O-Zone: Area of concern

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Gary from Palatka, FL

So, now Yannick isn’t at OTAs. Seems like a lot turmoil around these parts right now, O … yes or no?

Not too much out of the ordinary, actually. Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue according to a Thursday Pro Football Talk report is not attending voluntary workouts after attending the first few days of the offseason program. PFT speculated that Ngakoue is staying away to make a point about his contract. That makes sense considering Ngakoue is entering the final year of his rookie deal. The voluntary portion of the offseason program is the logical time for him to make his point if he so desires. But this doesn’t qualify as turmoil – and the absence of cornerback Jalen Ramsey and linebacker Telvin Smith from voluntary workouts doesn’t, either. Turmoil happens if player absences extend into training camp and the regular season. What’s going on right now is more NFL offseason stuff – interesting for May/June discussion purposes, but not yet a crisis.

Tommy from Nashville, TN

After seeing our controversial third-round draft pick’s highlights I don’t know why so many people are up in arms. The kid looks like he wants to destroy people on the football field. I like it. One fer Williams.

Hey, one fer Williams …

Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL

Telvin Smith is a Pro Bowl linebacker that has been incredible. I have total faith he will have a huge year and lead this defense back to elite status. It’s unfortunate how much negative rhetoric has come from fans and Jags about him recently and I hope he isn’t paying attention. Quincy looked good on tape but was almost caught by a college corner. I hope Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin know it will be a year or two before he is a capable replacement and fans would rue the day we trot out our current core without its only Pro Bowl linebacker. One for Telvin. Look at his NFL tape. It’s waaaay better than Quincy’s college tape and he is playing against paid professionals. #DTWD

… and one fer Telvin!

Dan from Glasgow, Ireland

Hi John, probably you have seen Minshew highlights by now. Do you think that if he was like 6-feet-4 or 6-feet-6 he would have been taken in the first two rounds?

If Jaguars rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew were taller, he would have been selected earlier in the 2019 NFL Draft. If he had a stronger arm, he would have been selected even earlier. Those things matter when projecting quarterbacks.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, if given the choice, what exactly would you do?

As Bartleby the Scrivener famously said, “I would prefer not to.”

Jason from St. Augustine, FL

I always thought they should have started Maurice Jones-Drew and put Fred Taylor in when the defense had been softened up. MJD learned a lot from Taylor. Taylor was a hard-hitting running back. But MJD was young and Taylor was still very productive. That little switch could have been magical.

I thought they should have played Jimmy Smith more as a rookie, particularly in Week 15 – not in Week 16, though. That would have been ridiculous. 

Ken from Jacksonville

What are the salary cap numbers for quarterbacks not named Nick Foles on the roster?

Alex McGough: $495,000. Tanner Lee: $495,000. Cody Kessler: $912,000. Minshew (no salary-cap number, contract not yet signed).

Nick from Annapolis, MD

Is Minshew the next Philip Rivers? Or maybe just a Ryan Fitzpatrick?

If he’s either, he’s a steal in Round 6.

Josh from Pensacola, FL

What are your thoughts on Josh Oliver? His numbers and highlights don’t wow but he was the only offensive weapon on his team, so opponents keyed in on him – plus he played with subpar quarterbacks. Also, Minshew might not turn out to be great, but I like his potential and having guys like that on the team whether they play or not cannot has to be a good thing right?

I think there will be a lot expected of Oliver this season, and I think realistically he could have difficulty fulfilling those expectations. He’s a third-round rookie tight end with a lot of potential, but it’s very difficult to ask a rookie tight end to be a core player. If he does enough to convert some big first downs and make defenses respect that position at least a little more he’ll be doing a good job as a rookie. As for Minshew, he reportedly has high football intelligence, quality leadership and potential to be at least a very good backup quarterback. Yes, guys like that are good to have around.

John from Jacksonville

Someone gave me a Cocker Spaniel puppy named Maxwell, who was my best buddy. One day he blew out an ACL catching a frisbee, so I dropped over a grand having it repaired. Not even six months later he blew another ACL so now my "free" dog cost over two grand. At first I thought the vet did a bad job on the repair, but it turned out to be the other knee. Bottom line is the vet said what they repair an ACL with is stronger than the original. I think Marqise Lee and Cam Robinson will be just fine.

Those recovering from torn anterior cruciate ligament often return to full strength. This is particularly true with younger players and spaniels. But it can take a year to reach pre-injury form.

Chris from Mandarin, FL

The Jaguars should be fine at wide receiver. No longer will the Jags receivers be required to make circus catches on the most basic of NFL routes. No more will they have to stop and wait for a ball that should have been led in front of them. I am expecting big things, particularly from DJ Chark Jr. He has real big-time speed and good hands, so the fact that Nick Foles’ strength is throwing the deep ball has me just a wee bit excited.

That’s the hope.

Keith from Jacksonville

Don't you think the Jags should sign safety Tre Boston to a two-year deal to pair with Ronnie Harrison because he is an upgrade over Jarrod Wilson and he’s experienced?

No, I think the Jaguars should start Wilson because that’s why they gave him a three-year contract. And the Jaguars don’t necessarily need to be signing veteran unrestricted free agents at this point. They need to start controlling their costs and play with their current roster.

Homer from Banner Elk, NC

Gardner Minshew starter by Week 8, heard it here first!!!

Week 8 of what?

Braddock from Jacksonville

John, my real question about Quincy Williams is why he isn't playing safety. No, I didn't know anything about him, but I have since watched his highlight reel. He is a really good football player. I'm just curious why isn't slated as a strong safety instead of linebacker. My personal experience in football was that I was undersized but could unload and wish I could go back in time and play strong safety instead of weakside linebacker. Any thoughts?

Williams played a lot of safety at Murray State – and a lot of linebacker – switching positions periodically when injuries forced the moves. The Jaguars initially like him as a linebacker and that’s where he will start his NFL career. He has yet to take a practice snap, so we’ll see where it goes.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

I like the size and run style of RyQuell Armstead. He's a stout downfield runner that is going to get tough yardage as he gives Leonard Fournette a rest. What do we expect from him this year?

To be a stout downfield runner that is going to get tough yardage as he gives Leonard Fournette a rest.

Keith from Jacksonville and Section 436

I was reading the Jags signed cornerback Saivion Smith and safety Andrew Wingard in undrafted free agency. Both are highly regarded in UDFA. Smith was projected to be a third-round pick. What happened?

They slipped. Smith was a five-star high school recruit and a big-time talent who struggled at times in his one season at Alabama last season, so – while talented – he has some rough edges to smooth. Wingard, like Smith, was projected by some as a mid-round selection but the scouting reports on Wingard say is he’s not as athletic or instinctive as would be ideal. Both players would appear to have a chance to make the roster. They’re the kind of UDFAs that make a lot of sense.

Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire, UK

Oh Mighty ‘O’ / King of Funk, I have just read today’s O Zone: Is Jerell all right? Or has he been kidnapped by aliens and replaced with a cyborg? Can you pop round and check on him? I would but there’s the Atlantic Ocean in the way.

I’m worried, too. Not drive-to-Columbia, S.C. worried, but worried nonetheless.

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