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O-Zone: As good as any

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Neil from Cheltenham, UK

Hi, Mr. O. Everybody seems particularly angry. Would it be fair to say that having a franchise in Jacksonville is pretty special and that – viewed from afar – that surely is worth continuing to support? Or maybe not!

Of course having an NFL team is special; most – if not all – Jaguars fans grasp that. But the fact that having an NFL team is special doesn't mean fans shouldn't be angry and frustrated with how the team has performed. Here's a reality: The Jaguars have had double-digit losses each of the last two seasons, and they had six consecutive double-digit loss seasons before their 2017 AFC South-title season. So, of course people are angry. And frustrated. Here's another reality: in an era during which franchise fire coaches and general managers far more quickly than past eras, Jaguars Owner Shad Khan opted to retain General Manager David Caldwell and Head Coach Doug Marrone this offseason after back-to-back losing seasons. Whether or not Khan should have retained them doesn't matter. The overriding belief among fans that he should have fired them has raised what would be normal discontent to an unusual level. When discontent reaches that level, some fans withhold support until they see results. Jaguars President Mark Lamping has said often the team can't depend on obligation to Jacksonville – or to the franchise – to sell tickets. He realizes that participation of the fans must be earned, and the Jaguars haven't earned it lately. This city and its fans have supported the Jaguars impressively considering the record in recent seasons. They will continue to do so, but would they support more with better results? Of course.

Ed from Ponte Vedra, FL

I really don't understand fans' perception that the draft will fix it all. In my opinion the draft is an educated gamble. In the last five years, how would you grade overall the Jaguars' draft choices?

Eighty-four point four. So … "B."

Mike from Atlanta. GA

How would Jaguars defensive Taven Bryan fare playing defensive end in a 3-4 defense? Playing inside in the 4-3 he seems to get lost in the crowd often. He is athletic for a big man, seems like he may fare better playing with more space.

I don't know that Jaguars fans need to spend too much offseason energy mapping out 3-4 scenarios. I don't get the idea that Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash is going anywhere, so I don't get the idea the Jaguars will change defensive schemes. But that doesn't mean there won't be changes. I expect Myles Jack could move from middle linebacker to weak-side, and I anticipate Yannick Ngakoue standing up more – perhaps at strong-side linebacker – in base situations before rushing from the edge on third downs. That could mean Bryan playing more nose tackle as opposed to his three-technique spot. We'll see.

Aaron from White Hall, AK

Quarterbacks typically make a jump from Year One to Two. Why can't Gardner Minshew II make that jump? Just because he played well for a sixth-round pick doesn't mean he can't improve during his first actual offseason as a pro.

Perhaps he will.

Aches and Pains from Jacksonville

Since we are spending another offseason talking about how injured and beat up we were this season, despite our not-based-on-actual-data decision to not play starters in preseason ... and given that we looked pretty bad out of the gate in terms of tackling … do you see the Jaguars going over the top in resting starters again during the 2020 preseason?

I'll assume "we" doesn't refer to the O-Zone, because I haven't sensed an overemphasis on injuries in this forum in recent weeks. I've pointed out that the run defense dropped off after defensive tackle Marcell Dareus was injured at midseason, but that wasn't remotely the only thing that hurt that area. As for how Marrone will approach next preseason, he hasn't discussed this much yet. I imagine he'll continue seeking the right balance of rest, practice and games. One thing I do find amusing is the displeasure many fans felt over Marrone playing starters just one quarter in the preseason. I wonder if these are the same fans who want to eliminate or dramatically reduce the preseason. Perhaps not.

Paul from St. Johns, FL

With regards to "Paying Yann," if we determine he should not set the market price for his pass-rushing abilities; do you see another team paying him market-setting money? I'm just curious if another team being willing to pay him market-setting money actually ... well ... sets the market and validates that we should pay him that price too?

It's quite possible a team would pay Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue market-setting money. Perhaps that will be another team, or perhaps the Jaguars will determine that they just can't live without him and simply "Pay Yann" without regard to value. I would expect Ngakoue to get close to market-setting money because that's how free agency often works. One concern on this front would be how Ngakoue would be viewed after signing the contract compared to how he is viewed now. Fans chant "Pay Yann" now, and that's cool. What will they be chanting if he has eight sacks as the NFL's highest-paid edge rusher? Something else? Perhaps.

Andrew from Mattoon, FL

KOAF: With many games on the field of TIAA Bank Field, why do they not install Field Turf as many teams have? Also, do you expect Mr. Khan to ever build a separate facility for our Jags as most other teams have done?

Jacksonville is in Florida, where the weather is such that natural grass can grow year-round. I wouldn't be surprised if Khan builds a separate facility sometime, though I would expect that facility to remain in downtown Jacksonville.

Jeremy from Omaha, NE

You're missing the long-term view. The Jags have had one winning season in the last twelve seasons. That's horrible!

I have been with the Jaguars since 2011. I'm not missing the long-term view.

Brian from Gainesville, FL

Big O: What do you think was the biggest mistake made with respect to the roster by this team when Tom Coughlin was executive vice president of football operations? I don't mean in hindsight. I mean what move did you think at the time it was made or not made was a mistake?

I wondered at the decision to select running back Leonard Fournette No. 4 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. I wasn't a huge fan of quarterback Deshaun Watson, nor did I anticipate quarterback Patrick Mahomes becoming the player he became. But I'm not a fan of taking running back in the Top 10. Either way, I doubt the Jaguars would have taken either quarterback had they passed on Fournette.

Jeff from Orange, CA

Regarding compensatory draft selections, does it benefit the Jaguars if they cut a player for cap reasons who is then signed by another team, or is it only players whose contracts expire and are signed by another team that factor into it??

The system the NFL uses to decide compensatory draft selections involves only unrestricted free agents, which means players whose contracts have expired and who sign with another team.

Scott from Port Charlotte, FL

Hi KOAF. To me, the reason that Minshew was a sixth-round pick, was omitted from awards, and is questionable as a starter next season is simple: Outside of persona/football IQ, he does not have a single outstanding trait that makes you go "wow." First-round quarterbacks tend to have that athletic factor (cannon arm, insane speed, size, etc.). In five years, none of that will matter as those who can make it in the NFL will likely make it, and those that don't, don't.


Brandon from Duval

John, I do not want to see us taking anything other than lineman in the first round. It doesn't matter who the quarterback, wide receiver, tight end or running back is if you can't make holes and protect the quarterback. It doesn't matter how good your corners or safeties are if they can run for 200 yards a game. Fix the trenches and worry about the rest once that is completed.

OK, though it wouldn't be surprising if the Jaguars took cornerback with one of their first-round selections.

Wade from Westside

If the Dallas Cowboys were to offer the Cincinnati Bengals Dak Prescott in exchange for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, do you think they would take it? Dak is going to be expecting a huge contract and can he possibly be better than Louisiana State quarterback Joe Burrow on his rookie deal.

I don't cover the Cowboys or the Bengals, so I haven't the foggiest idea what the teams' priorities when it comes to quarterback. That means my answer would be pure guessing based on zero information, which upon reflection would make my answer pretty much as insightful as a lot of national analysts' answers when asked about the Jaguars.