JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ
O-man, how did Trevor look on Day 1? Does he look way better than the other quarterbacks you have seen on Day 1? Do we finally have our man?
The Jaguars opened 2021 Training Camp Wednesday, and rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence indeed was understandably and expectedly the major story. How did he look? About as good as he could look, I suppose. The ball came out of his hand quickly and he was accurate. He looked very poised in the pocket – albeit without significant pressure because of the non-padded, no-contact nature of the work. He threw two beautiful long passes on back-to-back plays, including a touchdown pass to wide receiver Phillip Dorsett II. Yes, he looked way better on Day 1 than the two other first-round quarterbacks I have covered since returning to the Jaguars in 2011 – Blaine Gabbert (2011) and Blake Bortles (2014). If the story of a career was written with a few passes on Day 1 of a rookie training camp, it would be written that the Jaguars indeed Have Their Man. That's not when the story gets written, by the way. So, stay tuned. But this should be fun. Really fun.
Jozy from Jacksonville
O-Zone, you described Lawrence's release as "strikingly quick" in your Campservations. Care to elaborate? I don't particularly remember leading up to the draft that being one of his selling points.
The ball comes out of Lawrence's hands really fast. It gets to his receivers in a hurry. He doesn't hesitate making decisions. It's striking how quick it happens. I don't quite know how to elaborate beyond that.
If Minshew beats C.J. Beathard for the No. 2 quarterback position, will the Jags be forced to carry 3 quarterbacks on the active roster because of Beathard's guaranteed money?
Would they be forced? No. Would it mean carrying dead money on the salary cap because of the guarantee? Yes.
Marlin from Newberry, FL
Dear Zone. What a great time to be a Jaguars fan! Training Camp has started and the first reports of the rookie quarterback are glowing. Apparently Trevor Lawrence looks like the second coming of John Elway! I'll take that! Reading about camp is great, but I can't wait to see the team with my own eyes. I will be at one of the practices next week as well as the scrimmage. It seems like every year we get hyped about the team. We were especially high following the 2017 season, only to be disappointed year-in and year-out. Do you see disappointment ahead? Does Trevor look as awesome as everyone says? Is Urban Meyer adjusting and becoming as good an NFL coach as he was a college coach? Will the new additions to the defense make a difference? Will the new schemes in the defense make a difference? Will the offensive line jell and become an observably top-ranked unit? Will the new weapons on offense in Marvin Jones, Jr. and Travis Etienne provide the rookie quarterback with the options he needs in the passing game? Will James Robinson improve on a great rookie season, or will he have a sophomore slump? It is a great time to be a Jaguar fan! Meyer said that he hasn't had many bad first days of camp. Ask him on day 12. Jaguars fans feel almost the same way, but ask us during Week 8! Tell us great one, be the prognosticator we need you to be… as we set out to trick-or-treat following the Seahawks game on Week 8, will we be disappointed? Let not our enthusiasm be quenched!
Can you repeat the question?
Gary from Suffolk, VA
How do the career stats for Freddy T. stack up against current running backs in the Hall of Fame? Meaning, are his numbers HOF-worthy? He is my favorite player of all-time and I WOULD LOVE TO SEE HIM IN THE Hall of Fame.
Taylor's statistics in terms of career rushing yards are Hall-of-Fame worthy; his 11,695 yards are the most of any retired back not in the Hall. His career yards-per-carry average of 4.6 is off the charts good and only Jim Brown and Barry Sanders among Hall enshrinees have a better average. Taylor's 66 career rushing touchdowns don't help his cause, but yes … the thought here is that Taylor absolutely belongs in the Hall of Fame. He has gotten a bit closer in the last few years, and I expect he will make the list of Hall finalists relatively soon. That will mean voters studying his candidacy far more closely than they do now. After that, we'll get a better idea his chances with some voters – and his chances overall. This probably will be a long process. Stay tuned.
Ed from Jax
Regarding professional athletes, anxiety and tennis, Gabriella Sabatini (as reported) tanked matches so she wouldn't have to do interviews. Do you the there are other pro athletes that moderate their play too avoid the problems of greatness? Could a player do that in the NFL?
If one professional athlete has done this, I'm sure there are others. And I suppose it's possible that it could happen in the NFL. Comparatively few players have mandated media responsibilities after games, so I seriously doubt this happens often. But could it? Sure. Most things are possible.
DC Jag from Alexandria, VA
What ever happened to my body, my choice?
A global pandemic.
Steve from sunroom couch
Dear John: Why do you change my punctuation?
My column, my choice.
Sascha from Cologne, Germany
Hey, John. I am excited for training camp and the season, but is there something like a report or statistic where we can see how the vaccination rate of the players is? It seems that for a young promising team like the Jags without a deep roster it will be more important than for more balanced and experienced teams if there are some cases.
Head Coach Urban Meyer said Wednesday following the first practice of training camp that a little more than 80 percent of Jaguars players are vaccinated. I would expect that percentage to grow in the coming weeks, though I don't know that it will reach 100 percent. This is because while it's really inconvenient – and potentially risky financially – to go unvaccinated, there are plenty of people who don't want to be vaccinated. I haven't seen a report that details NFL vaccination rates and I don't necessarily expect the league to produce such statistic. Could vaccination issues hurt the Jaguars more than other teams? Perhaps teams with experienced, elite quarterbacks could withstand such hiccups better than most teams, but teams with experienced elite quarterbacks tend to withstand most adversity better than most teams.
Rob from San Antonio, TX
KOAF, let me just save us all some time here. #FreeBortles #BringBacktheBOAT #B3
I'd click on that.
Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL
So, this is going to be the en vogue trend: players not grateful enough to play a game for millions of dollars? Now they have to have things their way and be coddled, too – or "demand a trade." It's disgusting, that this is becoming "a thing." I hope, the league corrects this trend. I don't know how. But what a bunch of babies (family friendly).
I'm not one to say players should be "grateful" for the chance to play in the NFL. Most – if not all – have worked to earn the right. And I don't love the coddled-athlete argument. But does the trend of requesting a trade need to be correct? Probably, though I suspect that's easier said than done.
Unhipcat from Oceanside CA for lunch
Hi, John. If Tim Tebow were to be not 53-man roster-ready, but shows some potential, would he be practice squad eligible and might that make any sense?
Sean from Jacksonville
With every other player requesting a trade because they're Boo-Hoo for whatever reason ... I see teams being able to cut or trade a player no matter what is in the contract because the team is now Boo-Hoo about some nutty reason. Sound unreasonable? It can't. Why? If a player can get out of a contract because they haz-a-sad, a team will eventually be able to take any action with a contract. Seems fair to me and I'm an armchair quarterback.
Teams can cut players pretty much when they want, with the caveat being that it's rare to see a player cut early in a second contract because of the guaranteed money/signing bonus in the deal. Many people believe this is somehow cruel or unfair to the player – and sometimes it is cruel. But many free agents received life-changing guaranteed money in the form of signing bonuses and guaranteed salary – so many players are protected. But I'm with you on the whole trend of requesting a trade. I'm a little worn on it and don't love where it's headed. I have to go now. There are kids on my lawn, and I've got some yelling to do.