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O-Zone: Truth

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Steve from Jagtown

Hey, John: Don’t want you to think I’m starting to panic or anything – and 3-1 is a great record to start the season – but I’m just wondering what was up with the starters missing the game Thursday. I found it weird that we didn’t see any action from quarterback Blake Bortles or running back Leonard Fournette or anyone else despite them being suited up. We’re four games in now and the starters have yet to play a full 60 minutes. Thanks, buddy!

The Jaguars followed NFL norm Thursday – and throughout the preseason, actually – but it’s worth reviewing what “NFL norm” means. Teams typically play starters for a series or two – if at all – in the preseason opener, then a little longer in Preseason Week 2. They typically play starters through the first series of the second half in Preseason Week 3 before resting most – if not all – starters for the preseason finale. This is the normal preseason finale approach because teams want to rest starters for the regular-season opener and evaluate bottom-of-the-roster players. As for why teams dress starters for the preseason finale when they’re not playing … it’s just one of those things teams do. It’s sort of silly, but it’s how it is.

Sean from Jacksonville

I feel sorry for you right about now as teams prepare to cut their rosters to 53 players. Guaranteed there will be some older guys who fans will be clamoring for. You know ... the 50-year old wide receiver who is well past his prime or the 90-year old quarterback who was great back in the 1800s.

I don’t need your stinkin’ pity.

Brian from Greenwood, IN

I know you have a great deal of respect for Tony Dungy. What do you think of his comment that "he hopes one of Jalen Ramsey's coaches or teammates should tell him to tone it down?"

I do have a great deal of respect for Dungy, perhaps as much respect as I have for anyone I’ve ever covered. Respecting someone doesn’t mean thinking they’re always right. I’m not surprised Dungy would prefer Ramsey not be as outspoken. That’s the instinct of most coaches. I don’t necessarily agree with the instinct, and I don’t think it’s a capital offense for players to say outlandish things. I don’t think Ramsey is hurting anyone or anything with his words, but I have no problem with coaches feeling differently – or saying so. Just as Ramsey has his right to speak – Dungy does, too.

Bill from Ponte Vedra, FL

Sure, if Jalen Ramsey wants to talk, he has a right. So, do his critics, which include me. Gronk did nothing in the Jags game?! Yeah, he had a concussion and missed the entire second half. Can't beat coverage by corners? He plays tight end! They are normally covered by safeties or linebackers. So, Jalen is proving being a great player doesn't make you a great analyst. Gronk is a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer …

You mad, bro?

Dave from DUUVAL

Hey Johnny O, I’m not an NFL general manager, scout or coach but I’ve watched enough NFL football in my life to know that Brandon Wilds has played himself into a NFL roster this preseason. His performance against the Bucs I believe showed good burst to the edge, vision and power. Now the question is: do the Jaguars keep four running backs and sign him to the 53-man roster or waive him and risk having another team claim him? I would put him on the 53 because he’s not going to clear waivers and I don’t think he’ll make it to our practice squad if that is the plan. What do you think about Wilds?

You may be falling victim to a common tendency – i.e., to over-evaluate the performance of a player in the preseason finale. This isn’t to say Wilds lacks talent, but I don’t know that he would be the first player the Jaguars would worry about losing if they release him. The reality is there are many running backs on NFL rosters – and a lot who aren’t – who can run effectively given the opportunity. Wilds fits into that category, and I agree he can play at the NFL. I don’t know that we’ve seen enough that it’s a major worry if he’s let go.

Yoav from St. Johns, FL

As the preseason has finished, I think my only question about the Jaguars is this: are practice-squad players eligible to receive the Super Bowl ring, too?

I see you, Yoav.

Eddie from Jacksonville

Third-team quarterback Tanner Lee looked poised and in command of the offense. Should we try to trade Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler and just play the kid.

I see you, too, Eddie. #FreeTannerLee

Tank from Mechanicsville

Hey Zone! Once again you handle the offseason/preseason with your expert aplomb. Since you haven't lately had such a stupid question as to make you throw something at the screen, I'm going to give it a go. Would you please tell EVERYONE (see what I did there?) that the proper way to pronounce the name of our team is Jaguars JAG-UARS. The second syllable rhymes with CARS. It does not rhyme with WIRES. Thanks in advance for handling this, O-Man. Love your work.

This topic just doesn’t bother me as much as it bothers some people. People talk how they talk. People who pronounce “Jaguars” Jag-wires don’t do it to be insulting. They just do it. And they’re not going to change.

Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Joe Namath threw six picks in one game three times. Even Peyton Manning has thrown six in a game. Ken Stabler seven … Johnny Unitas, Terry Bradshaw, Dan Fouts, Russell Wilson, Kurt Warner, Brett Favre, Matt Stafford, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Dan Marino and our very own Mark Brunell have all had five in a game. Blake Bortles throws a couple in preseason and he has got to go? That is just a few names. There are lots more. We do not need another quarterback. We need better fans. Blake will be the MVP of the Super Bowl this year and you can write it down now, so you know! Go Jaguars!

Hey, one really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really for Blake.

Michael from Aiken, SC

I know this goes back to last year, but why would the Jags release Sheldon Day (currently starting for San Francisco) over, say, Michael Bennett who has done nothing and but stay hurt and play poorly when available? Day always seemed to be disruptive from the tackle position and create havoc in the backfield. I believe this was a big Jags mistake that never gets mentioned, plus I cannot understand the love for Bennett this management team seems to have. Was Day a bad locker room guy or a problem? Seems like we let a good and cheap player go for no reason. Plus, maybe we don't have to draft Taven Bryan for depth if we had him.

I don’t sense any real “love” for Bennett, and I will be surprised if he makes the final 53. As for Day, the Jaguars had seen enough to know they wanted to move on from him. That’s why teams release players. The Jaguars’ defensive line has played at a high enough level since his release that I suppose I haven’t considered the move catastrophic in nature. But the Jaguars didn’t draft Bryan for depth. They drafted him with the idea that he will be a core player in this defense beginning next season.

Randy from Jacksonville

I was reading the O-Zone recently and spilled coffee on my laptop and rushed to wipe it up. My question is, why did an AC repairman show up to my house with Skynyrd tickets?

Because Curtis Loew was the finest picker to ever play the blues.

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