O-Zone: Block of meat

MOBILE, Ala. – Let's get to it …

JT from Fort Worth, TX

I like the Jay Gruden hire, but my pessimistic Jags brain tells me that we will figure out how to screw this up also.

The Jaguars indeed reportedly are close to completing a deal for Jay Gruden to be the offensive coordinator. Gruden appears to be a solid choice, having been a successful offensive coordinator with the Cincinnati Bengals from 2011-2013 before spending 2014-2019 as the Washington Redskins' head coach. Gruden was considered an up-and-coming offensive mind early in the decade and there's no reason to think he can't again be a very good offensive coordinator. He had significant success with a young Andy Dalton at quarterback and a young A.J. Green at wide receiver. There's no reason to think he won't do a good job, and we'll find out in the next few days/weeks/months how he plans to approach the Jaguars' offense. Does he like quarterback Gardner Minshew II or Nick Foles? That will be the first question for Gruden, with all other offensive details to follow. Stay tuned.

Raymo from Jacksonville

Wanna know how the New York Jets fixed the run defense? Quinnen Williams. Wanna know how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fixed theirs? Ndamukong Suh. It's a simple fix. Derrick Brown and Javon Kinlaw in the first round. End of story.

I think the Jaguars will draft a defensive tackle with one of their two first-round selections. I would be at least moderately surprised if they went that direction with both selections.

Kevin from Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Canada

O: In your opinion are guys like left guard Andrew Norwell and cornerback A.J. Bouye sure-fire cap casualties? I understand the need to get below the cap and have some available funds for free agency (tight end), but would it not be better to have a slightly overpaid veteran available to supplement the offensive line or defensive backfield who know the systems, instead of cutting them to open up spending room that is unlikely to bring in someone that can match (or exceed) their respective contributions on Day 1? My thinking is that next year needs to be an improvement from 2019, or else we risk entering another full-scale rebuild, so keeping a few veterans at inflated salaries and supplementing them through the draft may be the best approach. Thoughts?

My thoughts are that there is a better chance of Norwell returning than Bouye.

Ryan from Reality

Zone: You mention the Jags' stadium being relatively old as part of the team's/market's problems. How does Buffalo make it work for eight home games a year? They're a smaller market, with an older stadium, and have also generally been bad at football for most of the past decade. But I don't see their owner complaining about a local lack of interest in football or sending multiple home games a year overseas. What are they doing to be successful in Buffalo that we're not? Can we copy that?

The Bills because of their stadium situation face many of the same local-revenue issues the Jaguars face. They reportedly are exploring either major renovations or a new stadium to address those issues. The question for teams with older stadiums – regardless of market size – isn't if they will take measures to address local revenue, but when.

Stephen from Glorieta, NM

Hey O-Man, I just want to send a shout out to wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. on being named to the Pro Bowl, but mostly for how he's played for the Jags, game in and game out. He's fun to watch and at only his second season in the NFL, I can only see him getting better. I sure hope we can keep him.

Chark had an impressive second season and appears to be developing into a big-time young player. The Jaguars need more players like him.

Ryan from Washington, DC

All these writeups and comments about the Jags needing a run-stopping defensive tackle, I think, are a load of garbage. Look at the San Francisco 49ers' stacked PASS-RUSHING defensive line that lines up for four downs. The Jags' defensive line is – if not, better than theirs – at least on the same level. I think our defense has bigger holes and needs than an interior lineman. We need linebackers who can step up in the run game, shed blocks and make a tackle.

The Jaguars absolutely must improve at linebacker. But I can't in good conscience say the Jaguars' defensive line is as good as the San Francisco 49ers' defensive line. The Jaguars need to improve in a big way on the defensive interior and they need to get stouter overall up front. But yes … the linebackers must improve against the run, particularly at weak-side linebacker. Both things can be true.

Hunter from New Hampshire

I read almost every single question and response, and I see a lot about the Jaguars' receivers. My question is what is gonna happen with Keelan Cole? He had a phenomenal rookie season, almost posting 1,000 yards. He had a worse season in 2018, but that whole year was bad for everybody. I want to see more of him than I do Chris Conley to be honest – and I like Cole as our punt and kick returner. Maybe I'm just crazy but he was a huge red-zone target this season and showed that he has confidence in his ability to catch and make plays.

Cole made a nice step forward this past season, which was impressive because he had a really rough 2018. I wondered after the '18 season if the game – and the league – was a bit too big for him considering his small-school background. It didn't look too big for him last season. I expect him to be on the roster at the start of next season as one of the top five receivers. Where he is in the rotation remains to be seen.

David from Maplewood, NJ

John: As the king of all funk and the repository of all knowledge curious of your thoughts on the current cheating scandal in Major League Baseball. In your opinion has there been anything comparable in the history of football – or really any sport – considering the technology and coordination seemingly undertaken by professional franchises? I'm struggling to come up with anything to this degree. I guess SpyGate, maybe but this wasn't taping practice or a previous game this was in-game, thoughts?

I can't speak for all other sports, but I can recall nothing close to this in the NFL.

Marc from Oceanway

If we end up agreeing to playing to home games in London each year, they should reward us by also allowing us to play an away game while there. This would allow for us to become even more acclimated to the time change and the "away" game would also kinda be like a home game. Given how well we usually play in London, this could help us to be more successful. Any chance this happens?

I wouldn't rule out the Jaguars playing an "away" game in London in conjunction with two home games, but you may be thinking about this wrong. The league won't "reward" the Jaguars with anything for playing two home games in London because the league wouldn't see it as a sacrifice. They would see it as something the Jaguars want to do and therefore beneficial. There's no reason to offer a reward in that case.

Mr. NFL from Unfortunately Jacksonville

Well, well, well... you still pretend you're not a paid choirboy for the Jags. Humor me, Meathead - how would a Chief Executive Officer react if an employee wrote bad things about the company he works for in the company's monthly newsletter? He'd be terminated. So, quit pretending you're telling it like it is. And, on Jaguars President Mark Lamping... Owner Shad Khan has been sending him out, year after year dropping subtle hints as to why the Jaguars will have to move to London. Every single year, Lamping has said the revenue isn't good enough ... truth is Jags fans, Khan is using Lamping to tell you the franchise is looking for a reason to relocate. An archaic, slow offense, a head coach that thinks like a caveman, and now a senior writer (known as "Blockhead") who pretends to be impartial. Ha Ha Ha.

Who hurt you?

Eric from Robbins, GA

I finally understand what it's like to be you. Fans gonna fan... but this suggestion that Lamping is ineffective is as bad as it gets. I did a case study on Mark Lamping's time in St. Louis when I was in college and the man is a genius. He is responsible for the Cardinals' entire new identity and rebuild around Busch stadium. No one goes to downtown St. Louis for fun... but they do now. Jags fans, google Ballpark Village St. Louis. That's Mark Lamping.

Careful, Eric. Mr. NFL is going think you're a blockhead. Or a meathead. Or something else that's mean to say.

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