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O-Zone: The light

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Are you ready? Sounds like you’re ready.

Let’s get to it …

Chris from Mandarin

The New York Giants have 31 players on their current roster who were not on the team when last season ended. For that reason, drawing the conclusion that the Giants should be a good team because they were 11-5 in 2016 seems a bit hasty even if the players kept are "core-type" players. That is an extreme overhaul, no?

The Giants overhauled the roster, but I wouldn’t call it extreme. NFL teams in the salary cap era routinely turn over a large number of players every offseason. The Jaguars have 17 new players since the end of last season, so they’re kind of the same team and kind of not. The Giants have 31 new players since the end of last season, so they’re a little bit of a newer team – but not entirely new. Bottom line: All NFL teams are different each season, but the Giants still have the capability of being good. After all, is quarterback Eli Manning playing? Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.? Cornerback Janoris Jenkins? Running back Saquon Barkley?

John from Right Here

There is often talk about Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles raising his completion percentage. I know there is not supposed to be math in the O-Zone, but really when you think about it, to raise his percentage five points to 65 percent over the course of a season is 25 more completions in 500 attempts – or less than two more per game. I’m curious, Blake was also praised last year for throwing the ball away at times instead of forcing or throwing 50/50 balls. We saw this specifically in the red-zone efficiency. Does the NFL keep a stat on balls thrown away? Obviously the smarter he is in throwing balls away (could easily be 25 per season) effects that completion percentage number. I guess the point is: I would rather have a smart thrown-away pass on first-and-goal over the difference between 60 and 61 percent if the end result is a touchdown.

Can you repeat the question?

Trent from Jacksonville

To everyone saying we need a wakeup call … clearly the bitter taste left from losing to the Patriots in the AFC title game doesn't sting. You don't think after that, after being so close, that these guys aren't woke?

I tend not to worry much about concepts such as wakeup calls, revenge games, etc. I am confident that they are topics that people who yell at other people about such things on cable television and streaming devices like to shout about, but I am less confident that they influence the outcome of games. The Jaguars are a good team. They’re motivated by the lure of winning a championship, achieving greatness and winning for one another. Does the memory of the AFC Championship Game in January motivate them? Sure, but with or without it – and with or without an early-season wakeup call – this is going to be a motivated team.

Nick from Palatka, FL

We're finally here! Yay. Go you furry kats!!

OK.

Al from Orange Park, FL

For anyone who questions whether the Jags will ever get the national publicity and respect they should, I refer you to Jacob Feldman’s feature article in this week’s Sports Illustrated.

The Jaguars made the AFC Championship Game last season. They are talented with star players. Talented teams with star players who have playoff success one season get the “all-important” national publicity fans crave the next. It is how it is. It is how it always has been. It is how it always will be. Now that I think about it, it is how I always said it would be. Yay for me.

Bradley from Carson City, NV

A.J. Bouye picks Eli Manning twice. The D-line accounts for three sacks, Myles Jack welcomes Saquon Barkley to the National Football League, Eli makes that face … Jags win 31-13 and establish the tone of the season.

DTWD

Vince from Farmington

Do practice-squad players practice with the team during the week or do they have their own program?

They practice with the team and attend meetings. They are essentially members of the team except for the-playing-in-games part – and the making-an-NFL-salary part.

Dave from Vilano Beach via Cancun Mexico

Senior, I may be on vacation in Mexico, but I haven’t missed an O-Zone not will I miss the opening game. It’s coincidentally my birthday and opening day. Cheers to the Jags whipping some Giant $&@! for my birthday 1-0 to start the season! Mas cerveza amigo!!

Mas cerveza, amigo.

Scott from Jacksonville

On what day prior to away games do the Jaguars leave?

The Jaguars leave the day before games. This is what all teams do. An exception is when teams have games across the country. In those cases, sometimes teams leave a day earlier. Another exception is when teams travel to London. When the Jaguars do this, they leave Thursday evening before a Sunday game.

Frank from Jacksonville

Really John, Lil Wayne?

I’m me.

Anderson from Highland, TX

Are you and Shadrick the two hoodlums who spray-painted my cat's butt?

It wasn’t me. I do know that.

Derek from Brookings, SD

Zone, how do you think the receivers will perform against the Giants’ secondary? I feel the two-back sets the Jaguars may use could create some opportunities for the receivers as the game goes along on Sunday. Oh yeah, can't wait for Sunday, Go Jags!

I think much of how the Jaguars do offensively this season will depend on the running game. When it is very efficient, I think the whole offense will look very efficient – including the receivers. When the running game struggles, I think the receivers will be effective in stretches – but not as effective as when the running game is efficient. And yes … the better the Jaguars run the more opportunities there will be for the receivers.

Scott from Daytona Beach, FL

Myles Jack was not down!

True.

Brian from Gainesville, FL

Big O, for all the talk about how the Giants are a dangerous Week 1 opponent for the Jaguars, the Jaguars are just as much – if not more – a dangerous opponent for the Giants. Yes, New York has one of the league’s best receivers, but the Jags have the league’s best pass defense. Sure, New York has an elite(ish) quarterback, but the Jags have an all-world pass rush. OK, New York drafted a player many considered to be the best player in the 2018 draft (Saquon Barkley), but he’s still a rook going against one of the league’s best defensive fronts. And never mind that the Jags offense matches up very nicely against New York’s defense.

The Jaguars are one of the NFL’s best defenses, and they have one of the NFL’s best rushing offenses. They darned sure ought to be a dangerous opponent. The Jaguars are favored Sunday and they should be. Now, they must win the game.

Bruce from Surftown

I wonder as I wander why Bruce from Green Cove gets so much O-Zone love?

What?

JuJu from Jacksonville

Zone, all these players and coaches think that all this practice and preparation has a lot to do with the outcome of the game. But as my family knows very well, all that matters is which underwear and shirt I am wearing for the game and which chair I sit in for each half. I’m sure many Jags fans know exactly what I am talking about.

DTWD

Sunil from Jacksonville

Hello O! Well ... the most-anticipated regular season in over 20 years is upon us. This fan base has been through misery since the late 1990s. Since then we have changed coaches five times and became the laughing stock of the league. We watched Tom Coughlin get fired and go on to win two Super Bowls in New York. We put tarps on the upper decks and still had games blacked out. Writers told us our team was moving to Los Angeles and then to London. People ridiculed our rebuild, which began in 2013 and in particular the fact that we picked in the top 10 for nine straight years. And here we are. Our own iconic legend, Coughlin, has returned and so have happier times. We have an owner with a patient vision for this franchise and for the long-term success of our beloved city as well. We have the most talented young roster in the entire league. The fans, many of whom left, have returned in full force with unbridled enthusiasm. We are on the verge of greatness – and perhaps even a dynasty of our own. But as I tell my children, it is the journey to the top of the mountain that is most satisfying. All of the struggles and frustration have helped to build a stronger franchise and even stronger fan base. We deserve the great days ahead. Thank you, John, for getting us through the tough times. Now we see the light ... finally! #DTWD

DTWD

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