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O-Zone: The nose knows

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

P Funk from Murray Hill

Just re-watched the first preseason game. Cooper Hodges looked pretty, pretty good. Pretty good against backups or pretty good?

Hodges, a seventh-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft who played at Baker County High School near Jacksonville before playing collegiately at Appalachian State, indeed played well in the Jaguars' Preseason Week 1 victory over the Dallas Cowboys last Saturday. He also has looked very good throughout the offseason and 2023 Training Camp. He appears to be transitioning well from offensive tackle in college to offensive guard professionally. The Jaguars like Hodges very much and the belief is he can be a very good NFL starter. I would expect that to happen in 2024 and not 2023, but Hodges absolutely appears as if he can be good depth with a bright future. Stay tuned.

William from Milton, FL

In my opinion, I think we can pull off having almost the same amount of rookies that Kansas City had when they won the ship. Do you see the same? Plus, I love to see not only Tank breaking a long run but to see the offensive lineman running, too, with purposes. Yikes.

The Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl last season with 12 rookies. While much was made of this, a team having 10-to-12 rookies isn't all that unusual with bottom-of-the-roster churn common by necessity in the salary cap era. The Jaguars, for example, also had 12 rookies last season and could easily start the season with double-digit rookies on the active roster and a lot more on the practice squad. Teams draft rookies to replenish the roster and don't want to release them. With injuries and in-season roster turnover, there absolutely could be 12 rookies on the Jaguars' roster in the regular season. As for rookie running Tank Bigsby, yes … he had an impressive run against Dallas last Saturday. The offensive line was impressive on that play, too. On a related note: The Jaguars overall appear to be run-blocking well early in the preseason. That area can take a while to develop, so that's a good sign.

Mike from St. Johns, FL

How's the new kicker doing?


Rob from Fleming Island

John, I always appreciate the content you and others bring to That being said, I find it odd that the Lions' website seemed to paint a completely different version of the combined practices. To read them tell it, they dominated making the most impactful plays. I am guessing the only thing they got right was that Ridley was awesome.

Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, perhaps the same is true of joint-practice domination and non-domination in the NFL. The Lions made some impressive plays during the joint practices this week. I'm sure the Lions' website wrote and discussed those extensively. The Jaguars' players made some impressive plays that we on discussed, too. We also discussed a few interceptions and fumbles by the Jaguars. Either way, I wouldn't say either team dominated. It was a practice – two practices, actually. Both teams got work done. That was the goal and that was how it played out. And yes … Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley looked very good, as he has throughout the preseason.

Tony from Johns Creek, GA

O, the Baltimore Ravens signed defensive end Jadeveon Clowney to a one-year contract worth up to $6 million. I'm glad the Jaguars haven't bit in any of these outrageous one-year "deals."


Will from Jacksonville

Color rush jerseys and pants? Or gold jersey with black pants? Also, what's your favorite shirt?

Color rush: All gold, baby. All gold. My favorite shirt is a Norm MacDonald T-Shirt Mrs. Ozone got me for Christmas. Because the light was on.

Scott from Fernandina Beach, FL

Hi, John. With the cut to 53 coming up, what is your ideal team composition by position/position group?

There's not really an ideal on this, mainly because the last spot in positions groups such as wide receiver, defensive back, linebacker and running backs often must come down to special teams play. Generally, an ideal position-by-position breakdown might be as follows: two quarterbacks, four running backs, four tight ends, six wide receivers, nine offensive lineman, six defensive linemen, four outside linebackers, five inside linebackers, six cornerbacks, five safeties. Or so. -ish. Give or take.

Reese from Loyal Jaguar fan in VA

Almost that time, isn't it? Go Jags!!

The Jaguars' 2023 regular-season opener is three weeks away-ish.

Michael from Orange Park, FL

O-Zone. I love your work but one thing that always bugs me is your constant and compete dismissal of preseason games. You act as if they don't matter. Why play them if they don't matter?

I'm sorry this bugs you, though when it comes to my annoying traits, this is pretty low on the list. Some of what happens in preseason games matters, particularly to the players and coaches – and very particularly to younger players. Those younger players are often playing for roster spots, either on their current team or somewhere else in the NFL, and a young player seeking to maintain or gain NFL employment obviously matters very much. It's when trying to use the preseason as a gauge for how a team will fare in the regular season that many observers begin woefully overvaluing the games.  While most teams want to win, the priority is preparing for the regular season and evaluating. Winning is secondary at best.

Ryan from Reality

If the Guardian Caps are so effective at improving player safety that the NFL requires players to wear them during practice - why won't the league allow players to wear them in games?

The NFL and the league's competition committee have been studying the effectiveness of the Guardian Caps for several seasons now. The information the league has received indicates that the caps do reduce the risk of head injury, and that has led to the league increasing the caps' usage in practice. I expect the league will continue studying and increasing the caps' practice usage. That may eventually lead to their usage in games, though I don't know that anyone has a real sense if this will happen, much less when.

Bradley from Sparks, NV

We know that a college team could not beat a pro team but how many guys on a practice squad would start for Georgia this year?

I haven't the foggiest idea. I don't cover Georgia. I expect quite a few NFL practice squad players would start for the Bulldogs, though, particularly with so many NFL practice squads now including veterans.

Fred from Highland Park, NJ

I am few word.

Well said.

Don from Marshall NC

There will obviously be some really good players leaving soon. How many draft picks make the team? The practice squad will also be stacked but it's like a hen house, sooner or later the coyote shows up. Go Jaguars!

I'm currently projecting 10ish rookies making the roster – and as for the Jaguars' rookie class and potential practice-squad makeup, Don remains "all in."

Jerry from Jacksonville

So, the Jaguars might not play starters on Saturday. Help me understand why.

Head Coach Doug Pederson hasn't officially said if he will play starters against the Detroit Lions in Preseason Week 2 Saturday. The reason he might go that direction is the Jaguars worked their first-team offense and defense extensively in the joint practices against the Lions this week. Pederson considers those repetitions at least as valuable as in-game repetitions, which means the first team has gotten more than its share of quality work this week. That also means it might make sense to play second-team players and young players playing for roster spots in Preseason Week 2. Remember: There are only three preseason games now compared to four before the 2022 season. When the league cut those down, it also reduced evaluation time. Coaches and general managers had to get it back somewhere.

JJ from Savannah, GA

I finally got to watch the entire game against the Cowboys in Week 1 of the preseason. As a lifelong football fan and watching every Jaguars quarterback from Steve Beuerlein to TLaw, I haven't seen anyone toss the rock like Nathan Rourke since Brunell. Yeah, the play heard around the world was amazing, but it was the ball placement on his third-down conversions, the spin out of the pocket to avoid pressure, the overall pocket presence and zip on the balls which he threw. If the Jags fumble the bag here, it will be reminiscent of the typical Jags of the past two decades in which I have miserably watched every single game. O-Zone please tell me that you also see greatness when it is right in front of your nose?

It almost sounds as if you consider Rourke better at "tossing the rock" than Lawrence. I'm going to watch Rourke in more than one half of a preseason game before I hop on this train.