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O-Zone: Critique away

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Mike from Atlanta, GA

It was evident that Josh Allen is really good. He looked unblockable at times. He was the best defensive end on the team last year. He is only going to get better as he gains size and strength and develops his pass rush moves. People complain about this franchise and drafting quarterbacks, but I think they've had worse luck with defensive ends. To contrast, let's remember what it was like when they drafted Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves in their rookie years. What do people expect, 20 sacks in his rookie year? Literally Reggie White?

I don't sense many people are arguing that Jaguars defensive end/linebacker Josh Allen isn't good – or that there's not every indication he will get much better. If they are, they're not arguing it vehemently. Or intelligently, really. One reader did recently express concern that Allen might not reach true greatness; this was in an email/discussion about other early-drafted Jaguars players who hadn't done so. I don't know that Allen will reach that. I do know he looks like the current Jaguars player with the best chance to do so. There's no guarantee any player will fulfill his potential. Only time determines that. But Allen is as complete a package as any young Jaguars player I've been around in the last decade. He's incredibly promising. Stay tuned.

Scott from Gilbert, AZ

John, as opposed to simply saying Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell's other offseason moves have appeared to be more in line with building for the future as it relates to not pulling the trigger on a Yann trade, I'm hoping you can tell us how Ngakoue's current situation is more indicative of building for the future than that of a desperation move by a general manager who absolutely needs to win this year?

I received an O-Zone email recently making the point that it appeared that the Jaguars were declining to trade defensive end Yannick Ngakoue because Caldwell desperately wanted to win now – at the expense of the long-term. I noted that pretty much all other moves Caldwell made this offseason seemed to be with an eye on the long-term rather than the immediate. And it's not as if the Jaguars spent the offseason spending stupidly in free agency; instead, they spent it focused on stockpiling draft selections and clearing salary-cap space. If that doesn't show that Caldwell's not focused on the short-term, I don't know what does. Regarding Ngakoue specifically … the Jaguars consider him a good, young player in his prime and have offered him what they believe is a fair long-term deal. Ngakoue apparently disagrees and wants to be traded. If the team received a trade offer that they considered fair value for Ngakoue – such as happened with former cornerback Jalen Ramsey – I have little doubt they would strongly consider and perhaps even take the deal. That would help them for the long-term. But why should they take less than what they believe is market value simply because a player might want – for whatever reason – to be traded? Now, that would be grounds for criticism.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

If we have an NFL season, the team that comes out on top may not be the one that looks the most impressive now. Rather, it may be the team that stays healthiest – i.e., fewest COVID-19 cases. This year, anything is possible – i.e., a Miami-Washington Super Bowl. I suspect every team's ownership, front office and coaching staff agrees. But will the players agree enough to give up their extracurricular activities, nightlife, etc., to protect themselves and their teammates?

They will if they want an entire season to happen and if they want to stay healthy.

Brian from Jacksonville

I wonder about the future of sport and entertainment. Rahooo.

I wonder about a past that thought "Titanic" was the best picture over "Good Will Hunting" and that thought "Forrest Gump" was the best picture over "The Shawshank Redemption."

Sunil from Jacksonville

"Wild-Eyed Southern Boys" from 38 Special is an all-time album! But then again, 38 Special is a great Jacksonville band. My top three 38 Special songs: "Hold On Loosely," "Caught Up in You" and "Back Alley Sally." What say you, O?

"Rockin' into the Night."

Tom from Shanghai, China

You say Josh Allen is "less prone to discontent" than Jalen Ramsey. Maybe I'm also aging and getting forgetful, but I don't remember Ramsey being generally discontented. He was fine until one day he wasn't, and he threw a tantrum. What indications were there that Jalen was a malcontent? I seem to remember you were a defender of his antics until that point.

Ramsey indeed was "fine" until he wasn't. He played hard for the Jaguars for three seasons and played at a high level. But the "tantrum" early last season was to an extreme that few players I ever have been around would match. I would have a hard time seeing Allen behave in such a way. And it's true that I had little problem with a lot of Ramsey's "antics" for a long time. Many of the things that some people disliked – particularly the GQ interviews, criticizing opponents and the like – I considered comparatively harmless. But when he purported to love his teammates and Jaguars fans while at the same time publicly demanding a trade and therefore kinda/sorta not showing said "love" … that was when the antics were too much. Even considering the severity of his back injury.

Bruce from St. Simon's Island, GA

I think Ryan hit a nerve.

Who's Ryan?

zac from austin, tejas

I kept waiting for someone else to say it, but alas... I suffered. "The Replacements" was a classic. Keanu Reeves' quote on "quicksand" is hilarious and this was primo Orlando Jones. Plus, it was great satire on player union strikes (although obviously presented one-sided).

I wouldn't go so far as to say "The Replacements" was a classic, but do I stop a few minutes if I happen upon it while channel-surfing? If "Road House" isn't on, yes … yes, I do.

John from Jacksonville

The thought of piping in crowd noise prompted a thought. Based on how the Jags have played the last couple of seasons, would we expect to hear more of the laughter – that the sitcom TV shows have – after most plays (with an occasional loud cheer and some boos to make everything balanced for the viewer)?

John's got jokes.

Thomas from Jacksonville

Hey, John: Do you think that since the two London games were canceled due to the virus Mr. Khan will try to get four London home games next year if the virus is contained?


Bruce from YoZone, FL

Yo Zone, why not call the DC team what those of us who were long-time fans have called them since Snyder bought them: the DeadSkins? Who's that gonna offend? Zombies?

That's not nice.

Howard from Homestead, FL

If fans are allowed into the stadiums this fall, how can we expect them to practice social distancing if alcohol is involved? Would teams ban the sale of alcohol in 2020?

Any NFL teams that have announced attendance policies for 2020 have announced dramatic reductions from normal levels. The reduction in people attending will presumably allow for distance between small groups of people – in the range of two-to-ten people. These situations will be monitored and enforced, with or without alcohol.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

To appreciate how far this franchise has come, I like to take a stroll down memory lane. Just thinking about some of these names brings back memories of really painful seasons where we all knew we weren't going to win much. Hugh Douglas, Drayton Florence, Dennis Northcutt, Jerry Porter, Aaron Ross, Juran Bolden, Marcellus Wiley, and Tory Holt. I don't want to be hard on those guys and Tory Holt was a great player, but the roster was in such bad shape for so long that these guys were all brought in to upgrade the depth chart. Let that sink in.


Tim Jacksonville

Somebody wake Don from his millennial-induced short-term memory. Both quarterbacks played in the AFC Championship Game.

Don recently wrote to the O-Zone that former Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles got the Jaguars closer to the Super Bowl than former Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell. I assumed Don was making the point that the Bortles-quarterbacked Jaguars led the AFC Championship Game following the 2017 season later than either of Brunell's teams – the ones that made title appearances following 1996 and 1999 – led theirs. I didn't point out that one of Brunell's teams – 1996 – had a chance to tie the game in the fourth quarter. I also didn't point out that the other – 1999 – led at halftime. I figured someone else would note these things at some point. I was correct.

Tudor from St. Augustine, FL

I was referring to the Cleveland's baseball team, not the Cleveland Browns. Better to ask first, than to critique based on assumption.

Nah. Better this way.