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O-Zone: Training Day

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, our starters gave us enough to continue the hope. They probably exceeded what I would have expected, though clearly need to improve. Our backups on the other hand, need a lot of work. O-man, I'll admit: Isn't it great to be complaining about our backups?

You couldn't be more right. The Jaguars lost to the Cleveland Browns, 24-13, in a Preseason Week 1 game at TIAA Bank Field Friday. The Jaguars' starters were dominant, scoring 13 points and allowing seven yards with the first-team offense/defense playing. They led 13-0 at that point, then allowed the game's final 24 points. The Jaguars stagnated in the final three quarters, while missing too many tackles and allowing the Browns to take control. It doesn't appear the Jaguars have great depth yet. That's to be expected. The Jaguars have been bad the last two or three seasons. They appear to be building their way out of bad, but depth takes time – and it's often the last piece to be built. With the obvious caveat that you can only draw so much from the preseason, Friday undoubtedly was a good night for the Jaguars. The Jaguars were very good when the starters played. That's the No. 1 goal in an NFL preseason game.

Sean from Oakleaf, FL

With the cut down to 85 players on Tuesday, is there any particular position you see the Jaguars adding a player from another team's cuts next week?

The cut to 85 players means about 150 players being made available around the NFL midway through next week. They will be the bottom five players from 32 rosters. Some players from the group undoubtedly will make NFL rosters and have careers. But the odds of a team improving significantly from that group is minimal enough that I don't feel guilty about not giving the opportunity much thought.

Zac from Austin, Tejas

If Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence is great not elite, then I will take him for no other reason than it being best for the brand to keep a consistent face. I will take a middle-tier quarterback to build around and then maybe one day replace over a nonstop quarterback search. We at least have an identity with him, he's easy to love, and proven he can at least be professional player off the field via leadership and press. This is me personally, but 10 years of relevance over another 10 years of change with a singular playoff run. I just want a team, I guess. But hey, I'm a fan not an analyst and understand that it's different.

We use words such as "elite," "franchise-level," "generational," "top-tier" and "foundation" so much that sometimes the concepts blur and numb the mind. If Lawrence is great but not elite, he will be the best quarterback in franchise history and give the Jaguars stability/production they haven't had there in two decades. Yeah … the Jaguars would take "great" from Lawrence. They would love him to be "generational," but they damned sure would take "great."

Nick from Virginia Beach

Officially in the vortex. Trevor Lawrence looks like Jesus at Red Rocks. Am I overreacting?

Of course not. But is he generational? Or elite? Or just great?

Fred from Naples, FL

No, the Jalen Ramsey trade hurt because we got [blank] in return and his back got appreciably better thanks to the great LA weather.

The Jaguars got the selections that became linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson (No. 20 overall, 2020 NFL Draft) and running back Travis Etienne Jr. (No. 25, 2021) in the trade for former cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Chaisson has yet to live up to his draft status, but Etienne at this early stage does not appear to be [blank]. He sure didn't look [blank] on the first three series of Friday's game.

Jim from Jagsonville

Start with a three and out, then a 32-yard zinger, follow up'd with a quarterback sneak?! This is where our future begins! Go Jaguars!

Jim is "all-in."

Zac from Austin, Tejas

Does the Hall of Fame game factor into official NFL statistics? Like, would we be considered 0-4 in preseason instead of 0-3?

The Hall of Fame Game indeed counts in NFL statistics and standings – at least it counts in the way all preseason games count, which is to say, well … not at all.

Kca32084 from St. Augustine, FL

_It looked as though the receiver who had the ball ripped away for an interception return for a touchdown Friday was No. 88, Jeff Cotton Jr., but they repeatedly announced on the tv broadcast that it was Tim Jones. Which player was it?       _


Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

My sister's best friend's ex-boyfriend's cousin works at a sign shop. He says he is working on a big order to replace 37 "Ponte Vedra Beach" signs with new ones that say "Boselliville." Just thought you'd want to know.

Boselliville? If they put it to a vote, I know one very tall – and sometimes very large – man who will be on the "aye" side. He won't be hard to spot. He'll be the one wearing the gold jacket. Still.

Jerry from Section 215

Kind of surprised Tony wasn't wearing his gold jacket while in the radio booth. What's up with that?

The season is still young.

_Steve from Sunroom Couch      _

Dear, John. So in the section below your blog or whatever the kids call it these days there was discussion about the Gardner Minshew II trade. Could you enlighten us as to why the Jaguars would trade away a very capable backup or solid starter at the QB position for next to nothing? He was still on a rookie contract and General Manager Trent Baalke or whoever it was down there decided to bring in another guy for way more money. Help us understand!!!

C.J. Beathard is the Jaguars' backup quarterback. The Jaguars liked Beathard more than they liked Minshew, who while indeed a serviceable backup isn't currently considered a "solid starter" in NFL circles. The Jaguars have made many regrettable decisions over the last 10 seasons. I get no sense they regret this one. I doubt that will change.

Holger from Zurich, Switzerland

I just rewatched the last game of the regular season, Colts at Jaguars, and what stood out to me was how good Lawrence was in that first half. He started off 14 of 15 with the incompletion being a perfect pass that wide receiver Laquon Treadwell dropped. He threw to wide receivers Marvin Jones, Laviska Shenault Jr. and Treadwell; all are still on the team. We now added running back Travis Etienne, running back James Robinson, wide receiver Christian Kirk, wide receiver Zay Jones, tight end Evan Engram, right tackle Brandon Scherff and a healthy left tackle Cam Robinson. In the second half, the offense fizzled a bit but the defense forced turnovers. The Colts had 150 total yards going into the fourth quarter. Sometimes we forget how good the defense was last year at times. What's my point? If the offense improves just a little bit and Lawrence plays like he did in that first half and the defense keeps the level from last year at least, we could improve quickly. And those are reasonable expectations.

What did you think of the Cleveland game?

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, my wife speaks French (among many other languages, given she's a linguist). Anyway, she said it's not "ETN," but rather something more like "ETN – with a barely French sounding thing on the end.)" Is she wrong!?

Daniel, my wife speaks English (only that language, given she's from Arlington). She wouldn't know Travis Etienne Jr. if he was sitting with us in our house and hasn't the foggiest idea how to pronounce the name. But he pronounces it ETN, so that's what we're going with.

Richard from Jacksonville

O'man. On third down on the opening drive, Jaguars outside linebacker Travon Walker got in the backfield and would have gotten to the quarterback if it wasn't for an inside handoff and still motored to hit the running back on the tackle. All indications are looking good.

Walker played well in the Hall of Fame game last Thursday and again in Friday against the Browns. He is disruptive, phenomenally strong and showing he belongs in the NFL – and that he is capable of overwhelming opponents physically. So far, so good.

Jason from North Pole, AK

I've coached/played offensive line for a number of years and after rewatching the first quarter repeatedly, my key takeaway is we don't need to worry about our rookie center. Luke Fortner and Brandon Scherff had some combo blocks, which are difficult to time, that would make Big Bo blush. That kid can play.

I haven't coached or played offensive line for any number of years. But yes … Fortner – a center from the University of Kentucky and a third-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft – has all the traits of a long-term starter. He has played well in both preseason games and has played well in training camp. This has the early feel of a good selection – and an overall good draft.

Emiliano from Houston, Texas

Where do you train?

With wild dogs, typically shirtless. I eat meat, typically raw.