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O-Zone: Wonderful life

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Jason from Da ‘Hass

John, watched Jalen’s interview from Thursday and was really surprised at how subdued he seemed answering questions about his impending matchup with Odell Beckham Jr. So, who told him to tone it down? TC or Marrone?

My guess? Neither Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone nor Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin told cornerback Jalen Ramsey to “tone it down” this week. Here’s why: While Ramsey indeed has made headlines in recent weeks with comments in/on national publications/websites such as GQ and ESPN the Magazine, he made those comments during the offseason as opposed to during the regular season – or even during training camp. Ramsey’s weekly media availability Thursday wasn’t significantly different from most of his weekly media availabilities. I actually don’t recall him trash-talking opponents the week of games – and while Ramsey often expresses confidence during his weekly media availabilities, it’s not as if he’s overly outlandish and arrogant during the sessions. Bottom line: he usually knows when and when not to talk, and game week typically isn’t when he chooses to make headlines. That doesn’t mean he will be quiet during the game Sunday. History says that’s unlikely – and it wouldn’t be much fun, either.

Jon from Apple Valley, CA

Hey O, I'm giving you the chance to redeem yourself. Since a 50-50 ball to Koyack is no longer an option, what do you think will be the Jaguars’ first opening-drive play against the Giants?

Easy. Fifty-fifty ball to Bohanon.

Steve from St. Mary’s, GA

I hope the players aren't as nervous as I am already. Let's get this thing started.

Players have anxiousness before a game, but it’s usually a good anxiousness – and it goes away quickly. Remember, they have control over the outcome. That minimizes the nerves.

Dakota from Dupree, SD

Zone, remember when the Jags had a cheerleader get national interviews then she sold water or something?

I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Ed from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

The tight ends were invisible during preseason. I'm surprised they weren’t a bit more active not having a Mercedes anymore.

You’re referencing the absence of former longtime Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis, now with the Green Bay Packers. A couple of reminders are in order. One, the Jaguars’ starters played a total of about a game during the preseason, so project regular-season usage based on that playing time at your own peril. Two, teams don’t always show their regular-season schemes and game plans during the preseason. In fact, they rarely do.

David from Orlando, FL

After the Jaguars fell just short of their Super Bowl bid in 1999, it seemed the team made some personnel choices that were – for lack of a better word – desperate. The same could not be said this year. The front office did not draft for immediate need, but for the best available player with an eye towards the future. Also, they did not jump at every sexy free-agent on the market (i.e. wide receiver Dez Bryant, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, quarterback Kirk Cousins and safety Earl Thomas), which would mortgage the future and make it impossible to re-sign our own core players. Another difference is this team’s roster is young and improving, while the 2000 team was past its prime. It makes me wonder if this is the result of Tom Coughlin and his lessons learned. In 2000, most were expecting the Jags to make another Super Bowl run, not watch the wheels come off. Would you agree that this organization is in a much better situation in 2018, then it was in 2000?

It’s in a better situation, but I don’t know that I agree totally with your assessment of the Jaguars’ actions after 1999. I covered that team and the actions following the 1999 season were in keeping with what had been done to reach that point. They signed middle linebacker Hardy Nickerson and drafted wide receiver R.J. Soward. Those moves were made to fill immediate holes, which is what the organization largely and aggressively had done for three or four offseasons before that. The Soward move clearly didn’t work out, and the Nickerson signing was just one of many free-agent signings from the era that eventually caught up with the salary cap. As for how much better the Jaguars’ situation is now compared to 2000 … we’ll see. The franchise’s plan in recent offseasons has been that a few higher-paid veterans likely will have to be let go after this season – and their contracts were structured in a way to allow that to happen. That’s sound planning, but the team must draft and develop well to withstand the losses. Will the plan work? Only time will tell.

Scott from Casuarina, Australia

I jumped with joy when BB5 was drafted and I love the Jags for the patience they have shown, letting a guy develop. I love his grit, short memory and his will to find a way to win. He seems to be a high-character guy. With the release of Paxton Lynch, do you think Lynch is less able than Blake – or do you think if a team gave him the opportunity to grow like BB5 has had, could he be a starter? Are there other young quarterbacks around the league that have been thrown on “bust” heap who you think could be starters given the right scheme and some patience? It seems like the window for a quarterback to prove they have something is so short when they get drafted. I understand this if you have a win-the-Super-Bowl window happening but most teams drafting a quarterback to start are not usually contenders.

I haven’t watched Lynch enough to know what his NFL future might hold. My guess is he will get at least one more opportunity because people with the talent/potential to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft are rare, and teams generally will give that sort of talent opportunity to develop. The short-window question when it comes to NFL quarterbacks is a dilemma that won’t soon be solved. I absolutely believe there are quarterbacks who get overlooked and pushed to the side who could develop into reliable starters if they got two or three years of experience and time to develop. But finding situations where teams are willing/able to have the patience for that to happen is difficult. We don’t like patient times.

Scott from Fernandina Beach, FL

Hi, John. I know I enjoy talking a little smack when I’m competing with my buddies, be it golf, fantasy football, video games or whatever. Jalen enjoys talking smack, too! I’d rather that then something that hurts the team, i.e. getting suspended or doing something dumb that gets him injured. Talking smack? That’s fun!

This is professional sports. It’s entertainment. It’s OK for it to be fun. In fact, it’s supposed to be fun.

Brian from Round Rock, TX

I disagree that Coach Marrone likes his team to have swagger. He has indicated he wants a team with a chip on its shoulder. Only a "generational" athlete can pull off the prima donna act. You definitely don't want a team of glass jawed prima donnas. Agree?

Not at all. I wrote recently that Marrone likes his team to have swagger for a reason: because he has said he likes it. You can have a chip on your shoulder and have swagger. Those two elements can be balanced. Marrone did a masterful job of balancing it last season, and I see no reason he won’t continue to do so.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

If my numbers are correct, 12 teams have never won a Super Bowl. Four teams have never appeared in a Super Bowl: the Browns, Lions, Texans, and Jaguars. I hope this is the year for us. We seem to have the right players, coaches, management and ownership. And we have an executive vice president who coached his team to two Super Bowl wins. I imagine that our players relate most closely with their coaches, but do the players have a real sense of Jaguars Executive Vice President Tom Coughlin’s contributions and influence?

Players are certainly aware that Coughlin matters in the NFL. Most if not all of these players watched the NFL on some level, and probably pretty close to 100 percent watched at least one of the New York Giants’ Super Bowl appearances under Coughlin. So, yeah … the players know he matters in the scope of NFL history. Do they understand how much he has meant to this organization? Do they fully grasp his place in history? Probably not. Players are young, and youth doesn’t often come with perspective.

Mark from Prescott, AZ

John, I was just wondering, do you ever wonder about why people wonder about the strangest things?

No, but I do wonder about why people wonder about why people wonder about the strangest things. Life is wonderful that way.

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