JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Brian from Gainesville, FL
Big O, you say you don't expect former Jaguars defensive tackle Marcell Dareus to be signed and I get that. It's probably a money thing – or perhaps it's just time to move on. But what are the Jaguars going to do on the defensive line? Sign scrubs cut from other teams? Rely on Taven Bryan?! Ha! How many games this year do you expect the Jaguars to give up more than 200 yards rushing?
I understand the concern among fans and observers over the Jaguars' defensive line. Defensive lineman Rodney Gunter and defensive end/linebacker Aaron Lynch retiring on back-to-back days early this week had the early feel of a knockout blow, a blow craftily set up by the jab of defensive tackle Al Woods opting of the 2020 season because of COVID-19. But consider a couple of things: One is that the Jaguars already addressed defensive tackle by signing Timmy Jernigan early this week. Another is that Bryan, Abry Jones, Jernigan and rookie DaVon Hamilton are a capable group – particularly if Bryan continues the development he showed late last season. I would expect the Jaguars to make a cutdown day move or two here – perhaps a trade or perhaps a waiver claim or two. Whatever the case, it's not safe to assume the Jaguars will be bad again against the run. Much will depend on the current tackle foursome playing to its potential, and the run defense also should be helped by the addition of middle linebacker Joe Schobert. All hope here is very definitely not lost.
Cornel from Santa Maria, CA
Will Josh Allen be out the whole 16-game season with the broken foot?
Second-year tight end Josh Oliver is the "Jaguars Josh" who sustained a broken in his foot this past weekend – NOT defensive end/linebacker Josh Allen. I reiterate that fact here because I have received more than a few emails worried about Allen. It's not yet known how long Oliver will be out with the injury. Stay tuned.
Alan from Jacksonville
It just dawned on me who Minshew reminds me of: Fran Tarkenton. Not big, not fast, average arm strength, not highly thought of coming out of college. But he was the master at keeping the play alive with his scrambling while continuing to look downfield then throwing on the run with accuracy. Tarkenton's best attribute was his ability to thoroughly frustrate and demoralize the defense. Hopefully, Gardner can channel some of Fran's magic. Who does Minshew remind you of?
Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II indeed shares some of the traits of Tarkenton, a Hall of Fame quarterback who played for the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants from 1961-1978. Tarkenton indeed was the epitome of the scrambling, crafty quarterback who kept plays alive and made plays on the run. He did this with a remarkable enough flair that he was nicknamed the Mad Scrambler. While anything close to Tarkenton's career would make Minshew a success, there are a couple of things that worry you about the comparison. One is that while Tarkenton played nearly two decades, scrambling that much increases your injury risk. Another is that you ideally want your quarterback making on-schedule plays from the pocket as opposed to relying on magic after plays break down; few quarterbacks truly forge long, successful careers in that way. Minshew's point on this is that he wasn't particularly known for the magical, off-schedule plays in college – and that he is at heart more of a pocket passer than a win-outside-the-pocket guy. I expect he will gear more toward that as soon as possible. However exciting the out-of-pocket plays may be, that's the approach that will give him the best chance of succeeding.
Is it too early for me to panic about forgetting my wife's birthday? I mean, I'm not married ... or engaged. Frankly, nobody even wants to date me, but still ...?
It's never too early to panic. But in your case, I wouldn't bother panicking. This ain't getting better anytime soon, friend.
Tudor from St. Augustine, FL
You know it doesn't really count if you post the August 18th Ozone after August 18th. I was worried about you, never seen the streak break before, thought maybe something serious had happened. Did you and Gene Frenette break up?
The August 18 O-Zone posted on August 18.
Nicholas from Fort Hood, TX
KOAF: Remember last year when the biggest thing to upset the reader of this column was the formatting style of the O-Zone and how difficult it was to read? I just noticed that there are not adverts after every third paragraph and was wondering if you can you shed some light on what it was that led to the removal of the adverts? Also, what will be the minor change this year to this free website and app that will get the reader up in arms and threatening to never read again? Lastly, I read somewhere that you weren't feeling good, so I genuinely hope things are rosy for you.
The O-Zone format got fixed because – as often happens in these situations – time passed and bugs got worked out. I can't predict what minor change will occur next, though I'm considering answering a few questions in my native language of Portuguese. I'm sure that will irritate some people. Lastly … you read correctly: As the old Lewis Grizzard book was titled, "Elvis is Dead, and I Don't Feel So Good Myself."
Out of Bounds
Has DaVon Hamilton been impressive, or does the offensive line still suck? Isn't it hard to really know the answer to this until the bullets start flying?
Hamilton, a nose tackle and a third-round selection by the Jaguars in the 2020 NFL Draft, hasn't been impressive or unimpressive early in camp; he hasn't had time in just two padded practices to stand out in either direction. The offensive line during the two one-on-one pass-rush drills conducted this week fared well against the defensive line. But if you're seeking a definitive conclusion about Hamilton and the offensive line, no … two days of padded practice realistically is too soon for that.
Austin from Walnutport, PA
With the way everyone is raving about Laviska Shenault Jr., could you see him taking on the second receiver on the depth chart? I know how you feel about rookie receivers, but everyone's making this guy sound like a huge, huge, huge, huge deal.
It seems you're asking if Shenault could be the Jaguars' No. 2 receiver opposite DJ Chark Jr. If that's the case … yes, I could see that. Perhaps not by the start of the regular season, but at some point during the regular season. But where a receiver is on the depth chart isn't a huge issue; it's whether the receiver will be in the rotation. I don't think there's any doubt that Shenault will be very much in the receiving rotation for the Jaguars this season. He has special traits and his ability to make plays – and be a force – running will allow the Jaguars to use him nearly no matter how developed he is as a route-runner/pure receiver.
Clay from Jacksonville
Your quotes from Timmy Jernigan interested me because he said he cheered for the Jags as a kid. Players in other markets say such things all the time, but we're still a young franchise. Can you remember other players saying they were Jags fans? Who were they?
Rashean Mathis comes to mind. He played cornerback for the Jaguars after playing locally at Englewood High School. Rookie linebacker Shaq Quarterman also played locally at Oakleaf High School and has said multiple times he is looking forward to "repping the 904."
Mike from Atlanta, GA
Is defensive coordinator Todd Wash going to run the 3-4 more than he anticipated due to the run on interior defensive lineman? They still have pretty good depth at edge rusher and guys who can play the five-technique. They still have DaVon Hamilton, who looks like a prototypical nose tackle. Life comes at you fast, you have to roll with the punches.
This from Wash in June: "You will see some different fronts, but we want to still continue to give teams a lot of multiple looks. Most importantly, we want to put the players on our roster in a position to be successful in any scheme that they fit. You're going to see a lot of fronts that we've run through the years within this system that just match the personality and the skill set of our players." I don't expect Wash to change that approach much.
Terry from Cordele, GA
Sexton (I believe) asked Tyler Eifert what he saw in the tight end room. "I like the tight end room" was the response. Which room in the facility do you like the best, and if you could/had to sleep there which room would you pick?
I like the hallway bathroom near the field around the coaches' offices. I do much of my best work there.