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O-Zone: Wonderful glory

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

George from The Jungle

Do coaches ever collaborate in the preseason to get certain looks? Like, could Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson reach out to the Miami Dolphins coach and ask for a certain type of blitz designed to throw quarterback Trevor Lawrence off and work on a specific thing?

Coaches have their own issues on which to focus during preseason without doing things in preseason games to help their opponent. If coaches want to work on such specifics they can set up the scenarios in their own practices.

Russ from Jax

Big O. It didn't take long to get rid of Tinker. It made me think: Did he get paid for being on roster for just a couple of weeks or just a "Thanks, goodbye?"

Long snapper Carson Tinker, who originally was with the Jaguars from 2013-2018, re-joined the team for practice last week and Saturday's Preseason Week 3 victory over the Detroit Lions. Players who join the roster in this way receive per diem, travel and lodging. NFL players get paid salaries based on being on the roster during the regular season.

Ken from Saint Augustine, FL

Like most fans I want them to keep Nathan Rourke. But if they don't put him on the 53-man roster, do they have to waive him or is there a way to protect him and put him directly on the practice squad? I hate to lose him.

If the Jaguars don't have Rourke or any other player with less than four "accrued" NFL seasons on their active roster, they must either place the player on injured reserve or on waivers. If he is placed on waivers, another team can claim him and therefore has his rights.

Tom from Charlottesville

As the cut down-day comes, what is the real number: 53 on the roster and 16 on the practice squad and injured reserve?

Teams may have 53 players on the active roster, 16 more on the practice squad and 21 more under contract – injured reserve, etc. – for a total of 90.

_Daniel from Geneva, Switzerland         _

O-man, I know that the coaches and staff know better than any of us on who is better at any position. That being said, isn't it true that every player is the man until they aren't? I'm not sure why everyone thinks the coaches are sitting around debating to themselves about who has earned the right to play.

Fans fan. It's what they do.

Steve from Sunroom Couch

Dear, John. When quarterback Byron Leftwich went down in 2005, David Garrard came in and went 4-1. Then-Jaguars Head Coach Jack Del Rio put Leftwich back in for the playoff game against the New England Patriots and he laid an egg. I doubt we'll have a backup perform better than Lawrence but to say we're screwed with a backup QB is disingenuous.

It's really not. There are situations in which a team performs better with a backup quarterback than the starter. Those situations rarely apply when the starting quarterback is elite, and it's certainly not to say it never happens. It happened with the Philadelphia Eagles when Doug Pederson was the head coach and the Eagles won the Super Bowl following the 2017 season with Nick Foles replacing Carson Wentz at quarterback. It's perhaps unwise to count on such rarities.

Marcus from Jacksonville

Just to make sure I understand it, the emergency quarterback rule means that teams can have an emergency quarterback that DOES count against their 53, but DOES NOT count against their 46 active players on game day. But, even though he's "inactive" he can be called into the game in an emergency situation. Is that correct? And what happens if one of your first two guys is able to come back? If you bring in your emergency quarterback, are the other guys ruled out no matter what, or can you go back to them? Does it have to be a third quarterback, or could your backup quarterback be considered your emergency to save you a roster spot?

The NFL implemented an "emergency" quarterback rule for the 2023 season to better ensure competitiveness and game quality. This was done in the wake of the San Francisco 49ers losing both of their active quarterbacks in the NFC Championship Game last season. The rule states that the "emergency" third quarterback – if a team chooses to have one – must be on the 53-man roster, so he DOES count against the 53. He would not count against the 46 active players on game day. He can only play if the first two quarterbacks are unable to return because of injury or because they were ejected from the game. If one of the other players can return, he may. The emergency player must be a quarterback and not play another position.

Rich from Mills River, NC

Team is 4-0, who is LT starter week 5?

I expect Cam Robinson to start at left tackle and Walker Little to start at left guard when Robinson returns from his four-game suspension to start the seasons. That doesn't depend on record and assumes full health across the Jaguars' offensive line. This could change. I'm not guaranteeing this could happen and I wouldn't be shocked if something else happened. But this is what it feels like will happen.

Sean from Oakleaf, FL

When a player is assigned to the Physically Unable to Perform list does he still count against the 53-man roster?


Gabe from Washington, DC

It feels like when there were four preseason games, the whole league stuck to about a series or two for Week 1, several drives for Week 2, a half or more for Week 3, and then rested all presumed starters Week 4. It feels like this year has been way more sporadic, with different teams playing starters for varying amounts of time in different weeks without a clear progression. Do you think in a few years, teams will again coalesce around a single approach, or could this be the new normal?

This will be interesting to watch, at least to me. You're correct that the league did settle into a "norm" when there were four preseason games. For a few decades, starters played about a half quarter in Preseason Week 1, a bit more the next week, into the second half the next week and a series or two in Preseason Week 4. In the mid-2000s or so, a few teams opted against playing starters in the preseason finale and most of the league followed that approach. In the latter part of the 2010s, some coaches began straying from that pattern with some not playing starters at all in preseason and others playing them sporadically and sparingly. The reduction from four preseason games to three in 2022 did seem to temporarily eliminate any "single" approach and you get a sense this preseason that coaches still haven't settled as a group on a "best practice." My thought is that how coaches approach this morning forward may be heavily influenced by whether they are able to schedule joint practices, and that many coaches will substitute repetitions in that situation for games – as Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson did last week in Preseason Week 2 against the Detroit Lions. I do expect coaches as a group to settle on a conventional wisdom here. Coaches are human, and humans tend to settle into such group think. Then someday, a coach will break from that group think and others will follow and there will be a new conventional wisdom. It's the way of the world.

Zac from Austin, Tejas

I liked your question to Bucky Brooks on Bucky Brooks Presents: the Bucky Brooks show, "Huddle Up with Bucky Brooks" featuring Bucky Brooks - a Bucky Brooks production. Sweet 16 has to get warmed up to really be what we know him to be. Do you think having a near elite receiver helps jump start that engine faster?

You're referencing me asking Brooks – an analyst for Jaguars Media and NFL Media – about Lawrence sometimes needing a few series in games to start playing at a high level. This has been the case in the past for Lawrence and the Jaguars, particularly last season. I don't expect it to be a long-term concern for Lawrence, and the very good news for the Jaguars on this front is that we have seen Lawrence play at a very high level. I expect quicker starts to happen as he becomes more consistent, which is something that should happen with experience and time. And yes … the addition of wide receiver Calvin Ridley should help on this front. It's easier to game plan – and therefore dictate early in games – when you have players who must be double-teamed.

Darren from Jax

How do you feel about hot pockets?

I haven't had one in forever. I on occasion buy frozen microwavable bean burritos, six to a bag or so for less than five bucks at Wal-Mart. They're a bargain and they're glorious. For a few minutes, anyway.