O-Zone: Taco time

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Nick from Palatka, FL

I still don't get why the Jaguars didn't trade Leonard Fournette. Isn't he gone after the season anyway?

The Jaguars didn't trade running back Leonard Fournette this offseason for a couple of reasons. One is that they didn't get offers that made a trade make sense. Another is that Fournette is a good running back and the Jaguars believe he can help them win this season. I don't know if that means he will fit into their long-term plans after 2020; running back is a tricky position when it comes to signing players to big-money second contracts. But players with uncertain long-term futures can be good in the short term. For an NFL running back, that's a common scenario.

Ken from Fernandina Beach, FL

Ozone, I have an idea. Use your power(s) to make this happen: Why can't the Pro Bowl and Hall of Fame Game combine? Just change the date to one that is compatible for both HOF inductees and Pro Bowl nominations. It would make a lot of sense that many playing in this game may very well end up wearing a gold jacket someday.

The NFL makes money off both the Pro Bowl and the Hall of Fame Game. It would figure to make less by combining the games. That's not how the NFL does business.

Seamus from Vancouver, BC

Dude! Ya did it *again*! I sent you a ZoneMail over a week ago with a moviegoer example for the flag-kneeling debate! But, alas, you chose theirs ... it's cool, though, this being the Dead Zone and all. But, just curious, did you just like their example better or am I just ahead of my time with Zone emails? #mysteriesoftheuniverse

Some things are mysterious. For instance, it's sometimes a mystery to me that I do this every day. And I keep doing it. Go figure.

Zac from Austin, Tejas

People only call for "entertainment, not politics/social issues" when it's against what they believe. If the script were flipped, the argument would be coming from the other way down the street. So, I'm betting freedom of speech stands, despite the personal incredulity fallacy of some.

OK.

Paul from St. Johns, FL

How come the NBA doesn't allow players to kneel during the National Anthem? Aren't there fewer NBA players than NFL players? If there are fewer NBA players, then aren't they in more demand than NFL players – and as such, more prone to not being replaced if they took a knee? I remember other people making the comments that they couldn't kneel at their job or they would be fired, and you mentioned that the NFL is different.

I don't know why the NBA has the rules it does, though there indeed is an NBA rule that players must stand at attention for the National Anthem. The NFL banned kneeling for the anthem in 2018, though NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently said he encourages all players "to speak out and peacefully protest." I expect many NFL players to kneel during the National Anthem this season. I will be curious to see if NBA Players do the same – and even more curious to see if the NBA fines them if they do. If enough players did it often enough, the NBA would have to allow it. You're right that it's a players' league – far more than the NFL.

Eric from Columbus, IN

I was on board until "standing for the national anthem is a stance." The only stance standing represents is respect for the flag. You stand when someone does something great, you stand when your grandpa WWII vet enters the room, you stand when the Pope enters the room. I respect all of those positions. That's why you stand. You aren't making a political statement by showing respect to something. That's not fair. That's ridiculous. Don't stand, fine. Kneel, fine. But to say standing to show respect is anything more than respecting your flag and the country is a ridiculous claim.

Fair.

Tom from Jacksonville

John, maybe you covered this territory, but would it be wise to skip the National Anthem or play it before the teams take the field? I have a feeling we are going to regret what happens.

The NFL or its teams moving the National Anthem – or skipping it – at this point would be perceived (correctly) as trying to avoid the issue. I don't see the NFL handling it this way.

Al from Orange Park, FL

I imagine players with COVID won't be allowed to play in games. Thus, many games will be played without all of each team's best players on the field. Seems that the teams that manage to avoid the virus best, either by procedures or by luck, will have a significant leg up on teams that don't. So, at the end of the season, do the playoffs and Super Bowl really "count?" It seems like they would get an asterisk or something…

I doubt the NFL would use an asterisk in that situation – at least officially. I do think that when we look back and discuss the 2020 NFL season the story will be told in the context of Covid-19 – perhaps in a similar way to how we discuss sports during World War II. Historians know, for instance, that teams of that era were nowhere near as good as teams before or after the war. And historians know that players such as Ted Williams lost huge swaths of their careers because they were serving in the war. Those facts figure prominently when discussing the era, just as Covid-19 certainly will be discussed when discussing sports in 2020 and – and until the virus no longer alters daily life.

Bradley from Sparks, NV

Is it easier for a quarterback to play tight end at a high level or for a sportswriter to host a podcast at a high level?

This is a trick question. I've never seen a sportswriter do anything at a high level.

Fred form Naples, FLJ

If, by chance, there was no NFL season this year would we still have the same draft order in April of 2021 as we did in April of 2020?

This hasn't yet been determined because the NFL fully plans to play a full season in 2020, but the draft order presumably would be different. I would anticipate some sort of lottery – or perhaps you could go back and base the order on the teams' record over the last five seasons. I don't think it's something that would be solved to everyone's satisfaction, but it would be very difficult to just use the same draft order as 2020. To hand the Cincinnati Bengals the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft based on a season not played would be unfair. The teams selecting later in the draft understandably and correctly never would agree to it.

Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL

Let's get serious. How do you feel about pineapple on pizza?

I don't seek it out, but if someone hands me a piece of pineapple pizza, I'll eat it. Remember: there's no such thing as bad pizza or bad beer. There are varying degrees of both, but bad beer and bad pizza is still beer and pizza.

Nicholas from Fort Hood, TX

KOAGF: Does the league plan on making changes to the current injured reserve rule or create a status for "non-football related illness" for players that are quarantined due to testing positive for Covid-19? It seems that active roster slots could be filled with "quarantined players" making it more difficult to have depth on game day. This puts undue stress on the players in the game if there is no backup option for them.

The league had not yet addressed this publicly. I would be surprised if there isn't a roster contingency for players testing positive for Covid-19.

Crash from Westside

Live and let live. All for one and one for all.

A nod's as good as a wink to a blind bat.

Tony from Richmond, VA

Why wouldn't the Jags do something similar to what the Los Angeles Chargers did with Melvin Gordon? Allow his camp to seek a trade and then realize that there is no market for said player. Is there a hidden downside to this?

They could do this in theory, though I don't know that it would have an effect. It was well-known around the league before the 2020 NFL Draft that Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue wanted to be traded, and the Jaguars talked to teams about making the trade. There is no mystery about the market. Teams aren't willing to pay Ngakoue the long-term deal he wants AND give the Jaguars the compensation they want. That's true no matter who's "seeking" a trade.

Derek from Brookings

You know how many tacos you could buy with $70 million? I'm just saying...

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