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O-Zone: A real dummy

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Kenneth from Yulee, FL

O-Zone. The Hunt Episode 2 was great and very insightful. I did correctly guess that linebacker Ventrell Miller was ALWAYS the choice for the Jaguars in the 2023 NFL Draft after they selected running back Tank Bigsby in Round 3. Many fans were saying Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke should have traded up from the fourth round. Baalke tried many times. Fans/critics were so mad at how he was not offering enough draft picks. How mad would they have been if he gave up three-to-five draft picks to pick the same player they ended up getting in the fourth?

Whoever does whatever "the Hunt" is indeed must do a nice job. As for your question, I spend little time considering whether fans will be mad at hypothetical situations. They have enough fun getting themselves wound up over real ones.

Ray from Vernon, FL

Zone, now I know I am not an NFL scout and player evaluator, but Patterson made almost all his kicks – and clutch ones, too. His kick to win it after coming from 27 points down was awesome. Teams want loyalty from players. What about the other way around? I sure hope this kicker move doesn't come back to haunt the Jags. Do you think the new kicker is better?

Riley Patterson, who the Jaguars traded to the Detroit Lions Thursday, was solid most of last season. He also was shaky through a stretch. He appears to have a chance at a long NFL career. But he never quite established full trust or gave you that feel that he never was going to miss inside 50 yards. That's pretty much what you want these days from a kicker that you feel is "the guy." Brandon McManus, who the Jaguars signed Thursday, is a 10-year veteran who converted 90.5 percent of his field goals from under 50 yards. The Jaguars feel they will have a higher trust in McManus than they did Patterson. That's why teams change kickers. I doubt this will "haunt" the Jaguars. Patterson, while good, hadn't quite established himself enough to make this a high-risk move.

John from Land of Indian River

Big O, where does C.J. Beathard rank among backup quarterbacks in the NFL?

He's fine.

Greg from Section 122, Jacksonville

How about we really act progressive? Sell the land and stadium to Jaguars Shad Khan lock, stock and barrel. Let him assume all the risk. The Four Seasons he is building … yeah, I love Shad to death but that is just beyond dumb. There is literally NOTHING to attract high-end clients to use these facilities. And having a football team that only plays six home games doesn't really help that. Since Shad is so convinced he can make this work from a businessman perspective, let him assume the risk. That way he can invest in his new stadium. The city still wins with property and sales taxes on everything but with greatly reduced out lay to the taxpayer. I love this plan. Shad won't because despite everything his conscience is clean taking money in taxes from the people of this city. While we are at it, sell him Lot J also, but the caveat is he assumes all the responsibility for clean up and development. That is how smart business is done.

I'm sure you love the plan. And of course Khan wouldn't – and no NFL small-market owner would love it, either. There's a reason state-of-the-art NFL stadiums in Buffalo and Nashville are being funded with private and public funds. It takes both sources to make it work in a small market.

Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL

I agree it is early in the "stadium discussions." All options should still be on the table - except one: Doing nothing. Public funds must be part of the answer. People don't have to like it, but it's the truth. I know we are in a world where many seek their own version of the truth or believe we are entitled to a truth we each individually like, but the facts are indisputable. Stadiums of this era, especially in small markets, require public funds. Without them the model is not sustainable. This is Jacksonville's team – until Jacksonville doesn't support its ability to compete. Look at the Buffalo and Nashville deals. Many of the same people worried about the "Jags to London' talk are also those against public funds for the renovation. Reject the latter and the former becomes a legitimate concern. We don't get everything we want. Which do people want more? The Jacksonville Jaguars with some funding or The London Monarchs and an empty stadium that doesn't require funding anymore? Reality needs to set in. It doesn't disappear because we don't like the choices.

We have a winner.

_Mike from Omaha, NE _

John, It seems every pundit and talking head says that we didn't do enough in the offseason to improve our pass rush. Can you help me understand why they are wrong? Thank you.

It's possibly the pundits in this case aren't wrong. The Jaguars didn't do much in the offseason to address pass rush, and it's definitely an area that must improve next season. One reason the Jaguars didn't do much in this area is they weren't going to be active participants in first-tier free agency regardless of position. Another reason is they were selecting low enough in the first round entering the 2023 NFL Draft – No. 24 overall – that it was going to be difficult to find immediate impact there; they instead opted for long-term value in the early rounds of the draft rather than reach for a pass rusher. Still another reason they didn't do much at pass rusher is the feeling that their front seven can improve from within. Players such as Travon Walker and Josh Allen must be more impactful in big situations and players such as linebackers Devin Lloyd – while not a true pass rusher – can be more disruptive up front. Sometimes it's not as much about not wanting to do something as about not really being able to do something.

GPP from Savannah, GA

The NFL talks a great game about player safety in regards to the kickoff rule but is happy to have a flex schedule for Thursday night games limiting the days players can recover! I guess it's all about the Benjamins for the NFL when it comes down to it.

Very fair.

Don from Marshall NC

DeAndre Hopkins has been a great player, but I just don't see a lot touches. He is 30 so you're in the danger zone. Now if Frank Clark was cool enough for the locker room I would sign him. I would pay him not to play against us. Go Jaguars!

The Arizona Cardinals released wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins Friday. I would be surprised given the Jaguars' salary-cap and wide-receiver situation if they pursue Hopkins. Clark, an edge defender who played for the Kansas City Chiefs last season, is among multiple veteran pass rushers who are free agents. I wouldn't be surprised if the Jaguars eventually pursue one of those players.

Lawrence from Blair, NE

Zone, I think the answer to the question about why can't Shad Khan just suffer through a $2 billion loss to own his own stadium, I think the answer is pretty clear. Billionaires don't become billionaires by running businesses that operate at a loss. Right?

Good eye.

Chief from Biloxi, MS

I believe that Daughtery placed Baalke a little high in the GMs list. Laurence was anybody's pick siting in that chair. Only a moron would pick Walker first overall last year and this year is not different. This was his last year in Duval. Thoughts?

I don't know who Daughtery is and I don't particularly care. I think Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence spells his name with a "w." I don't think Trent Baalke is a moron and I don't expect this to be his last season as the Jaguars' general manager. I think if Walker hadn't been the first selection in the 2022 NFL Draft he would have been the second selection. And finally I think that we don't have any real idea of how good either the 2022 or 2023 NFL Drafts were – and people who think they do are either making things up or don't know as much as they act like they do. Maybe Walker will be better than defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, the player selected by the Detroit Lions No. 2 overall in that draft. Maybe he won't. But a couple of things have been overblown. One is that Hutchinson was worlds better than Walker as a rookie. Another is that it's some sort of dead, solid lock that Hutchinson should have been the selection. Neither are true, perception notwithstanding.

Ed from Danvers, MA

Why do teams use the quarterback as the dummy when they all get behind him and try to push him across the first down line? Why not just use the team's Senior Writer?