JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Chris from Mandarin, FL
In the event that the 2020 NFL season starts on time as planned, how much do you think the coronavirus will contribute to lack of attendance this coming season? Do you think this will be a league-wide issue?
I get multiple questions a day about how COVID-19 will affect the NFL season. And/or the offseason. And/or training camp. And/or the preseason. I wish I could answer with something approaching insight, or at least with something approaching the accuracy of a blindfolded dart thrower. Alas, with the start of the NFL regular season nearly five months away – and with so much about this virus still unknown – this is impossible to answer. About the season. And/or the offseason. And/or training camp. And/or the preseason. I would expect some people to be wary of large crowds in relatively close quarters for some time. I believe there's a very good chance the NFL will play games sometime in September/early October. I believe this in part because I want to believe it, but more because so many smart people will be highly motivated to make it happen. I don't know if that will mean fans in the stands. If so, I expect some people to stay away. I also would expect many people to resolve to live as close to normal as possible knowing there is a degree of risk. I expect such dilemmas and decisions to not only be an NFL issue but an issue for people around the nation and world for the foreseeable future.
John from Jacksonville
There is one advantage of the draft being held virtually this year. At least we won't have to endure Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner, being booed each time he walks the stage (unless they add the audio for a more full effect).
Goodell won't be on a stage. He reportedly will be in his basement. He'll still get booed, I imagine. He just won't be able to hear it.
John from Daytona Beach, FL
Hey, John: One more question about former Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles. I'm not a Bortles superfan or anything, but my observation is as follows. He was very consistent at being inconsistent. He alternated years: one year good, then the next bad. The Bortles performance graph clearly showed that last year should have been his good year. So, my question: If the Jaguars would have waited one more year to move on from Bortles, would he have gotten us to the Super Bowl.
Josh from Pensacola, FL
I just saw an article that has Gardner Minshew II at the bottom of the "quarterbacks I have confidence in." I am a huge Kyler Murray fan. I was born and raised in Oklahoma and a diehard Sooner. But I also have roots in Jacksonville and am an equally diehard Jags fan. What I find interesting is that Murray is already being projected as an MVP candidate for next year and he already won rookie of the year. However, I wasn't wowed by him at any point last year.
All NFL offseasons are long. This one feels even longer. Writers must write things in the offseason when not much is happening. I wouldn't lose much sleep over what's contained in such articles. Read them if you want. Enjoy them if you want. But remember what they are.
Mike from Atlanta, GA
Jean Valjean got off easy when you think about all the young people who got sent to the gallows in mid-19thcentury London for stealing stuff like silverware.
He stole silver, too – and got off scot-free on that charge. He had some good days, too – comparatively speaking, anyway.
Jess from Glen Carbon, IL
John, your "O-Zone" readers are fickle. I'm sure that's not a surprise to you. Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots have been lauded for years for their ability to trade a player who has one or two years left and get value for them in return. Now, Caldwell does the same thing with Jaguar players and your readers are dumping on him. Fickle.
I would imagine many Patriots fans don't like trades involving familiar players when they happen. I also imagine six Super Bowl victories give you a lot of benefit of the doubt that General Manager David Caldwell and the Jaguars haven't yet earned.
Garrett from Edgewater
Ok, Zone: I'll be the first to confess. I did not like Jaguars cornerback Tre Herndon last season. He was green and offenses picked on him. However, there are a couple of things I look for in team leaders. After your article recently about his charity I found myself wondering, can this kid be the leader we need in the secondary? Obviously, he would have to take a big leap in his play. But last season was his first year as a starter, so it's not insane to think that could happen. I think we will have to draft another corner to compete with Rashaan Melvin, but I actually don't think our play outside is in as desperate a situation as everyone seems to believe.
The Jaguars believe Herndon can be a solid starting corner. He improved as the season went along and there was strong feeling inside the organization that he was the team's best outside corner as the season continued. He must continue improving, but the potential is there. And yes … there's a very good chance the Jaguars draft a cornerback early to compete – and likely start – opposite Herndon.
KC from Only Four Cases of COVID-19 in Mendocino, CA
John, it's amazing how times change. A couple of years ago, while Blake Bortles was imploding week after week, I would imagine this franchise would have been giddy to have Jameis Winston or Cam Newton at the helm. Now, neither of them can find a job. Is the league and this game really so much different than in 2018, and if so, what in your opinion has been the catalyst?
Newton dealt with an injury last season that caused him to look very little like the player who was the NFL's Most Valuable Player in 2015; he reportedly now is healthy. Winston struggled with turnovers to an alarming degree last season. I have no doubt that both players will play in the NFL again, and I would expect both to start again. The question is what two teams will want the players and how much those teams will pay. I don't expect the Jaguars to be in play. We'll see.
Shawn from Homesteading in the Mean Streets of Arlington
Where is this current roster not weak in your astute opinion?
Edge rusher, linebacker, parts of the offensive line, running back. Perhaps quarterback. Perhaps wide receiver.
Matt from Las Vegas, NV
From what you are hearing beyond the national media, just how good is this draft compared to previous years? Is this a case where players who have talents that normally would be drafted top 10 are available into the middle to end of the first round? Is it deep at most positions? Offense vs. defense – what are you hearing? Thanks!
This is considered a deep, talented draft. The first round is believed to be deeper than a lot of past first rounds, and it's considered a deeper draft than usual overall. It is thought to be very good at running back, wide receiver and cornerback and not as good at edge rusher, tight end and linebacker.
Manny from Atlanta, GA
How likely do you believe the Jaguars would pursue Jadeveon Clowney if the right offer comes for defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (high second and a third)? Also what package would we need to make a move for Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah? And why is wide receiver Marqise Lee still on the roster?
I don't think the Jaguars will trade Ngakoue for a second- and third-round selection. It remains to be seen if the timing of such a trade – if indeed it would occur – would allow them to pursue a player such as Clowney; that actually seems unlikely. There's no way to know what package would be needed to trade for Okudah until we know how high the Jaguars would need to move up to draft him; either way, I don't see the Jaguars moving up for a player in the draft if the player isn't a quarterback. Wide receiver Marqise Lee is still on the roster because there's no reason for him not to be on the roster. The team has the cap space to keep him on the roster and the team has always liked what he brings. That could change after the draft or sometime in the offseason. We'll see.
Sam from Orlando, FL
I was quoting Temple of the Dog, you make a Les Miserables reference in return? Why are you the way that you are?
Someone has to be this awesome. I'm not saying it's easy. But someone has to do it.