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O-Zone: Welcome back

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Josh from Atlanta, GA

I know you don't cover the team, but I just saw WFT star Chase Young skipped all voluntary workouts. Would you have a problem with a second-year player skipping the voluntary portion, regardless of their star power? Or does it matter not a whit since it is, after all, voluntary.

I personally have no problem with any player not attending voluntary offseason workouts. "Voluntary" is negotiated into the Collective Bargaining Agreement for Organized Team Activities, and it therefore absolutely is the right of any player not to attend. The gray area for me on that thought is quarterback, because it is difficult for other offensive players to work effectively in the offseason if the starting quarterback doesn't attend. It's generally in a rookie's best interest to attend the offseason program, just as it is in the best interest of veterans to attend if there is a new coordinator or head coach. Other than that, whether to attend voluntary OTAs is up to the player – and players who are secure in their role have every right not to attend and often can contend without hurting their team or career. In the case of Young … he's a defensive end who clearly has a good idea how to rush the passer and play his position. He appears destined to be an elite player. I seriously doubt his absence will matter come mid-October.

William the Contemplator from Jacksonville

Are you going to admit that the City Council did the right thing by voting down Lot J and encouraging the Jaguars to develop a new plan that is better for all parties?

There's really not anything to admit here. The Jaguars' vision for Lot J was to reimagine and revitalize downtown Jacksonville – and the area around the stadium. Enough City Council members didn't like the proposal that it failed by one vote. More City Council members voted for the proposal than against? Does that mean it was a horrible deal? Either way, the Jaguars are now focused on a new plan that was announced last week – a plan that includes development around the stadium that includes a Four Seasons and a state-of-the-art football facility. I sense this proposal has a very real chance of becoming reality. How observers perceive the rightness or wrongness of the City Council's decision regarding Lot J is up to them.

Zac from Austin, Tejas

Your impression of whiney fans via the Jaguars Reporters podcast is hauntingly accurate.

Call it a gift.

_Nick from Palatka, FL    _

Mr. Zone, Do you think edge defenders K'Lavon Chaisson and Josh Allen are going to be able to generate an effective pass rush this year? It appears that the front three-to-five are going to be the weakest link on defense this year, again. Heck, some analysts have Taven Bryan starting up front.

Your question is among the critical questions of the Jaguars' 2021 season, and we won't know the answer until we see this defense play. Allen can pressure the quarterback, having showed that ability as a rookie in 2019. Chaisson has athletic ability as evidenced by his first-round status in the 2020 NFL Draft, but he did little as a rookie and must improve as a pass-rusher – and as an every-down player. A major factor in the pass rush figures to be how the Jaguars play run defense; they can't struggle in that area as they did the past two seasons and expect to have enough pass-rushing opportunities to be good in that area. I don't know what analysts are projecting Bryan as a starter, because I figure starting roles and rotation will be decided in training camp and not before. As for the front three-to-five appearing to be weak links … that's an understandable assessment because of last year's performance and because key additions such as Roy Robertson-Harris and Malcom Brown aren't huge names. But assessment isn't necessarily reality. Both Robertson-Harris and Brown should be improvements, as should rookie nose tackle Jay Tufele. If those players can help the Jaguars improve against the run, a lot of other areas of the defense should improve as well.

Earl from Middleburg, FL

Ofunk, veteran quarterback C.J. Beathard has the starting resume of my kid sister. Fans are asking how he's an upgrade from Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II. I just don't see it. C.J. is an interception-throwing machine with, I guess, pocket presence. Major bad ultimate ouster of 'Stache. Us fans won't have this nitpicking "who's better."

You won't? Really?

Diego from South of Tierra del Fuego

Forget putting in a Four Seasons Hotel downtown that nobody will care about. Find a way to stick in a Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. They will come. Go Jags!

Will they? Really?

_Amy from Prescott, AZ _

The natural next step for a new fan is to come see a home game. Asking you and my new community for seat advice … something midrange-ish? Thank you!

My seat expertise is nil, unfortunately. I would suggest checking the comments section, but I don't know that we have one on this free website.

Micah from Chicago, IL

Just being realistic here, the Titans were going to win the division with or without Julio Jones.

I guess.

Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL

Zone … I guess I shouldn't be, but I am surprised at the angst of Julio Jones going to the Titans. It is not likely 2021 is the year of a Jags run anyhow, and Jones is a 32-year-old wide receiver. How many of those are under contract? How impactful are they? I saw the trade and was happy the Titans burned salary-cap space and draft capital for a player whose best days are likely in his past. This seems to work in favor of the Jaguars in the 2022-2024 period where they could be really good. What am I missing?

I tend not to over-worry about players for Jaguars opponents – or about Jaguars opponents, period. I've always figured the ultimate goal was to be the best team in the division and to contend for the conference title every season. If you get good enough to do that, then your division opponents will be worrying about you – and not vice-versa. Jones, who the Tennessee Titans acquired in a trade with the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, is a good NFL wide receiver. Really good. Maybe even great. Is he going to win games by himself? Does he make the Titans an unbeatable force? I can't go that far.

John from Boynton Beach, FL

I'm curious what your weekend morning routine might be when you answer and post the O-Zone. Sneak out of bed before anyone else is up, pour a cup of coffee, break open a pop tart, sit down at the laptop to Tebow - Trevor - smarm (maybe not in that order), hit post, then sneak back into bed before anyone notices? Or am I way off?

Pretty close.

Patrick from Jacksonville, FL

"But whatever the solution might be, giving athletes 'a few days' after an event to process sure isn't it. Fans care about results and reaction immediately, not two or three days later. By that time, athletes and media typically have either moved onto prepare for the next event – or in some cases, have played the next event." If I don't hear from an athlete as to why my favorite team won or lost I think I can make it through the day. The team and the game are what's interesting, not the juicy gossip and hours of talking heads spewing self-righteousness and loyalty like a daytime TV drama.

You're not alone in your opinion. Many fans care nothing about what players say. Or even coaches. There are also people who read this site and other sites, and who watch postgame interviews and listen to commentary and soundbites after Jaguars games and other events. For those people, hearing from participants in the immediate wake of a game seems to matter. To each their own, I suppose.

Jim from Middleburg, FL

Would it be accurate to say that Tyler Shatley as a highly competent utilitarian multiple position player with high energy is as valuable to the team as members of the starting offensive line?

He's pretty darned close.

Matthew from Huntington Beach, CA

Just bought two tickets to the Los Angeles Rams versus Jaguars game in LA. What should I expect? What do you expect? Will you be there, too!

I expect to be there. I expect a major storyline before the game to be former Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey playing against his former team. I just hope his back is healthy enough to play. Here's hoping for the best.

Abel from Westside

What's up KOAF? Anyway, last year I took the year off from watching the NFL because it was getting too political! But since the Jaguars picked quarterback Trevor Lawrence as their first pick in the draft, I'm back baby! Life is good!!!

We're all better for knowing this.