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O-Zone: Worth the trip

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

TJ from Orlando, FL

Is it just me, or are there more suspensions than usual starting out this upcoming season? I'm glad we have less to worry about on that front as not only will the coaches and front office not tolerate the stupidity, but the locker room will hold individuals to account even more harshly. Go keeping your head down and focusing on your job! (Not a catchy cheer, but it's effective).

I don’t have a sense of whether there’s more suspensions around the NFL this offseason. Either way, don’t get cocky. While the Jaguars’ front office, coaching staff and players are a disciplined bunch who don’t tolerate silliness, it also remains true that NFL players are 20-to-30-year old human beings. That means while most Jaguars players seem like good and disciplined people, they’re not perfect and every team has its share of off-field missteps. The Jaguars in recent seasons have done a nice job averting such issues, but every team and front office worries about this. It’s just how it is.

Ed from Jacksonville

Apparently, this is the summer of the rooster. A few people always ask about it every week. It's nice that Jaxson de Ville has a pet.

Summer of the Rooster.

Jozy from OP

Your presentations of "longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. ‘Gene’ Frenette" has me yell laughing at every mention. You might not be King, but absolutely a Round Table Knight of Jacksonville.

Gene is the King. He always has been the king and it remains that way. It’s his world. The rest of us are just living in it.

David from Broward County, FL

Funky O-man: I'm with you 1,000 percent on your "read-a-book" call out, but remember that you can read a book on an e-reader, so no paper pages. Also, a book can be vicious by design, like a murder mystery, psycho thriller, political thriller or military/intel thriller, plus non-fiction war history. Just sayin’. Keep calm and read on.

Go read a book.

Cliff from Everywhere with a Helicopter

If Frenette studied under a yogi, I'd be willing to bet he learned more about "pick-a-nick" baskets than Transcendental Meditation. Because sports writing is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.

I’ve known many sportswriters. I count some as friends. If their profession is 90 percent mental, we’re in a sorry profession. Wait. What?

Sunil from Jacksonville

Hey O! I am so glad Gene Frenette is finally getting the credit he deserves. I have long known about his talent with the Beastie Boys of the ‘80s. How he wrote those hit songs and still focused on covering the Jacksonville Bulls still blows my mind. His true genius was the work he put into the Go-Go's "Our Lips Are Sealed." Gene was amazing in that video. I hope he appreciates the true friend you are to bring his accomplishments to the fan base. You are a great friend! #TheDeadZoneIsAlmostOver

Gene’s ability to cross genre and generations is what perhaps makes him most unique as a songwriter. While some visionaries have defined certain eras, Gene’s voice has touched the hearts of the nation’s youth for going on seven decades now. It’s a remarkable story with no end in sight. I’ll let others decide whether this is a good or bad thing.

Al from Memphis, TN

I'm not sure I agree with Sam from Orlando on former Jaguars quarterback David Garrard’s arm being significantly stronger than Blake's, but I will say he's still to this day the only quarterback I've seen have a defensive tackle on his back and throw a 30-yard strike to the end zone only to hit his receiver in the face mask. He had decent accuracy, but at the time there wasn't much he could do with it.

OK.

Steven from Jacksonville

Which game are you more excited to see this year? Patriots or Steelers?

While I struggle to think of myself as “excited” two-to-four months – or even a few weeks – from a particular NFL game, there is plenty to anticipate from the Jaguars’ schedule this season. I am looking forward to seeing the crowd and the inevitable “Myles Jack Wasn’t Down” posters stuffing TIAA Bank Field in Week 2 for the New England game; I anticipate the energy and buildup for that game to be nothing like I’ve witnessed in that stadium in a couple of decades. I imagine the Sunday Night Football matchup against Pittsburgh in November will get close to that, but it will be hard-pressed to match the energy of Week 2.

Bill from Vicbow

Sooo, to the casual observer one might think the "King of Funk" may have lost a friendly wager to "Gene" Frenette. If this is true, would you care to share the details of said wager to all of your "friends?”

Who lost the wager?

Mike from Atlanta, GA

When we talk about the greatest defenses of all time – 1970s Steelers, 1985 Bears and 2000 Ravens – we tend to skip over teams like the 1994 49ers, the Cowboys around that time, the Steelers with Kevin Greene and Gregg Lloyd, the early 1990s Giants. How good were these 90s defenses in comparison? I remember Lawrence Taylor, Deion Sanders, Charles Haley and the Steelers outside linebackers as well being a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks.

The defenses you cite indeed often get overlooked, with the Lawrence Taylor-led New York Giants defenses perhaps the most ignored great unit of that era. I’ve always thought what those Giants’ defenses accomplished was superior to the Bears and some other great defenses on one critical front. Unlike the ’85 Bears, the Giants’ defense of that area was critical to not one but two Super Bowl championships. It also kept the Giants at or near the top of what at the time was the NFL’s longstanding best division, the NFC East. The 1986 Giants went 17-2 and the defense shut down three great offenses in the postseason – the San Francisco 49ers (three), Washington Redskins (zero) and the Denver Broncos (none in the second half). The ’90 Giants went 13-3 and stopped San Francisco from what many at the time assumed would be a third consecutive Super Bowl title with an epic defensive performance in the NFC Championship Game. The defense then held the K-Gun offense of the Buffalo Bills to 19 points in the Super Bowl, a game in which the Bills were heavy favorites. The ’90 Giants were first in the NFL in points allowed and second in yards allowed and the ’86 Giants were second in points allowed and second in yards allowed. Those two defenses’ place among the all-time elite is more than secure.

Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL

O ... you’re SO right. Sitting down and drinking a beer with sports writers isn’t “all that.” I did drink several, in fact, with this guy in downtown Chicago a year or so ago. He knew the Jags well and was in town for a game. He really likes free beer. It was his favorite. It wasn’t “all that.”

See what I mean?

Doug from Jacksonville

My wife used to work with Kc McDermott's dad. One of Kc's brothers played at Miami with Jaguars center Brandon Linder. Actually, all three of the sons played on the offensive line at Miami. Kc's brother told his dad that Linder was going to be great in the NFL. I guess he knew. You have indicated there is some competition on the right side of our offensive line. Is KC in the mix?

McDermott is an undrafted free agent. He has a chance because he is in camp, but by definition he will be a long shot. How long? There’s no way to determine that until the pads go on in late July.

Emiel from Texas

Would it be against the rules for Blake to talk football with offensive coordinator Nate Hackett's dad during the offseason?

Bortles technically could talk football with Hackett’s father, former NFL offensive coordinator Paul Hackett. How much good that would do Bortles is debatable. While the younger Hackett certainly learned much of what he knows about offensive football from his father, the elder Hackett isn’t as versed in the details of the Jaguars’ playbook as his son. Bottom line: Bortles gets enough work done with Nate Hackett that there’s not a tremendous amount to be gained from talking with Paul in the offseason.

Stu from Wrestlingworth, UK

Hey Johnny-O. My family and I are making our (semi-) regular trek to good old Walt Disney World next year. Despite my best efforts to convince my better half to go this year during the season to catch a game (apparently getting “married” during that time is more important … priorities I tell ya!) I have managed to wangle our trip so that we land on February 2. Fully confident the Jags will be in the Super Bowl, where's the best place to catch the game if I make the drive up to Jacksonville?

East Side Mario’s at Regency.

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