EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Game-day O-Zone.
Let's get to it …
Brian from Gainesville, FL:
Big O, is Jalen Ramsey looking likely to be the best draft pick in franchise history? For sure he's the best pick of the David Caldwell era. Serious question: Is the team permitted to negotiate a new contract while Ramsey is still under his rookie contract, or is that forbidden? Seems like this team should do anything possible to ensure that young man wears a Jaguars uniform for life.
John: The Jaguars drafted Tony Boselli with the No. 2 overall selection in the 1995 NFL Draft. He was as good as any left tackle in what I consider the golden era of left tackle. He was a Hall of Fame talent who played at a high level from his first start until injuries prevented him from doing so. I also believe he will be in the Hall of Fame soon. I say this not to over-feed Boselli's already well-fed ego, but to make the point that it will be hard to designate anyone as the "best draft pick in franchise history" because it will be hard to be a "better" draft pick than Boselli. And let's not forget running back Fred Taylor. When players perform at a Hall-of-Fame level, it's hard to put players above them. But Ramsey absolutely has the early look of being on that level. It's early, and he has played only 19 NFL games, but everything about him says "special." As for his next contract, teams may begin negotiating second contracts with drafted rookies following their third NFL seasons. So, in Ramsey's case the Jaguars could begin doing so following the 2018 season.
Armando from Vacaville, CA:
Is Jalen Ramsey better than any other cornerback we've had? Aaron Beasley and Rashean Mathis were good but not to the extent of being a shutdown corner.
John: Mathis at times was a shut-down corner, but there's a difference between a shut-down corner and what Ramsey appears on his way to becoming. He has the look of a player capable of being the best at his position for a long period of time. That's rare stuff.
Aaron from Bethlehem, PA:
How bad is Blake Bortles' wrist injury? He keeps popping up on the injury report. Do they limit him in practice? Do you think this is an injury that has a good chance of getting worse throughout the season?
John: Bortles on the occasions he has discussed his wrist injury has said it's fine. Not much more is known about the injury beyond that. The Jaguars this season aren't discussing or revealing much about injuries beyond the official NFL practice report – as is their right under league rules, by the way.
Jimmy from Duval:
How about one fer the fans who are going to show up and support their team at the home game next week? Our team is finally looking like a contender for the first time in a decade and we need to take advantage of our home field. We need to make the players look forward to playing at the 'Bank. After we whoop up on the Jets, will anyone be with me and give our Jags a standing ovation next week?
John: One thing I don't worry about is EverBank Field fans supporting this team. They have supported this team through a lot of losing for a lot of seasons. If the Jaguars return to the 'Bank 4-1, I look forward to seeing the reception and feeling the energy. So, one fer the fans? Yeah, no doubt.
Neal from New York:
Hi Big O, Lennie is going to be one of the greatest to don a Jags jersey. He just looks so natural carrying the ball – and his vision and strength is phenomenal. I also love how the Jaguars are using him: running simple plays he can get the most out of. There is no trickery; it is just him running over guys with his downhill, physical running style. He and Jalen will be the faces of the franchise, I loved the pick.
John: So, I guess one for … Lennie?
Ross from Fleming Island, FL:
Having seen the Jags in two of the three games this season (yes, London was an incredible experience), I don't hear much about Myles Jack and his emergence. His movement to the ball with his incredible speed is becoming impressive. Whether in base D with Poz, or their 4-6 type coverage, he is making plays. I am wondering just how much him sitting a lot last season helped him. I think it is a difference maker -- it helped a knee injury fully heal, he got tutoring from Poz, and he got to observe (something fans discount). We got another potential superstar on our team. What do you think?
John: I don't know how much better Jack is now than he would have been had he played more last season. He did start 10 games last season, and the major difference this season is he is playing in the nickel in addition to his strong-side duties. The nickel role plays to his strengths as it allows him to chase and use his speed and instincts. But is Jack a potential star? Yes, there is a reason he was considered a potential Top 5 selection in the 2016 NFL Draft; he has elite speed and athleticism. He is starting to show it.
Dave from Oviedo, FL:
It seems that Myles Jack's confidence and production has grown by leaps and bounds over last year. What are your thoughts on the play of Myles Jack?
John: Jack's play has improved dramatically. That happens a lot for NFL players between their first season in the league and the second. The game slows for them, they become used to their surrounding and things that seemed overwhelming or confusing at times become less so.
David from Jacksonville:
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ:
O-man - hate to break the news to you, but there isn't a Sbarro's in Jersey City. Instead, check our Razza for the best pizza in the country. It's a 10-minute walk from the hotel, or you can have it delivered via Ubereats. Trust me, you'll come back just for the pizza. I am not affiliated with them in any way, either.
John: Ten minutes from the hotel is a hike for me, and I'm too cheap to pay for delivery. I'm actually according to friends, former friends and family too cheap to pay for much of anything given a choice in the matter. But I confirmed the lack of Sbarro's. What kind of town are you guys running here?
Neal from New York, NY:
Hey John, with the way this team is playing – and believe me, I know it's still early – do you foresee a game getting flexed? This team is playing well, and deserves a prime-time game. I think that it would be the Rams game if I had to pick, because both teams are outperforming what people thought. Thanks a lot, I appreciate you.
John: The odds are against the Jaguars getting flexed to prime time this season – primarily because the odds are against any team getting flexed to prime time. First, games don't get flexed to Thursday or Monday prime-time slots – only Sunday. And even with Sunday games, it doesn't happen that often – and it's usually toward the end of the season. It almost certainly wouldn't happen for Jaguars-Rams in two weeks because it's too early in the season – and frankly, even if the Jaguars were 4-1 going into that game they likely wouldn't be a big enough national story yet to entice television networks to want the game in prime time. Prime-time games aren't about teams "deserving" them. They're about games that will draw nationally. If the Jaguars continue to play well this season, I have little doubt they will be on prime-time television next season, but not likely before that. At least not until the postseason.
Big on Blake from Philly:
I can't disagree with you that Sbarro's can make a mean road-trip treat, but if you have some time for real pizza make it to great states of New York or Connecticut, where the pizza is made the way it's supposed to be. No Jersey Shore knockoffs could match. Though now that I think of it, Sbarro is the perfect Jersey pizza after all. Can we get another week of reduced penalties and keeping the offense in manageable down-and-distance situations? That's really the only question that determines if we win or lose. This team has the talent to be the only team that can beat us.
John: There's no question low penalties and manageable down-and-distance situations are key to the Jaguars' winning formula, though remember: those are easier tasks to write about than to achieve. As for your New York/Connecticut snobbery, no hand-made, traditional, authentic Northeast pizza ever will be better than a Sbarro's slice: warmed for hours under the hot lamp, mall walkers in the background, a memorable shopping experience at Chess King waiting just 'round the corner. Life, I tell you, gets no better than that.