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O-Zone: Thank heaven

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Gary from Palatka, FL

So, Etienne is working out at wide receiver? What gives?

Ah, here we are … knee deep in the latest "Jaguars Controversy." This one arose when Head Coach Urban Meyer said Saturday that rookie running back Travis Etienne was working out during 2021 Rookie Minicamp this week at wide receiver. On cue, some Jaguars observers – and a slew of national-media types – weighed in about the apparent ludicrousness of the move. It's honestly hard to remember a more overblown story, or more of a mass overreaction to a Jaguars-related event (EDITOR'S NOTE: It's actually not that hard and frankly is remarkably easy). The plan from the time the Jaguars selected Etienne No. 25 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft was to play him as a hybrid wide receiver/running back—not just a running back. Meyer referred to him as a "slash"-type player on draft weekend and said this Saturday: "We felt the worst-case scenario you have a running back with the skill-set of a wide receiver, and the best-case scenario you have a hybrid player who can do both." Etienne presumably knows how to run and would benefit very little from taking handoffs during an 18-player minicamp. Perhaps he might benefit a tad more from running routes in such an environment? Anyone. Anyone? Bueller?

Josh from Atlanta, GA

How did our previously injured rookies look moving around? More so Walker Little. Did he seem fully recovered and agile for a lineman? Super-stoked about that man.

I watched offensive tackle Walker Little moving around more than the other rookies at 2021 rookie minicamp Saturday. This was because I was curious about how he moved on the anterior cruciate ligament he tore early in his 2019 at Stanford University – and because the vantagepoint where he was working made it easier to see him than some other rookies. He looked good, was not limited and moved easily. This was as expected. He is said to have extremely good feet – and, because he is nearly two years removed from the injury, there was no reason to think he wouldn't move well.

_Cliff from Orange Park, FL           _

I am a Georgia fan, and I will not doubt Tim Tebow; he broke my heart too many times. I believe he will succeed at tight end. Size? He is basically the same size as Hayden Hurst, and he is faster. Football IQ? He will read defenses better than most and will know coverages and where he is supposed to be. He is ultracompetitive and will fight for every ball that comes his way. That leaves route running and catching, do you believe he will succeed at both? I do. He will be fun to watch.

I have no idea if Tebow will succeed at route running or catching at the NFL level. It seems a long shot, but it's not impossible. I expect to know more when/if Tebow indeed signs with the Jaguars and participates in a practice I can observe.

Gator from Gainesville, FL

Hugo from ABQ made a grate point and you got it rong! He said 15 will help the Jags stop the run and you said He wont play D Line.... how many times i gotta tell ya? is ya dumm or sumthin? He makes everyone round him better! He proved this everywhere he played...cept those terrible NFL teems He was on that didnt have a chance anyway like the stinky Patriots. He will leed us to victory!!!!

Gator remains "all in."

Corey from Jacksonville

Even though I'm a lifelong 'Nole, Tim Tebow signing makes this new Era in Duval even more fun! Why Not? I'm a true fan and life takes crazy turns. But is this maybe all just a positive publicity stunt for Duval?

I'm not much into the publicity-stunt angle (get off my lawn, Corey), but I do agree on one front: Why not? What's the harm? Try as I might, I just don't see it.

Unhipcat from b-bar-h, ca

teebow from tebow made me laugh. nice job, John

I am the King of all Funk.

Jim from Middleburg, FL

This team, like most teams, refuse to believe that everything you do is an exercise in futility without a great offensive line.

Meyer and General Manager Trent Baalke understand the importance of the offensive line. Unlike some – or many – observers, they believe the current offensive line is a potential strength. They also selected Little, who has the potential to be a big-time starting tackle in Round 2 of the draft. They addressed the line in that fashion. I expect them to continue to do so as warranted.

Marcus from Jacksonville

I don't really have a strong feeling one way or another about the Tebow signing but would like to remind fans of something. The Jaguars paid $6.65 million to bring in Chris Manhertz who, in 16 games last year, was targeted eight times and had six catches for 52 yards and no touchdowns. If those stats get someone the seventh-most lucrative contact at his position in free agency, then certainly a guy like Tebow is worth a spot on the 90-man roster. Although there are a handful of highly=productive tight ends out there, for the most part it isn't a high stat position. If Tebow can give you 10 catches, 100 yards and can block well on a minimal contract, that's a win!

The Jaguars signed Manhertz because they believe he's one of the NFL's best blocking tight ends, and they want to run effectively. His receiving statistics really aren't all that important. There are many reasons for the Jaguars wanting to run effectively, including a desire to keep rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence from having to carry the offense as a rookie. I don't know that Manhertz's statistics have all that much to do with whether Tebow is a good signing, but yes … if Tebow can give you something in the passing game and is a good blocker, the Jaguars will take that. It's not likely a signing where they expect a major statistical contribution, but who knows?

Zac from Austin, Tejas

The same people who say Coach Marrone intentionally jeopardized his career and tanked are the same people who are saying Coach Meyer is intentionally jeopardizing his career by hiring a buddy because it'd "be cool."


Lenny from London, UK

I'm still not entirely sold on signing Tim Tebow, but there is one thing that excites me about him. Can you see him being used as a quarterback on short fourth downs and goal line/two-point converts occasionally? From my recollection, he was quite good in those situations.

Maybe. I kinda sorta doubt it will be a situation where they use him extensively in that situation because converting short yardage in the NFL is a little different than college, but who knows?

David from West Lafayette, IN

O-tastic. If this is Urban Meyer's offense, the Etienne pick shouldn't really surprise anyone. At Ohio State, his offense was all about RPO/downhill running and using multiple rushers in some combination. It was about spreading out and softening the middle of the field, get a hat on a hat, and getting the running backs to the second level in space. So having another big-time, dynamic back makes perfect sense, and if all works, it could be really fun to watch. Conversely, the worry about a pass-catching tight end is somewhat nullified by that, no? Urb never made a big-time pass-catching tight end a focus of the offense at Ohio State, as they usually only caught 25-30 passes a year. There just seems to be some anxiety here on who will be losing out on touches because of Etienne, and if you look at a Meyer offense, two running backs and several wide receiver typically did just fine while the tight ends didn't get a ton of catches but helped get those running backs into the space that made the system go. Playmakers are important anywhere on the field, and Etienne is a playmaker.

Listening to Meyer talk about the Jaguars' offense, it doesn't seem right to say it's going to be his offense in the sense of him bringing the exact scheme from Florida or Ohio State to the NFL. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and passing-game coordinator Brian Schottenheimer will have a huge influence on the scheme. HOWEVER, there's little question that Meyer's philosophies will have a major influence in the offense – so, no, the Etienne selection shouldn't have been a big surprise. He loves spreading the defense and loves offensive players who place major strain on defense by being matchup advantages. You're right that tight end hasn't been as featured in his offenses. For that matter, Bevell and Schottenheimer aren't known for overemphasizing tight ends either. That doesn't mean the Jaguars don't need to address pass-catching tight end. It does perhaps explain why the team isn't panicking about the tight end position.

Erich from Heaven

Thank you, O-Zone (*HUGE round of applause*)

No worries.