O-Zone: Grizzled veteran

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it ...

zac from austin, tejas

You have been around the block a time or two: How would you gauge the average fan's outlook compared to other offseasons?

I don't know how to define "average fan." It's my experience that all fans – particularly all O-Zone readers – are "awesome." Still, most Jaguars fans seem pessimistic this offseason. That's in keeping with what I remember before most Jaguars seasons since I returned in 2011. This makes sense; most fans understandably base expectations largely on the previous season. Jaguars fans were largely pessimistic before 2017 – despite some significant offseason additions – because they had seen only losing for more than half a decade. They were largely optimistic entering 2018 because the Jaguars won the AFC South and went to the AFC Championship Game the previous season. The Jaguars have won 11 games in the last two seasons. There's some hope quarterback Gardner Minshew II might be the real deal, but there also many unknowns. At least from the average – er, awesome – fan's perspective. It makes sense that there's a lot of pessimism.

Brian from Cranford, NJ

Out of curiosity, let's say the "Jaggies" finish with a 6-10 record, good enough for the 10thoverall pick in the draft next year. What would they need to give up to leapfrog the other teams in front of them in order to acquire Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence?

They realistically probably wouldn't have enough draft equity to do it. Even if they did, there's a decent chance a team in front of them would give up more to make the move – or that the team with the No. 1 overall selection wouldn't want to trade it.

David from Ada, OK

I understand the negativity. I gave up on the Jags one summer because I thought quarterback Blake Bortles was trash. That year they made the playoffs. I was crushed when quarterback Nick Foles was injured and was astonished with Minshew. I was crushed when cornerback Jalen Ramsey left but was happy with six wins for such a strange season. I understand when people think they know we are a bad team, and I understand believing it's "fill-in-the-blank's" fault. But I got mad and threw away all my Jags stuff that one year but still had a shot glass I didn't find. I'm going to keep that thing forever. To me, it symbolizes the Jags: some days you need to drown your sorrows, some days you have to celebrate your luck, but you never can predict their season because somehow they are going to surprise you.

I have an old shot glass, too. It symbolizes that I like shots. I'm going to keep it through at least Saturday.

John from Herndon

I've been a fan Since Day 1 (still have my Steve Beuerlein jersey but have upgraded since then) and have never been to Jacksonville. When I finally get the opportunity to visit, which restaurants would you recommend?

Strings on Main Street in Springfield is my go-to. If, that is, Sbarro's isn't open.

Travis from High Springs, FL

Do you believe the Jaguars should try to sign former New Orleans Saints guard Larry Warford? I know they've said they're content with the starters on the offensive line and Head Coach Doug Marrone has said he expects them to make a "jump" in Year 2 under offensive line coach George Warhop, but Warford is considered one of the best guards in the league and is still only 29. It has been reported that he's looking for around $7 million per season. Do they have the cap room for that?

They're actually more than content. They like their offensive line quite a bit. My guess is even if they didn't, $7 million a season would be a little pricey in terms of salary-cap space.

Jim from Jacksonville

The comment you correctly made about long stretches of ineffective Minshew somewhat forgotten because of a few good games at the end brings back memories of why they extended Bortles' contract. Compare and contrast.

What is there to compare or contrast? Bortles was a year from his contract expiring but nonetheless was in his fourth season and therefore approaching the time when a contract extension was necessary. The Jaguars gambled that what they had seen at the end of what for Bortles was a strong 2017 season indicated he would continue to improve. Had that been the case, he would have been on a very affordable contract. Because it wasn't, it was a mistake. Minshew has two years remaining before he can negotiate a new contract. The Jaguars are starting him because they believe he has a chance to develop into a very good quarterback. I'm honestly not trying to be dim here. I just don't understand how to answer the question.

Will from Jacksonville

The Jaguars have taken a quarterback in the sixth round for three straight years. Do they have some analytics saying that the sixth round is a good place to take quarterbacks or is it largely coincidence?

The sixth round is pretty much where you need to take a quarterback to ensure you get one before teams start taking them in Round 7 to prevent them from signing elsewhere as free agents.

Bob from Sumter, SC

Last year wasn't successful by any measure but it's a positive that the Jaguars won six games considering they lost their best player to a horrific back injury, their starting quarterback in the first half of the first game, one of the best tacklers in the NFL at outside linebacker, their best run defender, the top two tight ends on the depth chart and started a sixth-round quarterback with literally no experience playing in an offensive designed for a pocket passer. Just saying there is a reason to be cautiously optimistic that the team will be improved this year and more competitive and with a little luck produce more wins than last year. I just don't see them being worse than last year.

I don't, either. We'll see if we're right.

Hugo from Albuquerque, NM

All I'm saying is that constantly changing coaches and general manager hasn't really helped the standing of the Browns organization since their return to the league. Again, just saying.

True. Change for the sake of change is pointless, and staying status quo for the sake of staying status quo is just as pointless. Jaguars Owner Shad Khan clearly thinks the combination of General Manager David Caldwell and Marrone working together in tandem without Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin will work. He clearly believes that Caldwell made some good moves to get the Jaguars close to being ready to compete entering the 2017 offseason before Coughlin's arrival, and clearly believes at least to some degree that Caldwell is more ready now than he was in his first time making the final decisions. He also clearly thinks that some of the issues the last two years were Coughlin rather than Caldwell. When you have the structure the Jaguars had the last three seasons, it's difficult to assess sole responsibility to either Coughlin or Caldwell. But Khan clearly during his time as owner has leaned toward continuity as opposed to constant change. This was his furthest and most controversial lean yet. Only time will tell if it was a good move.

JT from Fort Worth, TX

Read a tweet that the Jags paid a decent amount of money to undrafted free agent Luq Barcoo. I decided to look him up because admittedly I never heard of him and then I see that he had really good stats at SDSU and he is prototypical at his position. My question to you then is.... How did he go undrafted?!? Was he injured?

Barcoo was an All-America at San Diego State in 2019 who was little-known before that because he transferred from junior college before his junior season. He was well-known to NFL scouts before the draft and was projected by many analysts to be drafted. He went undrafted because he didn't have any measurable traits that jumped off the page, and that's often what causes otherwise late-round players to go undrafted. Remember: draftable players go undrafted every year and undrafted players make teams every year. Barcoo has a chance to make the roster. He's at a position where the Jaguars need young, backup players and special teams players. Stay tuned.

Bryan from Portland, OR

Yo Funk. Fan loyalty has always been a curious phenomenon. I get asked all the time why I'm proudly repping my Jags gear, flying the flag, or otherwise fanning when the team continues to (ahem) suck. But it's really simple: as a lifelong fan, my loyalty doesn't hinge on a season's success or failure, or even a decade's worth of struggle. I fan because I care and always will. I realize that's irrational, but that's what fandom is. What's not irrational is that beautiful beard you're sporting lately. Top offseason acquisition, by far. The Funk has Grizzle. Grizzle Funk forever.

I am the King of All Grizzle Funk.

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