JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Jim from Jagsonville
Why is it you so roundly dismissed the notion that former Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles could be converted to a tight end, yet here we are with current coach Urban Meyer giving a former NFL quarterback a shot at tight end. Could it be the great Wizard of Ozone was wrong about players' ability to adjust? Or is Tim Tebow such a phenomenal talent? Now that you've seen Tebow in pads what is your evaluation?
I roundly dismissed the idea of Bortles becoming a tight end because he wasn't a physically imposing, chiseled athlete – and because he didn't play with the power or physicality of a tight end. And because he never indicated any desire to play the position. While Tebow never really expressed that desire before signing with the Jaguars this past offseason, he did play quarterback in his early 20s with enough physicality that the idea of him playing tight end was regularly discussed – and many NFL analysts at the time believed Tebow could have made that transition. In his early 20s. Can Tebow do it now? That remains a question. He's unquestionably in phenomenal shape. And he has caught the ball well in the offseason and in Jaguars 2021 Training Camp. I haven't seen him perform better enough at these things than the other tight ends in camp to be absolutely convinced Tebow will make the team. I'm 50-50 on where he will make it. I sort of tend to still doubt it. It's a difficult transition at a difficult age. As far as me being wrong, I'm not sure what you mean. I have no frame of reference.
Bill from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
A couple of things that one-one-one competitions don't measure: speed (not just quickness at the point of attack but the ability to run and then make a tackle or block); and mental stuff like the ability to quickly diagnose a play, recognize a defense, etc., so how can Urban put so much emphasis on "winning and losing" one-on-one competitions?
Your question implies that Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer won't emphasize the things you mention – speed (not just quickness at the point of attack but the ability to run and then make a tackle or block) and mental stuff like the ability to quickly diagnose a play, recognize a defense, etc. – when analyzing players or deciding the 53-man roster. I don't know that that's a correct implication.
Dave from Jacksonville
KOAF: Friday was a good day to focus on O-line. With left guard Andrew Norwell out for the day, guards Ben Bartch and Derwin Gray stepped up to first- and second-team repetitions. A really interesting watch. Also, we saw rookie offensive tackle Walker Little working right tackle and Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor taking drill reps at guard. These veteran off days are extremely important for those others to prove themselves. It is good to see.
Good eye. Little is playing well enough that the Jaguars need to at least consider some offensive line groupings rather than the one they have used the past two seasons – left tackle Cam Robinson, Norwell, center Brandon Linder, right guard A.J. Cann and right tackle Jawan Taylor. Stay tuned.
Paul from Saint Johns
Which will be the biggest reason the Jaguars are more successful in 2021 than in previous years? Urban Meyer's culture, Urban Meyer's new coaching staff or the improved roster?
The roster. Culture matters. Coaching matters. All are part of a successful team. Nothing matters as much as good players – and nothing matters within that context as much as good quarterback play.
Kyan from Le Mars, IA
I always thought your name was spelled "Oesher" and that that was how it was pronounced. I recently realized it is spelled "Oehser." The past few days I have been trying to come to a conclusion on how to pronounce it. There is just no way it doesn't make the "sh" sound. Can games start already?
It's pronounced "Oh-zhure" – like O-Shure except with a "z" and "h." Whatever. I'm not even sure my wife gets it right, and she married into "this" nearly 30 years ago. For the money. (Obviously.).
Ben from Jacksonville
How bad is the situation with CJ Henderson really? Is he going to pull a Jalen Ramsey and fake an injury to leave the Jaguars soon? He appears so apathetic and unmotivated it's like all the red flags in 2020 were true.
I can't predict Henderson's future. I can tell you he has been on the reserve/COVID-19 list since the start of 2021 Training Camp, which means he's not allowed to do any more than he has been doing. A player can control a lot of things. I'm not sure how he's supposed to appear fired up and motivated when he's not allowed to participate in practice.
Brian from CRANFORD, NJ
Hey, O. Started listening to Greg Trooper. His rendition of They Call Me Hank is magnificent. Any other songs or albums of his you'd recommend?
I never have heard of Greg Trooper until this email. Now, I've heard of him. I may give him a listen. I'm sure he and his "people" are ecstatic to hear this.
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ
O-man, do you think Little is so far looking like a rookie tackle that could have, or should have been selected in the first round?
Yes. So far.
Royce from Jacksonville
Mr. O. Jags fans have been fed a constant bucket of crap about players physical ability, work routine and physical condition. Meyer is focused on performance and winning. Finally things are changing for the Jags. Go Jags!!!!
Meyer indeed has singular focus on those things. Former Jaguars head coaches didn't exactly show up in the morning focused on ordering takeout and scrolling Instagram … but sure, Meyer's focus is in the right place.
Micah from Chicago, IL
Should the Jags sign Messi?
Fred from Naples, Florida
Urban Meyer's "Winners and Losers" drill fully illustrates what he has always been about …. competition. The players have bought in, but I can hear the naysayers now. They will say it's just another example of how he doesn't "get it" at the NFL level. I look forward to a successful season (whatever that looks like) so people like Paul Finebaum can eat crow. He should have just stuck to Alabama football.
I'm sure there will be those who criticize Meyer for his winners-losers practices. And it indeed is a little odd to hear "winner" of individual drills announced over a loudspeaker during practice. Here's the thing: The approach has pretty much no downside. And if the upside is that players are a little more focused, or that practice is a little more competitive … then, cool.
Josh from Fernandina Beach, FL (via Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Hey Lars, nice work so far on the training camp coverage. My question relates to Henderson. I believe that even the most lofty of expectations for the Jaguars defensive front would be for the team to have a "middle-of-the-pack" defensive interior. If true, and without a strong secondary, I fear that the team may face the same collateral effects of a struggling defense that were experienced in the 2020 season. Do you have any insight on the severity of the impacts of Henderson's battle with the COVID-19 virus? The duration of his previous absence from the field and team activities is notable. Has the virus taken a toll to the extent that there is a sincere question of a drop-off in the caliber of his play (i.e. due to the inability to engage in off-field work, lost weight, etc.)? What have you observed relative to his condition, size and readiness? And, based upon your limited observations, have you ruled out Henderson playing at an elite level in 2021? Thanks, and GO JAGS!!!
Henderson is expected to return to practice soon. He currently remains in what the team calls the acclimation process of transitioning from a COVID-19 status to the active roster. Once he is practicing it will be more possible to answer at least a few of your legitimate questions.
Nick from Palatka, FL
O: How about Trevor "Rookie quarterback who has yet to endure one quarter of preseason play much less a 17 game NFL season yet has all the hopes of future Jaguar greatness on his shoulders" Lawrence. There, fixed it for you.
Marc from Oceanway
Zone, is there anything in the NFL Bylaws restricting our use of Gene Frenette on our team? Seems like a simple way for the Jaguars to finally win a Super Bowl.
There is no written rule outlawing NFL teams from signing longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette. This is more an unwritten rule among teams. What's fair is fair, and having Gene on any roster would so tilt the competitive advantage to that team that it would be categorically "unfair."
Tom from My Couch
Touching' down in New England town … Myles Jack wasn't down.