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O-Zone: Undefinable

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Steve from Nashville, TN

I have seen the word "Energy" used to describe the Jaguars team in the last few weeks. Can you add color to exactly what you are seeing that is causing this word to be used more compared to last year's team where that word may have been used less?

"Energy," to be fair, is a catch-all word; as such, it is tricky to "define" or explain. But there are multiple reasons why people say that about the Jaguars right now. This is a new regime with a new head coach and a largely new coaching staff. Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer's practices are upbeat, high-tempo sessions with a public-address announcer signaling upcoming drills. Players and coaches get to and from session stations more quickly than before. That pacing creates "energy." Players are also talking enthusiastically about this new beginning, which feels energetic. Veterans and rookies alike understandably are aware that they are being evaluated by new sets of eyes and minds. That, too, certainly contributes to a greater sense of urgency – and energy. A new, talented young quarterback contributes to all of this as well. And Meyer's history of success and intense, players-first approach also brings an element of instant credibility and a change in tone at the leadership position. That all contributes to observers describing the team as having more energy.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

How good do you feel, and how good do the coaches feel, about tight end Tim Tebow blocking defensive ends like Josh Allen, or Jadaveon Clowney, or TJ Watt or Myles Garrett?

I have no idea how I feel because about Tebow blocking good or great defensive ends, because I haven't seen him do it. I doubt the coaches have a good feel for it, either. At the same time, there's not a huge number of tight ends that I feel all that good about blocking the NFL's top pass rushers one on one. There's a limited number of left tackles I feel good about doing it, for that matter.

Michael from Middleburg, FL

Video (nationally) of Tebow working out. Where are videos of all the other players? Let the circus roll on. And you continue to downplay.

You're referencing video from tight end Tim Tebow's first practice Thursday with the Jaguars in an open-media situation. Of course that was going to be a national story. Of course he was going to be the focus. On Day 1. And it may be a national story moving forward. I don't expect it to be as big as time moves on. We'll see.

Dave from Oviedo, FL

KOAF – One day he's a talking head on the NFL Network, then next day he's rubbing elbows with you and J.P. Shadrick? When did Bucky Brooks become part of the Jaguars "circle of friends?"

NFL Media Analyst Bucky Brooks, who played defensive back for the Jaguars in 1996 and 1997, has been a contributor to Jaguars Media since the 2020 offseason.

_Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL          _

Coach Meyer described the offense struggling against the defense in red-zone work. In your analysis, was that due to a rookie quarterback and other new players that just have not quite jelled yet? A defense that really has been improved with the addition of free agents and rookies? Or a combination of both?

You're referencing Meyer discussing a less-than-stellar day for the offense against the defense Thursday on Day 1 of 2021 Organized Team Activities. A lot of the struggles seemed to stem from this being red-zone work, which always is the toughest area for a new offense/young quarterback to master. Memo to readers: Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence is a rookie. The Jaguars might not be great in the red zone early next season and they might not be great there at all next season; young quarterbacks can take a long time to become great there, and their proficiency there can be a good way to measure their development. But mostly Thursday seemed a case of a young quarterback and young offense not yet being in sync. It was, after all, the third practice. Of OTAs. It's May. Breathe.

Shawn from Jacksonville

Hi, John, I hate to keep the Tebow thing going but I had to make a comment on this. Tim Tebow has been an exemplary individual all his life. He has a wonderful Foundation which helps people all over this country. If his hearts' desire was to see if he could play professional football one more time why are people lambasting him? He is a human being who just desires to play football and compete. I believe what it boils down to is they are just jealous because they can't do this. Please just leave the man alone and let him live his life the way he desires. He will either make the team or he won't. This does not define the man. He knows who he is.


Jozy from Jax

O-Zone, you covered the NFL back when it was either "Draft Peyton" or "Draft Ryan Leaf." I'm sure you watched college ball then. How would you compare Leaf's career at Wazzu to Trevor's at Clemson? Are they comparable? He must have come into the league extremely talented to be even considered being chosen ahead of Manning. Thanks.

It was a different era, so a lot of comparisons aren't valid, but Leaf was a big, strong prototypical passer who absolutely looked the part of an NFL quarterback. The big difference was whereas Peyton Manning was similar to Lawrence in the sense that the entire football world was keenly away of both players from very early in their careers, Leaf was lesser-known – appearing on the radar late in the 1996 season or so, then ascending in the 1997 season. He was always sort of the dark horse to be selected No. 1 overall in the 1998 NFL Draft, whereas Manning always was sort of the favorite – as was the case with Lawrence.

Seamus from Vancouver BC

Do you, John O-Zhure, really believe a "culture change" makes a difference? I am personally leaning 'no'. When Jack Del Rio left, Mike Mularkey was hired and brought a new culture and attitude to the building. And then he was fired and we brought in Gus Bradley, who was Building a New Winning Culture. After him, we brought back former Head Coach Tom Coughlin, who had a plan to change the team's culture to a so-called "winning" culture. After he was fired, Doug Marrone was said to have been building a new culture with a nose-to-the-grindstone winning culture, even though he and General Manager David Caldwell had to reboot the roster in a lot of ways. All I am saying is this whole "building a new culture" business is talking to hear yourself (generic "your") talk. It is a different style, it may be indeed a new culture in the building, but telling us about it may as well be telling us that the team knows for sure *this time* it will improve its win column this year because they switched from Folgers to Maxwell House coffee. Hashtag eyeroll.

It's essential to change the "culture" anytime there is a head-coaching change because players must believe in the head coach, and they must believe in the direction of the organization. A culture change by itself guarantees little to nothing.              

Fred from Naples, FL

Obviously, tight end is our weakest position group. Now that Dave Caldwell is a personnel executive with the Philadelphia Eagles could we see a trade perhaps involving Zach Ertz to the Jaguars? Or do we simply wait until he is a post-June 1 casualty?

I don't know that Caldwell joining the Eagles will change the dynamics of this situation – if there even is a "situation" between the Eagles and the Jaguars when it comes to tight end Zach Ertz. Caldwell is a member of the Eagles' staff, not the general manager. As such, his presence in the organization likely won't influence how the Eagles feel about potentially trading Ertz.

Pat from Section 242

I was not that excited when Urban Meyer was hired, and was skeptical of the Tebow signing, but as I am watching this unfold, I am really excited about their prospects and the outlook of the team. Could be our "Rudy" moment. What I laugh at is how the national media makes up storylines... Q (to an NFL insider): Could the Jags use Tebow in a Taysom Hill role? A: yes, possibly. Story: NFL insiders expect Jaguars to use Tebow as QB in goal line situations, and then they spend five minutes mocking Tim and talking about how crazy the Jaguars are for even thinking about this, when they never said they were. Is this standard reporting practice?

Increasingly and unfortunately, yes.

Darren from Las Vegas, NV

I remember when you were cool. What happened?

Sometimes life takes a bold entity with limitless possibility, a golden future, breathtaking charm, striking looks and undefinable "cool" and wears that entity down to the nub, leaving one to wonder what happened. That's not what happened here. I was never cool.