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O-Zone: TV party tonight

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Cliff from Callahan

This notion that the owners are colluding to keep running back salaries down is just silly. If they were going to take the risk of collusion, they would collude to keep down quarterback salaries.

I was a little surprised to see people saying this, too. The notion is indeed silly. Many NFL positions make a lot of money, with quarterbacks by far the highest-paid position. If the league's owners wanted to collude, why would they choose running backs? The forces devaluing running backs have nothing to do with clandestine deals. They happened naturally. Running backs for the most part lose production rapidly shortly into the second contracts – even great running backs. They are more susceptible to injury and wear than other positions, and that wear typically takes a toll on running backs more rapidly than other positions. That's the No. 1, unassailable reason running backs are signing fewer and fewer mega deals these days. Teams also learned over time that the offensive line often has as much or more to do with a great running game than the running back. Combine those factors with analytics showing that other positions often impact winning more than running back and you have teams reluctant to give the position franchise-defining, salary-cap dominating contracts. No collusion necessary.

Dave from Jacksonville

KOAF. Having witnessed the ebb and flow between offense and defense winning various drills on various days, would you say it has been typical or atypical compared to previous training camps? Is this back and forth due to the different objectives of each unit early in camp?

This is my 29th NFL training camp. By rough guesstimate, I've covered 600 training camp practices(ish). I honestly can't remember past training-camp practices in enough detail to recall trends of individual drills. I do recall a practice in 2017 when quarterback Blake Bortles had a really bad day. I also recall quarterback Peyton Manning having a lot of good days when I covered the Indianapolis Colts. Beyond that, most of the 600ish practices sort of run together. It's also honestly often disingenuous to leave a training camp practice and declare confidently, "The offense won Drill A and the defense won Drill B." In a one-on-one pass rush drill, for example, the media might observe a pass rusher or two "win" a drill and most of the rest of the offensive line had good days. Who won the drill? The Jaguars' offense had a rough day in terms of catching passes Tuesday. The unit was really sharp the day before. Maybe some reporters can tell you details about practices before that, or what happened in 2019. If so, they're better at their jobs than me. Which actually is possible. Maybe even probable.

Emerson from ATX

Zone, Jags A.M. is not being streamed on Facebook. How come?

It's being streamed on YouTube and This is expected to be the approach moving forward.

JR from The Squatchlands

Forget about players switching positions to follow the money. Lionel Messi recently signed with Inter Miami and makes upwards of $50 million per year. Consider that he is 36 years old and the relative lack of physicality of the sport and he could easily play another five years or more. If players are going to follow the money they won't switch positions, they will switch sports!

I don't get the idea that many young athletes choose sports based on potential million-dollar contracts. My thought is athletes at some age typically gravitate to sports they like and play well, then eventually choose to pursue the sports they play the best. I could be wrong on this. My athletic decisions didn't exactly have these stakes. I was just hoping to make the teams. When I did, the competition wasn't exactly bound for fame, wealth and glory.

David from Chuluota, FL

Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley said in the spring he still considers himself a 1,400-yard receiver. In other words, he envisions himself putting up these numbers. With so many weapons on offense, I'm concerned that Ridley may get frustrated or discontent when he feels he's open on every play and he's not getting the ball. He's been out of football for some time and is in a contract year, so he's highly motivated to put up career numbers and re-establish himself as one of the league's best receivers. I think, this is a potential powder keg and something to keep an eye on. Thoughts?

How receivers react when they don't get targets and how running backs react when carries are limited are always worth watching. Their nature of great players at these positions is they want the ball, and the great ones have egos. Ridley has high expectations for himself, and he is motivated this season for the reasons you cite. I haven't had the sense that he's a selfish player, and I sense his objective is to be part of this environment. I lean more toward this not being an issue than it being concern.

Dan from Munich, Germany

Hello Johnny, I'm super-excited about the upcoming season, it's the first offseason that we feel very optimistic based on the product in the second half last year and not the promises that come on paper with the free agent class or the recently drafted players. It has been a long time since I felt like this. Thanks for what you do!

The Jaguars were optimistic in 2018 because they won the AFC South in 2017 and advanced to the AFC Championship Game, but I understand your point. This optimism feels real. It's based on results and sustainable strengths, not the least of which is quarterback Trevor Lawrence. This is a strong team that has the potential to be good for a while. Stay tuned.

Kerry from Millersville, Md

Zone, I think Jeremy typifies the modern-day fan's belief that it is the Hall of Fame or bust for first-round draft picks. I doubt there is a general manager in the league who would not draft a player in the eight-to-12 pick range if told that the player would be a productive (but not dominant) plug-and-play starter for a decade or more. To use a baseball analogy, sometimes a solid run producing double is preferable to a 50-50 shot at a home run or strikeout scenario (and frankly with draft picks its nowhere near 50-50).

This continues a recent thread discussing whether former Jaguars defensive tackle Tyson Alualu was a bust. I guess people define "bust" in different ways. Did he fulfill his draft status? Perhaps not. But Alualu has played 12 seasons in the NFL and been a solid starter – and at times very good – most of that time. That's not what I consider a bust.

Paul from Lake City

It's (not all that) amazing how people easily expect others to settle for less money than they might be willing to do themselves. It's always easier to make decisions with other people's money.

Well put.

Brian from Round Rock, Texas

Mark Long wrote a story about the locker room spy. Apparently, he's the only player the press isn't allowed to interview. There's a bunch of awkward quotes from coaches and players about him. There are so many issues with this situation. The thing that bugs me the most is that this is a distraction and it has nothing to do with making the Jags better. This is all about giving a handout to the coach's son. Pathetic. Cut him now. He doesn't belong on this team, period. Thoughts?

I read the story Associated Press writer Mark Long wrote on Jaguars tight end Josh Pederson, son of Head Coach Doug Pederson. Two players were quoted, linebacker Josh Allen and tight end Evan Engram were quoted. I heard both players say the quotes. Neither sounded remotely awkward. Josh Pederson spoke to the media Thursday. Time will tell if he belongs on the team. Team must trim rosters to 53 no later than August 29. As for it being a distraction, my sense is it's bothering people in Texas more than around the Miller Electric Center.

Sean from Oakleaf, FL

Why does the league not have a shortage of punters since they only average about $2 million a year in salary? Hardly worth getting out of bed for. I guess I am a skeptic for a future where all 363 D1 college programs abandon the run game and send few running backs to the NFL draft.

I am, too. I suppose a few would-be great running backs might opt for other positions or sports. There used to be a theory that a lot of great would-be NFL tight ends were playing power forward in the NBA. We'll never know. Either way, the NFL survived. And the league still finds people to play tight end and pay them to do it.

Gary from St. Augustine, FL

What's your favorite television show? I'll bet that sucks, too.

That was funny.