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O-Zone: Thank goodness

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it...

Al from Orange Park, FL

For those like me who are old and forgetful, would you run through how much the starters tend to play in each of the four preseason games?

This varies a bit from team to team, and it also can change based on injuries – and how much certain coaches want to see from certain units. But starters typically play a series or two in Week 1 of the NFL Preseason and a series or two more than that in Week 2. They typically will play into the second half of Preseason Week 3 because many coaches want players to get a preseason game’s worth of halftime adjustments before the regular season. Preseason Week 4 has changed a lot since I began covering the league in the mid-1990s. Starters used to play a series or two in that game. Now, it’s rare for any of the top 25-to-30 players on a roster to play even a snap in the preseason finale.

Ray from Newport News, VA

According to overthecap.com, Jaguars have $18 million in cap space this year but are over the cap by $19 million next year. Any chance in redoing so contracts this year to even this out?

That’s unnecessary. Teams can roll unused cap space into the next league year.

Big on Blake from Philly

Quick question, is it a coincidence that all your plays of the day from training camp are passes from quarterback Blake Bortles? Or is this truly an example of the quarterback taking over the offense and showing his command on the field day-in and day-out? Regardless, I enjoy seeing his highlights being plays of the day and not hearing about his shortcomings versus the stories he produced in camp last year. His lows are indeed not as low. Go Jags. One fer Blake.

There’s a high percentage chance the play of the day in any NFL training camp is going to be a pass play because there aren’t a lot of live running or special teams plays. Because Bortles is working with the starters, there’s also a higher chance he’s going to have the highlight play most days. But yes … he’s playing well in this camp and producing a lot of memorable plays. So … one fer Blake.

Dwayne from Jacksonville

C'mon! Next you'll be telling us Jay Solomon was a surfer dude.

No, but he was the nicest guy in Jacksonville sports media and a class act. Anyone would aspire to such a legacy (not me, of course … anyone else).

Maritza from Mandarin, FL

I got the song "Funky Zone Medina" stuck in my head, and just can't seem to shake it...? Cold coolin' at the Bank, lookin' for some writin' action... Mick Jagger don't know nothin' 'bout no reader satisfaction ...

The Jaguars open the 2018 preseason against the New Orleans Saints at TIAA Bank Field Thursday.

Steve from Ajijic, Mexico

JO: LeBron James had a workout last offseason that helped his durability. Do many athletes try nutrition and workouts from pros in other sports?

Elite professional athletes search tirelessly for edges wherever they can find them. It’s not as if Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey is googling “LeBron James nutrition” to find out how many strawberry/banana smoothies James drank, but the search for research and advances in durability, strength and longevity is constant.

Jon from Nashville, TN

What seems to be the general idea of what Donte Moncrief could actually produce? What can we expect to see? I’m reading a lot about chemistry with Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Blake, but not so much about Donte. Am I missing something, or do you think the high-priced, one-year deal was worth it?

You haven’t read much about chemistry with Moncrief and Bortles in training camp because Moncrief missed much of the first full week with an ankle issue. He returned for the Florida Blue Family Night practice Friday and has practiced since. Moncrief’s chemistry with Bortles was good throughout organized team activities and minicamp – and I expect Moncrief to start the regular-season opener if he remains healthy between now and then. He has looked good the last two or three practices – a continuation of how he looked throughout much of the offseason. I expect he will score six-to-nine touchdowns and be a player for whom defenses must account on deep and intermediate routes. That would be good production for Moncrief.

Anthony from Madison, WI

There's something to be said about luck when it comes to injuries, but our luck in this area last season was downright incredible. While we did lose wide receiver Allen Robinson for the season, the remainder of the team went nearly unscathed – at least of the major contributors. Do you think these intense practices and conditioning periods that the Jags have done under Marrone and Coughlin the past two years has any effect in this area, or are we simply the benefactors of lady luck?

The Jaguars’ defense did have notable good fortune with injuries last season. I wouldn’t say the same was true of the offense, with most of the line missing at least one game and with pretty much the entire receiving corps except for Keelan Cole missing at least multiple games. Also, running back Leonard Fournette fought through a lower leg injury that hampered him much of the second half of the season. I think the Jaguars’ strength-and-conditioning staff does a very good job training players and helping Marrone and the staff structure practices to reduce soft-tissue and strain-based injuries, but luck can’t be ignored.

Edward from Los Angeles, CA

John, the Jaguars appear to have the roster makeup of a serious Super Bowl contender -- not just for the coming season but for years to come. Would you agree?

Sure.

Ian from Duuuvaalll

This isn’t a question, so much as commentary. This new rule about tackling seems easy to solve. When I played, a thousand years ago, I was coached to look at their numbers. Tackle head-up, staring at the numbers. I realize the NFL is a much more physical form of football, and players lower their head to protect themselves. But heads up football was, and is, the way to play. You can look heads up and tackle with your shoulder. It is possible. These guys are athletes. If I could do it, they damn sure can!

Much of the NFL’s approach to this issue is based on this point. The speed and violence of the game conspire to not make the issue quite so simple as you cite, but the league’s initiative toward making the game safer undoubtedly will include a lot of talk about seeing what you hit.

The Other Michael from Middleburg, FL

Why all the heartburn over backup quarterback? From what I can tell, Tanner Lee has been abysmal, but he was considered a project quarterback coming in. Cody Kessler seems solid, though. Didn't we all expect Kessler to be the backup and Lee to be practice squad? I guess I equate a hum-drum, drama-less camp with few real roster battles (except the last five spots or so on the roster) to be a sign of a Super Bowl caliber team.

There’s heartburn and drama over the backup quarterback position because training camp is the time for finding heartburn and drama at every turn. Remember, there was once a training camp in which Jalen Ramsey – then perhaps the top cornerback in the NFL – missed a few padded practices for the birth of a daughter. Believe it or not, some Jaguars fans wondered if the absence would cause a problem with teammates. Some wanted the team to take action. I kid you not!! There was actually a level of angst over such things back in the day. As for the Jaguars’ backup quarterback position, Kessler has looked OK for the most part – and he seems to be making more and more plays with each practice. And yeah … I would expect him to be the backup with Lee developing on the practice squad.

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Dave from Vilano Beach, FL_

Another feature that disappeared with the new website design was an RSS feed. I used that as my daily reminder of what I need to do at work – I mean on break. Please tell the man we need that, too!

We remain hopeful the situation will improve.

Don from Lake Mary, FL and Section 35 Since Day 2

Dante Fowler Jr. remains on the physically unable to perform list as the first preseason game approaches. We know he’ll miss the first regular-season game due to his suspension. Unless he’s still on the PUP when the regular season starts, and therefore is out for six games, how soon do you think he needs to start come off the PUP and start practicing football to be able to play against the Patriots in the second game.

Fowler is scheduled to play his first game against the New England Patriots September 16. That’s 40 days away. He probably needs to be practicing in a few weeks to play effectively then.

Jerell from Columbia, SC

What’s good ZONE??? I am BACK!

/Sits in stunned silence.

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