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O-Zone: Wait 'till next year

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

Looking at how the roster is shaping up, looking at the schedule and looking at how Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer is approaching the season, my expectations are high. Or perhaps I should say my hopes are high. My hopes are at least 10-7, a conference title and a run deep into the playoffs. My expectations are for six-to-seven wins. I like what I see so far, but ... we still do not have a true receiving threat at tight end. Our offensive tackles have yet to prove they can be effective pass-blockers. Our defensive line, albeit improved, still must show it can stop the run. Our revamped secondary looks good on paper – but stats do not win games. What is your (way too early) opinion on the strengths and weakness of our opening day roster?

My opinion is that your outlook is fair. I can't predict the playoffs or a conference title for this team because the Jaguars were 1-15 last season – and because the reality is the 2021 roster is made up of far more unknowns than certainties. We know linebacker Myles Jack is good and we know the interior of the offensive line is experienced and solid – and that the offensive line should be a pretty good run-blocking unit. We also know that running back James Robinson can produce at the NFL level. Beyond that, we know that the Jaguars have a lot of potential in many spots – the secondary, the defensive line, pass rush, quarterback, receivers, etc. – but we know little else for certain. The Jaguars should absolutely be improved. But many, many things must go right and come together as planned for the Jaguars to be as successful and competitive as quickly as you hope. I, too, expect the team can win six or seven games – and that by the end of the season the future will look very bright, with rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence looking like the future of the franchise. We'll see.

David from The Island

Let's say Josh Allen goes off and gets 20 sacks and NFL Defensive MVP. If that happens, will the Jags be in the playoffs?

Almost certainly, in part because it's difficult for a defensive end/linebacker to have that sort of season without a lot going well for the team. A defensive player's team must be playing with leads for the player to get enough sack opportunities to get 20 sacks, and one would assume that many of those sacks would change the game's momentum in his team's favor. So much would be going right in your scenario that the Jaguars almost certainly would be in the postseason.

Dave from Jacksonville

Zone, not sure of the Duke of Duval. Name sounds used already. That was John Elway's nickname and there was that Horse Soldier guy named The Duke. Loved that movie. He's the reason 12 Strong has its Hollywood name. Think bigger say THOR. Put a big hammer in Trevor's hand and snap a picture. Next season every time he scores a big Hammer slams down on the billboard. Thunder, flash, echo's and all that. Get Trevor and Chris Hemsworth to do a photo shot. Trevor is taller might be awkward for Hemsworth.

Jaguars 2021 Training Camp is a month away.

Dakota from Dupree, SD

Who plays inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense? Jack and Schobert or will Jack play outside?

Jack, Joe Schobert and Damien Wilson likely will be the primary options at the strong and weak inside linebacker to start training camp.

Stephen From 113 Jacksonville

John, It's the dead zone so let's go off the board. Of the current returning 2020 players which is the best golfer? Of the Jaguars alumni, who is the best golfer (Josh Scobee?)? At the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund golf tournaments. are you expected to be on the tee 10 minutes ahead of your tee time? Do you play golf? If so what's your handicap? If you have trouble with these questions, give that guy Smits a call. Thanks.

I don't play golf. Scobee's good. So is Garry Smits. That's all I got.

Steve from Nashville, TN

Deshaun Watson and Carson Wentz, arguably two of the more mobile quarterbacks in the league, were sacked 50 times each last year. The four first-ballot Hall-of-Game quarterbacks and less mobile – Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees – averaged being sacked 17 times. Do offensive lines play better when they are blocking for Super Bowl winning and future Hall of Fame quarterbacks?

Not necessarily. But better, experienced quarterbacks – and future Hall of Fame quarterbacks – typically have pocket presence and awareness that enables them to get the ball out of the pocket at the right time to avoid sacks and keep their team in manageable down-and-distance situations. This can significantly help both an offensive line and an offense.

Shawn from The Mean Streets of Arlington

One fer … the O-Zone? Or too much to ask?

Too much. Way too much.

Dakota from Dupree, SD

Is there ever a slow-zone?

Yes, whenever I ran win sprints for the mighty Eagles basketball team at Episcopal High School. Or when I ran the mile as a freshman. Or pretty much whenever I ran, period. Most people got timed by a stopwatch. I needed a calendar.

John from Jacksonville

If I were to tell you you're incredible (and you are) does that mean you lack credibility?

No. It simply means you're astute.

Jesse from Texas

If you had to pick today, which team do you think is most likely to win the AFC South this coming season?

The Tennessee Titans. They were the best team in the AFC South last season and they certainly don't seem weaker. They're not unbeatable. They're not without flaws. But until a team shows it's better than Tennessee, I'll go with the Titans as the favorite.

Ed from St. Augustine FL

A seventh game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is one of the best things in sports. Watching the New York Islanders pull the goalie and then storm the Tampa Bay Lightning goal for the last two minutes in Game 7 the other night was incomparable.; Adam Sandler's Uncut Gems is a terrific movie, his first in ages... wait, what was the question again?

None needed.

Ed from Jax

What are the team's plans for alternate helmets? Personally, I liked the two-toned helmets from a few years ago. How about a teal helmet?

This just got approved this past week, with the NFL announcing that it would allow teams to wear two helmets in a season beginning in 2022. I'm sure I will get many suggestions for alternate helmets. Stay tuned.

AJ from Pensacola, FL

Burt Reynolds was actually a pretty good college football player.

Yes, he was.

Steve from Wallingford, CT

Hey John, I'm bringing the family to Florida for the first time in July. Is there anything going on for fans to visit during July?

Jaguars 2021 Training Camp begins July 27. Dates and times that it will be accessible for fans should be announced soon.

Dave from Jacksonville

So, my brother sends me a photo Friday night. He is on the boards as the Lighting win game seven. The crowd is going nuts. I can't recall a city on a bigger run, can you? How would you rank it? Going for back-to-back Stanley Cups, World Series, and Super Bowl. They are in full party mode! When do we start our run?

Soon, Dave. Soon.

Rob from San Antonio, TX

KOAF, while on the tennis topic, I think many non-tennis fans may underestimate just how exhausting that sport is and how much athleticism and relentless energy it commands. At the end of the day, though, it's a real privilege to see two all-time greats go toe to toe, regardless of which sport it is.

This is true of tennis on every level. The real privilege of the last decade in the sport has been watching Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic push each other and the standard of the sport to new levels on an annual basis. The sport isn't as popular in the United States as it was when in the days of Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg – and perhaps it never will reach those heights in this country again. But the last decade in a very real sense has been a golden age of the sport on the men's side, and I wonder if it will reach such heights again.

Bob from Ponte Vedra

Do you think a chant of 904, 904, 904 is better than Duval?


Eddie from Jacksonville

Mighty O-Zone, quick baseball questions for you. Do you think Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez could even get close to an Amanda Whurlitzer fastball.

Benny the Jet was good. Really good. But no one hit Amanda when she was on. And I still think Kelly was safe.