O-Zone: Another name game

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Big on Blake from Philly

John, LOVE Jack being extended four more years. With that type of presidential time frame, I think the Jags could see multiple championships in his next term. I do believe Ngakoue and Ramsey will also get paid to stay, and I want to believe Bouye and Campbell will restructure to chase rings. All that said #MylesJackIsntBroke

No, Jaguars middle linebacker Myles Jack certainly isn’t broke. He reportedly agreed to a four-year contract extension on Saturday that takes his contract through 2023 – and reportedly makes him the NFL’s third-highest-paid middle linebacker. I believe the Jaguars will re-sign cornerback Jalen Ramsey and I also believe defensive end Yannick Ngakoue could be re-signed – though I would put those chances below those of Ramsey being re-signed. As for cornerback A.J. Bouye and defensive end Calais Campbell restructuring to “chase rings” … it’s possible, but never assume NFL players will take less money. Those that do usually have a reason for it – i.e., their careers being at least somewhat on the decline. Either way, Jack’s extension is a positive for the Jaguars: It ensures them a big-time player on the second level of the defense for the foreseeable future. He’s now the foundation piece for that position group moving forward.

Michael from Jacksonville

Since the Jaguars have to pay Blake Bortles anyway, wouldn't it have been cheaper to keep him as Nick Foles’ backup?

No. While the Jaguars still have a significant salary-cap hit this season for Bortles, it would not have been cheaper to keep him. Bortles’ contract for 2019 initially was $16 million with $6.5 guaranteed. The Los Angeles Rams are paying him $1 million, which means the Jaguars are paying him $5.5 million this season – a saving of nearly $10 million cash. And while the Jaguars and Bortles in theory could have agreed to a restructuring to have him stay as a backup, that would have been a difficult situation. Sometimes it’s time to move on.

Jim from Brunswick, GA

Hey, John: Were you surprised the team cut C.J. Reavis? It seemed like there was a lot of talk about how well he was playing; even talk about him pushing for a starting spot. His name surprised me.

There was premature talk early in training camp of Reavis pushing for a starting spot; that stemmed from overreaction to Reavis having a good game in the preseason opener and from people not realizing how highly the Jaguars think of starting safety Jarrod Wilson. But yes … I was surprised Reavis was released. Veteran Josh Robinson outplayed him and earned the spot.

Ed from Jacksonville

By the time former Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck entered the National Football League, the league changed the rules to protect quarterbacks from on-field injuries. With his retirement due to injury, do you think the NFL will react be enacting more rules specially designed to protect quarterbacks? They already can't be tackled too hard.

You can tackle quarterbacks hard, but you are limited in where on their bodies – and in what circumstances – you can hit them. I expect the league will continue enacting rules protecting quarterbacks, and that’s what the league should do. Injured starting quarterbacks wreck seasons and diminish the league’s overall level of play. Most people don’t want that.

Bradley from Oceanside, CA

If Luck decides to limit his retirement to one or two years, what would his contract and playing status be?

He would be a member of the Colts with two years remaining on his contract.

Mark from Archer, FL

John, the recent contract extension of Jack has me concerned. They gave him a long-term contract and made him the third-highest paid inside linebacker in the NFL. Yet Ngakoue – who is probably one of the best defensive ends in the league – is unsigned; reports are they offered him a short-term deal. To me it sends the wrong message they are willing to overpay someone who has not earned such a high value contract but won’t pay a player who clearly has earned one.

Though we don’t know the exact details of the offer to Ngakoue, we do know the Jaguars wanted to pay him. What they didn’t want to do was pay what Ngakoue wanted. But I don’t know that it’s correct to call Jack overpaid. He is one of the better middle linebackers in the NFL, though he’s not one of the best two or three. The same is true of Ngakoue.

Sam from Winter Park, FL

Say what you want, but the reason Datone Jones doesn't have a job and Taven Bryan does has nothing to do with performance on the field this preseason. The best man did not win.

You’re right that the decision didn’t come down solely to how each player played in the preseason. Rather, it was a combination of how the players played in practice, the potential of each – and sure, Bryan’s draft status almost certainly gave him an advantage. Here’s the thing about Jones: he became a fan favorite at the same time Bryan began to draw the ire of fans. But my understanding for the last couple of weeks has been that the team wasn’t quite as high on Jones as fans and observers were, and I always thought it would take an injury to on the line to get him on the roster. Perhaps this decision will come back to haunt the Jaguars, but angst over bottom-of-the-roster decisions usually is much ado about very little. I expect this angst soon too shall pass.

Josh from Kansas City, MO

I believe in this defense's ability to put a hamper on Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. My biggest question: Will the run game show up against the Chiefs or will the passing game be able to shine?

That is a good question – good enough to decide the game’s outcome.

Rob from Pittsburgh, PA

I think Taven can be a serviceable defense tackle once he gets stronger and works on his technique. Do you think weak-side linebacker Telvin Smith play another snap for Jaguars? Who do you have being the captains for the 2019 season?

Bryan does have a chance to be serviceable – and he’s plenty strong enough; game awareness and football instincts are more his issue than anything physical. I don’t think Smith will play for the Jaguars again. I expect quarterback Foles (offense), defensive end Calais Campbell (defense) and defensive end Lerentee McCray (special teams) to be captains. After that … we’ll see.

Tommy from Fernandina Beach, FL

Mighty O, seer of the future: Does this team have a switch it can turn on to be ready to compete in Week 1 with only four drives to its credit? I know play calling in preseason is vanilla as well. I don't have a warm and fuzzy headed into Game 1.

There’s no switch – and while I expect the Jaguars to have some offensive success against Kansas City, I don’t expect them to look like one of the NFL’s elite offenses early. I expect them to run relatively effectively and have a couple of series per half when the passing game is effective. How they finish those series could have much to do with the game’s outcome. Bottom line: There are a lot of unknowns about the offense entering the 2019 regular season. Offensive line. Chemistry between quarterback and receivers. Tight end. Running-back depth. A lot of these areas have potential, but it’s scary to fans because we didn’t see much to inspire confidence in the preseason. Shoot, we didn’t see much of anything offensively in the preseason. The good news is we did see a confidence-inspiring performance from the defense. That’s expected to be the Jaguars’ strength, and it appears likely that will be the case. If the team gets marginal improvement from the offense the results could be much better. I don’t think marginal improvement is remotely out of the question.

Robert from Oneonta

This has been said a few times already, but let me join in on the frustration. I paid real money for my season tickets, charged full price for preseason games that were worthless to a fan/CUSTOMER. It crosses my mind that maybe I need to start selling worthless and maybe I too can be a billionaire.

Fair.

Aaron from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

No question; just wanted to share some love and respect for the 37 former teammates that tried their hardest the past two months. We wish them well!

The last two days are the toughest of the NFL year. The decisions made during that time are rarely as difficult as many observers and fans believe; the perception that there is a lot of last-week competition for bubble spots usually is vastly overblown. But the difficulty of releasing players who have worked hard, of seeing those careers and dreams end … no that’s never easy.

Zach from Knoxville, TN

Could the Jags go after a big-name backup quarterback?

Who ya got?

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