O-Zone: Magic man

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Matt from North Jax

Regarding all these questions about Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey being/not being a leader, how many cornerbacks in the league are considered to be the team leaders? Seems to me that middle linebacker is the natural spot for a leader and Myles Jack (still not down) is turning out to be a great leader.

You’re correct that middle linebackers are leaders more often than most other defensive positions. That’s because middle linebacker usually calls defensive signals, which means he’s directing players into position on most plays – so the leadership role is thrust on that player whether he’s a natural fit or not. I do get the sense that Jaguars middle linebacker Myles Jack is growing into that leadership role; he certainly expressed confidence about growing into it this offseason, saying recently that he is moving toward being more of a coach on the field. As for cornerbacks being leaders, you’re correct that the position doesn’t lend itself naturally to the role. While I’m sure there are cornerbacks that lead naturally, it’s hardly necessary.

Crash from the Westside

Just play a lot of AC/DC … Rock On!

Fair.

Don from Marshall, NC

Telvin has no intention of coming back and he wants to keep the money. That is the only reason he is not talking.

I don’t know Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith’s intentions and I don’t know that many people know them for certain. Just about the only clear point Smith has made in recent weeks is he doesn’t plan to play in 2019. I do know that if Smith decides never to play again keeping the money is going to be problematic.

Chris from Calgary, Canada

With all the talk in this slow news cycle about how much Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue will need to be paid, and with other articles shining light on Ramsey's and Jack's impending paydays, how likely is it that the Jaguars can retain all three players? Do you think that it's a priority for the front office to keep all three players? As I see it, they could serve as the pillars of the Jaguars defense for years to come. That being said, there are always rumblings that we can't afford them. What do you think?

I think while people want answers – and resolution – to this answer immediately, resolution won’t come soon and the final answer won’t, either. I definitely think the Jaguars want to retain all three players, and I believe they will do everything within reason to re-sign all three. The reason that resolution will take time is each contract will be complex and costly, and it likely will behoove the Jaguars to allow one situation (Ngakoue) to play out in the next few months before addressing Ramsey and Jack after that.

 Chris from Space City, TX

O, tell me someone did not hypothetically mention Blake Bungles completing 25 of 30 passes with four touchdowns in a Super Bowl. I know it was hypothetical, but c'mon, man. Bungles has shown nothing in his career that would remotely make anyone believe he is capable of that kind of performance against an NFL defense. He couldn't put up those numbers in a practice with no defense on field. Bortles will forever be a big bust. "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time." One fer Maya Angelou.

Bortles threw for four touchdowns and more than 300 yards in a victory over the New England Patriots early last season, so it’s incorrect to say he “has shown nothing in his career that would remotely make anyone believe he is capable of that kind of performance against an NFL defense.” Still, one not fer Bortles, I guess.

Unhiptcat from Carlsbad, CA

What do you have against good accordion music?

Nothing. Who does?

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

Who was the better quarterback: Mark Brunell or David Garrard. And why?

I’m admittedly biased here because I covered every game Brunell played from 1995-2000 and I only covered games in which Garrard played against the Indianapolis Colts during his time as a starter for the Jaguars. I would give the edge to Brunell as the best quarterback in Jaguars history because of three Pro Bowl appearances and four postseason appearances from 1996-1999 and because he quarterbacked this team to a lot of big victories here. Brunell also had some moments as a pocket passer with the Jaguars and was a defining player in the best era in franchise history. Garrard isn’t as far from Brunell as some observers believe; he also had some big moments in huge games. While neither was a great pocket passer, and neither ranked among the elite quarterbacks of their era, I have to give the edge to Brunell for the better overall career. But as I said, I saw far more of him than I did Garrard.

Dan from Orlando, FL

Have you ever gone fishing w/ Allison of the ROAR?

I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Ray from Jacksonville

John: For far too many years recently, many players released by the team would not get signed by another team. Now everyone is concerned about, “How are we going to pay these guys?” Isn’t it much better to perhaps lose a couple of players every team would like to have than releasing players no one wants? The hand-wringing is misguided.

While it definitely is a positive that the Jaguars now have players teams covet, they still need to do what they can to keep as many core players as possible. The good news for the Jaguars – and fans – is that they haven’t had to lose core, drafted players yet. For all the angst over the team not having re-signed Ngakoue yet, it’s important to remember that he remains very much under contract with the team. There’s more than enough time for a long-term deal to get done.

Esko from 61 degrees North Latitude

It's 70 years and a couple of days since the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing's Strictly Stock Series inaugural race at the Charlotte Speedway on June 19, 1949. So, do you have any opinions, memories, or just good stories to tell of NASCAR's past, present, and future?

I covered upwards of 20 NASCAR races while with the Florida Times-Union – mostly Daytona 500s and the summer 400-mile races at Daytona International Speedway. I didn’t cover the circuit on nearly enough of a full-time basis to have many “insider” stories about drivers. My favorite memories involved covering races throughout the 1990s that involved Dale Earnhardt Sr. The last NASCAR race I covered was the ‘01 500 in which Earnhardt Sr. was killed. I was always just as glad to not cover the sport after that. I can’t imagine it’s as interesting or entertaining without him.

Otto from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

John, with about a month to go for Summer Camp, I'm sure a lot of Jaguar folks will vacation away from TIAA Bank Field. If/when you take a vacation does Mrs. O-Zone look at you askance when you take valuable time to answer our questions in order to keep The Streak going?

That’s not why she looks at me askance.

Brian from Gainesville, FL

Big O, the market is what it is for Yannick right? If the Jaguars decide to not pay market rate, another team will. That’s a guarantee. So, unless it’s a matter of literally not having the money, shouldn’t the team just pay market and be done with it? It cannot possibly be that the team would prefer to have cheaper talent at a premium position. It’s can’t be that the team would prefer to draft then trade instead of developing a core through the draft. The fact is, the Jaguars have a draft success with Yannick. Those don’t always happen. Especially with this team. The Jaguars have a successful draft pick on their hands so shouldn’t they pay market price for that success and be done with it?

The Jaguars have Ngakoue’s rights for at least another two seasons. They have him at a very affordable rate for at least the 2019 season – and they have the option of the franchise tag for 2020. That doesn’t mean they won’t come to an agreement on a long-term deal before the 2019 season, but that’s enough leverage that it’s not a no-brainer that they just pay Ngakoue $20 million a season “and be done with it.”

Russell from Jacksonville

John- why isn’t there a “back” button at the bottom of the page after the questions. Why do we have to scroll all the way back to the top of the page to exit out of the days Q&A? My thumbs are getting tired.

I’ll contact the people running this free website and let them know. I’m sure they’ll be ecstatic to hear this.

Dave from Atlantic Beach, FL

So, it's magic, is it? I always pictured a room full of monkeys pounding away on typewriters. Just kidding. I really love your work, John. Thanks!

No, it’s magic. I’m magical. I’m so magical I ought to be illegal.

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