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O-Zone: To no avail

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Bradley from Zephyr Cove, NV

Does Jay Gruden seem like he is modifying his offense to fit personnel in Jacksonville? I ask because it appeared he didn't do much of that during his tenure in D.C.

I don't know that you're correct about Jaguars offensive coordinator Jay Gruden not modifying his offense with the Washington Football Team to fit the team's personnel. He was there for nearly six seasons as head coach, so it stands to reason his scheme evolved at least somewhat during that time as he learned out what worked and what didn't with players. That's typically how offenses work; they're rarely static over time. I do know when players and respected football people discuss Gruden, one of the first things mentioned is his ability to create matchups based on each player's strengths. That seems like "modifying his offense to fit personnel." I also know Gruden during 2020 Training Camp appears to be tailoring the offense around quarterback Gardner Minshew II's strengths – although we admittedly won't know the extent of this until Gruden game-plans in the regular season

John from Jacksonville

Can teams sign players off other teams' practice squads or did they make an exception due to the pandemic?

NFL practice-squad rules have changed for the 2020 season because of the pandemic, with a major change being that teams will be allowed 16 practice-squad players this season. That's up from 10 in past seasons, with the league already having decided to start allowing 12 before COVID-19. Teams because of COVID-19 also this season will be allowed to have six practice-squad players with unlimited years of experience rather than essentially limiting the practice squad to only inexperienced players in the past. A significant change pertinent to your question is that teams this season will be allowed to protect four practice-squad players a week from being signed by other teams. This is perhaps the major way that the NFL is allowing teams to use the practice squad as a week-to-week roster supplement rather than as a player development tool. The previous rule was that teams could sign any player from any practice squad at any time, with the only limitation being that a team signing a player from another team's practice squad had to keep that player on its active roster for three weeks. Allowing teams to protect the four players means they can prepare during the week knowing with relative certainty who will be available on game day.

Nicholas from Fort Hood, TX

KOAF: What would you say about having an O-Zone-question-writer meet up after COVID is over? The only criteria would be that every person who has had at least ten questions answered is invited. Do you ever wonder about who the people are that write in?

"He waited five months with delicious anticipation for the pandemic to end so he could again enjoy the soul-filling food that is social interaction. One day, a missive from the Lone Star State changed all that …"

Marc from Duval

O, any chance the Jags stream or broadcast Saturday's scrimmage for the fans since we've missed out on open practices and an entire preseason? Would be a nice couple of hours to finally see the team on the field before 9/13.

Live coverage of 2020 Training Camp will begin Saturday at 9:40 a.m. with J.P. Shadrick and Tony Boselli on the call. We look forward to seeing if Boselli can find the stadium.

Dwayne from Jacksonville

Has Mrs. Zone had it with you as well?

Years ago.

Ken from Jacksonville

Is the team planning on just playing football or engaging in anti-American protests? (the latter is guaranteed to lose my support in ALL ways)

The Jaguars and the rest of the NFL are planning to play football in 2020. The plan is for a 16-game season. I anticipate many players – and players from most teams around the NFL – will voice opinions and demonstrate in various ways regarding social injustice. How you interpret what they choose to do – and what actions you take – is up to you, I suppose.

Paul from Jacksonville

Your last answer Friday reminds me of a quote by one of my favorite authors talking about people who say they'd like to be a writer: "People say they want to write, when what they really want is to have written."


Nicholas from Fort Hood, TX

KOAF: I am curious about how and when you write the O-Zone. Do you answer the questions first thing in the morning and then rush to get them uploaded or do you answer the questions in the afternoon and then just upload them the next morning? When is the cutoff time for submitting a question for the next day? Do you read all the questions or do you have an assistant to help pick your questions?

I real all the questions. Beyond that, there's no schedule, "per se." I typically watch cat videos on YouTube until around 2:45 a.m., then chug a pot of coffee and drink from a Peterbrooke chocolate fountain (sponsorship opportunity!!) like a fraternity guy soaking from his favorite funnel. My mind a caffeinated red sugar haze, I then write the entire O-Zone furiously in twenty-five minutes before hitting send, collapsing into bed and falling asleep as I think to myself, "People say they want to write, when what they really want is to have written." Then I get up to use the bathroom 45 minutes later because I'm 54.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, how soon would defensive end Yannick Ngakaue need to sign his franchise tender and join the team in order to be realistically ready to play in game one?

I would guess Monday of the regular-season opener. As for when he would be 100 percent … that would probably take two or three weeks.

David from Oviedo, FL

Zone – It seems a kick return has been relegated to watching the ball sail over his head or returning it, short of the 25-yard line. In today's NFL, has the punter returner become a more important position than the kick returner?


Mike from Atlanta, GA

So how are starting defensive tackles Taven Bryan and Davon Hamilton looking?

I expect Bryan and Abry Jones to be the Jaguars' starting defensive tackles in the regular-season opener against Indianapolis, though I expect Timmy Jernigan and DaVon Hamilton to play key roles. Bryan looked very good early in camp and was out this past week with a bone bruise in his knee. Hamilton has looked fine for a rookie. He's stout and looks as if he will be able to hold up against the run. It also looks as if it will be a work in progress in terms of him contributing in the pass rush. But as a nose tackle, he really wasn't brought in to contribute in the pass rush that often. So, overall, he has been fine.

David from Orlando, FL

KOAF - Picture this, opening day, Jag exit the tunnel to an explosion of fire and smoke. As the smoke clears, Gardner Minshew is standing there with his Gibson Flying V Electric Guitar and rips into the opening riffs to Cat Scratch Fever! I'm not sure if he should be in his head band and jock strap, but let's keep the pants on for now. I know, you think this is a crazy idea, so if you're not sold on the song, we could change it to Welcome to the Jungle, Sweet Home Alabama, Smoke on the Water, Smells Like Teen Spirit, Iron Man, or Van Halen's Eruption?

We need a bigger boat.

Ken from Maggie Valley

Do you think it is possible to give it your all when you are disturbed by all the darkness in our country?

I'll assume your questions is sincere, and I'll give a sincere answer: Yes, I believe players can give their all even while concerned about issues they consider of vital importance.

Marlin from Newberry, FL

"Severe back injury …" I laughed out loud (is there another way to laugh?) at this! Thanks.

I'll assume you're referencing a recent O-Zone answer that discussed very seriously circumstances around some recent Jaguars personnel moves. If memory serves, I mentioned former Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey in the answer. If memory serves, I also – out of a responsibility to document the truth as best as possible – noted the adversity he faced navigating a potentially debilitating injury. If you find this amusing … well, I guess I can't control that. Laugh on, heartless cad, laugh on.

Joe from far, far away

"Severe back injury." Great description. Aren't you afraid of using up all of your wit before the season even starts?

Unfortunately for all involved, there is an endless vat. Like a grease pit at a fast-food restaurant.

Bo from Linwood

KOAF, what gives? We just had our Fantasy Football draft and you didn't show up again this year. What's it gonna take for you to accept the invite into the League of All Funk?

I tried to make it. Couldn't. Back pain.