O-Zone: Fear factor

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL

It’s not just Nick Foles’ contract that makes us feel as if the franchise is being set back. It’s missing the opportunity to select a quarterback at the top of the draft. We are lucky to have both have a talented team and a very high draft selection. Missing Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes did hurt and now the possibility of missing Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins (and the top guys next year, whoever they may be) means we will continue at least another two years before we even select our possible future franchise quarterback. Foles blocks our ability to select the next Mahomes. That’s the problem. The strategy seems to be about doing everything to "win now" – a.k.a., "save our jobs" -- as opposed to what is best for the long term of the franchise.

Your anger assumes a couple of things, the first of which is that Foles won’t become the Jaguars’ long-term solution at quarterback. Remember: Foles is 30, so it’s not unreasonable to think an elite Foles could be the Jaguars’ franchise quarterback for five, six, seven years or more. Your other angry assumption is that Haskins or Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray – the consensus top two quarterbacks in the 2019 NFL Draft –- will be elite, just as people assumed Mahomes and Watson would be elite because of their draft status. And if the Jaguars pass on Haskins/Murray and they become elite, those would be mistakes. The Jaguars and a lot of other teams passed on players such as Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel and others when people were clamoring for them; those decisions didn’t set those franchises back. I would like to see the Jaguars select a quarterback in the Top 10 next month. But I don’t believe myself special enough to believe that them not agreeing with me assures they will be setting the franchise back.

Michael from Jacksonville

I can’t find anything on Jaguars.com concerning the signing of Jake Ryan. Are you aware we signed him? We seem to like guys rehabbing their ACLs #UnderTheRadar

There’s nothing on jaguars.com about the Jaguars signing former Green Bay Packers linebacker Jake Ryan because the Jaguars haven’t signed him. There have been reports that he will sign, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he does sign, but it hasn’t happened yet. If and when it does, it will be reported on jaguars.com immediately.

Tony from Perry, FL

Hey, John: Had the flu this past week. Anything interesting happen whilst I was out?

No. You’re good.

Richard from Jacksonville

Jaguars center Brandon Linder has yet to complete a full 16-game season in his NFL career. Why should the Jaguars assume he should stay healthy? Assuming that he will not is the much more likely scenario.

While Linder indeed hasn’t played all 16 games in a season in his five-year NFL career, your question implies he never has made it through a season. That mispresents reality a bit. Linder in five seasons has finished the season on injured reserve two seasons – 2015 and this past season. He finished his other three seasons and played 13, 14 and 15 games in those seasons. That doesn’t make him ultra-durable, but it’s not as if he’s always hurt.

Jordan from Jacksonville

Zone, your assessments of Foles have largely been in response to hysterical fans, so I'm curious ... what are your honest opinions of the guy? Can we expect more wins this year?

I think Foles will bring accuracy, stability, leadership and poise to the position – with the major difference between him and former quarterback Blake Bortles being accuracy and a knack for clutch play late in games. If the Jaguars remain relatively healthy around him … yes, I think they will win more games and have a chance at the postseason next season.

Robbie from Jacksonville

Not into numerology, but curious if there is back story to Foles choosing No. 7?

Foles wore No. 7 as a kid all the way through his career at Austin (Texas) West Lake High School. He said last week he has wanted to wear the number since, but it always has been unavailable.

Marc from the Southside

Do you think Telvin Smith has a bounce back type of season in 2019? Seems like he got himself into trouble quite a bit last year biting on run fakes and over-pursuing plays. Will he clean it up? And if he doesn't -- is Myles Jack at the Will position an eventual consideration?

The Jaguars need Smith to have a bounce-back season in 2019. I don’t know if he will clean it up. And yes … Jack would be an option at weak-side linebacker eventually.

Bruce from the O-No Zone

John: "I've got two tickets to paradise..." Would you pick Logan or Jerell to go with you if I give 'em to ya?

They can go with one another.

Andrew from Fishers, IN

I think it’s fair to say this will be Campbell’s swan song with the Jags. I understand the offensive needs but why not a defensive end at No. 7 in the draft? If a Josh Allen or Montez Sweat is there at No. 7, that’s a good start in helping replace Campbell’s production.

I thought 2018 would be Campbell’s final season in Jacksonville – until he turned in a second consecutive remarkable season. Until he stops doing that, I wouldn’t assume anything about his longevity. I wouldn’t mind the Jaguars taking a defensive player at No. 7, but I doubt that will be their direction.

Brian from Gainesville, FL

Big O, tackle Josh Wells and center Tyler Shatley at the least should be re-signed right? Those guys have played well for the Jaguars.

I was a bit surprised Shatley wasn’t resigned; it appears the Jaguars are looking for younger players to develop on the interior. Wells did play well this past season, but he struggled mightily throughout his time with the Jaguars to stay healthy. It’s difficult to have a role as a backup if you’re not available when it’s time to be called upon.

Mark from Archer, FL

John, so if the Jags draft a left tackle at No. 7, do you think they would then move Cam Robinson over to right tackle? Or would they have him just be depth the first year or have him play right tackle?

If the Jaguars select a right tackle in the Top 10 of the 2019 NFL Draft, I expect that player to start at left tackle. If they select a left tackle in the Top 10, I expect Cam Robinson to move to right tackle. I don’t expect a tackle selected in the Top 10 to be a backup as a rookie.

Ryan from Fremont, OH

Looking at the deal the Dolphins gave Ryan Fitzpatrick compared to the Foles deal makes me feel even more like the Jags paid way too much for a quarterback who is arguably marginally better than Bortles. We could have signed Ryan Fitzpatrick, drafted Dwayne Haskins, kept Tashaun Gipson, and even made a few bigger free-agent moves while still being able to win now and have a good outlook on the future.

That’s fine, except the Jaguars considered Foles a potential long-term, franchise quarterback. They didn’t feel that way about Fitzpatrick.

James from Socorro, NM

I think the Jaguars would be foolish to pass on a quarterback at No. 7 in the draft. If Foles is what the Jaguars think he is, the team will not be drafting this high in the next two years, and Foles' contract is structured such that he is an "easy" cut after two years, the perfect time to introduce a quarterback that has sat for two years to develop. What say you?

I agree in theory, but I don’t believe the Jaguars signed Foles with the idea that he will fail in the next two years. In light of that, I don’t believe they will draft a quarterback with the idea that he will be ready to play when/if Foles fails.

Limo Bob from Jacksonville

With the contracts backup quarterbacks are receiving, it would make sense to draft a quarterback at No. 7. Five years as your backup on a rookie contract is not such a bad deal.

A quarterback selected at No. 7 overall would not be expected to be a backup for five seasons.

John from Folesville

John, I have a suggestion you need to present to our wide receivers – to TAPE $100 bills on their practice footballs. Each time they drop one in practice, that’s a $100 to their favorite charity, if the drop a ball during a game it’s a $1,000 dollars per ball dropped. Maybe after a little while they will hold on to the balls. If they fumble, it’s $5,000 dollars a fumble.

You’re right, because knowing that dropping passes will hurt and possibly end their careers isn’t motivation enough.

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