O-Zone: Summer fun

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Steve from Hilton Head, SC

Thank you for the 25 games. It's fun to remember some great plays that I've forgotten over the years. The one that really hit home was the blocked field goal for a touchdown in the Pittsburgh game.

The 25 seasons, 25 games series currently running on jaguars.com was fun to research – and one of the stories I most enjoyed researching was the one on the Jaguars’ 30-21 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3 of the 1997 season. Researching the story gave me a chance to speak with former Jaguars safety Chris Hudson, whose blocked field goal return for a touchdown on that game’s final play was memorable partly because Steelers Head Coach Bill Cowher briefly moved as if to punch Hudson as he ran past the Steelers’ bench. Hudson was a third-round selection in the 1995 NFL Draft, the Jaguars’ inaugural draft. Shortly afterward, the Florida Times-Union sent me to Boulder, Colorado, to do a story on Tony Boselli – the team’s first draft selection and a Boulder native. While there, I interviewed Hudson at the University of Colorado – where he had been an All-America selection. I remember Hudson telling me the high altitude would make my morning run difficult, and I remember telling him any time I ran was difficult no matter the altitude. I always enjoyed speaking to Hudson during his time with the Jaguars, and I hadn’t been in contact with him since he left the team following the 1998 season. It was interesting hearing how much the relationships he had made during that time still mattered to him. That was a common theme for the players from that era. Those teams were special, and they’re remembered fondly by those who were part of them.

Scott from Jacksonville

C'mon, John: How are we going to part with "a lot" of superstars under any circumstance when we've drafted like two of them in the last 10 years?

Fair.

Billy from Oldmanville

I'd rather laugh with the Oehsers than cry with the saints.

We Oehsers are a proud lot with a deep tradition of tears, anguish and heartache. We believe not in laughter.

Steve from Cancun in August

O: Do you know which was the star squeeze box (accordion) maestro between Yosh or Stan Schmenge? Shirley you remember the last polka from the brothers?

I still never know what’s going on.

Steve from Duval

There was a report the Pro Football Hall of Fame may induct 20 new members in 2020. If that were to happen, which Jags should be elected?

Three former Jaguars – left tackle Tony Boselli, running back Fred Taylor and wide receiver Jimmy Smith – all should be enshrined in the Hall, but Boselli is the only one with a realistic chance in the short term. Here’s what Jaguars followers must realize: While the Hall indeed could induct 20 new members in 2020, the modern-era class won’t expand from previous seasons. That number under the 2020 proposal would be five, which is the number of modern-era candidates elected every year. The expanded categories would be seniors, coaches and contributors with the aim being to relieve a backlog in those categories. Because Taylor, Smith and Boselli are all still modern-era candidates, the expanded year wouldn’t help their chances.

Matt from Fort Worth, TX

What do you suppose that the Jags could do to get Gene Frenette over contract? I say over contract because Gene is not under anything.

Longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. “Gene” Frenette is beholden to no man. This is one of his many credos, with others including “Thou shalt remember Soggy Hood” and “When in doubt, write Lingmerth.”

Otto from Ponte Vedra, FL

John, with the possibility of an 18-game future, do you think the NFL may allow all 53 players to be active on game day? Go Jags!!

I don’t think the NFL will expand to an 18-game regular-season schedule soon, though it likely will continue to be a topic until the next Collective Bargaining Agreement is signed – and I do believe ownership eventually will get this. Either way, I would be surprised if the league moved to make all 53 players available on game day. The idea of each team having seven inactive players per game was to ensure teams enter games on somewhat even footing in terms of available players, and I don’t get the sense that the league will be quick to move away from that approach. I think it’s more likely the league would expand active rosters by a few players. That would give teams more players in the event of injuries, and it would mean more jobs. And the NFL Players Association always pushes for more jobs.

David from Orlando, FL

O: We’ve lost a lot of low-scoring games over the last few years. With better quarterback play, we should be in better position to pull out close or low-scoring games. For example, in the past, all the Tennessee Titans had to do to win against the Jaguars was score one or two touchdowns. That shouldn’t be good enough anymore. It sure would be nice to put the Titans back where they belong, in last place in the AFC South!

OK.

RJ from Jacksonville now Tallahassee, FL

I know it's past draft time, but would General Manager "King of all Funk" be a needs picker or more best player available? And why? Thanks, Ozone.

GM Funk King would take a realistic philosophy. I say it this way because while Need Versus BAP debated often in forums such as these, the reality is both are theoretical approaches that rarely play out in real life. Realistically, most general managers believe philosophically in a best-player-available approach to drafting. You always want to take the best player because no team has too many good players – and the more good players you have, the better your roster over the long term. That philosophy typically includes a dose of reality because many, many players are graded very close to one another. Personnel departments typically place players in groups and select from those groups based on need – meaning drafting is typically a mix of BPA/need rather than purely one or the other. 

Mike from Atlanta, GA

Robert Griffin III is a great example of what you were saying about mobile quarterbacks. He had a strong arm and ran as fast as anybody on the field, but he relied on his legs a lot. He would drop and let the defense spread across the field and take off. This exposed him to a lot of hits and injuries kept him off the field. He didn't really develop pocket-passer skills. In the NFL, everyone is fast and they are a lot bigger and stronger. These quarterbacks have to unlearn those instincts to take off and learn how to go through progressions and how to win from the pocket and use their legs always as a last resort.

RGIII is pretty much the prototype for mobile quarterbacks who struggled once mobility went away. That doesn’t mean all such quarterbacks will struggle once mobility goes away. It does mean it historically is difficult and will often be a concern until the player proves it’s not.

Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire, UK

Oh Mighty ‘O’ / King of Funk, you can listen to ten, and only ten, bands forever. I’ll assume REM is one; what are your other nine?

This changes often and is certainly different now than three decades ago when I was in college. Right now I’d go with REM, the Ramones, Merle Haggard, Elvis Costello, Van Morrison, the Clash, Beautiful South/Housemartins, Drive-By Truckers/Jason Isbell, Lloyd Cole, Warren Zevon and Lil Wayne.

Braddock from Jacksonville

I was there, too.

I know. I saw you. You didn’t see me because I saw you first.

Dave from Oviedo, FL

Zone: Why do we match up well against some good teams and not so much against others? For example, why do we always play the Pittsburgh Steelers tough, but mightily struggle against the Tennessee Titans?

Some of it is coincidence, meaning there’s no real connection between the Jaguars playing well against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1990s/2000s and then playing them well against the same franchise a couple of times in 2017. Ditto the Jaguars struggling against the Tennessee Titans in, say, 1999 – then hitting another tricky patch against that franchise the past few seasons. The matchups against those franchise in recent seasons come down to strengths. The Jaguars are very good against drop-back quarterbacks in pass-oriented attacks (the Steelers) and often not as good against run-heavy teams with mobile quarterbacks (the Titans).

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

Other than Myles Jack making candles, do you know of anyone in the Jaguars’ organization spending their summer doing something interesting? I’m sure some people are finishing degree requirements. Maybe some interesting travel/projects?

I saw End Game and the word is that Shadrick got his Hibiscus Crisis solved. Is that interesting enough for you?

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