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O-Zone: They knew genius

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Gary from St. Augustine, FL

Where do you see the Jaguars being most improved this season?

The obvious answer here is the offense overall, with a specific nod to offensive line. Considering how this team wants to play, adding Associated Press All-Pro guard Andrew Norwell could improve this team where it wants to improve most: the running game. If so, that will mean a major impact. The Jaguars want to dictate their will upon teams on the ground; they couldn’t do that enough in the second half of last season/postseason, and adding Norwell should allow them to play that style. But it’s very possible the Jaguars could be equally as improved on special teams as they are on offense. That’s absolutely an area they addressed heavily in the offseason both in unrestricted free agency and in the 2018 NFL Draft. When you’re built to win with defense, having quality special teams is a must. The Jaguars weren’t nearly as good or consistent on special teams as they wanted to be last season. If they are as improved in that area as they believe, the difference will be very noticeable very quickly.

Chris from Mandarin, FL

The people wanna talk about David Garrard, so talk about DG, OK? Seriously though, who was a better running quarterback, since both were/are accomplished at it: David Garrard or Blake Bortles? Garrard is the only professional quarterback I remember that could sell the halfback option and take off for a 25-yard touchdown run himself? Bortles proved to be a special runner too, particularly in the playoffs.

Whereas I have covered Bortles’ entire NFL career, I covered Garrard only a couple of times per season. I therefore can’t speak to Garrard’s effectiveness as a runner. Based on what I have seen first-hand I’d give Garrard a slight edge – but only slight. Bortles is faster than people think and he has become increasingly effective as a runner in the last couple of seasons.

Ronald from Akutan, AK

I have to be honest: Since the AFC Championship game, I have been waiting for more talk about the performance of the judges on the field. From what I saw in the game, the five judges did more to hurt the Jaguars than just the “Myles Jack Was Not Down” play. I single out the judges because they are responsible for holding calls on the defense. I have watched at least three third downs where the Jaguars receiver was held. Those three non-calls were not your normal holds. Here’s an idea: maybe the NFL should hire middle-school teachers as judges.

There actually has been more than enough conversation about the officiating in the AFC Championship Game; you needn’t look very hard to find people willing to believe the officiating cost the Jaguars that game. You also needn’t look very hard to find people who believe there was a conspiracy against the Jaguars and for the Patriots that day. I don’t buy into that theory. There’s simply too much at stake in terms of the integrity of the game for me to believe the NFL intentionally sways outcomes in one way or the other. Now, if you’re asking if the officiating hurt the Jaguars that day … well, it didn’t help. I will say that beyond question.

Mark from Prescott, AZ

One fer the Rooster!

Jaguars 2018 Training Camp starts July 26. Veterans report July 25. Rookies and first-year players report July 18. Quarterbacks report July 20.

Paul from St. Johns, FL

Regarding when players get paid a sixteenth of their salary for being on the active roster; what if a player is inactive for a game? Like Chris Ivory was late last year? Did Chris getIvory

Did Chris get what? Ivoried? What? Paul … for the sake of humanity … what!!!!???

Paul from St. Johns, FL

Regarding getting paid a sixteenth of your base salary for being on the active roster; did Chris Ivory get paid for the games late last year that he was inactive?

Whew. So glad you’re OK, Paul. Yes, players made inactive for game day receive their base salaries for that week.

Marc from Oceanway

So, who is the biggest, diehard football fan amongst your fellow Jaguars reporters?

Most reporters covering the Jaguars follow football closely enough that you would identify them as football fans. Still, you might be disappointed if you watched them “casually” watching an NFL game to find that there’s relatively little emotion and angst. That’s because most reporters are more fans of the game than of any particular team. As far as college football goes, there does seem to be a rooting interest as often as not. Voice of the Jaguars Frank Frangie is a pretty unabashed University of Florida football fan, as are a lot of the media that covers the Jaguars – Dan Hicken of CBS Fox 47 and 1010XL and a few others. That’s because many of them as might be expected went to school there. So, perhaps the answer is Frangie. Or Hicken. Honestly, it’s not something I chart all that closely.

Arthur from Ormond Beach, FL

After the Pats scored a second half touchdown in the AFC Championship Game, a referee celebrated with New England on worldwide television. Did he receive admonishment of any kind from the league?

The touchdown you’re referencing came late in the second quarter of the AFC Championship Game. After the touchdown that moved the Patriots to within 14-10, a referee indeed interacted with Patriots players while smiling. You could interpret that the official was celebrating, which stretches logic. Or you could interpret that the official was separating Patriots and Jaguars players to prevent a post-touchdown altercation and doing so in as pleasant a way as possible. The latter seems the far more logical explanation, but no … the league never addressed it. It’s rare for the league to address incidents that involve officials.

Mike from Section 238

Oh, man: Is there any truth to the story that Gene Frenette was the inspiration behind The Gong Show's "Gene Gene The Dancing Machine" in the 70s?

Until we find proof that longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Gene Frenette wasn’t actually Gene, Gene The Dancing Machine it’s best to assume that was him.

Biff from Jacksonville

I have read, and heard, the comments from the Jag fan base in response to anyone lauding the ceiling for the Houston Texans this season. The optimism surrounding their quarterback, Deshaun Watson, is qualified with his limited game time due to injury. I can’t help but wonder how they would feel if Watson was a Jaguar. Surely, they’d be touting what he showed in his brief time on the field. What can you tell us about how the Jaguars, from coaches to players, feel about the threat of a Watson-led Texans this season?

NFL players and coaches typically don’t talk much about specific opposing coaches, teams and players during the season – and if they do, it’s usually in very generic terms. The feeling around focuses more on themselves than their opponents, and the general belief among the Jaguars is they are capable of beating any team in the NFL – something they proved last season. They also proved last season that they must play their game to a high level to do so. As far as the Jaguars’ feelings about the Texans, I imagine they see them as most teams do – that with Watson playing quarterback at the level he played for five or so games last season, Houston on paper seems like a very serious threat. The Jaguars in that scenario would need to apply pressure and force Watson into mistakes – and would have to play well offensively to counter what likely will be a more productive offense than the Watson-less Texans were last season. Still, the bottom line is that the Jaguars this offseason have been far more worried about themselves than particular opponents. That’s how it should be when you’re one of the better teams in the NFL.

Esko from Finland

I did some research and found evidence that Pink Floyd's song “Careful with That Axe, Eugene” was inspired by Frenette's reaction when his flutes were left out of the final mix of The Troggs' “Night of the Long Grass.” Can you tell us the whole, detailed version of the story?

Gene is notoriously secretive, particularly when it comes to his cultural influence as a songwriter. Still, your story jives with what friends and colleagues know to be very much part of Gene’s persona. While known for his quick wit and work with charitable organizations, Gene when lost in a creative musical zone had/has a Jekyll-and-Hyde tendency; his kindhearted side often disappear when the muse kicks in. Word is when he and N.W.A. were working on Straight Outta Compton things got sideways several times. Awed by Gene’s quick temper and clear tendency to “knock heads,” N.W.A. nearly walked away. “Do you want to basically invent a musical genre, or not?” Gene is reported to have told Dre and Cube more than once. Dre and Cube knew genius when they saw it. They stuck it out. The rest, as they say, was history.

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