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O-Zone: In the DNA

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Robert from Fernandina Beach, FL

I think it is possible Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell and Company are looking at things like this: Quarterback Joe Burrow of Louisiana State is great but will be gone, and Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is great but injury-prone. The rest of the quarterback class is above average but not great, which is what we have so far with Gardner Minshew II, so drafting a quarterback is out. Better to focus on acquiring players to try to build around our current quarterback given the circumstances. Thoughts?

Yes, that's possible. It's also possible the Jaguars love Tagovailoa and hope he slides to them at No. 9, and it's also possible they love him enough to trade up a few spots. It's also possible they like quarterback Justin Herbert of Oregon and believe he will be there at No. 9. One thing we know about Caldwell is he's not going to give away his thoughts on quarterback. There were few – if any hints – that he planned to select quarterback Blake Bortles at No. 3 overall in 2014; few around the organization had a clue about that until the night before 2014 NFL Draft. I'm not projecting the Jaguars to select a quarterback in Round 1 this year, but I absolutely wouldn't be stunned if it happens.

David from the Mean Streets of Duval



Dave from North Kingstown

John, who do you think will be the defensive tackle and cornerback the Jags take early?

This depends on who's available. If defensive tackle Derrick Brown of Auburn is there, I project the Jaguars taking him. If that happens, then I could see corner and wide receiver at either No. 20 or No. 42. There are enough players at either position that it's hard to project specifics about who and when.

Greg from Section 12 and Jacksonville

Wait, wait, wait, WAIT just a second. Holding all the titles you do (KoAF, O-Man, O-Zone extraordinaire etc.) you mean to tell us, your loyal readers, you do not the possess the power of complete foresight? That precognitive ability that allows you to foretell all things with absolute certainty? I was depending on your wisdom for the draft, Covid-19 response, what car to buy next and where to send my kids to college. Now I am simply crushed. What am I ever going to do, O-man? #Staysafe

Deal with it.

Rob from Quantico, VA

So, if the season kicks off as scheduled, but international travel ban is still in place when it comes time for our London games, what would happen? Play in Jacksonville? I know that one of the London games is scheduled to be during the annual FL/GA game. How would that be impacted as well? Curious minds want to know!!

If the international travel ban is still in place in your scenario, I would expect the Jaguars' London games to be in Jacksonville. I would expect the Florida-Georgia game to played at TIAA Bank Field if college games are being played, and I would expect the Jaguars' game that week – if there is a game scheduled that week – to be played in Jacksonville as well. Could it be played on a Monday? Or later on Sunday than usual? Perhaps. It would be tricky. These are tricky times.

Mathew from Jacksonville

Is there a good chance we might draft Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy with the No. 9 overall pick?

I'm not ruling it out.

Michael from North Charleston, SC

What was the knock on Tre Herndon coming out of college that he didn't get drafted? Were the flashes last year just a luck of the draw or did teams overlook his talent?

Jaguars cornerback Herndon went undrafted in 2018 not because he wasn't a good college player, but because he didn't possess a particular trait that made scouts project he might develop. When scouting players later in drafts, scouts typically look for some measurable – size, speed, height … something – that makes them think the player might develop. Often overlooked are good football players who simply are "good enough" to be good. Herndon on this front reminds me of former Jaguars wide receiver Allen Hurns, who didn't have blazing speed or eye-catching size but who for a while was a good NFL wide receiver. Herndon feels a little like that.

Richard from Jacksonville

I seem to remember the Jaguars struggling immensely to run the ball in short-yardage and goal-line situations. Would this not be a reflection of poor performance by the offensive line?

I usually associate struggling in short-yardage and goal-line as a reflection on the offensive line as well, though that's not always the case.

Art from Drexel Hill, PA

Cam might be average at left tackle, but he's in the last year of his rookie contract and at this point I don't think I would pay him next year.

This is a very important season for Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson.

Julio from Southern California

O, do you think the teams would be willing to stay in hotels all season to be able to play this year? How do you feel empty stadiums could impact home field advantage?

If that's how players and coaches will get paid … yes, I could see teams staying hotels all season. Would empty stadiums impact home-field advantage? I don't see how they wouldn't.

John from Jacksonville

J.O. Every year, fans talk about an upgrade or draft pick at right guard. Yet A.J. Cann has started in 75 games in the last five years only missing four games. He is a grinder for the Jags who deserves a one-fer from the fan base ... let's go A..J Cann-do.

Cann isn't a Pro Bowl-caliber player, but he's a starting-level player. You're supposed to be able to win with starting-level players at various spots around your roster because you can't have Pro Bowl players everywhere. So, yeah … one fer Cann.

Charles from Riverside, FL

Hello John, with the new free agents, bountiful draft pics, and new offensive coordinator, how important is the "new-offense-playbook" issue. So far on offense it looks like most of the players will return. But they have a new offensive coach. In the modern era, how different really are the offensive schemes between most teams? Seems as if most plays fall into an easily-recognized category or label. Is it the nuance that is so different? Is there a profound difference in how the overall offensive "scheme" is between teams? I am probably dumbing this down, but would appreciate your expertise.

The new playbook under new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden will be an issue for the Jaguars this season. It can be learned virtually in the coming weeks and months, and many players will be fine learning it that way. Some players learn offenses better through repetition – and on-field repetition can't hurt – so not having offseason on-field activities will be an issue on that level. As far as the difference in schemes … you're right that most schemes feature essentially the same plays with the main difference being terminology/language. Still, while the difference isn't profound there is a difference – and training camp will matter for the Jaguars on that front.

Al from Orange Park, FL

"Has Marcell Dareus signed with another team? No." Hmmm, so might he be re-signed for a lesser cap hit? Or is this one of those, "Sometimes it's time to move on" things?

This is one of those "health-permitting and salary-makes-sense" things. The Jaguars liked Dareus and I got the impression Dareus liked playing here. It's always difficult to predict a player reuniting with a team after he is not retained, but this one wouldn't be out of the question.

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

I just read that the Jaguars "declined to pick up the option" for Dareus. I thought they cut him before the end of his contract. Is this just semantics or is he considered to have played out his contract, and will therefore count towards a 2021 compensatory pick?

The Jaguars had an option for Dareus' contract for 2020 and declined to exercise it. Because he was not an unrestricted free agent under NFL/NFLPA rules – i.e., he will not count toward the Jaguars' compensatory-selection formula in 2021.

Hunter from New Hampshire

Hey O, I find it funny how angry Jags fans are about this offseason and about the needs of the team. We all remember that our safeties have potential, yet not enough experience, and now fans say get rid of them. Next it's the offensive line, which is stacked with big-time players, but there was a rookie and Cam came off an ACL tear. Next is that our linebackers suck … well, we have Joe Schobert, Myles Jack and Quincy Williams -- and will start healthy this season at that position. Why don't people understand we have a better team and are in a better position than last year?

Fans fan, Hunter. It's what they do. Even when social distancing.