JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …
Mark from Glasgow, Ireland
All right, O? Am I the only one worried about losing defensive tackle Malik Jackson from the defensive line? It’s great to see depth getting added with all this young talent, but say Calais Campbell or Yannick Ngakoue gets injured … the line’s starting to look pretty raw. Big year for Abry Jones.
The Jaguars are relatively deep on the defensive line – depending on how Taven Bryan develops. They have Marcell Dareus and Bryan at defensive tackle, which means they have a couple of first-round selections – one proven (Dareus) and one unproven (Bryan) – and they have a very proven veteran backup in Jones. They also have two Pro Bowl defensive ends (Campbell and Ngakoue) with a first-round rookie defensive/end linebacker in Josh Allen. As for a couple of the specifics in your question … Jackson’s performance last season wasn’t as good as his Pro Bowl 2017 season and therefore made him relatively replaceable – and Jones has been good enough long enough that all he needs to do is keep playing at his normal level. Either way, I wouldn’t worry too much about this group. If it’s not the NFL’s best six-man line rotation, it’s in the conversation.
Alejandro from Mexico City, Mexico
Thank you for this wonderful offseason. See you in August ... Or do we have something to expect during the coming months? Free agents, trades, new contracts?
Organized team activities and other stuff.
Kelvin from Atlanta, GA
We can have two dominant pass rushers for years to come if we sign Yannick. Remember how scary the Colts’ defense was with their two studs going at the quarterback? Those two alone helped hide some of the deficiencies of their defense. Quarterbacks didn't have much time to survey the field. Not saying that the Jags don't want to keep everyone on the D, but that isn't reality. Pay the man!
I sense growing angst/panic among Jaguars fans over Ngakoue’s contract. While anxiety is understandable because the Jaguars rarely have faced this situation of needing to re-sign quality players, the anxiety nonetheless is a little premature. Yes, Ngakoue is entering the final year of his rookie contract – and yes, he reportedly is not currently participating in the offseason program – but 10 months remain before he is scheduled to become a free agent. That’s a long time. That said, I don’t see this being as easy as just paying Ngakoue whatever he wants. He has been a very good pass rusher in three NFL seasons and he plays with a passion and relentlessness you want on your team. That said, he hasn’t been an absolute elite-level player to the point you structure the entire salary cap around him. If that’s the level of contract Ngakoue expects, this could get tricky.
Unhip from Carlsbad, CA
Hi John. If you could ask yourself a question on O-Zone, what would it be?
Why, Zone? Why?
Mandy from Section 414
Hey Mr. O! The teal have to pay Mr. Ngakoue now, don’t they? The man is a beast and has proved to this team and to the NFL that he is a defensive monster. He is one of the reasons that I have enjoyed sitting in my seat the past three years. I just sit back on my teal chair, with my cold drink and focus on this man imposing his will. They have to keep him, don’t they? When was the last time we had someone that gave this organization 20+ sacks over three years? And, at his bargain basement price as it stands now. As Teddy "KGB" said on Rounders … “Pay this man his money.”
Campbell has had more than 25 sacks in two seasons, but I get your point. Still, this isn’t as simple as Ngakoue wanting to get paid and the Jaguars saying “OK.” While I don’t know Ngakoue’s price, I can’t imagine it will be what anyone describes as “bargain basement.”
John from Brentwood, UK
He wasn't down. My T-Shirt says so.
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ
O-man, it has been mentioned that Jaguars rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew is a player of superior football intelligence. What does that mean when comparing him to a quarterback with average football intelligence?
It means he takes things from the film room and executes them on the field quickly, and it means he processes information and makes correct decisions routinely.
Irving from Inwood, NYC
O'Man! Few things you write raise my eyebrows, but when you wrote "start [Jarrod] Wilson," that caused me to choke on my chicken wing! Wilson is a little less than backup capable. For a team in win-now mode, you are openly showing where the weakness of the Jags defense remains. Wilson is NOT a suitable starter at safety. I realize this is not a question, but I was compelled to write.
Thanks for writing, and I’m sorry to ruin your dinner or wing or whatever. And though your opinion is boldly stated, it doesn’t change the reality that the Jaguars signed Wilson to a three-year contract earlier this offseason. They didn’t do that with the idea that he is “a little less than backup capable.” Besides, how do you know he’s not a suitable starter at safety? Hours of film study? Here’s the reality: you can’t have highly-paid, early-drafted, Pro Bowl veterans at every position. It’s not feasible. You must enter every season projecting how a few players will play, and therefore enter each season taking a calculated risk about how well those players will play.
Abel from Jacksonville
Sometimes you answer a question and I'm like "What?" The problem is we cannot respond to your answer right away. But overall, I think the O-Zone is not bad.
I can hope for no more than that.
David from Orlando, FL
O: I think a lot of fans freaked out over the selection of Murray State linebacker Quincy Williams in the third round for a couple of reasons. Yes, it looked bad when four of the five NFL Network draft analysts never heard of him, but there were other reasons. Another was Quincy himself; in his post-draft interview, he seemed surprised he was drafted so high even suggesting he go undrafted (“I heard free agency). Another reason was that up to that point, the Jags were killing it: edge defender Josh Allen, right tackle Jawaan Taylor, tight end Josh Oliver and some must’ve wondered if wide receiver D.K. Metcalf was going to fall in our laps. Prior to the draft, I mentioned the thing I hate most about the draft is when my team goes rogue and picks someone off the radar. I think that’s were all the grief came from.
You’re right. It did look bad for the NFL Network draft analysts not to have heard of Williams, particularly when so many NFL teams had worked him out and brought him in for visits – and particularly considering multiple teams were targeting him in the fourth round. Don’t be too hard on those analysts, though. There are a lot of prospects – hundreds, even. It’s hard for analysts to know every good player.
Nolan from St. Augustine, FL
Any thoughts on the London game being a division game this year? It could be argued that the Jaguars are getting the raw end of the deal having to use a "home game" against a divisional opponent in London. Division games are pretty important, and each team should have the opportunity to play in front of their hometown crowd. The Jags do have more experience as an organization playing overseas than any other team, but the travel and foreign environment is still a tax on the players. I dunno: I suppose it's spilt milk, but it just seems like the Jags are getting unnecessarily burdened while already facing a difficult schedule. Thoughts?
My thoughts are that the Jaguars want to play in London once a year, so the NFL in no way owes them a break when scheduling games. Also, remember: The Jaguars are committed to playing a home game in London every year. So long as that’s the case, it’s going to be a division game on occasion. The Jaguars believe they have an advantage there, and that needs to be true.
Steve from St. Augustine, FL
Hey O, longtime reader first-time writer inner. I am by no means an NFL general manager, however; I did stay at a large chain of hotels last night. My question: Why do you answer all of these other patrons of the same large chain of hotels? I will let the people who have DECADES of experience with the NFL make decisions. I think Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin knows what he's doing and doesn't need my "expert" opinions on the draft or any other issues regarding the Jaguars. Oh yeah: I forgot to mention I am really good at football video games, too. Just saying. But that in no way makes me an expert.
That depends on the video game.