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O-Zone: Enjoy the day

HOUSTON, Texas – Game-day O-Zone. Season-finale.

Let’s get to it …

Mark from Prescott, AZ

Well, John: Very, very interesting that Tanner Lee was activated this week. Do you expect an early hook for Blake Bortles if things don't go well? I personally hope they do go well for him. A great Jaguar! Hoping for a win ... don't care about draft position. ... Will Grier in second round is my hope.

I suppose Jaguars rookie quarterback Tanner Lee could get a look against the Houston Texans Sunday, but I think him being activated from the practice squad Friday was more about Cody Kessler’s shoulder injury than wanting Lee to play. Remember: Bortles is starting Sunday because of a concern over the offensive line protecting Cody Kessler. Bortles’ awareness and mobility could be an asset Sunday; the Texans’ pass rush in fact will make that mobility a necessity. Lee doesn’t have Bortles’ skills in those areas. Remember, too: Considering Lee is a rookie and not nearly as experienced or aware as Bortles, I’m not sure anyone wants to see him Sunday against Texans pass-rushers Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt.

David from Broward County

So, Tanner Lee has been added to the active roster. I thought the coaches have seen him all year and he clearly wasn’t ready. But if he is ready today, he was ready a few weeks ago and could have been ready a few weeks ago when Kessler was struggling. I know that injuries have made it very difficult for Marrone and his staff to make the offense even functional, but I do not get some of these decisions by Marrone or the front office. I understand that Marrone will be back next year, but I don’t know how you make the positive case for it. Any thoughts to give some clarity?

David is mad online about the Jaguars not believing Tanner Lee was the answer to the Jaguars’ offensive problems this season. I confess to having no idea how to answer this question.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, as disappointing as this season has been, I've somehow enjoyed the ride of being a Jaguars fan and am sad to see our season is coming to an end. When is the draft?

The 2019 NFL Draft is April 25-27.

TBoy from St. Johns, FL

O, is Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone really as intimidated by offense as he indicates by his actions? I really like the baloney one, but I get the impression he would prefer to win a game where three points are scored rather than a well-played, entertaining 31-24 contest. It just seems he does not trust offensive players to be reliable – and does not tolerate errors on that side of the ball as he does on the defense. Putting a creative, innovative offensive coordinator in charge, and allowing some gunslinger-play philosophy, seems to fit the personnel we have drafted/acquired. In the real world of NFL playing safe is playing scared, is playing to be disappointed. With that said, do you have any hunches or likes for a future offensive coordinator for us?

The notion that Marrone is only comfortable in a conservative offense – while understandable – is a bit overblown. Yes, Marrone believes you must run to win in the NFL – and he did famously say before the 2017 season that his preferred offensive approach would be to run every play. But remember: He spent 2006-2008 as the New Orleans Saints’ offensive coordinator under Head Coach Sean Payton. While Payton was the play-caller, Marrone spent enough time with Payton and quarterback Drew Brees to know throwing downfield with a pass-centric offense can work. Remember, too: Marrone’s time as an NFL head coach – with the Buffalo Bills from 2013-2014 and with the Jaguars since the end of the 2016 season – has been without an elite quarterback. He and former Bills/Jaguars offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett squeezed a productive offense from run-centric approaches. That was by preference to a point, but also by necessity. As for the next offensive coordinator … yes, I think there will be an emphasis on improving the passing game, but the major emphasis will still be about playing to the strength of the offensive personnel.

Pete from Jacksonville

It’s obvious the team has gone off the cliff since Whitney and Jessica left the ROAR. Any chance of bringing them back for the fans?

I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Sean from Jacksonville

Building slowly on my Nick Foles acquisition... Trade Ramsey for Le'Veon Bell. I can dream, can't I?

Interest in Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles makes sense, but your dream about trading Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey sounds like a nightmare. Never mind that former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell isn’t a trade possibility anymore and must be acquired as a free agent: If you’re going to give up a cornerback for a running back, the running back better be all-world – like, all-time great all world – and the cornerback probably needs to be average. Bell is very good, though perhaps not all-time great. Ramsey is very, very good – with potential to be all-time great. Bottom line: Trading cornerback Ramsey for Bell would be a mammoth mistake. Fortunately, the Jaguars can’t do it—and wouldn’t do it.

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

I saw someone tweet that the Jags should package some defensive players to swap picks with the 49ers to the No. 2 overall pick. This seems plausible - maybe Malik Jackson and a third to swap first-round picks? If that did happen, would the 49ers be able to restructure Jackson's contract?

Trademachine!

Edward from Los Angeles, CA

Is there anything Bortles can do against the Texans to save his roster spot for 2019? Also, if you had to assemble a ranking of all-time Jaguar quarterbacks, where does Bortles fit?

I don’t believe so. Second.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

I’ve been convinced for a while now Bortles will be released or traded, which of course means the Jaguars must draft for a quarterback or sign a free agent. But I’m trying to be realistic. The only prospective free agents really worth the effort are Teddy Bridgewater and Foles. Either could command a hefty price – and we’re already facing tough decisions to get under the cap (including dead money from releasing Bortles). Drafting a quarterback would be more cost-effective, but the draft class isn’t all that great. I’m starting to suspect that the answer may be to draft the best quarterback we can find but keep Blake for at least another year to give a rookie quarterback time to develop. Is that realistic in terms of cap management?

Your scenario is realistic in terms of managing the cap. But we don’t yet know the Jaguars’ path in addressing quarterback next season. My guess is you are correct that the price for Foles may be too high –and considering the team’s lack of past interest in Bridgewater, I see little reason why they would pursue him in the coming offseason. I continue to believe the most likely route is drafting a quarterback with a veteran as a bridge quarterback. Would Bortles make logical sense as that bridge? Perhaps. Would the Jaguars want Bortles as their starting quarterback to open next season with a possible scenario of him being the long-term starter if a rookie were to be injured? Doubtful, because sometimes it’s time to move on.

David from the Island

Several quarterbacks that were let go by their original teams went on to win a Super Bowl. That list includes Foles, Jim Plunkett, Doug Williams, Johnny Unitas and a couple of more. If the Jaguars move on from Blake, I hope one day he can add his name to that list.

Stranger things have happened, and you’re not alone: If the Jaguars do move on from Bortles this offseason, I think most Jaguars fans would pull for him to do well. He has been a class act in five seasons here. It won’t be a happy day for most Jaguars followers when and if he moves on. Though there of course are exceptions – like, say, Jerell …

Jerell from Columbia, SC

Black Monday is almost here, and a lot of wrongs will be righted with this franchise starting with Blake and Dave. Can’t wait!

I don’t doubt that the Jaguars will part ways with Bortles in the offseason, although I wouldn’t bet on that occurring in the first few days of the offseason. As far as Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell … I fear you may be excited over nothing. I would be surprised if he’s not the Jaguars’ general manager next season.

Jags Fan 818

Hey, Zone: This last half of the season has crawled by, and I thought I was ready for the season to end. The Texans game is our last in 2018 and I'm feeling very sad. I love my Jags and always will. I wish everyone a safe and happy 2019. See ya next season!!!! Go Jags!

There are only so many NFL games each season (16 in the regular season, to be exact). Don’t wish them away. Enjoy the day.

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