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O-Zone: Unbowed

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Jon from Brentwood, UK

Zone, I completely get the whole "voluntary" argument – from both sides. However, in light of the new leading-with-the-helmet rules shouldn't all players be taking advantage of as much opportunity to discuss, analyze and practice how this affects their play as possible? If Jalen or A.J. are the first Jags players to be ejected for leading with the helmet my first thought was that they missed the opportunity by skipping OTAs. Your thoughts?

We can discuss, argue and analyze his topic all we want, I suppose – and I suppose we will do just that for the coming few days or weeks. But toward what end? While I expect A.J. Bouye to participate in the Jaguars' organized team activities at some point this offseason, I would be surprised if Jalen Ramsey starts attending voluntary work any time soon. If ever. I will be equally surprised if he starts not being one of the NFL's best cornerbacks any time soon. I also will be surprised if the Jaguars don't re-sign Ramsey to a long-term extension and if he's not a core player and maybe the team's best player for a long time. My point? Ramsey is elite; as long as he plays like it, I really don't care if he's here in May or not. And the rules say he doesn't have to be here. Either way, I wouldn't make much of a connection between voluntary OTAs and the helmet rule. These are non-contact practices and there will be plenty of time in training camp for Ramsey and Bouye to catch up with teammates on the nuances of the rule.

Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

It's the little things you do not do that end up affecting your performance. If it is important for one player to be there, then it should be important for all. I cannot imagine anything can be gained by not being there. Maybe OTAs are not that important. Maybe the team could skip practices and still win. If you want to win, you have to do the things nobody else is doing. Maybe if Edgerrin James and Marvin Harrison had gone to OTAs, they might have had more Super Bowl wins. Maybe it's not a big deal to the individual who thinks he is above his team. Go ask Doug Marrone how he feels about it. Go Jags!

Voluntary is voluntary. Marrone probably doesn't love players not being here, but he also very much understands that elite players opting to not attend OTAs is a blip and not a large speed bump.

Jim from Jacksonville

This is a serious technical question. I don't see any ads when I read O-Zone every day. How come other readers do and I don't?

We like you better than everyone else.

Tom from Germany

Have you ever been to Germany?

No, but I spent a lot of summers in the 1970s in my mother's hometown of Cannelton, Indiana. Except for the size, weather, population, language, a few obscure laws and the presence in one town of an awesome drive-up Tastee Freez, I feel they're basically parallel experiences.

Tyler from Jacksonville

Any way we can organize a mass Myles Jack Wasn't Down sign campaign for the first home game? Get creative with it, Jacksonville. We all know Myles Jack wasn't down; make sure the league knows we know. And if they know that we know, then they will know not to blow the damn whistle ...

They probably will blow it anyway. It seems to be the Jaguars' luck on such matters.

Spike from Jagsonville

Oh boy John, if Tink sees Thursday's O-Zone, you might be in big trouble, implying that he may only have a 50/50 shot at making the team.

I kid Tink sometimes here in the O-Zone, but one thing I don't joke about are players' chances of making the team. This is their livelihood; I have enough ways to flex my comedic genius without jesting about jobs. I hope Tinker makes the team. I like the guy. But I do think this will be a competitive situation.

John from Jacksonville

I know you probably don't care much about this topic or may not agree with my view, but I would like to make a comment anyway. The NFL penalty rule regarding the national anthem and the so-called 15-yard penalty is the latest pathetic attempt by the league to fix what should have been handled on Day 1 when Colin Kaepernick started the mess. Players can protest all they want on their own time but not on their employer's time while people are paying good money to watch a sporting event. My company wouldn't allow me to do it and no smart organization would allow the same. The new rule should mandate players to be on the field and to stand during the anthem. Any player who violates this should be scooped up by the flyover and flown into the sunset. How's that for Hard Knocks?

It's not whether I agree with your view, though I do believe people have the right to do as they wish when it comes to the anthem – just as fans have the right to react as they wish to what players do. But the issue is not simple because players are not "employees" in the sense that most of us are; they are independent contractors whose talent makes them in very high demand – albeit for a short period of time. Whereas you or I might be fired for such an action, NFL players are far more difficult to fire – and because they are represented by the NFL Players Association, handing out discipline is trickier than otherwise might be the case. It personally doesn't matter to me whether players kneel, though I am keenly aware it bothers many people greatly. But to describe it as an easily-solved issue is incorrect. It's just not.

Sunil from Jacksonville

Hey, John: I'm actually very surprised that Brian Sexton chose Sugar Ray's "I Just Want to Fly" as his happy dance song. I pictured him as more of a Debbie Gibson "Only-In-My-Dreams" type of a guy. You feel me?

Be nice, Sunil.

Brian from Charlottesville, VA

I have a question regarding the concept of being able to rollover salary cap space. I know this is something the Jaguars have done and so have many other teams in the NFL. If a team were to spend the entirety of their 'rollover cap', does the cap revert to what the NFL sets the following year? If not and the team continues with the higher cap, why even bother having the salary cap? A team like the Browns (or Jaguars of a few years ago) that can rollover nearly 50 percent of the cap from one year to the next effectively has an infinite competitive advantage by paying the price in a single year.

If a team spends to the cap then spends its rollover space, it would carry over zero to the next league year. It then would operate the following season under whatever its contracts called for its cap situation to be and there would be no rollover. Confused? You won't be after the next episode of Soap.

Richard from Orange Park, FL

John, this is the first time back. I read the column. I still got a headache. I'm really sad this will be my last time writing to you. I see it wasn't mentioned. I suppose everyone has to follow the rules. The NFL got the national anthem wrong. People died to defend freedom, freedom to make choices. Even if I may or may not like people's choices I have to respect them. What my opinion is or isn't doesn't matter. I will miss you, John. Drunk writing you. Pretending to be Tom Brady for the Pats game would have been epic this year. The NFL saying every site has to be the same is on par with saying every player has to stand or be banished from the field. It may or may not be a big deal, but many small deals take place so that someone can take over a corporation via stock. Now take that apply it to ideas and ideals and apply it to our country. The NFL is our game, not baseball. We must do better. Irony is the sea of gray's the site has become. No color no one can be different. Teach to a test in school not to the ability of ones learning. I know John crazy is as crazy does. Take care.

I feel about this email as I often feel about a Gene Frenette column. Even on the days I don't agree or understand – and there are many of the latter – I am so overwhelmed by the presence of greatness that I read on … bloodied, but unbowed. I am often weary. Other times I am confused. But always I am a better person for the experience.

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