JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Mark from Jacksonville
Hi, John. I like your writing very much and appreciate the streak – and the O-Zone is one of the more pleasant parts of my days given our current circumstances. So, thank you. My question is why do you continue to try and defend the offensive line? The question about short yardage recently was 100 percent correct. It's not running back Leonard Fournette's fault he's getting hit EVERY PLAY three yards behind the line of scrimmage. It's not just that the offensive line is bad. They are. But it's worse: they're soft. Can't pass protect (which was part of the reason they couldn't play Nick Foles last year, as Head Coach Doug Marrone said), and can't run block. I just don't know why you don't feel that way.
Hi, Mark. You have great taste in writing, but I don't "defend the offensive line." I have written often this offseason that the Jaguars' decision-makers – i.e., General Manager David Caldwell and Marrone – like the current makeup of the offensive line much more than many observers do. I also have written often that for that reason I don't believe they feel an urgency to select a left tackle early in the 2020 NFL Draft. I personally feel the offensive line hasn't been as good collectively in recent seasons as their individual resumes suggest should be the case. There are many factors that play into how people perceive an offensive line's performance – tight end play, running back play, the decision-making and pocket presence of the quarterback – so perhaps the Jaguars' decision-makers see other factors hurting the offensive line's effectiveness. Bottom line: the offensive line must get better results than it has in recent seasons. The Jaguars seem to believe that will happen, and they believe improvement will take place with largely the same starters as last season. We'll see if that happens.
Art from Drexel Hill, PA
Regarding Florida cornerback C.J Henderson, you don't pay corners to tackle.
Chris from Section 437
Interesting to see the Los Angeles Rams losing players due to salary-cap issues. I wonder how long before former Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey gets that big pay day he's been looking for? California state income taxes aren't cheap. What's that saying? The grass is always greener ...
You went into a lot of issues such as salary cap, taxes and pay days. None of that matters. All that matters is the love of teammates.
Dakota from the Great Plains of South Dakota
Zone, Josh Allen will absolutely start on one side and that Yannick dude should start on the other, but … what if he holds out? The Jags have had three starting-caliber defensive ends on the roster since they drafted Fowler. I know that they like Dawuane Smoot, but do they like him well enough to start all season if what's his face holds out? He looked pretty good in limited action last season.
Yes, I think the Jaguars like Smoot enough to start him opposite Allen. That's not their ideal scenario because ideally Yannick Ngakoue would start there, but Smoot is a capable player. You would need to split repetitions, etc., but he could start if necessary.
Jim from Jacksonville
The Jags have stunk it up for so many years but can't stink it up bad enough to ever get the No. 1 pick. Even the Bengals and Browns have at least been able to do that! How ironic.
You keep using that word – ironic. I don't think it means what you think it means.
Krupp from Virginia
O-Man, legit question: What do you think is easier to do as a general manager these days, in a quick turnaround (two-to-four years): build a great offense, or a great defense? Seems like teams like Jacksonville and Buffalo were able to make the playoffs after building really strong defensive-focused teams; it also seems like that kind of strategy has a shorter shelf life, over time. What are your thoughts?
It's probably a little easier to get good quickly building a good defense as opposed to a good offense because less continuity is needed on that side of the ball. If it's sustainability you want, you better have a good-to-great quarterback. It's the great long-term equalizer. Actually, it's the only long-term equalizer.
Scott from Wichita, KS
I always liked Jaguars wide receiver Marqise Lee. He seemed like a good go-to guy when you needed to move the chains and was a really good blocker. Do you see a scenario where he stays on the team?
Yes, for the reasons you cite.
Robert from St. Augustine, FL
Are we overreacting to Cam Robinson's ability to be effective at left tackle? In my opinion, we are going to see a healthier and more productive player this season. First of all, at the beginning of the season, it will be two years removed from a very serious injury. Taking into account his injury, it's hard to believe he was capable of giving 100 per cent last season. Secondly, it's his contract year and he will be highly motivated to give 110 per cent to try to secure his financial future. If the Jags take a chance on Robinson playing at left tackle instead of using a first-round pick to select an offensive lineman, I think they'll be rewarded and happy with their decision.
Bobby from Summerville, S.C.
Hi, John. Due to the Jags' glaring need at tight end, do you think they will try to trade for O.J. Howard?
The Jaguars signed Tyler Eifert as an unrestricted free agent from the Cincinnati Bengals early this offseason. I don't know that that means they will ignore the position in the 2020 NFL Draft, but I would be surprised if they invested significant draft capital for a trade.
Justin from New York City
I agree the Jags shouldn't trade Yannick for less than a first rounder, but does that first rounder have to be this year? Do you think they would accept a 2020 second-rounder and a 2021 first-rounder?
Manny from Atlanta, GA
According to the general manager, there are four picks worth the Jaguars' first pick value. He mentioned trading up once the options begin run out. My guesses here based on tape and need are: Louisiana State quarterback Joe Burrow, Ohio State edge Chase Young, Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah and Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown. Trading up to five makes sense to me unless quarterbacks and wide receiver become hyped and leave the board early. Do you believe a trade up or down if the four players are going by pick 4?
Caldwell, speaking on a pre-draft videoconference this week, didn't say there were four players worth the value of the Jaguars' first selection – at No. 9 overall. He said there were four players who were can't-miss, make-the-selection-without-hesitation in the draft. I wouldn't be surprised if the Jaguars trade back a few spots from No. 9 overall. I would be surprised if they moved up to No. 5.
Scott from New York
Can the league unilaterally change the time between picks for the later rounds from four to five minutes? Or does the NFLPA or a vote from all the teams come into play? It's seems that multiple teams are worried about having enough time in the later rounds. Seems like an easy adjustment to make that has the added benefit of extending the television portion of the draft.
It's a league decision.
Karen from Jacksonville
Zone, with regards to draft-day trades when time is limited in the later rounds, I agree that email could potentially be too slow. But, instant message is, well … instant. I assume there is a room somewhere in the greater Jacksonville area big enough to have multiple people six or more feet apart, utilizing technology far superior to the telephone. An administrative assistant that can type 100-words per minute IM'ing prospective trade terms to other teams as directed by Caldwell, someone that can quickly read aloud offers as they come in via IM, another that is able to quickly assess trade chart values with relation to our board and needs, Dave speaking on the telephone to only the general managers who send offers that make the most sense and Doug hanging out with a bologna sandwich and glass of milk in case his input is requested at any point. The fast-typing admin could then submit the pick to the league office. It can't be that hard to find a 50x50 room with five desks, and a couple of computers with instant message on a secure server to go with Dave's bat-phone.
All that sounds great, Karen, but NFL rules for the 2020 NFL Draft mandate that the general manager and team officials work virtually – and not in the same room.
Robert from Middleburg, FL
Will the Jaguars have a definite home and away uniform this year or will they continue to be an XFL team and play Guess the Uniform every Thursday?
You mad, bro?