pathway Player on their roster? I understand these players are given a special "status" by the NFL, so do not count towards the 53. The Jags were awarded Ayo Oyelola in 2022 and Patrick Murtagh this year. Do teams eventually have to sign them to either the 53 or practice squad at some point? Oyelola seems to have disappeared from the Team page. Is he still part of the Jaguars? Also "hello" to Chris from Sect 437, would love to meet up but the Atlantic Ocean is in the way.

The NFL's International Pathway Program was established in 2017, with NFL teams able to sign athletes from around the world – and to give them an opportunity to develop and earn their way onto an NFL roster. Safety Ayo Oyelola spent the past two seasons on the Jaguars' practice squad as part of the program. When the Jaguars signed tight end Danny Murtagh as part of the program early this offseason, they released Oyelola from the program. If an IPP player earns his way onto an NFL active roster he can remain on the roster as long as any player.

Jerry from Italia, FL

Zone, I read that the Stadium of the Future is going to have synthetic turf, please say it ain't so. Other than the whole growing grass inside deal, why go away from grass?

There indeed are reports that the Jaguars' Stadium of the Future is expected to have synthetic turf. I don't have details on the whys of this issue yet. Stay tuned.

Gator from Gainesville but shopped at the Avenues once

Now that the Jags have a Southeastern Conference quarterback on the roster I expect big things. Everyone knows all the greatest quarterback came from the SEC. Now my question … do we lose the MIA game in addition to the two Indy games (as long as their quarterback are healthy) or do we have another "fluke" loss to a non-SEC quarterback?

You go, girl.

Zach from Jacksonville

Believe it or not, talking to other Florida residents many say the Jaguars' stadium isn't too bad it's just hot. Their main concern is after the games there was nothing to do downtown around the stadium. I know the city and the Jaguars are supposed to invest in the area around the stadium. What does that mean? Are they going to be building buildings for restaurants and hotels?

EverBank Stadium as it stands now indeed isn't "too bad," but it's no longer good enough by modern NFL standards. This is why the team has worked toward, researched and planned the "Stadium of the Future" for nearly four years and why the stadium is so important. As for the surrounding area, this is a work in progress. Jaguars Owner Shad Khan is building a Four Seasons Hotel and Residences with restaurants and other amenities across from the stadium. He also is building an office building across from the stadium. These are the first steps toward a flourishing area around the stadium, and that flourishing area is important to the success of the entire project – and to revitalizing downtown.

Scott from Jacksonville

Stop lying! NOBODY likes the color rush uniforms!

Color rush gold uniforms are cool. Senior writers like them.