O-Zone: Identifying characteristics

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

I know you said you don't put much stock in rankings. I know you said our front office feels good about the offensive line we have now. Still, various "experts" ranked our 2019 offensive line as 26th, 27thor 28th. That doesn't inspire confidence regarding giving quarterback Gardner Minshew II time to find receivers or opening holes for running back Leonard Fournette. So does the general manager, head coach, etc. like our offensive line's potential? Or do they really think the offensive line performed at an acceptable level last year?

A little of both. They believe the line was better in the past than observers believe, and they believe the group will improve this season – particularly with left tackle Cam Robinson continuing to return to full health following his 2018 torn anterior cruciate ligament. I think the Jaguars' decision-makers like the line enough that they would start Robinson, left guard Andrew Norwell, center Brandon Linder, right guard A.J. Cann and right tackle Jawaan Taylor next season. I think if it came to a situation that the best player available early in the draft was a left tackle, the Jaguars might select that player. I don't think they feel compelled to take an offensive lineman early to the degree they might feel compelled to take defensive tackle, cornerback and wide receiver.

Julio from Southern California

O, Saw report of Fournette possibly traded. Is this partly because former Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin is no longer around? Also, do you think I'm today's NFL the cowbell running back is better or do you think running back by committee fairs better?

This is based on a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter that the Jaguars could trade running back Leonard Fournette. I don't believe the report – if true – has much to do with Coughlin, nor do I believe it has much if anything to do with Fournette's comments this week about wanting the Jaguars to pursue former Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. I do believe teams can play effectively with running backs by committee rather than bell cow backs. The exception is if the "bell cows" are elite backs. I don't have a feel yet for if the Jaguars indeed will trade Fournette. There are a few days until the 2020 NFL Draft. Stay tuned.

Jerell from Columbia, SC

I love what the Jags are doing! If the rumors are real about Fournette great! Late two or a three and DEAL!

I don't know if they can get that, but OK.

Fred from Naples, FL

I am a bit surprised that because of the COVID-19 and having a virtual draft that the NFL is not allowing for more time between selections in the later rounds. Just my two cents.

Agreed.

Scott from Fernandina Beach, FL

Hi John, Let's say the Jaguars struck a deal today to trade defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. Does that deal have to be announced right away or could they delay the announcement until after the draft to keep the 30 other teams in the dark?

It wouldn't have to be announced, but the idea that teams could keep it quiet is a bit antiquated and unrealistic.

Unhipcat from Day 35, CA

Hi John. I will not argue you are KOAF. That is a fool's errand. I am curious, however, based on what metric? Were you the only person ever to ace the KOAF exam on the first (or any) attempt? Was there a KOAF competition where you toyed with pretenders? (Why not televised ala Strongest Man, then?) Is it like Super Models, and people "just know?"

I am the king of all funk.

Travis from High Springs, FL

What is the difference when it's said someone is a zero/one technique, three technique or five or seven technique?

The "techniques" refer to where a defensive lineman is lined up, and the numbers refer to places along the line. A defensive tackle who is lined up over the center is said to be in the zero technique, whereas a defensive tackle lined up in the space on either side of the center is playing the one technique. A three technique is around the outside shoulder of a guard and a five technique is nearer the outside shoulder of an offensive tackle. A seven technique is lined up around the inside shoulder of a tight end and a nine technique is even further out on the outside shoulder of a tight end.

John from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

In two successive drafts, the Jaguars selected defensive tackles Marcus Stroud and John Henderson in the first round. That worked out well. Why are you so against selecting both Brown and Kinlaw in the first round this year? If they turn out as good as Stroud and Henderson it would be a great draft.

I'm not against the Jaguars selecting both Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown and South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw. I don't think the Jaguars will select both players because there are a lot of other needs and I don't know that the value of both players will be so great when and if the Jaguars have a chance to select them to trump those needs.

Sam from Orlando, FL

It's not a question and I'm not sure where the debate is. Biggest mistake in draft history is Fournette over Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Fournette can go on to rush for 1,500 yards a year for 3-4 years and won't diminish what Mahomes means to a team. Believing in Blake Bortles set this team back for five-to-seven years and the only person who got fired over it got fired for something unrelated to being a terrible personnel man.

It is unfortunately a debate.

Steve from Hilton Head, SC

Didn't the Jags pass on Ben Roethlisberger to pick Reggie Williams?

Yes. Hence, the debate.

Robert from Jacksonville

You didn't post my comment on Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue not doing former Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell any favors, so can you comment on the possibility of trading Ngakoue as part of a trade-up deal in the draft? I so now want him gone! I really was a big fan of his, but I've changed and so has he. When he was in school, any school, he should have taken some basic economics, heck, just basic math! Plus $17 million (total $20 million) is greater than $3 million. But what do I know? I'm not a sports agent.

I get a lot of emails to the O-Zone every day. I post a lot of them. I don't post all of them. I would be surprised if the Jaguars trade Ngakoue as part of a package to move up in the 2020 NFL Draft because I think they would like to get more in return for him than that – and also because I don't think they're actively seeking to trade him.

Doug from Jacksonville

I have been watching a ton of film, well highlight videos on YouTube, but it's the same thing, right? I have some serious input General Manager Dave Caldwell needs to hear. I'm assuming he has been too busy to watch YouTube as much as me so right now I'm essential to the success of this draft. Please pass along my email.

Done.

Tim from Fernandina Beach, FL

John: A recent question about Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson got me thinking. I'm not so sure he is going to have sustained success until he can throw from the pocket accurately and have better touch. If he can't do that, defensive coordinators will figure out how to stop him from running as well as he has. Your thoughts?

I would guess coordinators will spend a lot of time this offseason trying to combat what the Ravens do offensively. Jackson appears talented enough to still be productive when that happens. The bigger issue will be what happens when wear and tear – and age – take a toll on Jackson's running ability. Running backs in the NFL typically have shorter periods of elite productivity because the body can't sustain the long-term pounding and remain as effective. Running quarterbacks historically have had the same issue, which is why quarterbacks who are effective from the pocket have longer productive careers.

Ed from Danvers, MA

If the Jags were to draft a left-handed quarterback, this would make Jawaan Taylor the blind side tackle? Is he good enough in pass protection to do that effectively or would he and Cam Robinson switch sides (seems harder than it looks)?

Taylor can pass-protect fine, and he's only going to improve. Remember: while the left and right side – and blind side – at tackle still matter, the concepts matters less than they did a couple of decades ago. Whereas teams long put their best pass rushers almost exclusively on the right side of the defense, that's far less the norm. That has lessened the difference between right and left tackles. Either way, I don't see the Jaguars moving Taylor from the right side. He's a prototype for the position.

Steve from Cancun, Mexico

JO: Before the KOAF title, did your high school classmates refer to you Stud (the cheerleaders) and Adonis by the football team?

Obviously.

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