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O-Zone: Just an empty space

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Joe from Hall of Fame City, OH

Granted, players have the right to try to get life-changing money. I just don't see the point of losing a lot of money over $2-to-$3 million. It's a shame; I don't think Tony Boselli or Jimmy Smith or Rashean Mathis would have turned down a $19 million-dollar contract because they wanted $21 million. I know several college players that would give their left arm to be drafted by the worst team in the NFL and it isn't the Jaguars. I hope one day players remember that they play for us fans and for our franchise, not for their money. Without us fans, they wouldn't have any money but thank you and go Jaguars.

It's tricky to compare contracts and players across eras. Players in different eras face different circumstances, and if Boselli/Smith/Mathis played for the Jaguars in this era they likely would have similar contract demands and disputes to what defensive end Yannick Ngakoue now has with the Jaguars. Still, while you're right that NFL players make an exorbitant amount – and that many people would trade places with them – it's just as true that they have unique skills that put them in extremely high demand for a comparatively short time. That high demand means they can earn a lot of money. To think that they should or wouldn't try to maximize their earning potential during that time is unrealistic. Most players I know realize on some level they're fortunate and that they wouldn't have their opportunity without fans. But to think that they're going to start demanding less money because of that realization … well, that ain't happening, Joe. This is real life.

Chris from London, UK

Mighty O, you state the team hopes tight end Josh Oliver makes a second-year leap, but how often does a second-year leap happen when the majority of the rookie season was missed through injury??

There are no statistics to answer your question. My feeling is it won't be easy for Oliver to make a second-year leap for the reasons you cite. We'll see.

David from Chuluota, FL

Zone - The Jacksonville Jaguars have some fast guys on offense, but we don't have someone with blazing speed – like Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill – that strikes fear into the heart of defenses. I noticed that on some recent mock drafts that a wide receiver from Alabama named Henry Ruggs III is being drafted in the low 20s range, but nobody has us taking him. He ran the fastest 40 (4.27 seconds) at the NFL combine and seems to be a carbon-copy of Hill. Also, our kick/punt return game was lame last year and Ruggs could give special teams an immediate upgrade. I think, his name needs to be added to the conversation as someone we should seriously consider at No. 20. Is General Manager David Caldwell so satisfied with his wide receiver group or our needs are so great elsewhere that this pick is unlikely to happen?

I believe the most likely scenario for the Jaguars in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft is cornerback at No. 20 and defensive tackle at No. 9. I would put wide receiver just behind those two positions as possibilities, so could Ruggs be a possibility at No. 20? Sure.

Brian from Gainesville, FL

Big O, if the new Collective Bargaining Agreement passes (and for the stability of football, I hope it does), then padded practices would be reduced from 28 to 16, and would max out at 2.5 hours instead of the three hours that used to be. For teams such as the Jaguars that are already so, so bad at tackling and stopping the run and that are so mediocre on the offensive line and the interior defensive line, this is bad right? Teams this bad at those fundamentals will only get worse, right?

Tackling and offensive line play typically aren't great across the league, particularly early in the season. That has been the case for some time. A lot of the poor offensive line play comes from the proliferation of passing offenses and spread offenses in college football, and the poor tackling comes from teams simply not practicing it anymore. I don't expect offensive line play to improve soon because colleges have no reason to change how they approach offense. I don't expect fewer padded practices to improve tackling, either.

Austin from Jacksonville

Gene Frenette: Jaguars look more like a team in rebuild than winning now By Gene Frenette Posted Mar 7, 2020 at 6:57 PM. So this is what your master says, what say you?

Who's Gene Frenette?

Tudor from St. Augustine, FL

What happens to the cap if Yannick is tagged for 20 million, but refuses to play next season? Does that 20 million get removed from our cap figure for the year?

If the Jaguars place the franchise tag on Ngakoue, they must allocate his tag figure – about $20 million-ish on the cap. If he refuses to play, the Jaguars would be credited one-sixteenth of that figure for every game Ngakoue doesn't play.

_ Alejandro from Mexico City, Mexico_

Dear KOAF, it's clear that the current ceiling of this team is a playoff berth (just in a very lucky season). In that context, why not just improve the offence with an offensive tackle, wide receiver, offensive guard and tight end in the first three rounds? We could have a strong offense able to compete in every game. It's more attractive to lose 38-37 than 10-3. Next year we could have a defensive draft and an attractive team (and cap) for free agents and a realistic opportunity to win. Do you think that this strategy could work?

First, the Jaguars aren't operating this offseason as if their ceiling next season is a lucky playoff berth; while you may believe that's "clear," that won't be their mission statement. As far as focusing simply on offense and ignoring defense … no. The Jaguars were bad enough against the run last season that they must improve the defensive interior first. If you can't stop the run, nothing else matters because teams will run until you stop it.

Tom from Charlottesville, VA

Does Coach Wash fit players to his system or does he create the system to fit his players?

Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash essentially runs a 4-3 hybrid scheme, a system run by a multiple NFL teams. Are the Jaguars going to suddenly switch to a base 3-4? No. Will the Jaguars under Wash next season be creative and utilize strengths of players within their base system? Yes.

Josh from Pensacola, FL

I know mock drafts are not usually accurate but the most recent one I read had the Jags taking Clemson safety/linebacker Isaiah Simmons No. 9 overall and Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs III No. 20. That's a pretty exciting thing for a Jags fan, assuming Gardner Minshew II or Nick Foles pan out at quarterback.


Mike from Section 238

O-Man, I get that Mr. Khan told him his job is to win now and General Manager David Caldwell is going to do it. But is that good strategy? I thought the GM's job was to build long-term competitiveness and let the coach worry about winning as many as possible with the players given. Both worrying about short-term wins seems like a recipe for disaster.

The Jaguars currently have 10 selections in the 2020 NFL Draft and nine in the 2021 NFL Draft, with two first-round selections in both drafts. I'm not sure how much more the team is supposed to look to the future.

Alan from Jacksonville

Hey, O. Just for fun, try writing one of your columns in the pitifully small box allotted for questions. Is a budgetary thing or a we-don't-care-about-the-reader-experience thing?

That wouldn't be fun and I'm not going to do it. It's not that no one at doesn't care about the readers. It's just me.

Travis from High Springs, FL

I've often heard that continuity and familiarity mean way more to an offensive line than any other position group in football. Do you believe this to be true? And barring an obvious, affordable upgrade wouldn't it make sense to keep the same guys together for a few seasons to try and built that?

Continuity and familiarity do matter for an offensive line. I don't think it's realistic to say another year together will solve all that has ailed the line in recent seasons, but perhaps it could help.

Jimsure from Daytona Beach, FL

Can a team keep franchising a player every year without getting a long term deal?

A team can franchise a player three times, though it's rare for a team to do it twice and almost unheard-of to do it three times.

Andrew from Matoon

When I read the O-Zone, I hear "Against all Odds" by Phil Collins.

You're the only one who really knew me at all.