JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ
O-man, what's your take on Schobert? I read that the Browns made a big mistake letting him go. I know it's all doom and gloom lately, but is this a player we should at least be a little excited about?
Acquiring former Cleveland Browns middle linebacker Joe Schobert as an unrestricted free agent made perfect sense, and I was a bit surprised given the Jaguars' cap situation they were able to make so bold a move. While Schobert wasn't necessarily a "high-profile" free agent according to many analysts, he was a former Pro Bowl selection (2017) – and undoubtedly was one of the better defensive players on the open market this year. He appears at minimum to be a very solid, reliable player. Should you be excited? If you get excited about a player who can improve two positions – middle by playing there and the weak-side spot by allowing Myles Jack to move to that position – then yes … by all means, get excited.
Jon from Brentwood, UK
So, Zone: What can we take from the Dennard decision? Is this the start of the Caldwell method of contracting players to team-friendly terms unravelling?
What? No. Let's keep this in perspective. The Jaguars' contract with former Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Darqueze Dennard fell through because the sides couldn't finalize the deal. This happens. One event is not a trend. It's not a reflection on Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell. It's something that happened during a time when logistics are tricky compared to other NFL offseasons. Nothing more.
Fred from Naples, FL
First, the NFL Players Association comes out and says be very careful when choosing the Jaguars as your free-agent destination spot. Now, Dennard cannot come to terms with the Jaguars after an initial agreement; they part ways and it is headline news on every website. Not a good look for a franchise besmitten with bad looks.
This is not that. It's just not. And Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Michael Brockers is now back with the Rams after an agreed-upon deal with the Baltimore Ravens fell through. Do the Ravens suck? Is that a bad look? Are the Ravens besmitten or besmoochin? Relax, everyone. Relax.
Kelly from Orange Park, FL
Zone, it would seem that if a player was in fact worth $21-22 million per year, he would also be worth a first-round pick. Therefore, if a player is not worth a first-round pick, would it be safe to say that he probably isn't worth $21-22 million per year?
There's probably truth in there somewhere.
Zac not Sac from Austin, TX
What are the O-Zone Vegas odds for getting Clemson safety/linebacker Isaiah Simmons and South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw at No. 9 and 20? Thanks for all you're doing. You're really getting me through being cooped up this many days in my apartment. This is part of my morning ritual now.
I won't be surprised if Simmons is available when the Jaguars select at No. 9. I will be surprised if Kinlaw is available when they select at No. 20. And sorry about your ritual. Hang in there. This won't last forever.
Bill from Helsinki, Finland
To be a top contending team in the NFL you must have either have a stifling defense or an elite offense. We had a great defense at one point (2017). Don`t you think it`s time for us to try the other way? Draft a top-tier quarterback and let the build begin!
Your question implies the Jaguars haven't tried hard enough to draft or acquire a top-tier quarterback. Since 2003, they have selected three quarterbacks in the Top 10 – Byron Leftwich in 2003, Blaine Gabbert in 2011 and Blake Bortles in 2014. They also signed quarterback Nick Foles to a big contract last offseason. They have tried the other way, Bill. They just haven't succeeded.
John from Jacksonville
So, how does an NFL owner sleep at night knowing he throws away millions of dollars for nothing? Basically, he invests in human beings that often let him down. It seems senseless to me to not have a better risk mitigation built in for these contracts.
Jason from North Pole, AK
I love what the Jaguars have done so far accumulating draft picks. My concern is one you have voiced about 2013 – that the Jaguars tore the roster down too far by releasing guys like linebacker Daryl Smith. The lack of veteran leadership in the locker room hurt the team. I am worried that history is repeating itself. Our oldest starter is 29 years old. Do you think this team will be mature enough to build a positive culture? I understand the Calais Campbell trade, I really do. My question is would we be better off with a rookie starting at middle linebacker and Calais here to provide that leadership all our draft picks will need?
I obviously share the concern. I like what defensive end Josh Allen brings as a leader, and defensive tackle Abry Jones and center Brandon Linder have leadership qualities. Who else will lead? Who else will make critical plays at critical times? We'll see. As far as the Campbell trade, while leadership is important it doesn't matter if the player isn't playing at a high level. Campbell wasn't the player last season that he was in 2017. The leadership factor wasn't enough anymore.
Brian from Jacksonville
"Just a reader" wonders if Myles Jack is secretly O-Zone's son or nephew or something. "Just a reader" opinions are solid. It's true, "just a reader" doesn't have any information about physical or character strengths and weaknesses (that's for O-zone to shed light on), but this "just a reader" has an experienced eye. If you remember, Jack's success has always been on my wish list. Never liked him in the middle, but always wanted to see him outside/weak. Now, he'll get the chance to really shine. Here's hoping his legs are 100 percent healthy, and he has a great couple of years coming up. "Just a reader's" opinion about Jack's play last year is not unique or anything. In fact there is quite a bit of support for it by observers, coaches ... even defensive coordinator Todd Wash and Head Coach Doug Marrone? Thanks for the forum!
Just a writer can tell you that the Jaguars believed Jack was better suited to the outside. Even though that was true, he can also tell you that the Jaguars believed – nay, knew – that a lot of his issues last season came not because he is awful in the middle but because of what was going on at other positions. Argue it all you want. Disbelieve it all you want. It's still true.
David from Jacksonville
Do you think the Jaguars are better suited for the XFL?
The Jaguars played in the AFC Championship Game following the 2017 season and have struggled since. But even with those struggles, they won six games and were a few plays from .500 last season. So … no, the Jaguars are not better suited for the XFL.
John from NFBL
Combine a quarterback whose persona matches the personality of the city with a bunch of young, hungry players, and a defense led by "Joe the Show" and we may not necessarily be good, but we could very well be fun to watch again.
Hey, one fer the 'Stache. And fer Joe the Show.
Chris from Still Section 437 after renewal
Hi O, do you think the Jags would have selected running back Leonard Fournette No. 4 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft if former Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin was not involved? Also, do you expect them to pick up the first-round option on him to extend one more season? I don't see why they wouldn't after his season last year.
I doubt it. No.
Adam from St. Johns, FL
I know you are right and I am not. You are smart, I am not. You are good-looking and I am not as good looking, but for the love of Tom, please stop excusing Dave Caldwell for the first four years because he answered to Tom and not Jaguars Owner Khan the last three years? This idea that Dave is replacing Tom is ridiculous. Shad/Tony are replacing Tom. Dave is still 36-76 as GM of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Keep making us out to be irrational, but you know no one that is that bad at their jobs for 7 years and still have it.
You're right, Alan – about everything. Because you are indeed smart. As evidenced by your keen insight into all things. And you're right that I am strikingly good-looking. Even if it doesn't always look that way.
Jason from Port Orange, FL
Zone: End the streak and retire now. Jerell's message and your response should be the final O-Zone...
But then what would you do in the bathroom every morning for the next eight-and-half years?