O-Zone: Exciting times

JACKSONVILLE – Once again, stay safe.

Let’s get to it …

Scott from Wichita, KS

You may have touched on this, but regarding Ramsey, Jack and Ngakoue … why did we re-sign the second-round pick before the first or third? Is that just how it happened to work out?

I haven’t touched on this topic yet – at least not from this perspective. The Jaguars indeed extended the contract of linebacker Myles Jack (second-round selection in 2016 NFL Draft) before cornerback Jalen Ramsey (first round) and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (third round); their respective draft positions affected the process because the Jaguars were able to apply the first-round tender on Ramsey, which ensured he is under contract five years to start his career. That enabled the Jaguars to delay negotiating an extension with Ramsey for one more season than otherwise would have been the case. Because Jack and Ngakoue were on four-year rookie contracts, their situations became urgent sooner than Ramsey’s. Still, the respective draft round had nothing to do with signing Jack before Ngakoue. One reason that happened was Jack’s contract was more manageable at $33 million guaranteed than the reported $50 million the Jaguars offered Ngakoue. The other reason Jack signed before Ngakoue was he agreed to the terms offered by the Jaguars whereas Ngakoue did not. That last part was the biggest factor.

Stu from Wrestlingworth, UK

Hey, O: Just wanted to say I hope all the folks in Jacksonville are safe over the next couple of days with Hurricane Dorian. All being well I hope to see you at the Bank on Sunday.

Yes.

Ryan from Fremont, OH

If I remember correctly, the selection of Taven Bryan in the draft was viewed by many as a great value pick at the time. However, there are only a few things assured in life, and all-star first-round draft picks aren't one of them. Feels very similar to how fans reacted to Tyson Alualu's career in Jacksonville.

The reactions do feel similar, but the careers are different. Alualu was a very good player immediately, and he remained very good – despite the perception of some fans to the contrary. Bryan has yet to show that he is going to be good, though it’s not a done deal that it won’t happen.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

Agree there are no “big-name” quarterbacks floating around. There were, however, a few cut quarterbacks who might have been worthy of backup consideration such as Brian Hoyer, Paxton Lynch, Tom Savage and Geno Smith. Or are we depending on Gardner Minshew II to be the backup plus run the scout team?

Minshew will be the backup barring future changes. The Jaguars signed quarterback Chase Litton to the practice squad Monday; he will run the scout team.

Paul from Jacksonville

My guess is that after signing his new deal, Myles Jack is STILL not down.

But he’s still in town.

Braddock from Jacksonville

Double team Travis Kelce? Further expose us up the middle with three undersized linebackers? Defensive teams are built through the middle. The smart plan would be to move Calais Campbell inside at three, have Marcell Dareus at 0 and rush Ngakoue and Josh Allen to make up for our lack of linebackers. Go sign Brandon Marshall and push Jack to the outside where he belongs. It's not that difficult.

I couldn’t be more serious when I say you made a serious career error. How are you not running an NFL team?

Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL

It would be great to have Jalen cover Kelce the whole game, maybe put cornerback A.J. Bouye on Hill or guard him by committee. Who do you think will be the asked to cover Kelce the most in this game? Could that be Harrison? Gonna be a big matchup go jags!

We won’t see Ramsey cover Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce the entire game Sunday, nor would Jaguars fans want to see that. That would mean Ramsey not covering Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill – and the Jaguars need Ramsey on Hill. I doubt we’ll see one player sticking with Kelce the entire game, though I imagine second-year safety Ronnie Harrison will be on him a lot. Harrison has potential to be a big-time player. He’s supposed to handle that sort of assignment. Either way, ask Braddock. He has the answers.

Donny from Lake Mary, FL, Section 35, Day 2

As season-ticket holder since the get-go, I’m stoked about this upcoming season and I think the front office has done a good job overall. Resigning Jack is great, I’m confident they’ll resign Ramsey, and I hope they can work something out with Ngakoue. Having stated that, all the Ngakoue “just sign the man” fans need to catch a clue and educate themselves on how the NFL works. Yannick missed most of the minicamps and Jack did not. He held out the beginning of training camp while Jack was there ready to rock. Ngakoue publicly complained and lobbied for a new deal but Jack did not; he just said a new deal will get done when the time comes. Yannick is not one of the top 10 defensive ends in the NFL if you include run-stopping ability while Jack is arguably a top 10 middle linebacker. Most importantly, Ngakoue isn’t even the best defensive end on his own team (Campbell is, potentially even Josh Allen) while Jack is critical to the linebacking core. While we don’t know the details, it appears that the team offered Ngakoue life-changing money and he declined it while Jack accepted it. The bottom line is that fans upset with the Jags’ front office should be mad at Yannick’s agent because he’s getting bad counseling. He should fire his agent now and hire Jack’s.

I never recommend players fire agents or change negotiating strategies because there’s too much about what players are seeking in contracts that people outside the process don’t grasp. If a player considers himself to be worth “X,” he should try to get “X.” An NFL player is fortunate to have an opportunity at one life-changing contract and only he and his representatives can determine how to handle the pursuit of that contract. All of that said, you’re right that Jack’s handling of the situation and his grasp of his market value helped his contract get done quickly. And you’re correct that Jack’s importance to the linebacking corps made his signing perhaps more urgent than Ngakoue, who is just one of several elite-level or potentially great players in his position group.

Nick from Palatka, FL

Z: I don't think Taven Bryan could give away a chainsaw or a generator right now.

I don’t get it. It doesn’t mean it’s not funny. It means I don’t get it.

John from Jacksonville

What would you identify as a weakness on the Chiefs team based on what is known going into Sunday's game?

The Chiefs are one of the NFL’s best offenses, and any weaknesses on that unit are relative. The great unknown regarding the Chiefs is their defense, which has been rebuilt in the offseason and which is led by new coordinator Steve Spagnuola. The key for the Jaguars Sunday is they must slow the Chiefs offense, create turnovers and create points defensively; their defense absolutely is capable of doing this. The next key is that the Jaguars’ offense – which is just as much of an unknown as the Chiefs’ offense – must do enough to score somewhere in the 20s and keep the Chiefs’ offense from getting into a rhythm. We don’t yet know if they’re capable of doing this. That’s what Sunday will be about.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, I don’t think a hurricane can stop you or the Jaguars. Hope all of you stay safe through the storm.

I am the king of all funk.

Marc from Oceanway

Although rare, I find it intriguing when a punter also kicks, or a long-snapper plays another position. Will Matt Orzech ever play tight end, or is him being listed as a tight end similar to how Marqise Lee is our emergency quarterback?

I admit that with the early week’s focus largely on Hurricane Dorian I didn’t think to find out if Orzech would play tight end. I doubt it because long snappers rarely – if ever – play other positions. The skill set is pretty specific and it usually falls to players who wouldn’t otherwise be in the league.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

Another factor we haven't talked about yet here regarding the 3-4 front is that Jack is good at getting after the quarterback on blitzes. If I am an opposing quarterback and it's third-and-short or third-and-medium, and the Jaguars roll out the 3-4 and I am looking at Campbell, Ngakoue, and Josh Allen knowing all three of those will be in my face, and I see Jack creeping up into the A gap, I'm going to be a little nervous. The thought excites me John.

Congratulations on your excitement. Excitement is … well, exciting.

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