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O-Zone: Unparalleled

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Mike from Atlanta, GA

I know why Wash is downplaying the whole 4-3-versus-3-4 thing; he likes working a little hybrid front. It's the base package that's only used 30 percent of the time. In either case, they will have basically the same personnel on the field. But is he saying we don't have linemen who can play a two-gap scheme? Does rookie nose tackle Davon Hamilton not fit that? Didn't they sign some pretty large linemen to go along with defensive tackles Taven Bryan and Abry Jones and defensive end Dawuane Smoot? Would it not be good if they put Hamilton at nose tackle with Smoot and Bryan lined up on the tackles?

Defensive coordinator Todd Wash joined local media on a videoconference late last week following the veteran portion of the Jaguars' 2020 offseason program – and his main message indeed was that the offseason storyline of the Jaguars moving to a 3-4 defensive scheme is a bit overblown. The focus for the defense this offseason has been adding players to the front that can allow the defense to utilize more looks; players such as K'Lavon Chaisson, Cassius Marsh and Aaron Lynch fit that approach. But Wash wasn't saying the Jaguars don't have any players who can play the two-gap approach that defines a 3-4 defense; he was saying that the Jaguars overall aren't built across the front to play a "pure" 3-4. Whereas Hamilton – a third-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft – does have the body type to play the nose, most of the other lineman fit better with a four-man, one-gap front. Bottom line: The Jaguars will play fronts that take advantage of the versatility of the aforementioned players. Their versatile nature will mean they line up on the line of scrimmage often, which will give the Jaguars more of a 3-4 – and a more versatile – feel than years past. Fans should focus on that more than the 3-4-versus-4-3 discussion when envisioning the Jaguars' defense in 2020.

Jim from East Glacier

Hey, John: With more than two months till the regular season, I propose that the whole team get infected with COVID-19. Young healthy people are the least affected. Two weeks quarantine and everyone is immune for the season. What say you?

I say many people have theories about COVID-19, and younger people indeed for the most part are less affected than older people. But of the ways for an NFL team to handle this situation, intentionally getting a potentially deadly virus probably isn't the best one.

David from The Island

I see where 41 with the Saints is recovering and is at X% depending on who you ask. Evidently some folks in various front offices not sure he's the player he could be. I don't care, he's one bat Cat and till he's out, I'm going to roll with him. Am I nuts?

Do better, David.

Zac from Austin, tejas

Do you think the ferocity of Cam Robinson is something to consider or be worried about? It's probably a warped perspective because I'm watching SO MANY Jaguars games per week, back to back. But he is always in the middle of a scuffle. Is that a common problem amongst young linemen? I love the fight in somebody, but if it's a problem then it's a problem.

Left tackle Cam Robinson indeed is often one of the first Jaguars players to get involved if a teammate is involved in a skirmish with an opponent. My impression is this is more about Robinson's willingness to defend a teammate than it is a problem with Robinson being overly "ferocious." Besides, Robinson had no unsportsmanlike-conduct or unnecessary roughness penalties last season. He doesn't seem to hurt the team in that regard.

David from Severna Park, MD

If memory serves the Jaguars have been in "salary cap hell" twice. Both times Tom Coughlin was in charge – regardless of who held the title of general manager. In your opinion has General Manager Dave Caldwell learned from the mistakes of Coughlin – or can we expect periodic salary cap hell situations going forward?

The "salary cap hells" to which you refer were different beasts. The first came in the wake of a long, successful run in the late 1990s; it stemmed from restructuring multiple veteran contracts, pursuing too many aging veterans at too high a price and therefore pushing the cap to the point that they had to put players such as left tackle Tony Boselli in the expansion draft to get the cap to the point of fielding a 53-man roster. That was cap hell to the -nth degree. The recent "cap hell" was manageable by comparison, with the Jaguars pretty much able to get the cap in order with one swath of moves such as trading defensive end Calais Campbell and cornerback A.J. Bouye this offseason. The latest cap issues were less "cap hell" and more a matter of the team signing some free agents in recent seasons knowing full well those veterans would have to be released before the end of their contracts. Many teams – particularly those who are active in free agency – will get close to some version of the Jaguars' recent cap situation. Few teams have faced the crisis they faced in the early 2000s.

John from Jacksonville

On the whole kneeling thing. I taught in the public school system and students didn't have to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance if they didn't want to. They especially didn't have to recite the "under god" part. Perhaps we should all keep this in mind when we criticize NFL players for kneeling during the anthem. After all, we taught it to them.


Me from Jacksonville

You have covered two of the best wide receiver duos up close and personal. If you had to choose between Jimmy Smith/Keenan McCardell and Marvin Harrison/Reggie Wayne, who would you take assuming they would have the same quarterback?

It's sooo close – much closer than most NFL observers probably would think. The Colts' duo of Wayne and Harrison had the advantage of playing with quarterback Peyton Manning. Both had long careers with one team – and long stretches in one, receiver-friendly system; those factors helped both players compile huge numbers. I consider Smith, Harrison and Wayne all Hall-of-Fame-level players with McCardell perhaps a touch outside that. At the same time, can you imagine how many receptions for how many yards McCardell would have produced had he played his entire career with Manning? And Smith's numbers would have been astronomical with Manning. I'll give Smith/McCardell the edge because I honestly believe Smith was the best of the foursome – yes, better than Harrison – and that McCardell was closer to Wayne than many believe … but it's close. And you couldn't go wrong with any combination of the four.

Logan from Wichita, KS

The most annoying thing about tanking is … name one team EVER that tanked and then had a good season in any of the years following that horrible tank. Tanking for a quarterback means the other 21 starting spots ALSO suck. This team is horribly built and organized, so go figure we will have to wait for another fluke in a decade for even a .500 season.

The Jaguars aren't tanking in 2020, but hey … Logan's back!!

David from Chuluota, FL

KOAF – You often reply to questions with an "OK." Readers are left to wonder what this really means? Does it mean: A. that's a good thought worth sharing? B. that is so dumb, it doesn't deserve my reply? C. BAM! Another question in the can and it's almost naptime!?


Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, given the lack of team sports lately, I was excited to tune into the first live Premier League game of the season Wednesday. After hours of play, the final score was zero-zero and I was reminded why I don't follow Premier League. Have you found any new sports to follow lately?

No, but I figured out that LetterKenney is brilliant and that I'd forgotten the absolute brilliance of Trailer Park Boys. #PlayThatDianeSawyerSong

Garrett from Jesup, GA

Let's do an estimating exercise of the high/low capabilities for some offensive players in terms of yards and touchdowns. For example, I'll do running back Leonard Fournette: Total yards: 1,400/900, touchdowns: 12/8. Now you do tight end Tyler Eifert, tight end Josh Oliver, wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr., running back Chris Thompson and wide receiver Chris Conley. Interested to see your perspective on some players with new roles with the team.

Eifert: 650/400, 8/3; Oliver: 500/200, 6/1; Shenault: 800/300, 6/4; Thompson: 500/300 (receiving yards), 4/1; Conley: 900/600, 7/4.

Michel from Milton, FL

I saw George Carlin in Vegas and on campus. His Vegas show was raunchier and the campus show more highbrow. He killed it on both. Carlin and Robin Williams were the two best.

There's no legitimate list of great standup comics that doesn't include Richard Pryor – though you're right that Carlin's on the list, too.