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O-Zone: Chilly bear

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Ray from Newport News

I suppose we are officially in the dead zone. This year feels a lot different. I would love to hear news on the stadium issue sooner rather than later, but this is unlikely. We also have the tight end Even Engram contract situation as well as the possible suspension of left tackle Cam Robinson. My question: Of the three major storylines pending, when do you think we will hear real news on each? I imagine the stadium upgrades would be the last to be official.

You imagine correctly. I would expect an official NFL announcement regarding Robinson's reported pending suspension for performance-enhancing substances sometime in the next few weeks. That's only a guess, and the NFL typically gives no indication of a timeframe on such announcements. The Jaguars placed the franchise tag on Engram in March and the sides have until July 15 to agree to a long-term deal. There has been little-to-no news on that front, so I assume the next news will be Engram signing the franchise tender on or shortly before July 15 and playing the 2023 season on a one-year deal. As for the Jaguars' Stadium of the Future, the "news" right now involves Jaguars President Mark Lamping talking at huddles around the city to explain the issues around the project to the community. Lamping and the team then must start meeting with Mayor Elect Donna Deegan, so this is a multiple-month process that will extend into at least the spring before official news.

David from The Island

Baseball pitchers generally have a pitch count. NFL quarterbacks throw the ball 20 or so times before the game, 40 times during the game and 20 more times at the half. Then throw it a bunch more during the week? Do teams track these throws and put limitations on how many throws a quarterback makes during the week?

Yes, teams track and put limits on this. The numbers vary based on the players. Teams often will carry a third quarterback in part to prevent the starter and backup from arm fatigue at various times of the season and offseason.

_Scott from Gilbert, AZ  _

Zone, in response to Gibran question recently regarding making the trip to Jax for a home game, the obvious answer would be the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2 if money were no object, as it is our first home game of the season against the defending Super Bowl Champions. But considering tickets appear to be more than double for that game than the Colts on October 15, my wife and I have elected to make that trip. The stadium won't be too hot while the beach will still be swimmable, they will be back in Jax after two-weeks in London and we'll get to see what young Anthony Richardson might look like as a divisional foe for years to come. Hope to see both you and Gibran there, John!

Not if we see you first.

Greg from Section 122, Jacksonville

I went to Lamping's stadium gathering recently. I think this will be a hard sell listening to the crowd. The sentiments seem to mirror my own. Why are we, the taxpayer, on the hook for this? Another guy mentioned the needs the city has and that taxes need to be spent on. Lamping correctly and skillfully noted that he and the team don't dictate how taxes are spent. He did emphasize that Shad is willing to invest a $1 billion of his own money in downtown. I think the approach needs to change. Spend the money on the stadium first, then downtown. One guy in the crowd made a point, taking his family to a game would cost well over $500 right now, why should he invest tax money in something he can't afford? In a city this large, this will be a common refrain. I want a stadium deal to get done. But I wonder if my seat would even be available after the rebuild? How will season ticket holders get to choose new seats? Will they be affordable or is Shad planning to raise the prices of the new stadium to match the appearance? I think there are a lot of questions which would need addressed before this goes forward. And while this meetings are good, more information is required and delivered better.

There are many questions about this issue, and the Jaguars are well aware people need information. That why Lamping is speaking at the 14 huddles around town. It's also why he has conducted multiple interviews on the subject and why this website exists. Some specifics question about seating and season-ticket costs don't have answers yet, ticket prices for professional sports – as with most entertainment – always will rise. And sure … it will a hard sell to some. Discussions about public money and professional sports are always contentious. There always will be people who don't believe public money should be involved in such a project. But this project won't happen without significant public money. It's not feasible in a small market, and recent precedents such as Buffalo and Nashville show that the NFL's smaller-market model requires public money make up essentially two thirds of the stadium funding. The Jaguars want to balance that difference by paying for more of the downtown part of the project. That's the plan – and that will remain the answer to the very legitimate question of, "Why are the taxpayers on the hook for this?" Because if the NFL's going to be here, that's how it must work.

Tom from Cairo, Egypt

Your point about Derrick Henry's career numbers have some merit. However, if career totals are going to be the benchmark, we're going to have to stop putting running backs in the hall.

No running back was a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2023. I don't know that we'll stop putting running backs in the Hall, but it's clear we're not going to see nearly as many enshrined as was previously the case.

Dorf from Jax

If there is an option to spend an extra ~$190 million so we can build over four years and play at home throughout, is there an option to spend that extra $190 million and get this done in 18 months between Feb. 1, 2026 and Sept. 1, 2027? The angst of playing away changes quite a bit if you shorten the time to a single season. I don't feel like I've heard any options to expedite things along these lines?

The project will take at least two years. If it could be done more quickly, that would be the plan.

Katharine from Jacksonville

I don't understand the reasoning behind the NFL supplemental draft given the restrictions to be eligible for it. Since they must be out of high school for three years and ineligible for the upcoming college season. They must request to be in it and the NFL must approve. Can a team not sign any person when they are adults and free and clear? Why have to wait for a supplemental draft to hire a 21-year-old that can't or doesn't want to go to college? So please tell me kind sir, what the big deal is with this kind of draft? Thank you.

The supplemental draft is in place so players can't circumvent the draft process and enter the NFL as unrestricted free agents. The idea is to allow players in uncommon situations, most typically a player who has been ruled ineligible for the ensuing college season, to enter the NFL. It is not held every year because there aren't players who qualify every year. It will be held in July and will mark the first supplemental draft since 2019.

Paul from Lake City, FL

I've been in Europe since June 7 and am having a great time. The scenery, the food, the attractions have all been amazing! I felt that something was missing - keeping this trip from being perfect. Today, it occurred to me that I hadn't read a single O-Zone since I left. Now that I'm caught up, I wanted to let you know, John, that this wasn't it.

Congratulations on being cool and hanging out in Europe.

David from Orlando, FL

KOAF – Someone recently suggested the Jaguars should stay in Jacksonville during the renovations by playing games at the University of North Florida. I am not familiar with the stadium, so I went online. I see there is a Hodges Stadium with a current capacity of 12,000. If this is the stadium in question, and if so, how is this even in the conversation?

Hodges Stadium at the University of North Florida indeed is an option if the Stadium of the Future is approved – and if the Jaguars need to play elsewhere. Hodges would need to be expanded significantly in this scenario. This is why Lamping last week said this approach would add about $120 million to the cost of the stadium-upgrade project.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, and my team stadium will definitely have a Sbarros, cold bear, and napping pods in the press box.

Get that bear a bankey.