O-Zone: High ceiling

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Rachael from Jacksonville

How do you still have confidence in the front office and their decisions? They won’t pay Ngakoue and I won’t be surprised if they don’t pay Ramsey, either. Seems like we can never keep who we need to keep. Meanwhile, a lot of players are getting paid millions for being hurt. Not to mention the $16 million we are paying for a quarterback to play somewhere else. Something needs to change with the decision-making. More of the same old same, for how many years now? How many different times will they feed us the rebuilding story? We have to rebuild because we can’t afford or won’t pay who needs to be here to win.

A few thoughts on your thoughts. The Jaguars were perfectly willing to pay defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and made him an offer reflecting as much; they haven’t yet been willing to pay what he’s demanding, but that doesn’t mean the sides will never agree to a contract. And while you say you wouldn’t be surprised if the Jaguars don’t pay cornerback Jalen Ramsey, I absolutely would be surprised at that. He’s a different situation than Ngakoue because he’s an All-Pro level player and an era-defining talent at his position, so I don’t expect as much consternation over his contract as there has been over Ngakoue’s. I don’t understand the point about a lot of players getting paid millions for being hurt because human beings get hurt playing football and there’s not much a front office can do to predict or prevent that. I’m also not quite sure why “it seems like we can never keep who we need to keep …” have there been a bunch of great players sign elsewhere that I don’t know about? Finally, I don’t know how many times the Jaguars will “feed” people the rebuilding story. They’re not rebuilding now and haven’t been for a couple of years. They’re currently in the same position as a lot of teams – trying to get to the postseason and very much believing they have a chance to do so.

Damian from Outer Space

Can both Datone Jones and Dawuane Smoot – a pair of defensive ends – make this team? If not, who do you feel has the lead for that position?

Yes. Smoot.

Dave from Dallas, TX

Hey Mr. O: I get all the angst of the reviewable plays rules … and agree with you. But Myles Jack wasn’t down! So, has there been any NFL instruction to officials to let plays play out before using the whistle?

That’s always essentially the instruction. It’s easier instructed than accomplished. The play on which Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack should have scored a touchdown in the AFC Championship Game in New England following the 2017 season clearly should have been allowed to play out. In retrospect. But in real time it looked like the play was over. The mistake cost the Jaguars dearly, but it was understandable that the mistake was made.

Don from Marshall, NC

I think you can put the idea of changing the four preseason and 16-game format on hold until they find a way to replace the lost income the owners will not be making from the preseason games. The owners will hang on to that cash cow as long as they can.

This is very true. Neither players or owners want change that will bring in less revenue; that would hurt both sides. All discussions about reducing the preseason are predicated on replacing the revenue, which means any change likely will come with the implementation of an 18-game regular season. I hope that doesn’t happen because a 16-game regular season is long enough. Any longer and you just increase the number of teams wrecked by injuries late in the season. But what I hope doesn’t matter in this conversation. The momentum for 18 regular-season games seems to be building, and the move away from four preseason games also seems to be gaining traction. The conversation around this issue in the collective bargaining talks in the coming months could be interesting on that front.

Tom from Charleston, SC

What positions do you expect C&C to fill after other team cuts are made?

Most likely candidates: linebacker, offensive line, safety and tight end. While a linebacker signed following the end of the preseason conceivably could play a key role, I would be surprised if a player at any other position added after the cuts to 53 made a significant impact.

Dylan from Danvers, MA

I didn't start following the Jags until last season, after the playoffs had started. I did enjoy looking back through old writings you had made, although they unfortunately usually focused on injuries and stagnant offense. Assuming a clean bill of health for Foles, any predictions on his 2019 season stats? #DTWD

Injuries and stagnant offense were pretty much the theme last season, so it makes sense that would be the focus. I suppose I would estimate Foles somewhere around 3,800 yards with 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions if he plays all 16 games. Give or take.

Chris from Niagara Falls, Canada

Hey, Zone. If you could change history and do, or undo, one roster move from the Tom Coughlin 2.0 era, what would it be?

I would probably re-sign wide receiver Allen Robinson, and I don’t know that I would have signed weak-side linebacker Telvin Smith to a contract extension. I wouldn’t call Robinson elite, but signing him rather than pursuing guard Andrew Norwell in retrospect would have made sense. Smith without question had an impact for the Jaguars, but the positional value of weak-side linebacker makes it a tricky position to sign to a big-money, long-term deal.

Jaginator (formerly of) Section 124

When they first instituted replay, the review was supposed to turn OFF after a given period of time. The idea was that if you weren’t sure after “X” seconds, then it wasn’t clear and obvious. This restriction went away, and that’s probably a good thing for stuff that you can see clearly if you look through multiple angles in slow motion (e.g., whether a receiver stepped out of bounds). But for judgment calls like pass interference, they need to only show the replays in real time and they need to limit the time of the review. Cuz if it’s not obvious when you look at a full-speed replay a few times, then there’s no need to overturn what was called on the field.

Fair.

Cliff from Las Vegas, NV

With the NFL's announcement on the Hall of Fame inductees for 2020, I actually do feel more confident about getting Tony in. Not that there is any such thing as a "sure thing" but can we just assume we get our first guy in? Also, does it cheapen it a little bit with them changing the rules to let 20 in for 2020?

I feel good about former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli getting elected into the Hall of Fame in 2020, too, but the 2020 Hall of Fame rules won’t help him. The class is expanding to 20 in honor of the NFL’s 100th season, but the extra inductees will benefit senior candidates, contributors and coaches. The idea is to clear what is considered a backlog of worthy candidates in those categories. Boselli is a “modern era candidate.” Five modern era candidates are elected each year, and that won’t change in 2020.

Blake from Jacksonville

Why is Taven Bryan?

Because.

Josh from Fernandina Beach, FL

Zone: Video coverage of training camp has been somewhat limited, which is understandable. As someone who has had firsthand access to all of camp, do you believe that quarterback Nick Foles has the ability to carry the team? I've sensed there being a narrative describing Foles as more of a “game-manager” following his arrival to Jacksonville; I am interested to know if you believe his ceiling is higher than that of a game-manager – and if so, what you've observed to lead you to that conclusion. Thanks and Go Jags!!!

I shy away from terms like “game manager” and “carry the team” when it comes to quarterbacks, because neither cliché usually accurately describes a player. But for the sake of your question, I suppose the quarterbacks who most people believe “carry their teams” are Tom Brady of New England, Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay and Drew Brees of New Orleans. I wouldn’t put Foles in that category. But if “game manager” means depending on the defense and running game to win – and keeping mistakes to a minimum – I would say Foles is a lot better than that. The passing offense looked good during training camp. I believe Foles’ presence is going to have a big effect on the offense overall by forcing defenses to not focus on running back Leonard Fournette so much. I also think his accuracy will help the Jaguars’ receivers. So yes … I think his ceiling his higher than game manager. How high? We’ll find out.

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