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O-Zone: Say it again

Posted Feb 7, 2018

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Glen from Orange Park, FL:
It has been called a copycat league. Do you see Jaguars offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett possibly incorporating some run-pass option to give Blake Bortles a chance to make a quick read and decision rather than going through multiple progressions each pass play? Also, what would you give up for Nick Foles and how much would you pay Kirk Cousins? Both are probably upgrades, but Blake did a lot to improve without his best weapons last year, making it hard to give up too much to move away from him – in my opinion.
John: The Jaguars incorporated run-pass option this past season, and I would expect Hackett to continue to do so if Bortles indeed is the quarterback next season. As for your second question, I would have a difficult time giving up franchise-quarterback equity for either Cousins or Foles and here’s why: if you’re going to allocate franchise-quarterback salary and cap space for a quarterback, he must be more than a good starter – or even a really good starter. He must be a quarterback capable of getting you to the postseason year after year and capable of allowing you to weaken other positions on your roster to pay his salary. Quarterbacks such as Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and perhaps Drew Brees, Cam Newton, Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, Russell Wilson and Ben Roethlisberger have fit or come close to fitting this category in recent seasons. Perhaps I’m leaving a few out. I think Cousins and/or Foles possibly could be upgrades over Bortles. I am less sure that they are franchise quarterbacks to the degree I just described, and that makes it hard for me to get upset if the Jaguars don’t pursue them with fervor.
Ken from Summerville, SC:
Has the salary cap number for 2018 been released?
John: No. Teams reportedly were told to expect the 2018 cap to be around $174-$178 million but that’s not official yet. The Jaguars project to have about $20 million in cap space if the roster stays as is. The roster isn’t expected to stay as is. Stay tuned.
Todd from OKC:
Man, next year’s schedule is no joke!
John: It’s the NFL. It’s supposed to be hard.
Mark from Green Bay, WI:
O, has there been much mention of Josh Lambo? He seems to be the forgotten man. I'm not sure, but I believe we would have won a couple more games had he been playing from the beginning.
John: Lambo was outstanding last season. He was critical to the Jaguars’ run to the AFC Championship Game. He seems like a great guy. It may well be that people find him attractive, charming and graceful. He seems likeable, and well-groomed. He often wears a cool hat after games. I don’t know how much more we can mention about him, but I’ll Google this sometime soon and see if I find anything else.
Jansen from Houston, TX:
Do you think the NFL will ever host the Super Bowl in a non-traditional venue (Bristol Motor Speedway for example)?
John: I think the NFL will hold the Super Bowl in one of its team’s stadiums for the foreseeable future.
Art from Drexel Hill:
If the 49ers franchise tag Jimmy Garoppolo, would you support the Jags making a run at him? Pick No. 29 this year and No. 32 next isn't much.
John: I see what you did there. The problem is the 49ers also could use the exclusive franchise tag in your scenario. That would prevent any other team from negotiating with Garoppolo.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
After the aggressiveness the Eagles showed (and end result of holding off another Patriots comeback), do you think Doug/Nate/Tom have a conversation about the need to maintain pressure to seal the win?
John: Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone meets with coordinators before each game to formulate the best game plan based on their personnel entering the game. I feel safe in saying that the Jaguars did this before the AFC Championship Game, and I don’t think how the Philadelphia Eagles with their personnel approached a game would have much influence on how the Jaguars approached a game.
Frankie from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Bortles is a good quarterback when everyone around him is playing well. We need a quarterback who can lift us up when those around him are struggling.
John: I’m all in. Who ya got? What’s it gonna cost? Is he ready now?
Ryan from Apopka, FL:
While I agree 100 percent about not blowing the whistle early, there is another side to this from the NFL perspective. I believe it was Packers versus Bears this year where they didn’t blow the whistle when Devote Adams appeared to be stopped but was still fighting for extra yards and one of the Bears linebackers came in and laid a massive hit on him and he got a concussion. So, where the Jags seemed to be hurt this year on a few occasions on early whistles, there is more to this with player safety as well.
John: Yes.
Benjamin from Jacksonville:
I would like to ask those Hall of Fame voters if you were starting a team, who would they draft first? Tony Boselli, Terrell Davis, Terrell Owens, Brian Dawkins or Brian Urlacher. I guarantee you the majority of them would say Boselli … case closed …
John: If the majority of Hall of Fame voters truly grasped Boselli’s dominance when he played … yeah, I think you’re right.
Frankie from the Mean Streets of Ponte Vedra:
Five years in and we still don't know if Blake is the man. What does that tell us?
John: It tells us we don’t know if he’s elite, but whether Bortles is the Jaguars’ quarterback next season does not really depend on answering the question, “Is he elite?” The question is: Is there a better option available at a cost that makes acquiring that option feasible? Also remember: Bortles this past season was good enough for the Jaguars to win a division title and come within a few plays of the Super Bowl. That doesn’t mean there aren’t better NFL starting quarterbacks, but it does mean he’s a viable starter.
Sweeney from Glasgow, Scotland:
Remember when waiving Brandon “Brad” Allen was a big deal? Last offseason got pretty mental at times with loads of emotions running high if a bit-part player got cut or if someone who hadn’t even played for us held out. Do you foresee a quieter offseason this time round? A few guys coming back from injury … they can’t all fit on the roster. Who are we going to lose our heads over getting cut this summer?
John: I have no idea who will cause fans to lose their collective minds this offseason and training camp. What I do know is I do not expect a quiet offseason in which fans calmly observe the goings on of the Jaguars and say, “Why, yes … all is well … let’s see how things play out.” Why? Because fans gonna fan.
Jess from Castle Rock, CO:
John: "As for Hurns and Lee, I doubt either will be back." I don't know that I would let both Hurns and Lee go. We don't know how Allen Robinson is going to recover from his injury, and Cole, Westbrook, and the other receivers on the roster haven't yet proven to be consistent threats. If the Jags believe there is a veteran wide receiver with the resume for consistency and is also affordable available in free agency, then let them go. At this point, I would like more than one proven veteran wide receiver to go along with the young wide receiver. If I'm picking, I keep Hurns. Lee is going to want too much money for a wide receiver who drops as many passes as he does.
John: Let’s make one thing clear: When I write and say I doubt Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee return next season, it’s not that the Jaguars in an ideal world wouldn’t want those players to return – or that they dislike those players. The reason they might not return is that unlike recent offseasons the Jaguars this offseason must make some difficult choices about who they want to return. Hurns’ salary-cap figure next season is $7 million and Lee – as one of the top six-to-10 receivers available wide receivers in free agency – probably will draw somewhere in the $7 million-per-year range. Considering money already allocated elsewhere and money expected to be needed elsewhere, Lee and Hurns likely won’t play for the Jaguars if those are the costs.
Tom from Ponte Vedra Beach and Section 106:
To the constant stream of BB detractors I say this, "You’re all grass-is-greener people." Bortles took us to within a couple of plays of a Super Bowl! There are 28 other quarterbacks - some very good - who couldn't do that. Let me say it again: Bortles took us within a couple of plays of a Super Bowl!
John: So, let me get this straight: You’re saying Bortles took us to within a couple of plays of the Super Bowl?

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