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O-Zone: Good day

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Bo from East Palatka

Regarding the Hall of Fame talk of a certain cornerback, is it fair that when looking back on these last five-to-ten years of football that those years cannot be told without cornerback Jalen Ramsey's presence? I think he's a great cornerback, but like … Hall-of-Fame-worthy? Even his statistics don't really stack up, either. He's not a ballhawk, look at his interceptions. His pass breakups are kind of comical, too.

It's probably close to time to end this thread, what with Jaguars Training Camp 2023 set to begin next Wednesday. But as a closer (perhaps), I'll write what I've been writing for the last couple of weeks on the topic – that former Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey is a great player. He's a Hall of Fame-worthy talent. The point that started this conversation was players such as he and Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry might need another All-Pro level season or two to eventually be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Remember: Hall-worthy talents don't always make the Hall. Former Jaguars running back Fred Taylor and wide receiver Jimmy Smith were unquestionably Hall-level talents. Taylor seems to be getting more in the conversation and I think he eventually will be enshrined. Smith, unfairly in my opinion, seems significantly further from that status. But both would be worthy. Ramsey, who will enter his eighth season in 2023, is close. His interception totals aren't great, but that's not unusual for great cornerbacks because quarterbacks usually throw away from great cornerbacks. Maybe Ramsey would get in if he retired tomorrow. He won't retire tomorrow, and I expect he will turn in another elite season or two and make this conversation moot. We'll see.

Westside Mike from Jacksonville

If the Dallas Cowboys are America's team, does our constant play outside of the country make us the world's team?

The Jaguars have played one home game per season in London since 2013 with the idea of establishing an international presence – and with the idea of solidifying the franchise in Jacksonville with the revenues from the game. They will play a home game and an away game there in 2023. The Cowboys have become "America's Team" with nearly five decades of marketing, popularity and varying degrees of success during those decades. I can't in good conscious call the Jaguars "the world's team." I can say playing internationally has been important to the Jaguars – and that they'll gain popularity as they win.

Donny from Heathrow, FL, Section 37, Day 2

John, I rolled my eyes so hard I almost detached my retinas when reading Brian from Round Rock's take on the Jaguars signing of tight end Josh Pederson, the son of Head Coach Doug Pederson. First, all NFL teams have players at the bottom of the roster with the same background: College production – and they've been in other NFL training camps and in the USFL or XFL. After being productive in the USFL, he was released to pursue another NFL opportunity, then signed with the Jags. Second, Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke runs player acquisition, not Pederson. Does Pederson have some influence? Sure, but he can't order him to sign his son, nor would Baalke do that if it didn't make sense to him. Pederson and Baalke have been lauded for the remarkable culture they have built. Would they jeopardize that by bringing if Pederson didn't fit the criteria as hundreds of players about to go into NFL training camps? If Josh Pederson gets cut (likely), makes the practice squad (possibly), or makes the 53-man roster (unlikely), that's what he earned and the entire team will understand that. Worry about major injuries and player development, not this nonsense. C'mon Man!


Mike from Omaha, NE

I can't help but think we will regret it if we don't sign a proven pass rusher to bolster the defensive line. Look at the Kansas City Chiefs playoff game and Chad Henne's 90-some-yard touchdown drive as one example of how a lack of pass rush hurt. Even if our young players step up this year, what's wrong with a little insurance? What do you think?

I think there's a chance the Jaguars will sign a veteran pass rusher before the regular season. I don't think they see the area as a crisis or as much of a need as many observers.

Jason from North Pole, AK

Do you think the NFL Players Association will negotiate some changes specific to the running back position in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement? What if they shortened rookie contracts for running backs to three years, then removed the ability to use the franchise tag at that position? This would allow them to hit free agency and seek that second contract at roughly age 24 when they are still in their prime. As it stands, a team can control a first-round running back for at least six seasons and use up their bodies before they get a chance at a bigger payday. Any other ideas on what they can do differently? It just feels like something has to give because the longevity and value of the position is so different from the rest.

I received a version of this question recently and dismissed a similar thought – perhaps too quickly. While running backs being devalued long has been an NFL fact, the current outcry over the situation seems greater than past outcries. This has the potential to create change – and if this issue is going to get addressed, it likely will be a version of what you propose. The NFLPA and NFL would have to agree to different rules for the position. That would be a dramatic departure. This may not be a solvable issue.

Marc from Oceanway

Zone, do you think a quarterback's age as he enters the NFL has any effect on how quickly they develop? Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence turned 22 in October of his rookie season and seemed to struggle a bit more early on than someone like Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, who turned 24 in December of his rookie year and reached the Super Bowl in his second year. Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen was only a few months older than Trevor but also took a bit more time to develop.

I hesitate to emphasize age in how a quarterback develops. While maturity is a factor, quarterbacks mature at different ages. Either way, the sample size is too small for an accurate answer. Few people develop into elite quarterbacks and those who do overcome various circumstances to do so.

Johnny B from Howey In The Hills

Mr. O: I'm so glad to see tight end Evan Engram sign a deal with the Jaguars. I know they lost wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr., who was a great locker room guy, but from all I've seen Engram is top notch, a family guy and a real solid citizen. He appreciates the fans and the coaching staff and just seems to really fit the character mode that Pederson is building. He proved himself last year and I'm absolutely elated that he is here long term along with wide receivers Christian Kirk, Zay Jones and – now – Calvin Ridley. Huge receiver room. Can't wait to see them on the field together. Goooo Jags... !!!

Good eye.

John from the land of Indian River

Ozone, Engram said he was out in Arizona with Trevor and the boys getting some work in. I don't remember a Jaguar team this self-motivated before, on offense anyway. Have you heard of defensive players getting together and working on things? The anticipation of this coming season is off the charts.

I haven't heard of Jaguars defensive players doing this and I doubt it happened. There's a limit to how much these non-padded offseason get-togethers benefit players. My thought is that even for offensive players, the benefits are primarily camaraderie and friendship – with a dose of positive publicity in the mix – but comparatively little on-field improvement happening. This is even more true of defensive players.

Steve from Nashville, TN

What was the final price tag on the Miller Electric Center and who paid for it?

The cost reportedly was more than the original projection of $120 million, with the City of Jacksonville and Jaguars splitting the first $120 million and the Jaguars responsible for costs over that.

Bradley from Sparks, NV

Other than Lawrence, which player on offense suffering an early-season ending injury would be most devastating for the Jaguars?

The Jaguars are as deep at the skill positions as at any time in franchise history. Kirk, Ridley and Jones, Engram and tight end Brenton Strange and running backs Travis Etienne Jr. and Tank Bigsby all appear to varying degrees to have the potential to give front-line production. That should allow the Jaguars to lose at least one of those players without significant dropoff. That's the theory and I'll buy it. We'll see if it's true.

Reese from Loyal Jaguar fan in VA

I've got an even better question. How is your day going? Go Jags!