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O-Zone: Easy decision

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Josh from Atlanta, GA

The Houston Texans on paper look really damn good if quarterback C.J. Stroud takes a remotely small leap in Year Two, let alone the common big jump. On paper, would you say they are the favorite in '24? Of course there's the draft. OTAs. Training camp. Whatever. As of the start of the league year, what ya think?

I expect most national observers to see the Houston Texans as the AFC South favorites entering 2024 season just as most national observers saw the Jaguars as the AFC South favorites entering the 2023 season. The Texans won the division by a game over the Jaguars in 2023, with Houston winning in Jacksonville early in the season and the Jaguars winning in Houston late in the season. Stroud played damned well for Houston in the Texans' victory and Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence played damned well in the Jaguars' victory. I would say the division is pretty even. The Indianapolis Colts are good, too.

Marcus from Jacksonville

What's the difference in mindset between a backup quarterback who is a backup quarterback and a backup quarterback aspiring to be a starter? I'm not saying Jaguars reserve quarterback C.J. Beathard would turn down the chance to start again, but at this point in his career, it seems he knows his place and is fine with holding the clipboard, supporting the starter and – when given the chance – executing a less-than-thrilling game plan for the good of the team. Does a young quarterback like Mac Jones approach the job differently? Will he always be looking to the next potential starting job? Will he be less likely to support Trevor? Will he be more likely to take unnecessary risks when given the chance to play to build his resume? I just wonder about the subtle nuances in the mindsets between a career backup and a young guy who has started a lot of games, has led his team to the playoffs, and has played in a Pro Bowl but is now tasked with backing up a guy that was drafted the same day he was.

I can't speak to how Jones specifically will treat being a backup. Smart players in his position work hard, do the right things and prepare to be ready when/if given the opportunity. Smart players, while wanting to their core to start, help the starter however possible and cause no issues. Smart players play as well as they can when given the opportunity because that's the best way to get another opportunity.


OZONE, two questions. Isn't Mac Jones on the last year of his rookie contract, so he may be here only in 2024? Would wide receiver/returner Jamal Agnew have re-signed for the same deal we gave wide receiver/returner Devin Duvernay?

Chris, two answers. Yes. I don't know.

Tim from Jacksonville

I've noticed lately the basketball-on-grass contingent are all wound up about Ridley and his signing elsewhere. Apparently, they weren't paying much attention last year when it was proven once again that having "skilled" position doesn't mean much without the big uglies on both lines.

Wide receiver Calvin Ridley, who signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Tennessee Titans last week after one season with the Jaguars, is a good player. He made a difference at times with the Jaguars. It's understandable many fans are upset he signed elsewhere, particularly in this era of football when playmaking receivers are very valuable. Could an argument be made that the Jaguars' offensive line improving could (more than) offset losing Ridley? Sure, that argument could be made.

AJ from L.I., NY

Best wishes to Calvin. I can certainly understand his monetary decision. From a career standpoint, I thought he was on track to make a big step in Jacksonville. I hope that he does not end up struggling to adapt in Tennessee.

I would guess the Jaguars and many fans wouldn't mind if he struggled at least twice a season.

David from Ada, OK

I'm having a good laugh at that comment about "all the wrong routes" Ridley ran. Sounds like a good sequel to the Tom Cruise movie "All the Right Moves." Is this one of those fans that stole a playbook, or is a psychic or a genius? Not like Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson said, "Oh yeah … Ridley ran all his route wrong, AGAIN." Exaggeration is for humor only — author's attempt at humor is not always considered as such by readers …

There were a few instances in 2023 when Ridley and Lawrence miscommunicated. There were subtleties in this, such as the pair reading a certain coverage differently that caused Ridley to run one direction when Lawrence expected him to run a different direction. It indeed has become vogue to say Ridley ran "all the wrong routes." This perhaps is exaggerating the situation somewhat.

Jason from North Pole, AK

The Jaguars are reportedly worth about $4 billion, three times more than what they were worth when Shad Khan bought the team just 11 seasons ago. The narrative that the players are greedy and asking for too much is what the owners want us to believe while they are raking in money. If you are frustrated with Ridley for getting his slice of the pie, perhaps that anger is misdirected?


Cary from Montreal, Quebec

With all the things said and thought about Ridley the last few days, there's something people are missing when they're angry at him for "taking the money." He missed almost two years of football where he wasn't getting paid. Each player only has a finite amount of time in a career to earn the most money they can. Sure, it's a game, and they want to win, but it's also a job and they deserve to be paid what they're worth. Calvin signing a deal that pays him a lot is well-earned for someone who's gone through what he's gone through. As a Jags fan, it is a little painful that he went to the team that shall not be named, but the man deserves to maximize his value and I say good for him and wish him well. I think him leaving though will prompt the Jags to look harder at some of the wide receivers at Pick No. 17 than they would have otherwise looked.

NFL players are never wrong to try to maximize their income. This is professional football. It's real life. You don't play for kicks, giggles and high fives.

Kevin from Clayton, NJ

I guess that's solves our kicker problem. Joey Slye is a good kicker and certainly an upgrade over McManus. I expect special teams coordinator Heath Farwell will love to work with him.

The Jaguars on Monday signed kicker Joey Slye as an unrestricted free agent after not re-signing Brandon McManus, their kicker in 2023. Slye, who kicked for the Washington Commanders the past two seasons, has converted 121 of 147 (82.3 percent) career field goals – 20 of 32 (62.5 percent) from 50 yards or more – and 138 of 156 (88.5 percent) career extra points. He converted 19 of 24 (79.2 percent) field goals – three of five (60 percent) from 50 yards or more – and 32 of 35 (91.4 percent) extra points in 2023. McManus in 10 NFL seasons has converted 253 of 311 (81.4 percent) field goals – 45 of 82 (54.9 percent) from 50 yards or more – and 312 of 321 (97.2 percent) extra points. He converted 30 of 37 (81.1 percent) field goals – five of 10 from 50 yards or more (50 percent) – and 35 of 35 (100 percent) extra points in 2023.

Rob from the duuuuu

The $12 million comment has bugged me for like a week. I couldn't even finish reading that day, just paced around ranting. How about 12 houses for all your grandchildren, or relatives who would never otherwise have the opportunity to own a home? How about 12 trust funds for all of your kids to be educated and have the opportunity to own a home or retire? How about $12 million of scholarship money to help kids in your hometown? How about 12 yachts to have a "Yacht Trott" with 12 of your friends? How about 1,200,000 Bullet Bobs? All this being said .. if you offered me $12 million to move to Tennessee and become a titans fan, I think I would decline. But Calvin Ridley owes us no such loyalty and it is foolish to expect that. Dude was here for one year and has been working his whole life for this one opportunity at a big contract. It would be utterly ridiculous to turn down the "extra $12 million" and especially the $50 million guaranteed that no none else was offering. Fans have loyalty to their hometown or home team, but it is naive and silly to expect loyalty to a team from professional athletes.

You had me at 12 million Bullet Bobs.