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O-Zone: That's my fun day

Posted Jan 31, 2018

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Dave from Vilano Beach, FL:
First and foremost: a sincere note of appreciation for the Jaguars’ organization from the leadership to the players. What a fun year and boy did that feel good! Now: With Blake Bortles’ surgery reported Monday evening, could that be a $19.1 million surgery? If he can’t pass physical, I understand we have to pay him, correct? I’m not a surgeon, but could that be possible given the recovery timeframe of his surgery?
John: Blake Bortles’ wrist surgery rocketed to No. 1 on the list of Jaguars’ hot-button issues when ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Bortles last week underwent the surgery on his right wrist. The team hasn’t officially announced the surgery, but there’s no reason to believe Schefter to be incorrect about this sort of story. What’s less clear as of this writing is what effect – if any – Bortles’ surgery will have on his contract status for next season; that’s likely to remain an unknown for a while. It has been widely reported that Bortles’ $19.1 million contract for next season becomes guaranteed if he can’t pass his physical before the March 14 start of the 2018 NFL league year. Whether this wrist issue causes Bortles to not pass the physical is impossible to know yet – widespread speculation over the matter on Monday and Tuesday notwithstanding. The feeling here is the surgery and wrist won’t be a deciding factor in whether or not the Jaguars keep Bortles because the guess here is he will pass his physical before March 14. That’s a guess and not a statement because I’m not a doctor – and even if I were a doctor, there are few certainties when it comes to the human body’s healing process. With or without the wrist issue, I anticipate Bortles being the Jaguars’ quarterback next season because I doubt there is an available option better enough than Bortles to be worth the risk or cost of attaining a different quarterback. Bottom line: there already were many wrinkles to this story; it just got a bit wrinklier.
Jeff from Orange, CA:
Can you remind us what happened to the draft pick the Dolphins owed us in the Julius Thomas trade?
John: The Jaguars used the 2017 seventh-round selection obtained for tight end Julius Thomas on University of Miami fullback Marquez Williams, who was released before the regular season.
Renay from Macclenny, FL:
I replayed several times the strip and fumble of Jared Goff in the Pro Bowl and it certainly appeared as though Yannick Ngakoue was responsible for that fumble. Is there any way that gets changed to give credit where credit is due?
John: I guess. Maybe. Or maybe not. I’m not sure it will be a big enough issue to make it an issue.
Steven from Duval:
Haven’t heard many people talk about Poz coming back. I know he loves playing here but I wonder if there is a chance he might take a three- or four-year deal with the thought that playing a two-down role could extend his career a season or two. I think he is a starting three-down middle linebacker for some teams, but fewer snaps could equal maybe an extra year. Do you think this could be factor and what’s your gut on him coming back next year? Also do you think he makes the Pride of the Jaguars? He has my vote.
John: We actually have discussed the idea of middle linebacker Paul Posluszny returning to the Jaguars next season quite a few times here in the O-Zone (it’s actually easy and cost-effective to read every day; it’s a free website). There are multiple situations on this roster that feel fluid, and Posluszny’s future certainly is among them. I do believe he is capable of playing a few more years in a three-down role, and I believe he wants to play in Jacksonville. Those two things obviously don’t mix because the Jaguars aren’t going to move Myles Jack or Telvin Smith out of the nickel package. I think it’s very possible another team wants Posluszny to play that three-down role. Whether that happens, and whether that situation is more appealing to him than a possible short-term deal to be a part-time player here is difficult to project. I’d call it 60-40 with the 60 being he returns, but I wouldn’t feel great about that prediction.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
The NFL offseason is important for all teams, but it has perhaps grown to be more significant for the Jaguars, Jacksonville and Jaguars fans because of the annual State of the Jaguars press conference. Will Shad Khan and Mark Lamping be presenting another State of the Jaguars this year? Should we expect any updates regarding the shipyards, discussion of the recently reported “Lot J” development considerations, or reports of the initial impact of the amphitheater and indoor practice facility for the franchise in the coming weeks? What is the expected release date for the new/updated uniform reveal?
John: The Jaguars’ 2018 State of the Franchise press conference has not yet been scheduled, though I would anticipate it being held in late February or sometime March; it indeed has become a critical event on the Jaguars’ offseason calendar. I have not heard the specifics on what will be discussed at this as-yet unscheduled event; the team typically includes formal and official announcements in the actual presentation with any and all Jaguars topics often being discussed when Owner Shad Khan, President Mark Lamping and football representatives speak to the media afterward. The Jaguars typically have been as transparent as can reasonably be expected for a professional sports franchise, particularly at the State of the Franchise, so I would expect all of your topics to be addressed on some capacity. As far as new or updated uniforms … nothing official to report.
Jeremy from Newport, RI:
One area I think Leonard Fournette needs to improve is his vision. It seemed he missed a lot of opportunities this past season. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give him a six for vision. Is that fair or am I being too critical?
John: I’d say that’s fair. Fournette did appear to miss holes and opportunities at times during his rookie season. It didn’t seem to me to be anything disastrous, and it’s hard to know if he “missed” holes or if he made certain cuts because he was making decisions based on his lower-leg issues. I suspect we will have a better feel for this next season.
Mac from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
National media seems to think Blake Bortles won’t be back with the Jaguars next season. I hope that’s not the front office’s mindset. The only quarterback discussed that I think might be a legitimate upgrade is Kirk Cousins, but his cost outweighs the potential benefit. Get out of here with the Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater nonsense. Anyone who thinks they’re better than Bortles knows nothing about football.
John: I think the only two quarterbacks that really made sense to be in this discussion were Alex Smith and Cousins. With Smith reportedly being traded to the Redskins, he no longer would be in the discussion. All others are either not upgrades (such as Bradford or Bridgewater), or unlikely to actually be available (Eli Manning or Drew Brees).
Tim from Doboy Island, GA:
Hey O, help me with the timing. We have to make a call on Bortles March 14. When does free agency begin? Is that before or after free agency opens?
John: Bortles’ contract becomes guaranteed on March 14, the start of the new league year. Free agency opens at the start of the new league year. So, in essence, the Jaguars’ decision on his future probably has to happen before free agency begins – or before trades can become finalized. Thus, the Jaguars’ dilemma: it’s going to be hard or impossible to acquire a big-time quarterback if they’re paying Bortles $19.1 million, which means they would have to move on from him without a guarantee about their next quarterback.
Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL:
I argue that I'm rooting for the Patriots because they beat us and they are AFC. Everyone around me says I'm crazy … "Hate the Patriots, root for the underdog.” Do you have an opinion?
John: It matters to me not one whit who wins the Super Bowl.
Steve from Julington Creek:
Hi O, I know it is tradition that the Super Bowl has always been Sunday night. Has it ever been voted on or discussed to move it to Saturday night? With the game ending after 10 p.m., that's late for a lot of people, especially for parties when having to work the next day. It's a huge event now, but I would think it would even be bigger on Saturdays. Can you ask Shad Khan to bring this up at the next owner's meeting?
John: The Super Bowl has not always been Sunday night. Throughout the first decade of the game, it started before 4 p.m. and it started before 6 p.m. as late as 1991. The start time has held pretty consistently around 6:30 since the mid-1990s. Considering the game is annually among the highest-rated broadcasts of all time – and considering Super Bowl Sunday has become an informal national holiday – I doubt the idea of changing to Saturday gets much traction - if any at all.

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