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O-Zone: Way up high

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville

Something you never really covered about the whole canceling of veteran practices. This is a huge reputational risk for Peterson, because let's just be honest. This team has sucked. For a long time. Couple that with the lack of external trust in the team since the frequent and – frankly – repetitive missteps in our leadership culminating in the Urban debacle. Yeah, Pederson better make sure this team looks good this year because – if not – this decision will be called into question really fast. That is the problem when your team loses a lot. Every decision and move are triple examined and never trusted. Winners don't have to deal with that.

You're referencing Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson canceling the final 2022 Organized Team Activities Practice and next week's three-day mandatory minicamp for veterans. "Huge reputational risk" is perhaps a bit overdramatic – and it's really a risk only for those who don't understand the nature of the offseason program and non-padded practices. Pederson for his part does understand the nature of the offseason and therefore see canceling a few days of non-padded veteran practice as little risk and – frankly – not a big deal. Yes, the Jaguars have sucked for a long time. Pederson knows the NFL well enough to know he can't control the past and understands that training camp opens in about five weeks. The players will work in pads and practice for the season then. Starting positions and roster spots will be won and lost. Players will block and tackle and have full-contact drills to prepare for the regular season. Those practices will matter. OTA practices? Non-padded minicamp practices? They matter, but they are about preparing for training camp. Pederson sees the team as prepared, and his experience says he knows what he's seeing. The fact that he doesn't worry about a "huge reputational risk" – is reason for optimism. Pederson knows the NFL. He knows how to coach. He knows how to manage players. And he doesn't care if observers agree. That's the attitude of an experienced winner.

Richard from Jacksonville

Zone, We have an extra preseason game compared to every team in the league except one. There is an extra game this season. There is also something to be said for winning the hearts and minds of veterans. Plus, the heat is brutal. Save their legs. This is a different NFL season than any in the past. Let the coach coach.

Pederson indeed is going to coach and not worry about what people say about a comparatively minor decision he makes in mid-June. His job is to coach and prepare the Jaguars, not worry about what observers think and say.

Marc from Oceanway

Jerrell thought he could sneak off to St. Augustine, change his name to Gary, and we wouldn't know…

Good eye.

Red from O-Zone Comments Section

I'd like to offer an alternative view of Coach Doug cancelling minicamp for most of the veterans. Could it be that his objective is to allow for more focused attention on the rookies and select veterans who most need additional unpadded work and teaching about the offensive and defensive scheme? Lower teacher to pupil ratio is a good thing! So Red is just fine with Coach Doug's announcement.

There is truth to this. My sense is Pederson canceled minicamp next week for most veterans mostly to further establish trust and send a message to players that the offseason program was productive. That reinforces to players the idea that this team is capable of winning and is prepared mentally for 2022 Training Camp. But there absolutely is a side benefit to this, and that's being able to work more specifically for three days with rookies and younger players.

Jonathan from Jax

Peterson's comments often have the feel that he believes we are ahead of schedule, agreed? He sure cant feel behind, right? Maybe we actually found a group of adults as players the last couple of years. Here's hoping. Go Jags!


Nathan from Utah, US

Zone, I remember what Peyton Manning looked like. Like you knew, no matter what, he was going to find an open receiver. Best I ever saw. Best to ever play the position.

He's in the conversation. It's hard not to have Tom Brady in that conversation, too. It's also hard not to have John Unitas and John Elway in it. And Dan Marino. But it's a relatively short conversation.

Rob from Jacksonville, FL

It is outrageous that minicamp is ending early. The audacity of a coach with a proven track record to think that he understands his job, his players and his staff to the point that he believes he knows what is best for them and the team. I am appalled and will never go to a game again until we get someone in here that knows what they are doing and then does it.

I think you have a good perspective on this.

Jim from Jagsonville

The O-Zone Podcast this year has been top-notch, the bomb diggitty ... well, whatever the kids say these days. I ask you as the lead, QB if you will, of the Jaguars' media presence how do you react to public recognition? Have you had any embarrassing moments with the family? Was Eugene Frenette involved? Duval fans wanna know...

Thank you for your comments on the O-Zone Podcast. It indeed has been an enjoyable year on that front – with conversations with General Manager Trent Baalke, running back Travis Etienne Jr., center Luke Fortner, quarterbacks coach Mike McCoy, offensive coordinator Press Taylor, defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell, linebacker Chad Muma and others. It's a good forum that allows us to get to know the subject a bit better than a "normal" interview. As for public recognition … I am recognized occasionally and I can't recall any embarrassing moments. But on the occasions that I am with longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette in public, I rarely am recognized. And if I am recognized, I go largely unacknowledged. Gene has a way of drawing the spotlight to him. Such is the burden of charisma.

Steve at Work in Jax Bch

Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette versus Chuck Norris? Go.

Gene gets the edge. A slight edge, but definitely an edge.

Seamus "SHAY-muss" cuz why not Sioux Falls, SD

Something TLaw said in an interview this week caught my curiosity. He said something to the effect of "...we just installed the offense for the third or fourth time..."; most years at this point the quarterback  or coach is saying that they are "almost done" installing the offense. Is Coach Pederson really THAT impressive a coach or are they just describing it differently?

The Jaguars' approach to installing the offense this offseason isn't unusual. Teams typically run through – or "install" – the offense multiple times each offseason, then install it once more during training camp. As Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence indicated this week, some parts of the offense are installed three or four times where some plays might be less. But coaches want players hearing and seeing the scheme multiple times as much as possible with the hope that it is natural and instinctive by training camp and the regular season.

Mark from Sobieski

Myles Jack wasn't down will be in our minds for the rest of our lives (Until we WIN the Super Bowl).

Of course.

Bill from Ponte Vedra

Your discussion with Ryan from Sandy Springs ignores the simple fact that the whistle blew because the official thought that the runner, Dion Lewis, was down. The whistle ended the play, and the ball could not be advanced. Thus, the chant should be "Dion Lewis wasn't down." I made this point at the time and you seemed to agree with me, but you said that it wasn't sexy to make a meme out of "Dion Lewis wasn't down." If you have archives, I invite to check them. I guess it's ok to live with a fairy tale because it is interesting, but to have a detailed discussion about a question that you know is irrelevant is intellectually dishonest.

I wrote that the officials ruled the play down incorrectly, but you're correct that I neglected during this discussion to mention that it was New England Patriots running back Dion Lewis who was ruled down incorrectly because the play indeed was dead at that point. I probably agreed you at the time because I knew the rule and watched the AFC Championship Game following the 2017 season. I wouldn't exactly call Jaguars fans "living in a fairy tale" over this; officials missed the call and Jack made a play that should have put the Jaguars in the Super Bowl. How is the view up there, by the way … you know … on that horse?

Gary from St. Augustine, FL

Myles Jack wasn't down and you suck.

Good eye.