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O-Zone: Falco time

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Gary from formerly of Section 107

Zone, How does alleviating bloated contracts of players you've stated several times did not play to their 2017-2018 performances – or simply weren't worth $22 million per year to serve as backup quarterback – in exchange for draft picks indicate Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell is in any way managing more toward the future than for his livelihood today – knowing he accepted neither the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offer of additional third-and fourth-round picks to move back four spots, nor the several reported offers for defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, who represents a very small chance of contributing anything after this season? In your estimation, what has Caldwell done this offseason that would make you think his eye is more toward the future of the franchise than his employment beyond 2020?

Clearing future salary-cap space and trading veterans for draft capital is pretty much all a general manager can do to place an eye on the future. Caldwell and the Jaguars did those things this offseason. Choosing to play a young quarterback – and also choosing to trade a veteran quarterback – can be argued to be about the future. Caldwell and the Jaguars also did those things this offseason. As for a general manager turning down trade offers of additional draft capital to move back, that has to do with deciding if multiple (presumably) less-talented players are a better option than one (presumably) elite player. It has nothing to do with whether a general manager is operating with an eye on the future rather than focusing on the short-term. Does Caldwell realize the Jaguars must win this year? Obviously. But it's very difficult to make the argument that he has been all-in on 2020 and mortgaging the future – although obviously there are those still insisting on making said argument.

Gary from St. Augustine, FL

You keep saying there will be an NFL season and that it will start on time. NFL players don't seem so certain. This doesn't look promising.

Your referencing a series of tweets from high-profile players Sunday with the gist being that the NFL hasn't done enough to ensure players' safety regarding COVID-19. The league the day before had informed players that training camps were expected to begin on time – on July 28. Considering that the NFL and NFL Players Association are still in discussion on COVID-19 regulations and considering such negotiations typically need a deadline for resolution, neither the league's announcement nor the players' subsequent tweet campaign was particularly surprising. My sense is veterans will report around the scheduled time of July 28 and my sense is the regular season will begin in September as scheduled – or at the least, shortly thereafter. As for preseason games, or when teams will actually begin practicing, or how things will play out once it begins … well …

Shawn from The Mean Streets of Arlington

Can we currently consider "Napoleon Dynamite" as a football movie? Uncle Rico!


Byron from Jacksonville

What makes you so sure Yannick will play this season?

I'm not particularly "sure" that Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue will play this season. I don't know that anyone other than Ngakoue knows what he will do – and it's possible he's not certain yet. All I can do is try to say what likely will happen considering the circumstances. The Jaguars have placed the NFL's franchise tag on Ngakoue and do not seem to want to trade him unless there is an offer that they believe makes sense. So far, the latter has not happened – and I don't know that that will change. That means Ngakoue can either play for the Jaguars for around $17 million this season on essentially a one-year guaranteed contract or he can earn nothing. I will reiterate here that no one knows what Ngakoue will do, but under the circumstances it seems more likely than not that Ngakoue would play and earn the $17 million rather than earn nothing. We'll see if that's what happens.

Richie from Jacksonville

So, if Yan decides not to play, and that $17 million is available, I assume Shad will divide it among the .com staff? As senior writer, do you keep it all? Does Ashlyn get a bigger cut than JP & Sexton?

There is no division among staff. I get it all. This, I decree. This is as it should be.

William from Palatka, FL

Rookies are scheduled to report to training camp Tuesday and only eight of the Jaguars' 12 draft selections have signed. What gives?

COVID-19 has delayed the signing of many NFL rookies, which has led to more unsigned rookies at this point of the offseason than at any time since the league and the Players Association instituted the rookie wage scale with the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement. But fear not: the unsigned players have missed nothing to this point and players have been signing at a higher pace in recent days/weeks. It's unlikely many – if any rookies – will miss anything of significance.

Paul from Daytona Beach, FL

I like this team more than the experts, Zone. I'm thinking playoffs. Don't hold me to it, though.

I like this team more than experts, too. I'm not thinking playoffs, but I'm thinking six or seven victories and I'm thinking people may like the future of this team before season's end. I base a lot of that feeling on four young players – defensive end/linebacker Josh Allen, wide receiver DJ Chark Jr., right tackle Jawaan Taylor and quarterback Gardner Minshew II. They seem to be a foursome around which a team can build. I don't include any rookies in that because it's tough to say you're going to build around players who have yet to practice against other NFL players. But yeah … there are signs of a decent young core here. Stay tuned.

John from Jacksonville

Did Tudor forget this is predominately a football site?

I just don't know anymore.

Eddie from Jacksonville

But let's not forget in the Bortles v Brunell debate that #MylesJackWasntDown

I prefer to think of the ongoing O-Zone theme involving former Jaguars quarterbacks Mark Brunell and Blake Bortles as more of a discussion than debate. I'm not sure that many people would consider Bortles the better quarterback of the two, but yeah … Myles Jack Wasn't Down. And it wasn't so long ago that he wasn't down. Amazing, really.

unhipcat from Carlsbad, ca

Oh, hi, John. I'm gonna jump into this best sports movie conversation: "Rubber." It's about an old discarded tire in the desert that comes to life and uses its supernatural powers to exact revenge on humans for their mistreatment of tires. (The scene where Robert, that's the tire's name, witnesses a huge pile of tires being burned is particularly heartbreaking.) Anyway, a beautiful young woman with alluring French accent who drives a VW, an incompetent sheriff who leads the hunt for the murderous torus, a maid who unexpectedly finds Robert in the motel room shower (and pays the ultimate price) it's all there. As John Malkovich said in his David versus Goliath teaser, "If you watch football long enough, you know anything can happen."

We really need football in the fall.

Will from Orange Park, FL

Zone, I can't wait for baseball to begin and that's BASEBALL. I'm jacked for football – even if it's just preseason. What's your best guess for when we'll see NFL teams playing one another?

We're already down to two preseason games, and I get the sense owners may acquiesce to the players' wishing and cancel the final two. I still believe the regular season will start on time, so September 10.

Cliff from Jacksonville Beach, FL

If there's any offseason addition I'm excited about it's CJ Henderson. Why aren't more people talking about him?

A couple of reasons. One is that no NFL teams held on-field work this offseason, so there has been less discussion in the last three months than usual when it comes to rookies. Other reasons are that Henderson is quiet by nature and he plays cornerback – and quiet cornerbacks often get overlooked. But you're right that there are reasons to be optimistic about Henderson. He appears by all accounts to have a professional approach/work ethic, and he was considered by many the best cover corner in the draft. Former NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson has raved about his talents since working out against him earlier this offseason. One short-term positive for the Jaguars on this front is that corner don't typically need that much preparation time to make an impact; if you can cover, you can cover. That doesn't mean Henderson won't have a learning curve, but it does mean he should play and contribute more quickly than rookies drafted at other positions.

Geoffry from Orlando, FL

I remember "The Replacements" quite fondly and was 13 when it came out, so it has a bit of nostalgia for me. The overall movie may not be a classic, but that bar room brawl set to "I Will Survive?" CLASSIC!