O-Zone: All "A"s

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Dave from Orange Park, FL

You wrote recently that Nick Foles looks better so far this offseason than BB5. But we haven’t seen Foles play a game for the Jaguars yet. We won’t know ‘til we see that, Zone. Come on, you’re better than this.

I’m actually not better than this, though I did write recently that new Jaguars starting quarterback Nick Foles looked better in his first week of organized team activities than former starting quarterback Blake Bortles typically looked in the same environment. I also wrote that it would be disappointing if that wasn’t the case. It also would be disappointing if Foles weren’t better than Bortles in the regular season because the Jaguars made a bold move to improve the quarterback position. There’s little question Foles passes the eye test as a practice quarterback. He throws a good spiral, appears to process his reads quickly and gets rid of the ball quickly to the right receivers. Those are all good signs, and he appears smoother than Bortles on those fronts. But no … we won’t know for sure about Foles until the regular season begins. That’s the ultimate measure, and the only one that matters.

Hank from Jacksonville

I don’t like you.

Of course, you don’t. What’s there to like?

Mike from Cocoa Beach, FL

Let’s not lose sight of the fact Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey isn’t participating in the offseason. He’s not a leader, Zone. Plain and simple.

I haven’t lost sight of Ramsey not being in voluntary organized team activities this offseason. I also haven’t lost sight of the fact that Ramsey is under no obligation to attend those – but more than that, I haven’t lost sight of the fact that he somehow has managed to play at a Pro Bowl/All-Pro level in his first three NFL seasons without participating much – if at all – in the offseason program. I can’t imagine I’ll be sitting in a press box next November yelling “If only Jalen Ramsey had practiced on May 31, he would have made that play!!!!” Referencing Ramsey not being a leader … we’ve covered this ground quite a bit in recent weeks. I probably wouldn’t put Ramsey among the Jaguars’ four or five most prominent leaders. I don’t know that he will be a defensive captain anytime soon – or ever. But that doesn’t matter much. He’s an elite player. He will be ready to play next season. He almost certainly will play at a Pro Bowl level. He will make the Jaguars much better with his presence. That’s his job, and perhaps it’s important not to lose sight of that.

Mike from Navarre, OH

It seems like a lot of fans are struggling to accept the situation at safety. Wouldn’t this be an ideal situation? We had some veterans come in to bridge the gap while we drafted and developed some young players. It seems this is the plan at a lot of positions on the team and quite frankly, it’s been solid for the defense. Am I off base with this?

Not in the least.

Brian from Jacksonville

The Jags have invested a good amount of draft capital on offensive tackle over the last three years. So far, none have stood out – including left tackle Cam Robinson. His play was OK prior to his injury, but not stellar. Will Richardson hasn’t even practiced much at the professional level yet due to his injuries, so he remains an enigma. Jawaan Taylor is just another big rookie at this point. Josh Wells is only good for a few snaps a year before he goes down with injury. Free-agent signings at the position haven’t been very inspiring either … other franchise’s throwaways. Are any of these men healthy enough to play at full speed this fall? Will training camp see the two best tackles and the best group of five practicing at full speed, or will this be another MASH unit where “limited” during practice is the norm?

Your question makes it seem like the Jaguars have drafted full bore for offensive tackles in recent offseasons and come up empty. A more accurate assessment is that the Jaguars have addressed the position in measured fashion. They used early second-round selections on Robinson and Taylor, a fourth-round selection on Richardson and acquired Wells as an undrafted rookie. If Taylor and Robinson are solid NFL starters – i.e., among or close to the top half in the league at their positions – and Richardson is a capable swing reserve, then the Jaguars have drafted well in the area. As far as the MASH unit thing … right now all the Jaguars’ offensive linemen are healthy and participating in practice except Robinson. He will be brought along cautiously because that’s the norm with players returning from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. But there’s no reason at this stage to think the Jaguars will be unhealthy on the line in camp. Stay tuned.

Unhipcat from Carlsbad, CA

John, why is no one complaining about the ads anymore?

Give ‘em time, hipcat.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, it sounds like cornerback A.J. Bouye is in a good place so far this offseason. Do you think we can expect for him to come back this year as good as he was two years back, or is unlikely that players generally bounce back in such big ways after a down year?

Bouye was available to the media Tuesday, and he did appear to be in a good place. There’s no reason Bouye can’t return to a very good level this season – even an All-Pro level – because it wasn’t as if he was awful year in 2018. He played through a calf injury. If he plays the entire season as healthy as he did in 2017 … yes, he can be a Pro Bowl level corner again – perhaps not quite at his 2017 level when he was as good as any corner in the NFL, but a big-time level nonetheless.

Fred from Chicago, IL

What’s the update on wide receiver Marqise Lee?

Lee is working on the side in OTAs, which means he’s ahead of where some expected considering the seriousness of his knee injury last preseason. Lee believes he will be ready by the regular season and I’ve heard nothing to indicate that the Jaguars don’t agree. I would expect him to continue to be brought along cautiously through training camp, which is pretty much protocol for players who sustained torn ACLs within the last year.

Doug from Jacksonville

I want to ask a question that sounds like I know what I am talking about, but I haven’t listened to talk radio or read any non-official websites lately regarding the Jags. I would like to say I "watched film" on someone but even I know highlights on the internet is not "watching film". We don’t get to make fun of Shadrick anymore and no one seems to enjoy my lambasting of Brian Sexton and his obvious issues. I could pledge my love for the Culligan girl, but that may just come off as needy. I could make fun of you and your humor, but that has been beaten to death. I suppose all that is left is to say we should sign some available free agent at a perceived point of weakness even though they are available because no other team wants them. Obviously, the Jags are stupid and pretenders if they don’t do this immediately. Wait. Could I talk about chants at the stadium?

Who says we can’t make fun of Shadrick? #Moodachay

Brad from Duval

Dear O: With Telvin Smith sitting out this season, how do you see the linebacker corps shaping out? Does Quincy Williams start right away, or do we move around Myles Jack and start one of the free agent pickups? And ultimately, how will this affect the most talented defense in the NFL?

I expect the Jaguars to go into training camp with Leon Jacobs starting at strong-side linebacker, Myles Jack starting in the middle and rookie Quincy Williams starting on the weak side. I expect this to be the Jaguars’ approach because they don’t want to have Jack essentially playing a fourth position in four seasons, and because they want Williams to be the guy at weak-side backer if Smith is unavailable and because rookie Josh Allen may not be ready to play strongside yet. There are so many unknowns in the equation – from Williams’ inexperience to Allen’s development to Smith’s status – that the linebacker corps could look entirely different from that projection … but that’s the projection for now.

Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL

Just to let you know, I'm not concerned. It is what it is. Some tight end will show up to work sooner or later; Telvin is doing what Telvin needs to do. We have a brand-new quarterback and we got an “A” on the draft. What are fans concerned about?

The unknown. It’s evil.

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