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O-Zone: What it is

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Hunter from New Hampshire

Hey O, can you just tell everyone what being on the COVID-19 list means, before everyone freaks out about Minshew not starting and the season being over?

Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II indeed was placed on the team's reserve/COVID-19 list on Sunday afternoon. This absolutely does not mean the season is over. As far as telling everyone what it does mean, I'm not sure how else to do it except to repeat what the team has said every time it has placed a player on the COVID-19 list: "The reserve/COVID-19 list is a new reserve category created by the NFL for a player who either tests positive for COVID-19 or who has been quarantined after having been in close contact with an infected person or persons. Clubs are not permitted to comment on a player's medical status other than referring to roster status. Clubs may not disclose whether the player is in quarantine or is positive for COVID-19." Fans and observers also should refer to how the COVID-19 list has worked with Jaguars players in the last week and a half. The team has placed multiple players on it since players began reporting. Players often are activated from the list to the active roster quickly. That could be the case with Minshew and here's hoping it indeed will be the case. At the same time, COVID-19 is serious and should be taken as such. I anticipate there will be more stories like this around the league as the league and players try to figure out how to play through this situation. Stay tuned.

Marc from Oceanway

I don't know if Gardner Minshew tested positive for COVID or was simply exposed to COVID and is now under precautions. I am a physician and have treated hundreds of people with COVID. Every single person I have treated, under the age of 40 with COVID, has done beautifully. They have not needed hospitalization, and have recovered very quickly. That being said, if he did test positive, it could be a good thing for our upcoming season. His odds of getting COVID a second time may not be zero, but they are small. It would be nice not to have to worry about losing our starting quarterback to COVID during the regular season.


Alejandro from Mexico City, Mexico

Hi, Zone. With defensive tackle Al Woods opting out of the season, is time to think on bringing back Marcell Dareus? If he is healthy, he's a young former Pro Bowler. We need experience and elite players for this season. What do you think?

Former Jaguars defensive tackle Marcell Dareus would be entering his 10th season in 2020, so while he is a former Pro Bowl selection, he's certainly not a young one. But as far as Dareus returning … the Jaguars parted ways with Dareus earlier this offseason. Considering his age, injury history and likely contract wishes, I doubt they'll move back in that direction.

Sascha from Cologne, Germany

Hey John, do you think with more and more starting players around the NFL opting out, this could be a year for undrafted/reserve players to show themselves on the big stage every week? Guess this is a better opportunity as preseason is for them?

Yes, I do think more young and lesser-known NFL players than normal will get regular-season opportunities this season. Teams will be allowed to carry 16 players on the practice squad. Many, many of those players will be on active rosters throughout the course of the season.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

All this time, I thought you were a card-carrying member of the Senior Writers Association Brotherhood (SWAB). To think you are not protected by a labor agreement and an iron-clad contract…. How do you manage to sleep at night?

I remind myself of my thousands of adoring fans, how they always have my back and treat my word as gospel. And I think, "With love like that, why worry?"

unhipcat from carslbad, ca

Oh, hi John. On April 8, Al Woods signed a one-year, $2.75 million contract with the Jaguars for the 2020 season. On July 31, he opted out of the 2020 season. As a result of opting out, Woods will earn either 5.45 percent of his expected contract ($150,000) or 12.73 percent of his expected contract ($350,000). Woods will be 34 when the 2021 season begins. To demonstrate the unfairness of this system, I retired January 2018. I recently wanted to buy a house near (not IN, too pricey) Palm Springs. But some young whippersnappers had already placed an offer, it was accepted, and now the house is THEIRS! Sure, I can buy another house, but is that even FAIR? The pools are in the FRONT YARD! I don't think it's your fault. I'm not blaming you. I'm just tired of the man always trying to keep me down.

We really need football in the fall. And it is my fault. Obviously. Again.

Jim from Jagsonville

So how much did former Jaguars wide receiver Marqise Lee earn for opting out? Congrats.

Lee, who signed with the New England Patriots after being released by the Jaguars earlier this offseason, will receive a $150,000 advance on his 2021 salary if he is opting out voluntarily – or a $350,000 stipend if he is deemed high-risk. And congratulations for Lee aren't in order. Players opting out aren't trying to get away with anything, and if you're questioning Lee's desire to play – or his love of the game – then you obviously never have spoken with Lee nor anyone who knows anything about him or has been around him.

Kyle from Palm Harbor, FL

John, a heinous thought hit me recently. This opt-out route has given teams (Patriots come to mind) a legitimate way to tank this season. I wouldn't blame any player for deciding to sit out, but I also wouldn't put it past New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick to encourage his starters to take the year off. What do you think?

I think you need to stop talking. Right now.

Big on Blake from Philly

Zone, KOAF, Maurice, I know sometimes it's time to move on and when moving on it's best to not look back, but given the circumstances of a certain free agent quarterback and the need for experienced players at his position or creatively other positions, do you think we could see our BB5 return as a COVID-19 related contingency? He'd pose no real threat to Minshew as the starter and could even line up at tight end or wide receiver in a pinch, plus the cool factor of him and Minshew Mania on the same team, sideline, huddle would be too much juice for any opponent to overcome. I'm not clinging to the ghost, but wouldn't it be an interesting development?

You're right not to cling to the ghost. I wouldn't hold your breath, either. Or bet your mortgage. Or the farm.

Tom from Melbourne, Australia

Shout-out to new Jaguar Adam Gotsis.


Seamus from Vancouver, BC

Suppose as the season goes on, enough turnover of talent to the reserve/COVID-19 List and voluntary opt-outs by top-shelf players leads to a by-the-hair-of-our chin fully-completed season. Suppose further that the top playoff teams include the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions, who meet in Super Bowl LV. Do you think in future seasons people would look back on the 2020 season and say, "Sure, the Browns won the Super Bowl, but ... COVID-19?"

Yes. There would be people who said that. There always going to be people who are quick to discredit or talk down anything. At the same time, there were people who were quick to discredit the Washington Football Team's victory in the Super Bowl following the 1982 season because that regular-season was strike-shortened to nine games. As someone who had been a diehard fan of that franchise all my life, I cheered wildly and hugged my father when John Riggins scored his iconic, game-winning touchdown in that Super Bowl. Some of my best childhood sports memories are of that team. My father and I never cared about what people said. After 40 years of being a fan of the team – including some early years when he saw the team in person while growing up in Washington, D.C. – he had his moment of euphoria. It counted. And the rings were real. It didn't matter what anyone said.

Doug from Jacksonville

YouTube videos and highlight reels are not "film." Also, coaches know what a player was supposed to do and what they really did. It may look like someone was holding their ground but perhaps they were supposed to be filling a different gap. Until I am invited into the film room and have an understanding of what was asked of the players by the coaches and what the game plan was … I will never be watching film.

This is categorically and unequivocally correct.