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O-Zone: Go big or go home

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Nick from Palatka, FL

Z: Do you think Yannick would be worth a compensatory draft pick if he signs elsewhere?

Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue as an unrestricted free agent would indeed figure into the Jaguars' compensatory draft-selection formula should he sign elsewhere this offseason. A reminder: the league takes into account free-agent losses and gains from one offseason to figure into compensatory selections for the following offseason, so a Ngakoue departure from the Jaguars this offseason would mean his inclusion in the compensatory formula in 2021. But remember: Just because a good player signs elsewhere doesn't mean a team receives a compensatory selection. If a team's free-agency gains (signings) outweigh their departures, the team receives no selections. That's why the Jaguars haven't received compensatory selections lately. Even when they were losing players such as cornerback Aaron Colvin and wide receiver Allen Robinson, they were signing free agents. They will have to lose some high-profile unrestricted free agents in a year in which they are comparatively inactive in unrestricted free agency to receive compensatory selections.

Neil from Jacksonville

John, if defensive tackle Marcell Dareus is the key to the defense (as shown by the defense plummeting after he went out with injury), wouldn't one approach be to prioritize retaining him with other high-priced veterans being potential cap casualties? $20M is a lot (maybe slightly less with an extension with guaranteed money), but then perhaps you are building from a more solid spot roster-wise. Or is the cost just too much to make this very likely?

The salary cap and cost make it very unlikely.

Sean from Jacksonville

Uh-oh! Former Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey has a new defensive coordinator in Los Angeles. I wonder how long it will be until he pouts and wants out? Those poor defensive players in LA.

Ramsey obviously won't pout or want out of Los Angeles. Why would he? He's a dedicated professional who loves his teammates. For Ramsey, that takes priority over all else.

Dylan from Danvers, MA

When you say Ngakoue could be used as a strong-side linebacker in base situations, would that involve him dropping back in coverage? As a pass-rush specialist, would that restrict his value?

He would rush the passer in pass-rushing situations, just as he does now.

Adam from St. Johns, FL

So now you call out Hayes for writing an article. Just how many years do you think it should take a general manager to build a franchise? Ten, 15 years? When is it acceptable to you to fire a general manager? We have four first-round selections in the next two years and it's a perfect time for a reset, but you want the guy that's failed on all but one first-round pick? I'm seriously trying to understand it. You didn't think Gus Bradley was a bad coach, either.

Take a breath, Alan. You seem frustrated, which I suppose I understand but which you could perhaps remedy by reading what I write rather than focusing on what you want to read. Do that, and you might realize I haven't called anyone out recently. In fact, I rarely do. It's amateurish. And while I'm definitely an amateur, that trait of theirs I try not to exhibit.

Seamus from Vancouver, BC

Hi Zone of All Funk … Do you have any explanation for why so many fans seem obsessed with changing the defense from 4-3 to 3-4? I mean, I am not familiar enough with either defensive formation to discuss it knowledgeably, but many fans do and I wonder why they are so focused on changing it. Any insight?

Fans and observers are intrigued by the idea of the Jaguars switching to a 3-4 scheme for a couple of reasons. One is that the Jaguars struggled defensively this past season, so many fans believe it must be the fault of coaching or scheme. Another reason is that some of the Jaguars' personnel would fit into a 3-4 – mainly edge defenders Ngakoue and Josh Allen. But a scheme change isn't necessarily the end all, and no scheme is effective without good players. I anticipate the Jaguars will run primarily a 4-3 scheme next season because I expect Todd Wash to remain the defensive coordinator. But if that happens, I expect a few players to be used differently – including Ngakoue.

Andy from St. Augustine, FL

So there's been a lot of discussion here (and elsewhere) about whether Shad Khan is a good owner or a bad owner. Is he a smart billionaire or just someone who is in over his head? The way I look at it as a fan is I want my team to win and ultimately I want my team to make the playoffs and win the Super Bowl. Toward that end (since this is a "what have you done for me lately" kind of business, this obviously changes from year to year), the Jags had the 24thbest record in the NFL this season – and while new scoreboards and swimming pools and the potential development downtown is all nice, in my mind that makes Shad Khan the 24th best owner in the league this year.


Tom from Shanghai, China

According to your analysis, the Jags have a big enough need at every spot on the roster except running back and safety to consider drafting that position in the first round of the draft. That's a concern.

I wasn't analyzing based on need. I was analyzing based on how the Jaguars might draft this offseason. There's a difference because teams don't always draft in the first round based on need, nor should they.

Brian from Greenwood, IN

It literally feels like "Groundhog Day" all over again. Did we just do a time warp back to 2015? Questions about the quarterback, offensive line, defensive backs, linebacker, General Manager David Caldwell. Is it me, or are we in a vicious cycle of "wash, rinse, repeat?"

A little, I suppose.

Sean from Jacksonville

What is the consensus regarding Dontavius Russell? Since he is at a position of high need this offseason, what is the outlook he sticks around next year? I really don't remember his name in the news this past year.

Rookie defensive tackle Donavius Russell was a healthy inactive most of the season. That's not uncommon for a late-round lineman as a rookie. I expect him to be on the team next season, but Russell needs to improve in his second season.

Woger from Atlantic

I think the reason that the conspiracies get traction is in the silly hope that someone actually has a plan and that plan, evil or not, is competent and therefore comforting.

Thank you for that. Very much.

Sascha from Cologne

Hey, John: Do you think the Jaguars will adapt to the "new" trend of many teams to play a fullback again? From my perspective, that makes sense if you are a running team.

This will depend on scheme and coordinator. If offensive coordinator John DeFilippo returns next season, I doubt you will see a "true fullback." If another coordinator is calling plays, that coordinator may see the benefit of a full-time fullback. But there's nothing wrong with not carrying a fullback. A good run-blocking tight end can play the role effectively.

Georgia from Eric Robbins

You're at seven different ways of changing my name. Over under is 13.5... keep it up! Thanks for answering all of our questions as always.

Thanks for reading, Bart.

Brian from Cranford, NJ

It occurred to me that perhaps Jaguars rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II would have a more successful time working the middle of the field if they had a tight end who could move the ball down ... I don't know ... the middle of the field? Five tight ends combined for 459 yards.

This is indeed the ultimate chicken-egg question for the Jaguars' offense. Was Minshew's lack of productivity in the middle of the field because he isn't comfortable using the area? Or was it the obvious lack of a tight end after the Week 5 loss of Jakes O'Shaughnessy to a torn anterior cruciate ligament? An argument can be made either way, and we probably won't know the answer until the Jaguars upgrade tight end.

David from Oviedo, FL

Johnny-O, remember, in school when the teacher would sometimes let you grade your own paper and trusted that you wouldn't change any of your answers? Well, some fans are like that, they answered Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, but you can see where they tried to erase Leonard Fournette.


Chris from Norfolk, VA

If we are going with Minshew as quarterback, then I can't wrap my head around why we wouldn't go O-line, D-line, O-line, D-line. That's three-to-four linemen learning, getting stronger, helping our Stache get an extra second or getting Fournette that extra yard on first down. It just makes perfect sense that we have no real data on our exhausted D, or our young wide receivers to get separation. Am I wrong here?

Perhaps not.