JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …
Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC
Was former Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon a bust in the traditional sense of the word? I'm slightly too young to have a great memory of the 90s teams, but in my eyes, Blackmon is in the conversation for most talented wide receiver to wear a Jaguars uniform. Obviously, off-the-field issues derailed his career, but MAN that guy could play.
There’s no clear, tried-and-true “sense” of the word bust – at least not one I like. I rarely use the word because too many people casually call players “busts” when in fact the players just didn’t live up to their draft statuses. Many Jaguars observers and fans call players such as former Jaguars defensive ends Dante Fowler Jr. and Tyson Alualu “busts.” The reality is both are good NFL players who committed the “offense” of being drafted early in Round 1. I don’t know what you would call Blackmon, but if you define bust as a Top 10 draft selection who gave the team virtually nothing and whose off-field negatives dramatically outweighed his on-field positions then … yes, he was certainly a bust. As far as the conversation for the most talented wide receiver in Jaguars history, Blackmon belongs in it. His hands and sense for the ball were as good as I’ve ever seen. But he doesn’t belong at the same level as Jimmy Smith, who for several seasons in the late 1990s and early 2000s was the NFL’s second-best wide receiver behind only Jerry Rice – the best player ever to play the position. Blackmon would have been good. I doubt he would have reached Smith’s level because few have reached that level.
Nic from Palatka, FL
Are you humanly possible?
Yes … wait. No.
Gary from St. Augustine, FL
You keep saying you’ll know more about certain positions after OTAs. Does that apply to quarterback, too? Will we know if Foles is The Man or just a guy before training camp?
We indeed should know more about the Jaguars’ quarterback position after organized team activities, which begin Tuesday at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Complex outside TIAA Bank Field. I anticipate having a much better idea about backup quarterback, because we’ll see Alex McGough and Gardner Minshew practicing with this team for the first time. I expect some feedback about those two players – and, of course, Tanner Lee – by the time minicamp breaks in mid-June. I don’t realistically know how much we’ll learn about new starting quarterback Nick Foles. I would expect him to look the part in terms of accuracy, arm strength, command of offense; his experience and resume suggest that will be the case. I would expect a lot of optimistic talk from players and coaches – and I would expect the normal cautious optimism from Head Coach Doug Marrone, who isn’t exactly given to giddy offseason praise. How it all will play out come the regular season obviously is the more important question. So much changes in the fall compared to the spring and summer that whether Foles is The Man or a guy will be a question until September.
I’m not sure what to do, and I hope you can help. I helped WWE win the Monday night war against WCW. But now with the Khans going up against Vince McMahon in rassling, should I hope for the demise of WWE or hope the Khans and AEW win this new war? Also, what should I eat for lunch tomorrow?
Kale. Just kale.
Tony from Jacksonville
I saw that the Kansas City Chiefs traded a sixth-round pick to the Jets for Darron Lee. Why didn't we do that? It would have been a perfect scenario. He's best as a weak-side linebacker. He's in the last year of his contract, so we get him cheap for a year until Telvin Smith comes back. If he doesn't come back, we can consider extending Lee, but if Telvin does come back, we'd probably get something back as a supplemental pick, making this an even lower price. Thoughts?
You never mentioned whether Lee was good. I say that not to be snide, but to point out that Lee – the No. 20 overall selection by the New York Jets in the 2016 NFL Draft – had not lived up to expectations with the Jets and therefore was traded for a reason. A player being available does not always mean a player being coveted. It more often than not does not – even for former first-round selections with familiar names. This is going to surprise some people, but I don’t sense much panic around the Jaguars about the weak-side linebacker position. Smith, who recently declared via Instagram his intention to not play in 2019, didn’t play great at the end of last season. I don’t know that there’s necessarily going to be a noticeable decline should the Jaguars stick with what’s on the roster – which I expect them to do.
Bartleby the Scrivener
Any more literary references since you read so good?
Mike from Fernandina Beach, FL
The way I see it, the Jaguars’ weak positions (in order) are safety, tight end and wide receiver. Which position has the best chance of being upgraded before it’s too late?
There’s little chance the Jaguars will upgrade these positions between now and the regular season. The time for offseason upgrading – or at least, trying to do so – is pretty much early unrestricted free agency and the early part of the NFL Draft. Remember, too: there often is a disconnect between how teams and observers view the same positions. If the Jaguars had considered those positions weak, they would have done more to address them in free agency or the draft.
Sam from Orlando, FL
If "Duvaallll" bothers people. it's because they ain't from Duval.
Dwayne from Jacksonville
Why are we limiting Johnathan Cyprien's backup roles? Couldn't he back up Head Coach Doug Marrone, Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin, General Manager David Caldwell or even O-Zone senior writer John Oehser?
This is referencing a recent bizarre line of questions that began when someone suggested that former Jaguars safety Johnathan Cyprien should be re-signed as a free agent to be a backup at weak-side linebacker. It’s sort of fitting that it has degenerated to the point of asking if he could backup management and writer. Everything in life degenerates. Why wouldn’t this forum, too?
Keith from Jacksonville Beach
I saw you making fun of Tony Boselli on Twitter again. I find this disrespectful. Isn’t he the greatest player in franchise history?
Boselli, who played for the Jaguars from 1995-2001, indeed is in my opinion the best player in franchise history. I consider Boselli, running back Fred Taylor and Smith the best three ever to play here with Boselli having the slightest of edges over the other. Is making fun of him on Twitter disrespectful? Absolutely. But if making fun of Boselli on Twitter is wrong, momma, I don’t want to be right.
Mark from Waverly, IA
Reading Jimmy from Gainesville’s “question” hurt my brain.
I get it.
Ed from Danvers, MA
Dylan from Danvers (where I'm from) has a bad idea but it raises the question: has any player successfully transitioned to tight end after playing at a different position in the NFL for a couple of years? Nobody comes to mind.
Dylan from Danvers indeed recently asked about the Jaguars moving the loser of the backup quarterback position – presumably McGough or Minshew – to tight end. In retrospect, that may have been where the recent O-Zone trend of degeneration further left the rails. But I digress – or degenerate, if you will. Players such as Antonio Gates of the Chargers and current Jaguars director of player development Marcus Pollard have transitioned successfully to tight end after playing basketball in college, and defensive players such as J.J. Watt and Mike Vrabel have played small roles at tight end while playing other positions. I don’t recall a player successfully transitioning there full time after being at another position in the NFL for a significant time. Perhaps it has happened, but it’s rare. That as much as anything speaks to the position being more difficult than many realize. People see an athletic player of a certain size and assume, “Oh, he can play tight end.” It ain’t that easy.
Brian from Gainesville, FL
Big O, what are the chances the Jaguars sign Johnathan Cyprien to play goalie? I think that would really help the group kick some home runs. Also, shouldn’t we see if Jawaan Taylor can play tight end whenever he doesn’t have to block from the right side?
I laughed at this.
Sam from Winter Park, FL
I'm pretty sure I'm not going to pan out at quarterback, can I play tight end too?
Yes. In fact, are you 6-feet-4? Enjoy working out? Do you like football? Keep yourself in good shape? Well, congratulations … You, too, can have a career in the National Football League.