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O-Zone: Such a nice guy

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Michael from Orange Park, FL

Sigh. Why can't the Jaguars have nice things? Ever?

This is a common refrain from Jaguars fans. But while the refrain made sense and had merit for years, I don't know that it's true anymore that the Jaguars "don't have nice things." They were fortunate to have the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft in a year when a projected "generational quarterback" was available. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence certainly qualifies as a "nice thing." They then were able to hire a head coach, Doug Pederson, with a Super Bowl championship in his background. Through his first six months or so on the job, it appears that having Pederson as head coach also is a "nice thing" for the Jaguars. If the Jaguars start progressing and having some success in the coming seasons, nice things on the field – and everywhere – will follow. I know some of this is projection and requires belief from a fan base that has been burned a lot, but it does feel like nice things are possible – even likely – in the foreseeable future. Here's hoping.

Ross from Mechanicsville, VA

I recently saw an article that claimed Shenault was a Year 3 breakout candidate. The article cited that he forced 20 missed tackles and only one other receiver was able to do better. I had never considered this kind of a stat. It seemed to me Shenault struggled last year a bit, but maybe he didn't. Let's use receiver as an example. Are there rarely-used stats that you would use to indicate possible success that most uneducated football enthusiasts like myself would miss? What about quarterback? Personally, I think the eye test is probably best, but you're the expert ... behind cultural icon Mr. Frenette of course.

Projecting statistics is a tricky way to judge future individual success in the NFL, and I – like you – prefer the eye test to project if a player might be good in the future. I do like to look at pressures for a pass rusher as a way of projecting if a player might be ready for a breakout sack season; if a defensive player is around the quarterback a lot, sacks at some point will follow. And I'm big on yards per attempt when judging quarterback play, though it's not as much a "predictor" stat as one that shows quarterback effectiveness in a given season. When looking at an offensive skill player, you also might try looking at yards per reception or yards per rush when analyzing a player who hasn't yet received extensive opportunities. As far as Jaguars wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. as a potential breakout player, his chances to do that depend on catching more consistently and getting open more consistently more than forcing missed tackles. There's little question that Shenault's size and power is a problem for defenses once he catches the ball. What remains to be seen is whether he's good enough at the wide-receiver skills to take advantage of his abilities as a runner.

Tommy from Fernandina Beach, FL

Halfway thru the dead zone and no Jags news on the police blotter. Zone, guess no news is good news?

Well, yes.

Gary from Suffolk, VA

Wifey and I are planning to make the trip across the pond this year for the game. Any recommendations on any "tourist" attractions that are a must? Thanks in advance!!

You're asking if there are any "tourist attractions" in London. Nah. There's nothing in the way of history or culture. At least not that I recall.

Marty from Jacksonville

John, speaking of concession prices in the stadium, it's not the prices I have a problem with. I am willing to support the team. The problem I have with the concession prices is that I can no longer pay with cash, which means my wife can see that I paid $11 plus tip for a single beer.

I know exactly what you're talking about.

Paul from Saint Johns

You live in Springfield? Why? You really are savage…

Not really. I've lived in many areas of Jacksonville in nearly 40 years here. There aren't many – if any – I would choose over Springfield.

John from Jacksonville

Hi KOAGF - How did you develop such bad taste in music and TV? You need to broaden your horizons and enjoy the good (that comes with your bad). You need to ponder on what happened over a couple of slices of Sbarros.

I am the king of all funk.

Michael from Fruit Cove, FL

You seem to always have a very optimistic view of the Jaguars, the coaches, the players the front office, ownership, etc. The fans complain about something and your go-to answer is always "stay tuned" or "the story isn't written" or "there's no reason it can't get better." Rarely if ever do you say, "I don't expect this to work out on the field." This is really sticking out to me with your 20/20 hindsight about former Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer. You recently answered a question about how the first preseason game can be worrisome. That isn't how you described it at the time. "No need to panic, it's the first preseason game." But now you're saying that the first preseason game is a concern if the team looks lost. There's a 100 percent chance you'll change that answer (again) in a few weeks if the team looks lost in Canton.

People ask questions. I answer them. That's the job. I can't control how my answers are perceived. I have written that I think the Jaguars will be improved this season. I don't think they'll have a winning season. I don't think they will make the playoffs and I don't know that they will be in "serious" contention when December begins, though I expect they could be "mathematically alive." Is that optimistic? Pessimistic? I don't know and don't particularly care. It's how I see it. If the Jaguars look lost in their first preseason game, it will be a concern. What will I write specifically if that happens? I don't know. I suspect I'll do what I always do, which is try to explain to Jaguars fans and other readers of this column why something happened and how the Jaguars will approach what happened. Insider tip: There are many sources where you can find "hot takes" and "quick-trigger (over)reactions" from "experts" who want to draw overarching conclusions from single plays and games. That's not my approach. I try to apply what I've learned covering the NFL for nearly three decades and give readers something close to insight. Sometimes, I succeed. Other times not so much. How will I fare moving forward? Stay tuned. Or don't. It's whatever.

Michael from Middleburg, FL

You're so hypocritical … you state you're not a fan nor get excited about the team then in a very next comment you're anxious to see Trevor get better and other players and components improve. That, my friend, is a definition of fan.

Busted, I guess.

William the Contemplator from Jax

Mr. O, there hasn't been much talk about the inevitable injuries that are going to happen in preparation for the start of the season. Without needed to name specific players, which of our rooms seem least able to take serious hits at this point?

The Jaguars went 3-14 last season and 1-15 the season before that, so any talk of depth must be countered with the idea that that depth must prove itself capable. But the Jaguars do appear to have decent depth in multiple positions, including offensive line – and at some positions along the defensive front seven. Quarterback is obviously a position where you don't want to see an injury in the starting lineup. Add receiver and safety to that, too. Bottom line: This realistically probably won't be an incredibly deep team. That's usually true of building teams.

Abel from Westside

I wasn't a fan of Bruce Springsteen or the Beatles! But when I was a young sailor in 1974, I was 19 from Hawaii, hanging out with some friends at Great Lakes, Ill., going to a Navy School when I heard Lynyrd Skynyrd for the first time! I was like this band is really good! Been a fan ever since and Free Bird is my favorite!

Good ear. I, like most people my age in Jacksonville, grew up on Skynyrd on radio – to the point it was at times too much and I went through a long phase of not liking them all that much. A while after that, I revisited their entire catalogue and came to appreciate them as one of the great bands of my lifetime. I also came to appreciate Ronnie Van Zant as one of rock's great songwriters. And Curtis Loew was the finest picker to ever play the blues.

Dalton from The Double Deuce

I want you to be nice until it's time to not be nice.