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O-Zone: All is well

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

If we look at great offenses over the years, it seems all shared one thing in common – a great offensive line. Quarterbacks, running backs and receivers all benefit from strong run and pass blocking. Our O-line hasn't done a stellar job with either. Can you help me understand why our head coach and GM seem to be willing to stand pat with the offensive linemen we've got?

I don't know how I can help, because the offensive line feels like an area where the Jaguars' decision-makers are going to differ from many fans and observers this offseason. What I can do is tell you what the Jaguars are thinking – or at least saying. I can tell you Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell and Head Coach Doug Marrone think left guard Andrew Norwell, center Brandon Linder and right tackle Jawaan Taylor are good, and that they think Taylor – who will enter his second NFL season next season – is on his way to being really good. I can tell you they think the combination of A.J. Cann and Will Richardson Jr. at right guard is serviceable and I can tell you they think left tackle Cam Robinson will improve in 2020 now that he is two full years removed from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. I can tell you they might still draft an offensive lineman, so you might see one change from last season – but likely not more. I can tell you that it's also difficult to overhaul all position groups in one offseason and that the Jaguars have a lot of needs to fill, so that may be why they choose to focus on other areas with more obvious, pressing needs. That answer is not going to satisfy a lot of fans, but it's why the Jaguars could approach the offensive line as it seems they will approach it this offseason.

Jonathan from J-Ville

What a delusional guy. Caldwell is the same exact guy that said we're built, same guy that think quarterback Blake Bortles is the answer and now claiming that the offensive line is better than what people think. I can't wait until this joker and Marrone are out of the building this year when we are 5-11 and at the bottom of the AFC South again. Also, if you think we're making it to the playoffs this year with this O-line, then I got a beach front unit I can sell you in Montana, O.

Caldwell didn't actually say it was built. That was former Head Coach Gus Bradley, but OK.

Brian from Gainesville, FL

Big O, if winning is the answer to changing the negative perception of this team for all the players who seem intent on fleeing like rats from a sinking ship, how is that supposed to happen when no good players want to play here?

While I understand the "rats-from-a-sinking-ship" analogy, I guess I'm just not feeling it. Two players in recent memory have publicly expressed a desire to leave the Jaguars: former cornerback Jalen Ramsey and current defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. Ramsey probably will be unhappy wherever he plays – and as much as I liked covering Ramsey and watching him play, I don't know in the end which was greater: his desire to leave or the team's desire to trade him. As far as Ngakoue is concerned, his unhappiness seems to stem from the team not wanting to meet his contract demands. Would it be better if the Jaguars and Ngakoue had the same view of what he should be paid? Sure. Happiness and agreement is a good thing, and flowers and rose petals are cool, too. But teams don't always agree on what players should be paid, and sometimes players are unhappy. That's not the same as no one wanting to play for the Jaguars.

Jerrell from Columbia, SC

Do you see the Jags winning more than one game next year?


Tom from Shanghai, China

Everyone seems pretty down on the Jags right now, but I bet post draft, with all the picks we have, suddenly the talking heads will say we're a team to watch again.

Very possibly.

Michael from Jacksonville

Hi, John. You've said you don't expect the Jags to trade Yannick after they place the tag on him. What is to stop Yannick from catching the same ailments that Jalen caught and thus missing time on the field? I am not saying players use fake injuries to force a team's hand but …

Ngakoue theoretically could prove susceptible to the same sort of serious injury that sidelined Ramsey in the final weeks of his time in Jacksonville – a back injury severe enough that it kept a player from playing with teammates he deeply loved. What would prevent Ngakoue from sustaining such an injury? Professional pride, integrity and the need to continue proving himself a player worthy of the level of contract he's seeking. The usual expected things.

Dave from NK RI

John, how do you rank Doug as a leader of this team? Do you think from what you've seen he can create a winning culture?

Very highly. Yes.

Rusty from New Iberia, LA

If/when a player is traded the new team takes over the contract, why can't the new team take over the signing bonus as well? Is that against the rules?

A new team can't take over the signing bonus when a player is traded because the signing bonus already was paid by the team that signed the player. The salary-cap ramifications also stay with the team that originally signed the player because the system is designed to prevent teams from abusing the cap by signing a player to a huge contract one year and ridding themselves of the cap ramification the following year.

Aaron from Aldie

Mr. Zone - Ngakoue might not have the sacks, but even better, he has strip sacks which is generally much more effective and devastating for the opposition. He is really good given the attempts allowed this past season. To suggest otherwise is like the national media looking from afar missing the real story. Right?

No one who knows football suggests that Ngakoue isn't really good. The Jaguars believe he is really good and want to pay him as such. Whether they believe he is elite and want to pay him as such is a complete other discussion.

Rob from Fleming Island, FL

John you have likely detailed this several times but please cover again. If a franchised player holds out any number of games, does that player still get paid the full franchise salary or is it prorated. Also, can it be assumed that the player will not give his all during that season?

A franchised player who opts to not sign his tag and doesn't show up loses a sixteenth of his salary – the franchise amount – for every game he doesn't play. It shouldn't be assumed the player won't give his all.

Adam from St. Johns, FL

So, you think this team is ready to win? Oh, I know the offseason is not over, but the Jags would need to have a perfect draft class and multiple free agents just to fill the holes. How on earth can you say they are in win-now mode? None of this makes sense. What you say and what is happening are two very different things. When asked directly, you spin it. I know I'm ridiculous and Alan and all the other crap you say, we're stupid fans I know. We're not smart enough to see the plan are we smart guy?

You're not ridiculous, Larry; you're awesome. Ask anyone. And fans aren't stupid. They're all awesome, too; everyone's awesome. As far as whether this team is ready to win … I honestly don't know. I suspect it will be difficult considering the high number of young players and turnover. I do know the objective of those running the team is to win now. Is that spin? I have no idea. I suppose I'm not smart enough to know.

Gabriel from Leominster, Massachusetts

With all the draft picks we have, do you believe that some of the picks will be traded for certain players because on the roster now we have a lot of holes to fill? Also: do you believe that they have a plan because it seems like they may be looking at another rebuild?

I don't expect the Jaguars to go heavy in terms of trading draft selections for veterans, or to be huge players in free agency. And while their high number of draft selections will make this seem like a rebuild, that's just not how the decision-makers sees it.

Chris from Mandarin, FL

You are the real-life version of "The World's On Fire, This is Fine" meme.

People ask questions. I answer them. How people choose interpret them and choose to incorporate my answers into their own world and experience … that I can't control.