O-Zone: Above the road

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Limo Bob from Neptune Beach, FL

Does Jacksonville have a competitive stadium in the NFL in the year 2019?

TIAA Bank Field is “competitive;” it helps produce revenue to keep the Jaguars from lagging far behind the rest of the league in this area. What it’s not is cutting edge or state of the art – at least not anymore and not for some time. It’s also not remotely one of the NFL’s better stadiums. The Jaguars and city of Jacksonville have done admirable work keeping it competitive with extensive renovations in recent offseasons – including the videoboards, locker rooms, renovations/additions to the club areas and so on. It’s unlikely to stay competitive for the long-term future without major renovations and upgrades, but for the short-term it’s “competitive.”

Matt from Fort Worth, TX

Do you like Nick Foles?

Sure. What’s not to like?

Alex from Orlando, FL

Less than two months until the Chiefs game. #Pumped. Can I get a record prediction for the season? Preferably a game-by-game prediction, but if you're feeling lazy I'll take an overall record prediction.

I’m always feeling lazy, but that’s not why I’ll pass on making game-by-game predictions. Game-by-game predictions are a fool’s game, and season predictions aren’t far off. I believe this team can be much more competitive than last season because I see no reason the defense won’t be essentially as good as last season – and there’s no reason the presence of quarterback Nick Foles won’t at least marginally improve the offense. Foles should mean the Jaguars being able to convert a few more third-downs per game, and it stands to reason he should be better in late-game situations than former starter Blake Bortles. The Jaguars lost a slew of games in the final five minutes last season, so the slightest improvement in late games could mean a few more victories. That’s why I believe the Jaguars can be a nine-to-ten-victory team if they remain relatively healthy – and if the offensive line is improved from the past two seasons. So … let’s go with 9-7 or 10-6 provided there aren’t disastrous injuries.

Tudor from St. Augustine, FL

I always thought of you as a mongoose. Christopher must be one of those NASCAR people.

OK.

Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville

It would be great for Tom Brady or another similar player to give a call to Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey. While I appreciate and support anyone earning as much money as they can, there is something to be said to compromising for the higher purpose of helping your team win a championship. Does Ramsey deserve to get paid? Absolutely. But look at the larger picture of helping your team to get at least one, or maybe even multiple titles like say the New England Patriots. Great defenses can carry teams to the title, look at the New York Giants, Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles, Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears. All won Super Bowls with smothering defenses. I think the Jaguars have a great chance to be that kind of team who have a good offense but an outstanding defense that just buries the opponent’s quarterback. There is enough money for everyone (linebacker Myles Jack, cornerback A.J. Bouye included) if everyone on the team looks at the larger picture and compromises for the higher goal. #GOJAGS

This is naïve and patently unrealistic, just as it’s unfair for fans to expect players – particularly young players – to sacrifice money for a higher purpose. It’s also unfair to compare quarterbacks with other position groups. A quarterback – in this case, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady – can realistically play into his mid-to-late 30s or early 40s because of the nature of the position. That means more than 15 years of prime earning potential. A positional player who is far more dependent on pure athletic ability and more prone to wear-and-tear-producing injuries might have 10-to-12 years or prime earning potential. That number is more likely to be closer to single digits. Is it fair to expect a young person to sacrifice money during a career with such a short period for maximining income? It’s very easy for fans to want players to “take less for championships.” It’s not nearly as easy to envision a player actually doing so. Ask yourself: Would you “compromise” in that situation? I most certainly would not – at least not to any significant degree.

Bored from Boredville

Yer hoggin all the fun; I could use a ton.

One fer fun.

Otto from Ponte Vedra, FL

John, in 25 words or less, or there about, what is main pro/con of 4-3 D vs. 3-4 D? Go Jags!!

Neither is better than the other. If your personnel fits a 4-3, then run a 4-3. If it fits a 3-4, run that.

Cliff from Jag4life

So r u still a senior shill?

I’m whatever helps you sleep, Cliff.

Warren from the Land of the Midnight Sun

Zone, I am wondering if you have any inside knowledge? Legend has it that Van Owen was not alone when he did ... well, you know what to Roland’s Head. Remember it was Van Owen and the rest ... pretty sure some guy named Gene yelled out “Roland look out” then he escaped ... and, well again you know what happened o Roland!

This has merit. Longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. “Gene” Frenette long has been known among military desperadoes for his ability to handle a Thompson gun.

Scott from Jacksonville

Hey, John. You should let ImproperMan know that you don't need to go to Journalism School to know you're supposed to identify someone or something fully on first reference when writing properly or professionally. You just need to go to school.

You just told him.

Mac from Jacksonville

I know you’re sick of answering Telvin Smith questions, but maybe answering this last one will help to curb them in the future. Say Telvin never shows up this season, nor communicates with the team. What is the cap effect for the Jaguars and what is the financial consequence for Telvin?

I doubt this will stop questions about Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith. The idea of a player opting not to play a season in the prime of his career is fascinating, and the topic is sure to be the subject of speculation until Smith speaks publicly about his future plans and motivation – or makes his intentions known to the NFL and the Jaguars. As for your scenario, the Jaguars likely would get Smith’s $9.75 million salary figure credited to their future cap space – provided he doesn’t play for the Jaguars again; if he plays for the Jaguars again, the Jaguars likely would have to use that $9.75 million on Smith in a future season. If Smith doesn’t play in 2019, he won’t get paid his base salary for 2019 and the Jaguars could try to recoup $2 million – the amount of his signing bonus that is assigned to 2019. This is assuming Smith doesn’t play again; if he does play again, his contract likely will roll forward and any ramifications also will roll forward. Because of the unprecedentedness of the situation, some of this is still unknown and must be decided when Smith’s future path is known.

Bruce from Surf City

Almighty O, you forget, Gene Frenette already won the inaugural and only Surf Bowl. His backward 720 blew the judges minds so badly they cancelled all future Surf Bowls.

Fair.

Michael from Fruit Cove

I’m loving the 25 Seasons, 25 Games series. It’s striking how many games are against the Steelers. Brad Meester talking about their song Renegade was probably my favorite quote of the whole series so far. “We got just as much out of it as they did.” I was there for the playoff game two years ago: Jags trying to hold on to the lead and the Steelers offense was playing well so we knew we had to keep scoring. Renegade comes on, crowd goes crazy while their defense was on the field getting ready for another Jags drive. That crowd thought we were gonna fold up right there. But I think every Jags fan in that stadium felt that their energy was helping us just as much. I’m pretty sure Fournette was waving at the crowd to be louder. I know I was. That song didn’t matter, there was no way they could stop us.

So, one fer Renegade?

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, Myles Jack obviously wasn't down. That play alone makes him better than average. #DTWD.

This references a recent O-Zone question stating that Jack was a middle-of-the-road linebacker in the NFL. Your point is correct, Daniel. A player capable of making the sort of game-changing, athletic play that Jack made in the fourth quarter of the AFC Championship Game following the 2017 season isn’t middle of any road. He’s capable of such a thing on any play when healthy.

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