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O-Zone: Decent gig

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Al from Orange Park, FL

Aside from being pretty and keeping up with the Joneses, how does the new stadium help the team? More premium seats? More advertising opportunities? What? Not being snide, truly curious.

The Jaguars' Stadium of the Future, for which the team introduced conceptual designs last week, will help the team in multiple ways. The first thing it will do is allow the Jaguars to stay in the NFL. The current version of TIAA Bank Field is outdated, antiquated and at the end of its useful life – and there realistically is a limit to how long the Jaguars can play there. NFL Owners must approve whatever replaces/upgrades it, and owners aren't going to approve a new/upgraded stadium that doesn't meet what is now considered standard for the country's biggest professional sports league. As important are the two areas you mentioned in your email. There will be more opportunities for premium seating and more ability to attract sponsorship in an upgraded stadium. Both are key sources for local revenue, which is another area in which the Jaguars must at least keep pace with the rest of the NFL moving forward.

Mark from High Springs, FL

I haven't heard much news about Smoot since seeing a training video that seemed to imply he is ahead of schedule on his recovery. Are the Jags still trying hard to retain him? I truly believe he would be a key part of our defense even if he had to miss a few games. Any updates would be appreciated.

Former Jaguars defensive lineman Dawuane Smoot currently remains unsigned as an unrestricted free agent because he's rehabilitating a torn Achilles sustained last December. Jaguars outside linebacker Josh Allen and Smoot are close, and Allen said Monday that Smoot is doing very well physically. This lines up with the training video you cited, which was posted on social media in May. I would expect there's a very good chance the Jaguars re-sign Smoot when he is 100 percent physically or close to it. It's something both sides apparently want to happen, and something that would make sense considering Smoot's situation and what he has meant to the organization.

Ron from The duuuuuu

Don't you think Derrick Henry has a shot at the Hall of Fame? Seems he has been in conversation for best at the position for five years or so …

I discussed potential Hall of Fame running backs in a recent O-Zone answer. I didn't mention Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry. That was a mistake on my part. Henry will be in the conversation for the Hall, though he might need another big season or two to make it.

Sal from Austin

I'm watching the '96 playoff game in Denver on the NFL Network. How did the Jaguars go from the threatening jungle cat alpha predator on their helmet then to the house cat whose tail is getting stepped on that's on there now?

One not fer the Jaguars' current helmets, I guess.

Fred from Naples, FL

Not sure who was the idiot reporter who asked BOTH Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson and Josh Allen if Josh Allen was being "punished" for deciding not to attend a "non-mandatory" minicamp. Does he really think that is Doug Pederson's style? Just when you think the level of journalism grows along with our teams' performance someone gives you a reason to think … "Oh well; perhaps not."

This was indeed a topic when Allen spoke with reporters Monday at the Jaguars' mandatory minicamp at TIAA Bank Field. We've discussed the importance of being nice a lot here in the O-Zone lately. This readers' question was not nice, though I do not think in any way that Pederson was "punishing" Allen by having him attend a mandatory minicamp.

Charles from Riverside

Hello, John. I totally agree with Scooter from St. Augustine. Hopefully a new and substantial parking deck will be a part of the plan. Attached or detached, but close. Over the years the availability of parking near the stadium has slowly but steadily been reduced. Generating more parking, closer to the new stadium, will definitely impact ticket sales for the better.


Joe from Far, far away

Cue all of the "bring back James Robinson" comments and questions......

The New England Patriots released former Jaguars running back James Robinson Monday. I do not expect the Jaguars to re-sign Robinson.

Sean from Jacksonville

More importantly, will there be Sbarro pizza at the rebuilt stadium?

Nothing ever happens to make me happy. Why would that change now?

T.C Jags Fan from San Marco, FL

Hey O.  When James Robinson was here, any words about him being a head case or problem in the locker room? I ask because he was a stud his rookie year, played hard, was not a DIVA, seemed like a good team player, and then traded to New York JETS. They cut him, and now Patriots are done with him, too. He must be broken somehow, yet I have not heard a peep out of the local media??

Robinson was a very good player for a bad Jaguars team as a rookie in 2020. He was not a head case or a problem or a diva. He sustained a torn Achilles late in his second season. He never was a dazzling player in terms of prototypical size and speed. Now he is a player without those traits who has had a torn Achilles. This is a tough league.

Pete from Daytona Beach, FL

Dear Funk, what are the chances the Jaguars will play at Daytona International Speedway while renovations are going on and what year do you think they'd start playing here. I live a few miles from the speedway and that would be pretty cool.

Jaguars President Mark Lamping mentioned this as a possibility last week when discussing options for playing away from Jacksonville while the stadium is upgraded. He said discussions about using the speedway had indeed occurred. My impression was that this was the third-most likely option behind Florida Field in Gainesville and Camping World Stadium in Orlando. The discussed target year for serious construction to begin on upgrading the stadium is 2026, which is when the team would begin playing Jacksonville home games away from the city. There's a long way to go on this. Nothing has been remotely finalized.

CaptBob from Jax

I'm going to keep hammering. If the Jags have $12 million in cap space and at least five good edge rushers available, why not do it? Wouldn't the defense be better with one of them versus not?!

I'll keep answering. The Jaguars are aware of the edge rushers available. I feel confident they have had conversations with the representation of those player(s). The Jaguars don't feel this is as much of a crisis as many observers seem to feel. One reason is they have young players and veterans they like at the position. Another is that the asking prices of the players doesn't yet fit what the Jaguars feel comfortable paying. Maybe those prices will meet. Maybe they won't. Either way, there's time for this to play out.

Don from Marshall, NC

Spend the money on Hodges it stays in the community. Besides you could make it pretty fun and pretty cool. The rendering of the new stadium is a little disco. We need to finish this stadium off right and close the deal with a Super Bowl! Go Jaguars!

Don is all in on Hodges Stadium at the University of North Florida and apparently not all in on disco.

Rob from Vancouver, BC, Canada

If (and yes, it's a BIG "if") quarterback Nathan Rourke outperforms C.J. Beathard in camp and preseason, does he get a legit shot at the No. 2 spot on the depth chart? Or is he going to be holding a clipboard this year no matter what?

Rourke, who signed as an unrestricted free agent this offseason, certainly could be the backup quarterback. It's more likely he's the third quarterback because the Jaguars trust Beathard's experience – which is why they signed him in 2021 and why they re-signed him this past offseason.

Brian from Gainesville, FL

Big O, you regularly minimize the overall importance of sacks with respect to Travon Walker by saying that such statistics are often overly focused on by fans. But it's true that when front-line pass rushers prove to be disruptive in the manner expected of guys taken early in the draft, they also tend to have high numbers of sacks. Guys like Michael Strahan and Calais Campbell were really disruptive. And it showed in their sacks numbers.


Jimsure from DBS

Love the columns and read them daily. I must say I feel sorry for you because unfortunately you will be answering questions and comments about the stadium for ever. Good luck.

Don't cry for me. I write about football, football stadiums and other things football-related. I occasionally make a jackass comment that amuses me. I'm not mining coal or roofing in July.