O-Zone: We hold these truths...

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Steve from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

I know you will repeat “voluntary” until the cows come home. Good. Keep it up. Some of us have been on teams and take a different view. And you may know the rest of the Jaguars better than me. But I seriously doubt that the rest of the TEAM is happy about cornerback Jalen Ramsey and linebacker Telvin Smith skipping practice. Not saying something does not mean they agree. I’d love to hear your endorsement of Foles skipping practice.

Wow. How awesome for those of us who have “been on teams” and therefore have a “different view.” Others of us have covered the NFL for two-and-a-half decades and know how professional athletes view these things. Players tend to take the view that they worry about getting themselves ready for a season – and that they care little how their teammates prepare for a season so long as they show up ready. As for your thought regarding new Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles … while I don’t “endorse” players, quarterback is different than other positions. They do need to be at the voluntary sessions, particularly the organized team activities – and particularly if they are relatively new to the offensive system. So, yes … Foles should be here. Why is it different? Because expectations are different for quarterbacks. They just are. And when discussing this issue, I indeed will do what I always have done – which is to emphasize that most offseason work is voluntary. No matter how much fans and even coaches dislike it, players have the right not to attend the workout – and it is always a dramatically overblown topic when players exercise that right.

Jeff from Keystone Heights, FL

I’ll take a roster full of voluntary offseason workout no-shows who make the Pro Bowl. I will then offer extended contracts to as many as I could afford. And I will make sure I have a fresh can of white paint for their name on the Pride of the Jaguars when they retire.

The Jaguars don’t actually paint the names of Pride of the Jaguars inductees; the names are on individual letters fastened to the side of the stadium.

Thomas from Williamsburg, VA

What if the Jaguars lost draft picks because Coughlin intimated that "voluntary workouts" weren't voluntary? Doesn't that seem like it would be behavior unbecoming of a Jaguar? Maybe he should hold himself to the same standard as players that sit on the bench.

The Jaguars won’t lose a draft selection for what Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin said this past week about Smith and Ramsey not attending the first part of the Jaguars’ 2019 offseason program.

Marc from the Southside

On a scale from one to ten, how would you rate the Jags’ likelihood of selecting a right-tackle prospect with one of their first three draft picks?

Nine.

Sam from Winter Park, FL

Coughlin knows that we – uhhh – have to re-sign Jalen at some point, right? Is constantly alienating a once-in-a-generational talent in the best interest of a team that’s already in a small market and not used to winning much?

Ramsey re-signing with the Jaguars won’t be based on something Coughlin said about the offseason program. It will be based on the sides being able to agree on a long-term contract.

Logan from Wichita, KS

You look at our schedule and see nine or 10 wins??? Can you share some of your optimism with me? You clearly have way too much of it on your hands.

Sure. The Jaguars should have one of the NFL’s better defenses next season. They also should be improved offensively, which could mean winning a lot of close games if they stay healthy and play well late in games. That’s a formula that could get them to nine or 10 victories. If they sustain a bunch of injuries and can’t close games, they probably will win closer to five or six games. They’re in that range until they prove they’re not.

Brian from Jacksonville

O … ouch, another fingernail-on-the-chalkboard moment for TC. I do get the sentiment. However, a less abrasive response to veteran star players skipping voluntary team events could be helpful. How about something like, “Voluntary OTAs give players the opportunity to come in and grow in their trade and demonstrate their potential contribution to this team for the upcoming season. We are focused on the players that have chosen to attend and take advantage of the opportunity to earn a place on this team. Of course, we would love to see all of our veteran players participate. For those that don’t, we will see them when they get here. They are going to be returning to some changes, so it will be a challenge but we are determined to be prepared to win when things kick off this fall.” Message sent. No fingernail. But I suppose that’s what got TC where he is. I’m in an armchair.

That wouldn’t have sent the message Coughlin wanted to send. And that doesn’t sound like the Coughlin I know.

Larry from Duncan, OK

Mr. O, I am beginning to think Jacksonville should think about trading Ramsey before he walks away to the highest bidder. Is it reasonable to think Jacksonville would get much more in trading Ramsey sooner than what they might receive in compensatory draft picks? I believe he is making a statement about his contract extension through his working out with dear old dad. Ramsey wants to get paid, but can the Jags afford to meet his salary demands?

The Jaguars should not trade Ramsey. While he undoubtedly wants to get paid because everyone wants to get paid, this is his second consecutive offseason working out in Nashville – and I doubt he would be working out in Jacksonville even if he already had signed a second contract. And yes … the Jaguars will be able to afford to sign Ramsey. When the time comes.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

Odell Beckham Jr. Olivier Vernon. Khalil Mack. Julio Jones. Ben Roethlisberger. Tom Brady. All bums who ruined their careers and their teams by sitting out voluntary workouts. Jacksonville isn’t immune. I recall a real bum of a player who skipped many OTAs. He never amounted to much either. Lemme think … what was his name? Oh, yeah. Fred Taylor.

Voluntary means voluntary. There’s nothing wrong with players missing a team’s offseason program if they arrive prepared when it matters.

Crash from the Westside

I'm with Coughlin on the workout issue. ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL!

OK.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

“In its first season as an NFL franchise, the first pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars is … an offensive tackle??” That was a long time ago, but I seem to recall it worked out rather well. Maybe lightning can strike twice in the same place.

It’s highly unlikely a Top 10-selected left tackle will turn into another Tony Boselli; he was once in a generation and perhaps once in a lifetime. But could an offensive tackle be a good selection this week? Obviously.

Don from Marshall, NC

Coughlin knows what it takes to win and it’s his job is to teach his team how to win. If you want to be the best and that’s important to you, then you show up when you do not have to. More work and the players get injured less. Easy to say and hard to do. TC is the best. Leave him alone.

Coughlin always is going to push. It’s his nature. Some players always will push back. It’s their nature, but not being at voluntary workouts doesn’t indicate a lack of desire to be the best. One is not necessarily associated with the other.

John from Jacksonville

Ahhh ... yesss. Our annual draft anxiety is transitioning into our annual "who-didn't-show-for-voluntary-workouts" anxiety. Prepare yourself. Next, we'll have the "who-didn't-have-a-good-practice" anxiety and finally the "sky-is-falling-preseason-game-performance" anxiety. All predictable every season. Bottom line is it all goes away and is forgotten with Week 1 of the regular season in September. Can't get here soon enough.

Fair.

Rob from Kornville, IA

Dear O-Man, if these offseason workouts are so "voluntary," why do 99 percent of players attend and only an elite few get away with not attending? It seems like the vast majority of players feel they need to be there and fear negative consequences regardless of what the CBA says.

Common sense applies here. Many younger, less-established players indeed participate in voluntary activities because they’re at a stage of their careers when they don’t want to be perceived by the team as not doing everything possible to prepare. Many established, veteran players participate in the voluntary offseason program because they believe it’s the best way for them to prepare for the season. Elite players sometimes decide to train elsewhere. Why do the elite few get away with not attending? Because they’re the elite few. All players aren’t created equal.

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