O-Zone: In the lane

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Tudor from St. Augustine, FL

Hi, Fro-Zone! I think the concerns you have with the new PI rules are valid. However, do you think most of the issues you point out could be avoided if each team is only allowed two PI challenges per game? This way, we're not reviewing every other pass.

Teams’ pass-interference challenges will be limited under the new rules the same way all challenges are limited. It’s not the number of challenges per game that makes it a bad rule; it’s that pass interference is rarely clear and obvious. Most incidents of pass interference are unclear enough that one team believes the call should have gone in its favor and the other team believes it should have gone in its favor. The review therefore only serves to bring another judgement into the situation rather than to determine the “correct” call. That’s not the spirit of the NFL’s replay system, and the result is that in most instances pass-interference reviews will accomplish nothing except creating additional disagreement.

Nick from Palatka, FL

Z: Glad to see Jaguars wide receiver Marqise Lee off the PUP list. Is there enough time that he might play against Kansas City?

Lee indeed came off the physically unable to perform list Saturday, and he said his goal is to play against the Kansas City Chiefs in the September 8 regular-season opener. What we know is the Jaguars believe he will be able to play sometime in the first four or five games of the season; otherwise, there would be no point in bringing him off PUP before the season. With three weeks remaining before the opener, there’s time for Lee to be ready. The issue will be how quickly he gains confidence in the knee to perform instinctively and without hesitation. Only time and repetitions will determine that.

Charles from Newport News, VA

So, as I scroll through the season-ending injuries for other teams, I have no issues with resting the starters for the majority of the preseason. What are your thoughts?

I think I have no issues with teams resting their starters for most of the preseason. I like the idea of playing them in Preseason Week 3 because the dress-rehearsal nature of that game is good for newcomers and rookies. Other than that ...

Chris from Mandarin

Gardner Minshew did a very good job of stepping up in the pocket a few times and Alex McGough threw accurately on the move. I believe they could do well enough with good offensive line play. This is true of most quarterbacks. I only to say that the situation behind Nick Foles may not be as dire as it appeared the first week of preseason.

Hey, one fer Minshew and McGough …

James from Salt Lake City via Jagsonville

O-Man: After listening to half your readers, I honestly think they only go to the game to see what the final score is. How do you deal with it?

There’s nothing wrong with caring about the final score in the regular season; in fact, during the regular season that usually matters above all else. That it couldn’t matter less in the preseason is something a surprisingly large number of fans miss. But it’s not hard to deal with. You explain, re-explain, then move onto another topic. And fortunately, there’s always another topic.

Bentley from Boulder, CO

For a moment there on Thursday night, Alex McGough looked like the King of All Funk.

I am the king of all funk.

Brian from Jacksonville

I’ve returned to Jacksonville from an extended distraction to learn the Jaguars’ training camp and preseason haven’t changed or revealed much. Left tackle Cam Robinson’s activation is good news, but will he play? Has Jawaan Taylor stepped up as he should and taken the RT position? Has Will Richardson taken a guard position? Are all the additional practice reps helping define the OL? They are all healthy, right? September 8 is fast approaching. How are things actually going for the OL group?

Many of your questions may be answered in the coming weeks, and the next few days are important for the line. Head Coach Doug Marrone said Saturday he would like the first-team line to play against Miami; I believe that line would be left tackle Cam Robinson, left guard Andrew Norwell, center Brandon Linder, right guard A.J. Cann and right tackle Jawaan Taylor. All five players were working early in a light practice on Saturday, but we’ll see if the players in the group coming off injuries – Robinson, Taylor and guard Andrew Norwell – can get enough practice repetitions to play against Miami. I do think there’s a chance Richardson will win the right guard position over Cann, but that hasn’t happened yet. As far as how things are going for the group, we don’t yet know because it hasn’t been together. But three weeks remain until the regular-season opener. If the group stays healthy between now and September 8, the line can be ready. Stay tuned.

Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

John, with Marrone's newer, gentler training camp we already seem to have a lot of injuries. In 2017 in the toughest training camp in the NFL, we were relatively injury free during the season. Just saying ... Go Jags!!

The 2019 Training Camp is “softer, gentler” only in the sense that there was more time for recovery during the day – and there was perhaps one or fewer padded practices. Either way, I’ve thought throughout this training camp that the angst over injuries was a bit misplaced. The Jaguars have lost no starters/front-line players for the season, and pretty much all injured players have a chance to be back by Week 1 or shortly thereafter. Teams can typically negotiate their way through training-camp injuries if they’re short-term and not sidelining players for the entire season.

Sam from Winter Park, FL

The backup quarterback situation seems very similar to last year’s running back position. Last year, Jacksonville wanted to be a running team and chose to go into the season with one – read: one – every-down back on the roster. This year, we all know the season rides or dies on quarterback Nick Foles. But like running back Leonard Fournette, it's rare to see him play an entire season. So, what do they do? Why, they have a rookie with below-average arm strength backing up the most important position on the field. Sigh…

I agree that the Jaguars’ plan at running back last season was flawed for the reasons you cite, particularly because running-back is a position at which backups almost always play – and at which they often play a key role on a weekly basis. The quarterback position is a little different, though. While I agree that Minshew’s experience and arm strength are concerns, I don’t know that there are many enticing alternatives at backup quarterback. The reality for most teams is that the season probably is lost if the backup quarterback must start more than a few games. That’s probably the Jaguars’ reality, but it’s the nature of the beast.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

If you could pick any active receiver to add to the roster who would it be and why? I went Julio Jones because his size, speed and ability to go up and get the ball is unmatched in today's game IMO.

Good choice.

Bryan from PDX

Hey Funk: Can you enlighten us on general managers’ thinking regarding roster construction? Do they approach each position group with a budget guideline? Like $35 million for quarterbacks, $12 million for running backs, etc.? Or is it less structured than that? It would seem that having BB5's contract would, in that scenario, account for going with a sixth-round quarterback instead of a veteran backup.

General managers have an ideal amount that they would allocate to each position group, so in that sense your formula is how a lot of general managers think about the roster. But the NFL doesn’t operate in a vacuum and you have to juggle the salary-cap on a year-by-year basis. So, while former Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles’ contract doesn’t help the Jaguars’ salary-cap situation, it’s not as clear-cut as to say that his dead money is the reason the team didn’t sign a veteran backup. The if-then scenario in this case isn’t that direct.

Don from Marshall, NC

Fred Taylor was without a doubt one of the all-time great running backs. The kind that when they got the ball the world stops everything to watch. Some of the all-time runs he owns. Jim Brown said how good Fred was. If he does not make it into the hall of fame something will be wrong! Just go back and watch his highlights my goodness! One of a kind he was!

Yes.

Steve from Nashville, TN

John, you can stop addressing questions about preseason ticket prices now, asked and answered.

I’ll probably keep doing what I always do in this forum – let people ask questions and answer the ones I choose to answer as best I can. That’s my lane, and I’ll stay in it.

Advertising