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O-Zone: Underdog story

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Joe from Jacksonville

John, dumb question, but the way the preseason is structured, essentially any team playing in the Hall of Fame game gets four preseason games opposed to three for all other clubs? If this is correct, it seems disadvantageous due to the likelihood of injury in my opinion. Or is this considered better for roster evaluation?

Joe, there are no dumb questions; only comments sections. The Jaguars are playing in the Hall of Fame Game against the Las Vegas Raiders in Canton, Ohio, on August 6 – and the Hall of Fame Game indeed is an extra game added onto the "normal" NFL preseason. For many years that meant a fifth preseason game for participating teams. Now, with the NFL reducing the preseason by a game as of 2021, it means a fourth preseason game. That game in theory could mean more injury risk, but head coaches can manage snap counts for players to navigate that risk – and increasingly have been doing so for years. My thought is the extra preseason game – while awful for me personally – is good for coaches because it gives teams more time for roster evaluation. But considering the league just cut out a preseason game last year, there apparently is more than enough time for such things. They got this.

Ronnie from Jax Beach

After reading we have seven one-game-in-a-row games at the 'Bank this year (10 road games), wouldn't you say that is a pretty serious competitive disadvantage for the Jags? I've read local revenues from the London game are dwindling, so when will the extra money make the competitive disadvantage not worth it anymore?

The London game is a significant revenue stream for the Jaguars. That's even more the case this season because the Jaguars are operating it as their own home game, assuming much of the responsibility in planning and executing – and selling – the game. With that risk comes greater revenue. There perhaps will come a time when it's not worth it. That time hasn't come yet.

David from Jacksonville

Everyone keeps focusing on players and missing the most important addition we have made in over a decade. Head Coach Doug Pederson. Not since Tom Coughlin have we had a high-caliber head coach and Pederson might be even better than ol' Tom was. After Coach Coughlin, all other coaches could be ranked from mediocre to average at best. I see the Jags' record being 6-11 as the floor and 10-7 the ceiling this year and I place the majority of responsibility on our head coach.

Hey, one fer Pederson.

Jeff from Middleburg, FL

Watching the head coach press conference, I am incredibly impressed. This dude KNOWS football ... all the details, all the names, the entire schedule. He answered so clearly and comfortably every question as to why and how things are being done the way they are. What was your take on his first presser with players in house?

That he's a professional head coach who knows what he's doing – and yes, that's pretty cool. Considering … you know, everything.

Don from Marshall NC

The Detroit Lions have played 93 seasons with no Super Bowl appearance and guess how many prime- time games they have? Everyone loves to watch winners. Sometimes you're born into your team and you have to endure. Or you can quit and go out for the flavor of the day team. It's hard sledding in the NFL for fans of a lot of teams. The Jaguars have had some success just not sustained. New season, new chance!

Don remains "all in."

Barranquilla, Colombia

JO. Do we have a preseason schedule for the Jags ?

Yes. The Jaguars will open the preseason against the Raiders in the Hall of Fame Game followed by a home game against the Cleveland Browns August 12 at 7 p.m. and a home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers August 20 at 7 p.m. They will close the preseason at the Atlanta Falcons with the exact date to be determined.

Sean from Jacksonville

Holy guacamolé! Right now, we're tied for first place not only in the AFC South, but the entire NFL! Someone take a pic!

Holy guacamole!

Ray from Jax

John: Considering free-agency signings and the early-round draft choices, doesn't it seem hometown guy Shaq Quarterman faces a tough road to make the team?

Quarterman, a fourth-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, is an inside, off-the-ball linebacker. The Jaguars did sign Foye Oluokun as an unrestricted free agent and selected Devin Lloyd (Round 1) and Chad Muma (Round 3) to play the position. But remember: the Jaguars are playing a three-lineman, four-linebacker scheme. There are two inside linebackers in the base scheme, so the Jaguars need more than three players at the spot.

Rob from PV

I got us splitting with the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans, beating the Philadelphia Eagles and Denver Broncos (Broncos first London game and Doug's redemption) for a total of 10 wins. If we are good, we beat people who are also good. I think the Colts and Titans may not be as good as they have been, and the Jags will be better than expected. Ten wins and we take the division, moodachay.

I'm counting four victories in your email, though perhaps there are others. Either way … Rob is "all in." #Moodachay

Whydoistilllovethejags from Abingdon, VA

Can you tell us fans what has stood out to you watching the new kids working for the first time? Everyone seems to be laser focused on Walker, which should be expected with any No. 1 overall pick. But I am very interested in Lloyd and Muma. I'm in the minority, I'm sure, but I think Lloyd can be a special player – and Muma has insane potential as well. I think the guard from Kentucky is going to be Just what we needed, so not worried about him.

The things that stood out at 2022 Jaguars Rookie Minicamp are what you would expect to stand out at a rookie minicamp. Outside linebacker Travon Walker was unbelievably impressive physically. It's easy at first glance to see why the Jaguars made him the No. 1 overall selection; in a sport of impressive specimens, he will stand out. As for Lloyd and Muma, both players looked fast and athletic – and they looked very much like they belong in the NFL. Offensive lineman Luke Fortner looked like an interior offensive lineman going through drills against air and tackling dummies – and he looked perfectly capable of playing interior lineman in the NFL. So, what stood out about the four? They all looked fine. And capable. We'll find out a little more in the coming weeks when they practice against veterans. We'll find out a lot more during training camp. Rookie minicamp is a chance for coaches to teach the rookies what will be expected in the coming weeks and months. Evaluation during these early days is very premature and pretty worthless – even if some people find it a lot of fun.

Robert from Fernandina Beach, FL

What is the status of Jamal Agnew, please?

Agnew, a wide receiver/returner, sustained a hip injury late last season. Pederson said Friday Agnew was a little ahead of running back James Robinson, who is on schedule to perhaps return sometime during training camp.

Marcus from Jacksonville

I don't quite get the angst over the WR position right now. Sure, it would be nice to have an undeniable No. 1, franchise level receiver on the roster, but I don't look at it from the perspective of individuals, I look at the overall wide receiver room. When your top three receivers from one year become your third, fourth and fifth options the next year, that means you got better. If the guys we were counting on as starters are now fighting for a spot on the roster, that means the overall level at the position has improved. Whether or not we have a true No. 1 doesn't matter nearly as much as whether or not we have weapons at the position. We may not have the best weapons, but we certainly have more weapons than we did last year!


William the Contemplator from Jacksonville

Mr. Zone, this year's crop of undrafted free agents shows some real promise. I boldly predict that Kevin Austin will make big impact on our receivers room, that Nick Floyd will become a reliable OL backup, and that our new kicker will be strong legged Andrew Mevis. Agree or disagree?

It's never too surprising when three or four undrafted free agents make an NFL regular-season roster. A receiver, offensive lineman and a kicker? Considering the Jaguars' current roster makeup, that wouldn't be surprising at all.

David from Ada, OK

Being a fan of the Ozone is your classic underdog story. You take a lot of heat and the cool kids wanna stuff you in the trash can, but you get the last laugh. Indeed history is written by the victors. We are the champions, my friend.

I am the king of all funk.