O-Zone: Book it

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Seamus from Vancouver, BC

So, training camp is next week. Yannick announced he was holding out for a new deal weeks ago. Why do you suppose they haven't worked out a contract extension yet? Are they waiting to see if he is bluffing? Isn't his absence in training camp a distraction? What gives? I know the team should have pushed back a bit at first to not look weak, but if everyone agrees that he is worth more, what is keeping the team from working this out before training camp starts?

Let’s clarify a couple of things: While Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue indeed missed mandatory minicamp in mid-June because he has not received a contract extension, he at no time officially announced plans to hold out of 2019 Jaguars Training Camp; I expect he will do so, but it remains to be seen. Also, while Ngakoue indeed can hold out of camp, he must report 30 days before the start of the regular season if he is to accrue a season toward free agency; that makes it extremely unlikely he will hold out past that date. As for why a deal hasn’t been reached yet, that’s simple: The sides have not agreed on what number makes sense. The assumption is that Ngakoue is seeking a contract worth $20 million per season. I don’t expect the Jaguars to pay that, particularly considering they have him under contract for another year with control of his rights via the franchise tag for a year after that. I do think there’s a decent chance a deal gets reached before the regular season, but it probably will depend on both sides giving a little. That’s often the case in these situations. But this isn’t about bluffing or the team trying not to look weak. It’s about meeting on a number that makes sense given the circumstances.

Jason from North Pole, AK

I for one am thankful we have all three of arguably our toughest opponents at home. Can you imagine plays the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead, New Orleans Saints in the Superdome and Los Angeles Chargers on the west coast? No, thank you.

This is a good point, and it makes a couple of things true: The Jaguars better take advantage of that home-field edge against a couple of those seemingly elite teams – and they better beat some of their road opponents that they’ll be favored to beat.

Sam from Winter Park, FL

Did Mike Peterson make the list, or did I just miss him? Guy was world class.

Former Jaguars linebacker Mike Peterson was No. 19 on the All-25 list of the Top 25 players in franchise history. Many fans believed he should have been higher. It’s possible those fans are right. Peterson was a really good player for a long time for some really good defenses.

Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

John, with all the discussion about New Stadium vs. Old Stadium, I just have one request. Please Mr. Khan, can we just get some shade over the seats? Even the Roman Colosseum had some form of awnings over the spectators. Go, Jags!!

Fair.

Josh from Fernandina Beach, FL

Zone: Are wide receiver Marqise Lee’s intangibles (i.e. leadership, experience, etc.) weighted enough in the coaches’ eyes to make him a Week 1 starter despite the greater number of reps that the other receivers will have had with new quarterback Nick Foles by that time (assuming that the rest of the receiving corps plays up to expectations during preseason, and that Lee is physically ready to go Week 1?)

I would consider Lee starting Week 1 a longshot because it’s reasonable to assume he will spend the first part of training camp working his way to full speed. That’s the norm when returning from a torn anterior cruciate ligament injury sustained the previous season, and the injury that kept Lee out last season was more extensive than a normal ACL tear. If he happens to be 100 percent physically by Week 1, and if he has done enough in camp to feel ready to start, I don’t think the coaches would hesitate to start him.

Brad from Orange Park, FL

You joke, and it was a funny quip. But it's a contradiction: Claiming pride in and having grown up in Northern Florida culture, then downplaying blatant instances pointed out of when and where your professional peers down play the accomplishments of Jacksonville as an NFL city and of the players that played in it.

Wow. It appears your point is that I can’t be proud of being from Northeast Florida and not believe that everybody is biased against Jacksonville and the Jaguars to the point that they have a vendetta against both entities. I believe former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli and former Jaguars running back Fred Taylor should be in the Hall of Fame. I believe Boselli will get in soon – quite possibly in 2020 – and that Taylor will have a chance after that. But there are voters from many other cities who feel the same about players who played for their franchises. It’s the fans’ job to passionately fight for players, and I understand and admire the loyalty of those fans. It’s the professional’s job to see a bigger picture.

Joe from San Antonio, TX

Does DiRocco know where to find you?

He does, but he can’t see that high.

Roger9965 from Greenbush, MN

Bleacher Report just released an article listing top 13 dominant players at each position headed into the 2019 season. Wasn’t surprised by any one they picked. Especially wasn’t surprised that Jalen Ramsey wasn’t listed. This isn’t the first time he has been left off a list of dominate players. Just saying, maybe the Brinks truck shouldn’t be mentioned.

Your premise that Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey shouldn’t be paid “Brinks Truck” money is based on a Bleacher Report article. I’m not sure there’s much more that needs to be said than that.

Jonathan from FL now VA

I get annoyed when someone complains about players’ salaries. Should all the players accept less to line the pockets of the owners? Pay the players more! Hell, pay me more!

I am the king of all funk.

David from Chuluota, FL

O-Zone: It is a luxury for a team to have their quarterback on his rookie contract. For the past four years, the Tennessee Titans have paid quarterback Marcus Mariota an average of $6 million a year. Their rookie discount period has expired. In 2019, they picked up his fifth-year option, which will cost them $20.9 million. This is good news for Jag fans, because it leaves them less money to spend elsewhere. Do you think Mariota shown enough to earn a long-term contract to be the Tennessee Titans franchise quarterback?

Mariota hasn’t done enough to earn a long-term contract with the Titans because the Titans have not signed him to one. He appears still on the borderline of establishing himself as a franchise player, a status that is very tricky navigation for a team. This seems likely to be a major issue running concurrently with the Titans’ 2019 season. It seems from a distance Mariota’s future with the team will be decided in the next six months.

Steve from Section 239

John, is the whole 16/18 thing just Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiation stuff? As a Day One season ticket holder, I hate buying two preseason games at full price for subpar play. That is why the fans want 18 games, to get rid of two preseason games. Now if they do this and sit guys for two games, that's a little better, but it is really stupid. Thanks.

Fair.

Chuck

If you were a general manager for a professional football team – hmm, the Jaguars – who would the best quarterback be to lead your team to a Super Bowl within three years: Dak Prescott, Nick Foles or Carson Wentz?

I would probably go Wentz, followed closely by Foles, followed by Prescott. This is with the caveat that Wentz must stay healthier than he has stayed the past two seasons for the Eagles.

Cool from Cooland

Why do u have a preppy profile pic? Why not big sunglasses and a Hawaiian shirt?

I gotta be me.

David from Oviedo, FL

O-Zone: So, what NFL team has the most impressive state-of-the-art stadium? Also, does TIAA Bank Field still have the largest scoreboards?

The most impressive state-of-the-art stadiums that come to mind are those in Arizona, Minneapolis, Dallas and Atlanta. They’re four of the newest. That’s not a coincidence.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, do you think you can add a page or two of a classic novel such as "Don Quixote" at the end of each day’s Zone so that after a year or so the two or three of us reading would have finished a great book and all of our lives be a little more enriched after visiting?

No. This is as enriched as it gets.

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