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O-Zone: The right notes

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, are you aware of a coach ever stating their disappointment with how the offseason is going? I'm starting to think coaches are happiest in the offseason.

Few, if any, NFL coaches express disappointment in an offseason program – in part, at least, because not much really can go wrong in the offseason except injuries. The offseason is spent teaching, learning, practicing, conditioning and preparing – so if something has gone wrong, it's typically more something that coaches did or didn't do rather than something players did or didn't do. Are NFL head coaches happiest in the offseason? I suppose, although I've known more than a few in the profession who weren't all that happy no matter the calendar date.

Tom from Shanghai, China

Can you shed a bit more light on the whos, whens and whys of player media availability? Who decides whether we have the starting quarterback or the backup long snapper talking to the press?

This varies depending on time of year and circumstance. Before COVID-19, NFL teams' regular-season player availability typically consisted of the starting quarterback on Wednesdays and a prominent player or two either on Wednesdays and/or Thursdays. Teams also had open locker-room period on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and after games – a time media could speak to pretty much any player. Because COVID-19 made all availabilities virtual in 2020, teams typically made a few more players available in addition to the quarterback each week – with those players determined by the teams' public-relations staff with some input from interested media. Players typically aren't available as routinely in the offseason, with teams typically making the quarterback available twice and other prominent players available throughout late May and early June.

Ryan from Detroit, MI

Assuming full health for everyone - who do you expect to lead the team next year in rushing attempts? Receptions?

Running back James Robinson. Wide receiver DJ Chark Jr.

Dave from Jacksonville

Zone, how will Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer handle defensive end/linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson's positive test? Meyer has been big on his players training in-house and he will get what they need. K'Lavon was public with the extra camp he attended outside the facility. He came back unavailable. Does Meyer have to fine him?

Chaisson attended a prominent pass-rushing camp held annually by Denver Broncos perennial All-Pro defensive end/linebacker Von Miller last weekend, then missed the Jaguars' minicamp early this week because he tested positive for COVID-19. I don't know how Meyer will handle the situation, but I also don't know that Chaisson in this instance did anything that would mandate a fine. He was trying to get better. That doesn't seem automatically like a negative.

JR from The Squatchlands

If Jaguars wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. plays football half as good as he sings, then he is going to be a lot of fun to watch this year.

You're referencing Jones' performance of "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing," which he performed at Jacksonville's historic Ritz Theatre and Museum recently in honor of James Weldon Johnson's 150th birthday. And you're right … it was remarkable. The story and video of the performance can be found here.

Carlos from Mexico City, Mexico

How amazing was that Marvin Jones performance? I was deeply moved, wishing he catches a lot of touchdowns for us and sing this song on the field before one of our games. How awesome would that be?

Very.    

Tommy from Jacksonville

Well Done, Marvin Jones … WOW.

Yep.

Blaine from Prescott, AZ

Dear Mr. O, Since my wife has become a new Jaguars fan and loves reading your Q&A every morning with our coffee, I keep hearing comments about the Jags' inability last season to stop the run. My question is not about the 25thpick but the 33rdpick; with the Jags already having cornerbacks Tre Herndon, Shaquill Griffin, C.J. Henderson and Sidney Jones IV on the roster, in your opinion would defensive tackle Christian Barmore have been a better "need" pick than cornerback Tyson Campbell? New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick traded up from 46 to 38 to take him. At the Senior Bowl he was a man amongst boys, something the Jags could use in the middle. Your thoughts? Do you know where Barmore was rated on the Big Board? Thank you.

I don't know where the Jaguars had Barmore rated entering the draft. I do know that teams must draft based on their evaluation of players and their approach rather than what draft analysts and observers believe. Here's the thing to remember about defensive linemen in the draft, too: If your focus is getting immediately better and addressing immediate "needs," it can be really difficult to get those things in the draft. Defensive linemen often need a year to fully develop and make difference-making contributions. That's why I believe the Jaguars may need another year or so to fully reach the level that Meyer wants on the defensive line. It's a hard area to build quickly because of the time many rookies need to be as stout as they will be with a year more development and strength addition. Also: there were mixed opinions on Barmore leading to the draft, and this was not considered overall a great defensive tackle. The Jaguars had five selections in the first three rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft and another at the top of the fourth round. They wanted to maximize those selections and address improve the entire roster. They addressed defensive tackle with Jay Tufele in Round 4. Time will tell if that was the right move, but that was their approach.

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

Are/were the four "tryout" players any different than anyone else on the 90-man roster? Isn't everyone technically "trying out" for the team at this phase?

The Jaguars had four tryout players participating in minicamp this week: wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, cornerbacks Simeon Thomas and Keiarae Russell and offensive tackle Jerald Hawkins. They announced on Friday they had signed Treadwell, a first-round selection from the University of Mississippi by the Minnesota Vikings in the 2016 NFL Draft. And you're right … there wasn't much difference between the four tryout players and a lot of players on the roster. All were trying to make the team.

Levi from Huntsville, AL

Interesting that we signed Treadwell. Our receiver room is already packed, and it seems we already have a receiver of his type in Collin Johnson. New regime down on Johnson?

Can't it be that the new regime is simply "up on Treadwell?"

Dave from Jacksonville

Zone, apparently the Jags like what they see in Treadwell. Another former "elite"/"alpha." Does this up the competition level? Wide receivers sure seem to be in a battle now. Does this improve the WR room?

If it doesn't, there was no reason to sign Treadwell.

Armand from Jacksonville

Do you ever see where the refs will do after-game interviews whether it was a good game or bad game by them?

Yes. The NFL makes an official available to a pool reporter upon request. You will often see a pool reporter quoted following a high-profile or controversial call. This isn't an every-week occurrence, but neither is it rare.

Don from Marshall, NC

Do we keep chopping wood and get all the helmets lined up or are we just going to win lunch? Maybe we should not worry about winning and just get better every day! Go Jaguars!

Don is "all in."

RAAAAASHAAAAAAAAAWN JENKINS!!! from Duval

Brozone, with me and Jarrod Wilson starting at S, and with Andre Cisco being undoubtedly wholeheartedly in, does that mean Daniel Thomas, Josh Jones and Thor are competing for a roster spot?

I don't know that you can lock Wilson as a starting safety next season just yet. This team likes rookie safety Andre Cisco. When healthy, I expect him to have a very real chance to start.

Scott from Jacksonville

I loved "The Replacements," but MAN, they sure could have used someone who actually knew a bit more about the rules of football when that script was put together!

Fair.

Biff from Jacksonville

I'm pretty sure Johnny Utah eventually became an assassin. Might have been the trauma from losing his friend to a bomb.

Fair.

Ryan from Apopka, FL

Does Coach Schlegel have you on a workout routine to type a few more words per minute? Or maybe how to get off the couch a little quicker? Man, hearing him fires you up! Is that energy in the building affecting your naps?

Jaguas head strength and conditioning coach Anthony Schlegel has determined that I am beyond help. It was an easy determination. Other than that … hey, another one fer Schlegel!

Zac from Austin, Tejas

ABSOLUTELY one for Schlegel. He hit all the right notes and has all the right mentality and approach. I would bet his approach (concerning knee bends and hips over lift numbers) isn't common among all sports.

Fair.

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