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O-Zone: Dynasty

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Ryan from Jacksonville

Why all the defense? Every year it's the same. We amp up our defense and forget about our offense. Are we going to have a better offensive line??

The Jaguars have focused on defense thus far this offseason for a couple of reasons. One is that they lost enough players at cornerback in the last six months – i.e., Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye – that they needed to be active in free agency to ensure they're not deficient there next season. Two is that they were bad enough against the run last season for a long enough stretch that it ruined the season. They don't want to be in a situation next season where run defense causes them to be flat-out uncompetitive in games, which happened multiple times last season. But the truth is the Jaguars really haven't been "amping up the defense" this offseason as much as trying to get back to being competitive; aside from middle linebacker Joe Schobert, these signings aren't as much front-line players as contributors. Either way, the Jaguars haven't "forgotten about the offense" the last two offseasons – and it was actually a focus in the 2019 offseason. Witness: $88 million for Nick Foles, a quarterback. As for the Jaguars' offensive line, the group needs to be better next season. But I don't know that that means addressing it early in the 2020 NFL Draft. The Jaguars' decision-makers like what they have at the position. This could be a matter of letting the players on the roster improve from within.

Scott from Charter Ticket Holder

So, I thought when the players were announced on this site that it was official meaning they had signed their contract ... so how was Dennard contract not official and he could back out? Just curious how it works.

In normal circumstances, when player transactions are announced on it indeed means paperwork has been signed and all is official. This is not a normal offseason. As such, and other NFL websites have announced deals as "agreed to terms" pending final details and physicals. This was the case when the Jaguars announced cornerback Darqueze Dennard and other players last week. Dennard had not yet signed his contract, so when the sides couldn't agree on final details there was no contact and therefore no obligation on either side.

Scott from Medford, NJ

Aaaaand that's why you don't report transactions before they are official.

Well, yes.

Tom from Charlottesville, VA

Edge defender Cassius Marsh, defensive tackle Al Woods, defensive lineman Rodney Gunter … none listed in the top 100 free agents. Where did they rank? Are the Jags looking at quantity versus quality and hoping to hit lightning in a bottle?

I have no idea where the three players you mention "rank." Beyond the top players, I don't know that free-agent rankings mean all that much anyway – if indeed any rankings mean much. As for the Jaguars' approach in recent days and weeks, the Jaguars have made clear since the end of last season this was not going to be an offseason of "splash" free-agent signings. Their actions the last week or so therefore should not be a surprise.

Brett from Canton, MS

Having a few days to process, I think the trade of quarterback Nick Foles to the Chicago Bears was the best move we could have made this offseason. You clear a ton of cap the next two offseasons and give Gardner Minshew II all the first-string reps once things get going this fall (maybe). If Minshew still plays .500 ball and gives you a shot most games, then you have much more cap to load up around him in a potential two-season window before his big contract. If not, then you have more cap to load up around a rookie like Trevor Lawrence in 2021. Win-win in my eyes.


Colton from Coronaville

With Schobert being our new Mike and Jack moving to Will, does that leave Quincy Williams as the leading candidate to start at Sam? How do you see that position group shaking out?

No, Williams will not play the strong-side linebacker position. I expect Leon Jacobs to start there with Schobert in the middle and Jack in the weak-side spot.

Logan from Wichita, KS

Please explain Jaguars Owner Shad Khan's thought process ... tank and rebuild with the moron general manager that has created a team incapable of winning more than six games a year – minus one fluke season. Yell at fans for not supporting the team, THEN do everything possible to lose 16 games in a season.

That's not the plan.

Matt from Green Cove Springs, FL

I'm curious to see what the growth of defensive linemen Dawuane Smoot and Taven Bryan will look like this year. Not to mention if we see Bryan and safety Ronnie Harrison take another step forward in the right direction. I'm not they're going to be elite by any means, but we may not be as far off if the aforementioned players can step it up.

When you sign free agents at the price and pace that the Jaguars did in 2016-2018, the only way to sustain success beyond a few seasons is to draft players to eventually take their place and play at a high level. Smoot, Bryan and Harrison thus far haven't played at a high-enough level to replace players such as safety Tashaun Gipson and defensive linemen Marcell Dareus and Calais Campbell. They must play at least a lot closer to that level moving forward.

TomD from Jacksonville

Mr. O, I am positive Jalen R. Loved his teammates. He just loved himself and his wallet more!!


Steve from Jacksonville

While I am discouraged with the losing seasons, I also think it is fair to hire smart talented people to run your football operations. If they have made mistakes and can expressed lessons learned, then it makes sense to have them take a crack at it again. I have to admit I was very frustrated last offseason when Head Coach Doug Marrone decided playing in the preseason was too risky. I hope we don't make that mistake again. Most players need as much game reps as possible. We should not be sitting every projected starter. Obviously, Dave and Doug have demonstrated their skill and intelligence to Shad and I presume their lessons learned moving forward.

The Jaguars have made plenty of mistakes and had plenty of issues in the last couple of years. I'm not sure I would put Marrone's approach to the 2019 preseason at or even near the top of the list.

Dave from NK, RI

John, I can't wait to see what Dave does with all these picks he has. I'm sure he will move some around, but do you see him more staying and picking in his spots or do you see him trying to use some of the later picks to move up in the first or trade some out for next year? Exciting to watch this unfold!!! Thanks O!!!

I can't see the Jaguars moving up from No. 9 overall unless they want to take a quarterback early in the draft; I consider that a possibility, though not a likely one. Beyond that, I could see Caldwell using some the other 11 draft selections to move up for specific players in this draft. Perhaps not to the point that the Jaguars only select six or seven players – but perhaps to the point that they only draft nine or 10.

Tim from Jacksonville

What happened to Donald Payne, middle linebacker?

He became an unrestricted free agent at the start of the 2020 NFL League Year.

Aaron from White Hall, AR

What do you see the Jags doing at the backup quarterback spot? Sign a journeyman or draft a guy after round one?

I think the Jaguars will sign a veteran quarterback. That quarterback likely would begin as a backup to Minshew. Depending on the veteran, he perhaps wouldn't be the backup forever.

Jerell from Columbia, SC

Zone, I like what Dave has done for once. He has traded guys away and got picks for them instead of letting them walk. The free agents they have signed are all serviceable, which is understandable with the cap this year, but he has them in position to have a very good cap situation next season. Lastly, if I were in the decision-making room for the draft, I would not trade away any of the picks. I would pick 12 players all on cheap deals and two with a fifth-year option. The low-half picks can form the core of special teams and/or turn in to a cheap starter like Gardner. Keep it up, Dave! I can deal with this type of retooling. Twelves young, cheap players this year, nine next year and a boatload of cap. This should be a quick retooling. The Jags should win the Super Bowl in 2022 and 2023 from where I am sitting.

I have no words.