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O-Zone: A place to settle

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

John from Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

You say that the NFL is "dramatically more violent and physical than college." This was certainly true in the past, but the game is changing rapidly. Most quarterbacks these days do not take an inordinate amount of big hits or physical punishment. I certainly wouldn't advocate drafting Kyler Murray to try and make him into Lamar Jackson; it's his passing ability that entices. His running ability should be seen as a benefit to help him get away from trouble and avoid hits, much like Patrick Mahomes this past season. Roll the dice, try to catch lightning in a bottle, we only live once, aim for the stars, live dangerously and other such platitudes.

I did say in a recent O-Zone that the NFL is a dramatically more violent and physical game than college, and the statement is as true a statement as can be made about football. The NFL is so much faster and more physical than college football that they are in many ways different sports. It was certainly true in the past and it remains certainly true now. Quarterbacks may not take an "inordinate" amount of hits, but the very nature of playing at football's highest level with grown men compared to playing at a lower level with young, still-maturing men makes the NFL far more violent and physical than college and always will – even for quarterbacks. That in no way makes Murray un-draftable, and I agree his passing ability is enticing. It's enticing enough that teams must strongly consider him despite him not being a prototype. Maybe it will be enticing enough for the Jaguars to think outside the box and select him. It's absolutely possible the Jaguars will buy into the platitudes. We'll see.

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

In your Oehpinion, who is more likely to be on the Jaguars' roster: Kyler Murray or Josh Rosen?


Steven from Duval

Do you think Will Richardson will be a solid starter next year? There was a lot of talk about his upside during the draft.

I think the Jaguars would love for right tackle Will Richardson to start next season. They drafted him in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft from North Carolina State with the hope that he would develop and fill that role in 2019. I think he will be given a chance to earn that position, but I don't think he will be given that position and I do expect the Jaguars this offseason to acquire at least one player capable of starting there.

Bob from Sumter, SC

Do you think if a second- or third-round pick was offered for Fournette the Jaguars would make the deal?

Yes, I think the Jaguars would deal running back Leonard Fournette for a Day 1 or 2 – second or third-round – selection. Considering the results of his first two seasons, I find it hard to believe any team would make that offer.

Dave from Atlantic Beach, FL

So, I'm confused. Is it time to move on or not?


John from Cape May Courthouse

I just don't get the concerns with Murray's physical stature. The height? He only had five passes batted down at the line of scrimmage last season, same as, wait for it ... Dwayne Haskins. The weight? Anybody who has aged can tell you that as you get older you get fatter. Besides, with today's rules, the NFL goes above and beyond in protecting quarterbacks. We drafted the "prototypical" quarterback before and we became a perennial laughing stock because of it. Murray's game is tailor-made for the future of the NFL.

Height isn't always about passes batted at the line sometimes it's about the plays and the style of offense that must be run to accommodate a smaller quarterback who likely will have to get outside the pocket at times to be effective. It's also a durability issue, with more prototypical quarterbacks – players in the 6-feet-3, 215-and-up range – perceived to be more durable than smaller players. As far as the prototypical quarterback making the Jaguars a perennial laughingstock, they haven't struggled for much of the last decade because they drafted prototype quarterbacks. They struggled because the prototypes they drafted – and a lot of other players – weren't as good as they expected or hoped.

Ray from Jacksonville

John: Maybe the Jaguars will draft Kyler Murray and make him a receiver. Oops, I forgot that they tried that already.

Wow. That would be funny if it was … you know … funny.

Mason from Palm Bay, FL

The NFL is a "what-have-you-done-for-me-lately" league with players, but if we even suggest that the coaching has fallen off, you bring up 2017. Or that it's always coaching. Anyway, with the new rules protecting quarterbacks from being driven to the ground, why not sign up for a smaller quarterback?

Coaches typically don't get dumber from year to year, and I've never said coaching doesn't matter in the NFL. I do tire of the constant ridiculous amount of blame and credit people place on coaching when the reality is the NFL is an incredibly competitive league with fortunes often rising and falling on factors other than coaching. Far too many coaching changes are made for little reason other than to make change. As far as the new rules preventing quarterbacks from being driven into the ground … sure, that will make it easier for smaller quarterbacks. Still, quarterbacks are going to get hit. This is still a game played by big, strong, fast men and there always will be people who lean toward wanting the biggest, strongest, fastest men possible to play it regardless of position. And the ability to be durable in that environment always must be considered.

Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL

"It's time to move on" sounds like a trap. You move if there is a better situation to move into, but moving just for the sake of moving sounds terrible. Look how Cody Kessler performed with that offensive line. Given the Jaguars' salary cap, the multiple needs of the team, and the quarterbacks available in the draft and free agency, why would you get rid of Bortles? He can play with an offensive line and a running back that actually tries, he's shown that. Fix Fournette (if possible) get the line healthy, find a tight end, and find a true franchise quarterback when one is actually available, which is not the 2019 offseason. Right?

No, because it's time to move on.

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

Kudos to Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin for locking up kicker Josh Lambo. When you have elite talent like that, you simply do not let it hit free agency. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue are elite talents, but Lambo is the kind of guy you build your franchise around. One fer Lambo.

You may be guilty of slightly overestimating the importance of a kicker, even one as important and as consistent as Lambo. But sure … one fer Lambo.

Zain from Baltimore, MD

O, do you think all the talk about Murray's height and MLB eligibility will steer the conversation away from other potential flaws, during board-room conversations? (his feet in the pocket, the system OU ran, accuracy questions etc.)

I think Murray's height and the baseball issues almost certainly will dominate the public conversation – the Twittersphere, radio shows, etc. – but within draft rooms all of Murray's strengths and weaknesses will be weighed equally.

Chuck from Jacksonville

Ok, so we have established that sometimes it is time to move on and the discussion becomes free agent or draft. People say to pay what it takes to move up and get your guy, but I don't feel it is a great idea to mortgage your future for one guy unless you absolutely feel they are going to be a great one. So, my question is realistically how far could you move up from No. 7 if you threw in one of your third-round picks only.

One or two spots.

Chris from Space City, TX

O, where are you finding all these fans saying one fer Blake? Sure, he may be a class act but it's safe to say he has been a subpar quarterback. And that is putting it very generously. For where the Jags drafted him, it is safe to call him a bust. The guy is lucky he wasn't thrown out long ago. Keeping him around because Coughlin decided to extend his contract last offseason isn't a reason to keep him. Now the Jags' backs are against the wall and they have no choice but to take out the trash. One fer anyone but Blake the Bust.

As for why fans say "one fer Blake," because there are some logical reasons he makes sense as a bridge to a rookie. And because he's a likeable guy and easy to root for. As for "finding" fans for the O-Zone, I don't do that. People who crave incredible writing, humor and insight seek out such things online. Eventually, they settle on this.

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