O-Zone: Have a seat

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Scott from Gilbert, AZ           

Do you think the combination of the Taven Bryan pick and Nick Foles signing will outperform what could have otherwise been Lamar Jackson and $22 million per year for defensive line and other positional help over the next four years? The pundits believe Jackson will be a Pro Bowler and Foles not, while most will agree that a rotation of Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy for roughly the same aforementioned $22 million would undoubtedly contribute more than Bryan this year.

You perchance might be a little fast and loose with your generalizations, but hey! That’s what generalizations are for. What I’m getting at is I’m not sure the “pundits” are nearly as unanimous in projecting Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson to be elite as you indicate, and quite a few pundits wonder if he will be a long-term starter. While dynamic, he must dramatically improve as a passer before I will believe the Jaguars should have selected him in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. And I don’t know that every pundit believe Foles is going to fail in Jacksonville. As far as investing $22 million in two older defensive linemen – Suh and McCoy – I have a hard time imagining the Jaguars would have or should have done that, so I guess I don’t believe the Jaguars would have been better served drafting Jackson and signing a bunch of short-term veteran players. Still, there’s little question that the first part of your question about Bryan is legitimate. He must improve significantly from his rookie season to justify even a late first-round selection.

Ken from Jacksonville

Isn't a new offensive playbook a reason early OTAs may be critical for someone like Fournette? It seems like a playbook may be learned better corporately on field. Am I wrong?

While I long have been on record saying far too much importance is placed on organized team activities, I do agree it’s a bad public-relations look for Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette to have missed the last few voluntary practices. As far as how much it really hurts Fournette to be absent, remember this: The on-field OTAs and minicamp are only part of the offseason. Coaches began meeting with players in mid-April, and Fournette attended the voluntary offseason program until the last week or so. In that sense, he has missed comparatively few meetings or education opportunities regarding the playbook. Time will tell whether he has learned enough, but it’s inaccurate to say he hasn’t been exposed extensively to the playbook this offseason. That doesn’t mean he will know the playbook well enough; it does mean he has had ample opportunity to do so.

Jason from Thousand Oaks, CA

Well, the Los Angeles Rams have started practicing in my back yard again. We don’t play them in the regular season, but I have tape of their voluntary OTAs that will be vital for evaluation preparing for Super Bowl week. Let coach know.

Good work, Jason.

Josh from Savannah, GA

How does it work salary-wise with expansion to 18 games? Does the salary cap go up and they make an extra two game checks? Or are current salaries divided over 18 game checks?

First, there’s no guarantee that the league will expand to 18 games; if that happens, it would be negotiated in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement between players and owners in 2021. Details and logistics surrounding the change – including percentage of pay to players – would also be negotiated at that time.

Tudor from St. Augustine, FL

Who are you kidding, O? Greg Jones wins that battle every time … Greg Jones wins EVERY battle. This is a universal constant.

Sorry, Tudor. While I understand that anything to do with former Jaguars fullback Greg Jones is “awesome,” this question references an ongoing joke involving longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. “Gene” Frenette. I recently have been told jokes such as these are not funny. Because of the reference to Gene, I can only assume this isn’t funny, either. But thanks for your effort.

Chris from Mandarin, FL

Josh Allen’s injury has been reported as a knee bruise. However, in an interview, Doug Marrone said Josh Allen “tweaked” it. These are two very, very different things. Doug Marrone does not tend to misspeak, so what gives?

That’s not completely accurate. While Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone certainly makes every effort to not lie when speaking to the media, he does relatively often misspeak when it comes to injuries. He in fact is very up front about saying that he rarely knows the dig-down details of an injury and more often has a general idea of when the player might return. So, in this case “tweaked it” and “knee bruise” are both merely Marrone’s way of saying the injury sustained by Jaguars edge defender Josh Allen early in OTAs is minor.

John from Jacksonville

I have a topic that hasn't been touched on in nearly 24 hours. Voluntary. I did some research and was shocked to see that there were many players in recent years that attended the OTAs and didn't play well during the season (some were even cut). Wow - is that possible? Also, there have been teams that had everyone show up for OTAs and they still didn't make the playoffs. Wow - I thought everyone attending OTAs was the magic formula for success. No?

Googling this …

Jimmy from Gainesville, FL

I see the Eagles had Johnathan Cyprien in for a workout this week. Is Cyp really a better backup quarterback to Carson Wentz than Nick Foles, or was this just "a money thing?”

Googling this…

Bob from Fleming Island, FL

Who has been getting first-team reps at left tackle in OTAs?

Under penalty of public humiliation and flogging – and the Jaguars’ offseason media policies – I am not at liberty to say.

Iron John from St. Augustine, FL

Thanks for your insight on which position Josh Allen is best suited for, and patience with discussion about what else he might do. Backing up Yannick Ngakoue and coming in on obvious passing downs sounds right. So, if it's likely that Allen does not train for/play strong side defensive end, who backs up Calais Campbell? Taven Bryan seems destined for the interior and Dawuane Smoot may lack ideal size. Anyone else on the radar?

Smoot, a third-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, is pretty much the best candidate for this. Smoot so far has not done much to inspire confidence. He needs to be more inspiring this season.

Don from Marshall, NC

The rushing title is the hardest personal achievement of all the awards to receive in the NFL. They get smacked around on almost every play. Think about getting hit by a running 330-pound lineman just when you get up to get your coffee from your desk. How many cups of coffee will you be drinking tough guy. Not many would be my guess. You have to respect what these guys put their bodies through. A real man would show some respect this game is no joke. When they leave the game, they are usually crippled for the rest of their lives. Put that in perspective. No. 27 is a tough dude no matter how well he does, and you just hope for the best. I think he is special, and he is going to have a special year. Go Jaguars!

So, one fer toughness … one fer running backs … and one fer Fournette.

Ed from Danvers, MA

Do players have to pay for their own lodging and meals out of their per diem when they come from out of town for voluntary OTA's or does the team provide these things?

Lodging is provided for rookies during the offseason program, but not for any level of veteran. Per diem is provided for rookies and veterans.

Scott from Jacksonville

The fourth preseason game is the only one that has become completely unwatchable. I know I will be throwing my ticket away. Point being, I would be in favor with a 17-game regular season, three-game preseason, with each team getting a neutral site game. Is it really too much trouble for this billion-dollar industry to schedule a neutral site game for everyone?

Probably. That’s a lot of logistics. Not only would the league need to find 16 stadiums a season capable of hosting an NFL games, they would need to find 16 cities that wanted to do so every year. I suppose you could do the latter easier than the former, but I don’t know that it would be worth the headache.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, I checked with my employer and according to them "absolutely nothing about your job is voluntary." What gives?

You’re not a professional athlete. And (you may want to sit down for this part) you might not have a special skill that is in high demand and allows you to behave a bit differently than a “normal employee.” Sorry.

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