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O-Zone: Less filling…

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Bill from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

John from New Jersey can speak for himself, but I don't think he was suggesting that there is some curse on UF players that makes them un-draftable. I suppose it is less absurd to suggest that the team tends to overrate UF players because of familiarity or to please the fan base. Either is plausible, right?

I also didn't think the reader was suggesting a curse in this recent O-Zone question, but I do know some fans/observers believe the Jaguars shouldn't draft University of Florida players because previous players – particularly previous first-round selections – from there have struggled upon joining the organization. My point was and remains that this is a pointless topic. The Jaguars don't select former UF players because of familiarity (hint: NFL teams are familiar with all college players) and there is no mandate or inclination to please the fan base with local college players. Think about it: Would a player such as defensive tackle Taven Bryan or cornerback CJ Henderson really be so high-profile to please the fan base enough to matter in terms of significant ticket sales or interest? Remember, too: The Florida players selected by the Jaguars who didn't work out here weren't over-drafted. They would have been selected within a few selections after the Jaguars selected them. The players simply didn't work out. That happens in the draft. For all teams.

John from Jacksonville

Zone, really enjoyed the new podcast with General Manager Dave Caldwell. I thought the Caldwell interview was great and really informative. How often will you be doing the podcasts?

The goal is once a week. We'll see.

Ray from Jacksonville

John: According to your answers, those who question Jaguars Owner Shad Khan's intent on the London issue "don't understand" and anyone questioning the ability of a GM who has a woeful record are "confused." Perhaps some are correct that the London games were a cash grab and not necessary to turn a profit. Perhaps those who believe General Manager Dave Caldwell has had enough chances are correct rather than confused. One question: Could Sean's 83-year-old mother get two sacks in a season if the offense could get leads and, therefore, force the opponents into passing situations?

I never have written or said that people questioning Caldwell are confused – at least not to any sort of unusual degree. That's because it's absolutely OK and understandable for fans to question the ability of a general manager who has had far more losing seasons than winning ones. That doesn't mean there aren't legitimate reasons for Khan to retain Caldwell, but it does mean that fans absolutely can question what they want to question. As far as those who question Khan's intent … again, fans can question whatever they want. It's well within their rights. But there absolutely is a lack of understanding on the part of some fans about how local revenue works and its importance to NFL owners. That doesn't mean fans have to like the decisions that get made because of local revenue, but there certainly is a refusal on the part of some fans to realize that it matters. Are the London games a "cash grab?" I don't know what that means. I do know that the challenges in this market are real and that Khan has and will continue to do what's necessary to meet those challenges. London is part of that. Again … not everyone is going to like that or understand it. I can only explain so often. And yes: Sean's mother would benefit from better opportunities to pin her ears back and rush the passer. Hell, who wouldn't?

Tim from Orange Park, FL

I believe the Jags made defensive end Yannick Ngakoue a deal that was fair and I also believe this year's market showed that it was. There should also be a message sent that an organization is not going to be held hostage by social media rants and inappropriate behavior just to be traded. If it was up to me (which it isn't), I would franchise him for both years and then attempt to trade him for anything I could get. That's enough time for the talent that's being built to improve their skills and replace him anyways. Hopefully he signs a deal but you can't continue to give in to those who are not bought in.


Logan from Wichita, KS

Let's say the Jaguars go 9-7 or better, what causes this to be a reality? 1. Luck in close games where the ball bounces our way. 2. Mustache setting the world on fire and Fournette getting double digit tuddies (TDs). 3. The defense goes super 2017 and turnovers in our favor save us late in games. 4. Every team we beat loses key starters and play with poor backups. 5. We live in a dream world. 6. Other?

Let's go with "six, other." That could happen if the Jaguars are right that that their roster is better than last season when they went 6-10 and were contending in the AFC South before the run defense collapsed shortly after the bye. In that scenario, perhaps the defensive improvements made in the offseason worked and perhaps quarterback Gardner Minshew II made the second-year improvements the team and fans believe possible. I think that's a bit of a stretch and I do believe the Jaguars must be fortunate to push above .500. I think they're about a six- or seven-victory team. But maybe you're correct, Logan. Maybe you're correct. After all, you're the optimist of the group.

Jeremy from Omaha, NE

Former Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations and Head Coach Tom Coughlin was and always will be a leader of men. Jalen Ramsey and Ngakoue are not.


Eric from Columbus, IN

For two years casual Jags fans have been confused why we don't see 3-4 looks on defense. Two years later the defensive coordinator finally caved. I know you say defensive coordinator Todd Wash isn't the problem but this isn't a great look for him... reactive, not proactive. Hence, it takes being miserable on defense for change to happen, instead of change happening before the misery sets in. Doesn't instill a lot of confidence.

A couple of thoughts on the 3-4 phenomenon/controversy. First, remember: When debating whether teams should use a 4-3 or a 3-4, you're debating what teams are doing in base downs – which is about 30-to-35 percent of snaps. Second: the Jaguars' defensive scheme has a lot of 3-4 elements in it and is at its core a hybrid scheme that can look a lot like a 3-4; they were, in fact, planning some 3-4 base looks last season but didn't use them – at least in part because Ngakoue standing up was key to that scheme and he held out of training camp and missed the offseason program. As far as the incessant/tiresome criticism by fans of Wash and the continued overemphasis on coordinators in the modern NFL world … I do wonder ... Were Top 6 defenses from 2016-2018 a good look or a bad look? I just want to keep track.

Daniel from Riverside

Do you think the Jags will start this season without a veteran quarterback to back up Gardner Minshew II??

The Jaguars have a veteran to back up Minshew: Josh Dobbs. Options that will excite fans beyond that are limited.

AndyBoy from Charlottestown

Going into the offseason it appeared that the Jags were in some type of salary cap purgatory requiring abject penance and two-to-four years for salvation. They have since shook the salaries of cornerback A.J. Bouye, quarterback Nick Foles, defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, wide receiver Marqise Lee and defensive end Campbell, and restructured guard Andrew Norwell while signing linebacker Joe Schobert and tight end Tyler Eifert. Although they will be carrying some dead money forward, I feel as though the front office has done a decent job so far with their cuts and keeps. One fer Dave.

Hey, one fer Caldwell!

EJ from Jacksonville

Many teams declined the fifth-year option available on their first-round draft picks. Is this normal or is it a new reality of not guaranteeing salary on expectations. Lesson learned from Blake Bortles?

I don't sense this is a trend one way or the other. I don't think other teams' decisions were based on what the Jaguars did with former quarterback Blake Bortles.

Steve from Jacksonville

How do you get defensive end Josh Allen, defensive end/linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson and Ngakoue on the field at the same time for the majority of the snaps? What positions are they playing and who are the other eight players?

It will be a challenge. I don't know that all three will be on the field in base situations. I do know the Jaguars will be in nickel a lot, and I know that defensive players – particularly pass rushers – need to rotate in the NFL.

Deacon from Jacksonville

We just need one pin, Rodney.

I smiled at this.