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O-Zone: Company time

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Bradley from Sparks, NV

McManus is 10-10 in playoff games, including two for two from 50-plus, and Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson is probably aware that Sean Payton is not really a genius and was quick to take advantage of his mistake.

I sense we're (mercifully) nearing an end to the kicker discussion, with nearly a week – and seemingly endless O-Zone emails – having passed since the Jaguars signed kicker Brandon McManus and traded former kicker Riley Patterson to the Detroit Lions. While I'm unsure what Broncos Head Coach Sean Payton said to Bradley or Bradley's family to warrant such wrath, Payton is a darned good head coach with a Super Bowl resume and presumably passable intelligence. I don't know if Payton eventually will view the Broncos releasing McManus as a mistake. I do know that considering McManus' leg strength and experience, the Jaguars' recent kicker moves made perfect sense. I sense, too, they have been debated more publicly than internally. From a football standpoint, the kicker change was pretty standard fare.

Geoffrey from Virginia Beach (living/working overseas in Kuwait)

Time to change it up here in the O-Zone. I know there only have been three OTAs open to media, but who are some of the unsung players you see pushing to make the roster? Heard the team likes Ledbetter a lot, so he could push to be interior defensive line depth. What about second-year cornerbacks like Montaric Brown or Gregory Junior? I love a good underdog story, so these are the names I typically like to follow leading into and during training camp.

We'll have a much better idea about this a week or two into 2023 Training Camp. Padded work, including preseason games, is the only real way to determine if a player – particularly linemen and linebackers – can truly push for a roster spot. But the players you mentioned are ones to watch. Keep an eye on rookie guard Cooper Hodges and second-year tight end Gerrit Prince. Prince, who originally signed as a collegiate free agent following the 2022 NFL Draft, almost certainly will be a key part of the tight end room in 2023. Hodges has the look of a long-term part of the offensive line rotation and future starter. Brown and Junior absolutely should push for spots at cornerback and special teams.

Hilarious from Funnytown

Thinking about quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the looming mega deal. No doubt his management is going to take a significant cut. If you see him in the halls will you let him know I'll represent him in negotiations for half - no wait – a third of the commission he's about to pay? It would be my first negotiation, but it should basically write itself. I'll get him his own office in the new stadium and earmark 20 boneless wings for the senior writer at each game. Just let me know the dipping sauce. I got you, O.

You keep using that name. I don't think it means what you think it means.

_Chris from Fleming Island        _

O-Zone, I was here when it happened, but my memory is a little foggy. How did Jacksonville end up being the Jaguars? Did the NFL pick the name? Did the Weavers and TD Jax have any input? Thanks in advance for your answer.

The name "Jaguars" came from a fan contest by Touchdown Jacksonville! – the entity headed by original owner Wayne Weaver and multiple prominent Jacksonville businessmen that led the city's effort to get an expansion franchise. Finalists for the name included the Sharks, Stingrays and the Panthers.

Steve from Nashville, TN

So, is interfering with the kickoff returner so that he cannot catch the ball inside the 10-yard line a smart play since it is a 15-yard penalty?

Fair-catch interference is an issue on punts more than kickoffs. It's difficult for the coverage to reach the returner in time on a normal kickoff to interfere.

Steve from Wallingford, CT

I see where obviously still getting a ton of questions regarding the kicker move. I'm curious as to why no one has brought up how difficult it is kicking at Denver, McManus' former home stadium. I think it's definitely a huge upgrade.

You just brought it up. Perhaps it will be.

Jon from Athens, GA

With the new changes to the kickoffs, are we somewhat finished with adding kickers and kickoff returners to the Hall of Fame? Will Hester be the last returner to get the nod?

I expect kickers and returners to be elected to the Hall at about the same rate moving forward as has happened in the past: Very, very rarely. Morten Andersen, George Blanda, Jan Stenerud and Lou Groza are the only kickers enshrined. Andersen and Stenerud are the only "pure kickers." No pure returner ever has bene enshrined and Hester isn't in yet.

Don from Marshall, NC

It comes down to the last play of the Super Bowl and you have a field goal to win the game. You have a wind coming straight at you from 55 yards out. Do you really have to give it much thought on which kicker you would pick? It might be the one who gives you the best chance to win. Go Jaguars!

Don, albeit somewhat cryptically, remains "all in."

Greg from Section 122, Jacksonville

You know the whole coercion, implied threats approach to the stadium funding thing is getting tired. Jacksonville was a city before the Jaguars came here. Just like San Diego, St. Louis, Oakland, Cleveland … let's go down the list. And guess what, even without their NFL teams they are still cities, still going strong, still managing to be viable places. Don't get me wrong, I love my team, and I have no desire for them to move. But I also don't like being strong-armed with veiled consequences if someone doesn't get their way. It's funny because it almost seems now the team's success this year has a lot more riding on it than just a win-loss record. Selling this stadium financing issue to the public will be a lot more palatable if the team can make a legit run at the prize. We have almost reached that brass ring three times. Getting the Super Bowl would probably be the only way a deal gets past public opinion. At least that is how I see it. But the whole "do it or I will take my toys and leave" approach probably going to need to not go that route. Especially in this town given the very "Cowford" spirit we have here. Which I love BTW.

People perceive situations how they choose to perceive them. No one around the Jaguars is implying anything when discussing the future of the stadium. But anyone who understands the NFL understands the reality of stadiums – and history also helps us understand this. Remember: The Jaguars never would have happened in Jacksonville had what was then the Gator Bowl not been renovated/replaced with what is now TIAA Bank Field. The old Gator Bowl was not up to what was then the NFL standard. The current incarnation of TIAA Bank Field now lags behind most NFL stadiums. As time passes, it will fall further behind. If it is not renovated/replaced at some point, it will not be able to be an NFL stadium. This would be true no matter the stadium's location. That's not coercion or a threat. It just is.

Dan from Exeter, CA

Forbes just published a list of the 25 most profitable sports teams in the world. There are 13 NFL and seven NBA teams, with the remaining five being European soccer clubs. The Jaguars were ranked 17th, sandwiched between the Dallas Mavericks and the Boston Celtics, the only small market NFL franchise to appear. What effect do you think this will have on the politics around funding of the new stadium?

Minimal, if any.

JR from The Squatchlands

I read an article recently that estimated Josh Allen's market value at around $15 million per year on his next contract. Does that seem like a number both sides can agree on or is there too much to be decided this coming season?

It's tricky projecting future market value, but here's the reality for Jaguars outside linebacker Josh Allen. Had he been a free agent this past March, he would have been one of the most highly-coveted – and highly-paid – players available. He's reliable without off-field issues to give teams pause. He also has been good with good pressure and good performance, even if his sacks numbers haven't been great. I believed throughout the course of last season he was the defensive player the team could least afford to lose. My guess is the sides likely wouldn't agree on that number. If they were able to agree, a deal likely already would have happened. I also think there's a lot to be decided this season regarding Allen's contract. He's a fascinating storyline.

Eddie from Section 104

O-Zone, While I read every O-Zone, I don't read Saturday or Sunday until Monday. Why read it when I am off when I can read them on company time. I get paid to read the Ozone.