JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Denmiz from Jax
I always believe in second chances. However, Calvin Ridley was suspended for betting on games. Where is the justification or confidence in him not participating in such actions in the future? History has a way of repeating itself, and I certainly hope he has learned a valuable lesson. If not, this could end up with dire consequences for the entire team. How do teams manage this type of situation and why does the Jags' management feel so confident bringing him on?
I confess I laughed softly at the beginning of your email: "I ALWAYS believe in second chances … HOWEVER." Heh. But I digress. I guess I would say this: If you're going to believe in – and give – second chances, you must have faith in people's ability to learn from mistakes. You also must have faith in their ability to not repeat those mistakes. Wide receiver Calvin Ridley, who the Jaguars acquired in a trade last November from the Atlanta Falcons, indeed is serving a suspension for betting on NFL games. He did this in late November 2021 while he was away from the team's facility on the non-football illness list. There has been nothing to suggest this was habitual, and there was no evidence that Falcons coaches, staff or teammates were aware he did this. All indications are that it was a silly – and costly – mistake. Multiple Jaguars players – including left tackle Cam Robinson and wide receiver Christian Kirk – are close with Ridley. The team also presumably has done its due diligence regarding Ridley's background, conditioning and mindset. All indications from Ridley's Twitter account are that he's excited to join the Jaguars and take advantage of this second chance. As for the consequences should Ridley not work out … he's entering the 2023 season on the final year of his contract. The team traded a maximum 2023 fifth-round and 2024 fourth-round draft selection for him. The Jaguars very much want him to succeed. They would love to have obtained a franchise wide receiver for a very reasonable cost. But the consequences are pretty minimal if this doesn't work.
Marcus from Jacksonville
Hypothetical draft question ... the Miami Dolphins forfeited their first-round draft pick this year. What happens if a team trades a pick that later gets taken away?
The Dolphins forfeited the selection for what the NFL described as violating league policies "pertaining to the integrity of the game." There aren't really any specific rules for this, with the league deciding punishment based on circumstances. Had a team in this situation not had a first-round selection the following year, I expect the league would have made them forfeit a first-round selection in the next year in which they held one.
John from Section 137
Those wound up over the officiating are now clamoring for more refs, video replay on every play, more cameras to catch every angle ... unbelievable! Everyone agrees that there is likely some form of holding on both offense and defense on every play. How do refs determine when and where to apply each rule? Oh, wait … that's what's already in play. It's one more example of if I don't get the results I want, I have to blame it on "the system," not my team. Fans fanning.
Garrett from Edgewater, FL
Zone, what's the shot that they change the uniforms this offseason? I want a jersey, but will hold off if there will be a new design.
Though they are eligible under league rules to do so, the Jaguars will not be changing uniform design this offseason.
Richard from Jacksonville
What exactly and how bad was Trevor Lawrence's toe injury that it kept him on the injury report for limited practice for seven, eight games?
Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence sustained a sprained toe in a December 4 loss to the Detroit Lions. It was bad enough initially hat Lawrence early that week wore what Head Coach Doug Pederson described as a "protective shoe." It remained enough of an issue that the Jaguars rested Lawrence to varying degrees in Wednesday practices the remainder of the season, which is why he remained on the injury report for – and why he was listed as questionable in – the Jaguars' final five regular-season games and two postseason games. Lawrence said multiple times as the season continued that he expected the injury wouldn't heal completely until after the season – which is common for lingering issues that don't require surgery.
Keith from Saint Augustine, FL
According to PFF, Detroit Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson had 11 sacks and an 80.7 overall grade. Meanwhile, Jaguars outside linebacker Travon Walker, according to PFF, had four sacks and a 60.3 overall grade. Would you like to bet on who will have the better NFL career? Also, do you think the NFL will add golf, badminton, or tiddlywinks to the Pro Bowl Games?
I haven't the faintest interest in this bet. We'll start getting a real idea about each player next season as they get into their second NFL seasons. How they fared as rookies, though interesting, doesn't tell us much about their futures. As for the Pro Bowl Games … it's an honor, an event. It's not a football game anymore. But it really hadn't been for a while.
Dean from Rochester, NY
"Last I checked it wasn't against the rules to play defense." Sure, but hasn't the NFL essentially admitted that rules favor the offense by allowing the coin-toss winner to defer to start the game?
I'm not sure one has much to do with the other. The bigger issue is that the NFL's rules have skewed so far in favor of the offense that you have to change overtime rules – first to eliminate "sudden death," then to ensure that each team is guaranteed a possession in offseason overtimes – to make it "fair." If you're essentially assuming that postseason defenses can't stop postseason offenses, you may have gone too far toward favoring offenses. I don't know that there's a solution to this given the emphasis on player safety. I do know it doesn't feel ideal.
Robert from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
Now that the season is over and that our future is bright, we still need to improve to take the next step. What is our biggest positional need in the draft?
I'm leaning cornerback with an eye on nickel corner, but it's January 31. The 2023 NFL Draft starts April 27. There's a ways to go.
Bradley from Sparks, NV
I'm sure a fraction of conspiracy theories, but you must ask yourself three questions: What is the risk/reward? How many people would need to participate? Would Albert Einstein, James Bond and a team of Navy Seals be able to pull it off and not get caught? The theory that claims the NFL and game officials are colluding to rig games is among the most ridiculous. One need only look at the risk/reward. You risk likely the biggest scandal in sports history. While the NFL would probably survive, it would take years to recover and just the monetary damage would be measured in billions. The principals would probably include NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and other high-level league officials along with game officials. Not only would their lives be shattered, but also the lives of those closest to them –what with the criminal charges and civil cases. The reward might be a five percent increase in viewership for a playoff game or the Super Bowl. Anyone that would believe that is a complete moron.
Brian from Round Rock, TX
I'm still passed we didn't play better and beat the Chiefs. I think our two-legged quarterback is better than their one-legged quarterback. Who do you like in the big game?
I like Lawrence. I think he has a bright future. He must be more consistent and perform at a high level for an extended time to be better than Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. I think the Philadelphia Eagles will beat the Chiefs in the Super Bowl.
Bruce from Owensboro, KY
Hey Zoney, are you surprised how in lock step the NFL and Vegas seem to currently be? You can't watch a game without a bazillion ads for online gambling. I was under the impression that the League did its best and was policy to separate itself from gambling. Why the recent change?
The NFL changed its approach to this in August 2021, announcing agreements with FOX Bet, BetMGM, PointsBet and WynnBET to be approved sportsbook operators. It indeed represented a mammoth philosophical change. Why? Money.
Cody from RH
O-Zone, no question but I would like to say how awesome it is that almost every free agent this year actually wants to stay in Jacksonville. I guess a One Fer is in order for Coach P for flipping the culture so drastically. It's refreshing to know that Jacksonville is a destination spot instead of a graveyard, like we've been for the past 15 years.
One fer Coach P.