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O-Zone: Easy there

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Alan from Jacksonville

With the potential of some teams being hit hard by COVID-19 during the season, wouldn't it be a good idea for teams to be able to keep more players at the ready by creating something like a 10-player reserve squad in addition to the practice squad? It could include players who aren't eligible for the practice squad such as those who have accrued more than two years of NFL service. The NFL could employ many of the practice-squad rules such as the ability for other teams to poach players. I think it could preserve the integrity of the product should an outbreak occur. If you were the commissioner, what would you do?

The NFL reportedly will expand practice squads from a planned 12 players to 16 for the 2020 season and the league reportedly also is considering an additional "COVID-19 reserve list." The "COVID-19" list could operate differently than injured reserve in that a team theoretically could move players on and off the "COVID-19" list without time or numbers restrictions whereas the league's IR system restricts the number of players who can return to a team from the list during the season – as well as restricting when they can return. Your idea of teams having small squads of veterans in addition to the practice squads makes sense, too. It wouldn't surprise me at all if that happened.

Andrew from Fort Lauderdale, FL

Do you think the Jags will use Quincy Williams differently this year or will he back up Myles Jack?

I expect Williams to be a backup weak-side linebacker for the Jaguars this season. Observers have asked often if the second-year veteran could move to safety. I don't expect that to happen.

Kyan from Iowa

Waiting for that video of Antonio Brown working out with Minshew II?


Cliff from Orange Park, FL

I was painfully watching a replay of Kansas City Chiefs/Tennessee Titans game recently and was struck by the size of the holes Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry was running through. Rarely was he touched by the defensive line. I never have seen Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette get those kinds of openings. How different would the perception of these two running backs be had they played on opposite teams last year?

The Titans overall have run-blocked better than the Jaguars in recent seasons. That would help any running back.

Tom from Jacksonville

1,000÷16=62.5, hardly what I call good unless that's the total from 12 carries per game.

I assume – perhaps incorrectly – that you're referencing the longstanding use of 1,000 yards as a good season for an NFL running back. You're right that it's not the same measure now as it was during the era in which teams played 14 or 12 games. But considering the league's overall trend away from run-based offenses, and considering many teams now platoon running backs rather than having a go-to "workhorse" back … well, considering those factors, maybe 1,000 yards isn't an awful "plateau."

Josh from Fernandina Beach, FL

Zone: I am liking the timing of the Myles Jack long-term contract negotiation more and more over time. That contract was signed when there were seemingly expectations that the organization would be focusing its attention on other players who were the subject of prospective contract discussions. Perhaps those dynamics worked against the popularity of the Jack signing at the time given the relative nature of things. To the extent that at the time of the Jack contract negotiation Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell foresaw the need for a cultural/locker room pivot on the horizon, and the likely acquisition of a true middle linebacker, I suppose Caldwell's due for a "one fer" (at least regarding that matter). Looking forward to the conclusion of another dead zone. THANKS and GO JAGS!!


Dave from Dallas, TX

Hey Mr. O: If the college football season is deferred through next spring, or doesn't happen at all, would there be a 2021 Draft? How do you think it would work if so? Thanks for the laughs.

We're again talking about hypothetical situations, which again makes concrete answers difficult. I anticipate the NFL holding a draft no matter what college football does; it would be difficult if not impossible to skip a year. If there is no college season, the league almost certainly would hold it in its normal late-April slot and select draft-eligible players. If the college season is delayed, I could still see a scenario in which the league holds the draft with the caveat that players can't report to teams or be signed until after their college team's season is complete.

Ryguy from Nebraska

Whether Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue signs and plays this season or holds out and doesn't sign the tag, can the Jaguars tag him again next year? Then try again to trade him then?


Unhipcat from Carlsbad

Hi John. If I recall correctly, Dave Campo (former Dallas coach who also coached for the Jags) said Dallas would put Sanders on the No. 2 receiver and double up the No. 1 receiver.

Many teams do this with their best corner. The idea is that you can take away two receivers with that approach whereas putting the No. 1 corner on the best receiver takes away just one player.

Tyler from Jacksonville

I noticed neither here or on NFL official website, there is no headline saying the NFL will be using "separate, but equal" national anthem this year. I expect this is because they know it will lose them a lot of business and are trying to have their cake and eat it, too.

You're referring to the NFL possibly having the Black National Anthem – "Lift Every Voice and Sing" – played this season, and I expect you're incorrect in your assumption. A recent Associated Press report indicates the song could be performed before all 2020 NFL Week 1 games. I expect the story is not on this site or the NFL site because it's a report and because it's not official yet. If it indeed happens, the league will announce it. It's certainly not something it would hide.

Paul from St. Johns, FL

In response to a recent reader question about Ngakoue sitting out two years ... would there be much of a market for him at that point? I mean, two years away from live football has to reduce his value to other teams, right?


Steve from Nashville, TN

With the very real possibility of no fans in the stands this year, what are the teams that are most financially vulnerable looking ahead to next year and do you believe league contraction is a possibility if some don't make it?

All teams would take a financial hit if there are no fans in the stands. Teams that historically have been near the bottom of the NFL in terms of local revenue, such as the Jaguars, probably would feel that hit more than other teams. No teams will fold.

Doug from Jacksonville

Just an idea that KOAF will blow out of the water ... pay Ngakoue enough to be the highest-paid player this year, with the savings from last year, but making the contract basically the same over time he could be the "highest-paid player" and still cost the same, or even less as the reported $34 million over last year and this year wouldn't all be paid. Pay $23.5 million this year, all the other years the same.

That won't happen.

AL from Orange Park, FL

One critical factor that no one seems to talk much about or consider is luck. The 2017 Jaguars were VERY lucky in terms of player health. The 2018 Jaguars were very unlucky in terms of player health. Yeah, "next man up," blah, blah, blah, but obviously no team is as successful without its best players playing. I think Jaguars Owner Shad Khan needs to high a witch doctor, or a priest, or maybe both. Please pass this suggestion up the line....


Sean from Jacksonville

Brown's TE David Njoku for Yannick Ngakoue with an additional third-rounder for us. BAM!


Bradley from Sparks, NV

Please give me a percentage of the following for 2020: Gardner Minshew cements status as franchise QB, Offensive line becomes top-10 unit, Josh Allen becomes elite, Draft class considered top 5.

Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II cements status as franchise quarterback: 42 percent; offensive line becomes Top 10 unit: 32 percent, defensive end/linebacker Josh Allen becomes elite: 82.5 percent; Jaguars 2020 NFL Draft class considered Top 5: 63 percent.

Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire, UK

Oh Mighty 'O' / King of All Funk, out of the following Quarterbacks vying to be the GOAT, Johnny Unitas, Peyton Manning, John Elway, Dan Marino, Joe Montana and Tom Brady, can you tell me if any were suspended for four games by the league for cheating? Asking for a friend. Didn't think the great ones cheated.

Reel it in, Pedal Bin.