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O-Zone: Make it happen

ATLANTA, Ga. – Let’s get to it …

Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire, UK

Oh Mighty 'O' / King of Funk, so Tony Boselli got another phone call, not a knock on the door. That's wrong. Just plain wrong. He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. The voters got it wrong. Again.

Former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli on Saturday indeed was not elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a modern-era candidate for the 2019 class. And I agree with you it was wrong. I was with Boselli in his hotel room as he waited for word, and I honestly believed as the moment approached this would be his year. It’s not with anger that I say it’s wrong, and I have no sense that voters are “against” Boselli or the Jaguars. I spoke with many voters. People I know and trust also spoke with many voters. I know and trust a lot of the voters. I got very little – if any – sense of a Jacksonville bias or an “anti-Boselli” feeling. The reality is all of the 15 modern-era candidates are worthy of election. There are no bad Hall-of-Fame players. Many voters really want Boselli and believe he should get in. Just as many continue to believe he will get in eventually. When will that be? I continue to believe the answer is “soon.” Here’s why: Voters this week strongly believed that the much-discussed logjam of offensive linemen in the group of finalists – Boselli, Steve Hutchinson, Alan Faneca and Kevin Mawae – was working against all four players. There was a lot of talk among voters of breaking that logjam this year, thereby creating a better opportunity for all four players to get in over the course of the next few years. Mawae got in Saturday – and while that meant Boselli not getting in this year, it could very well bode well for Boselli for the future.

Jeff from Jacksonville

Boselli not getting into the Hall of Fame is a big disappointment. How much longer is he eligible for modern-era candidacy?

Seven years.

Nate from Granby

Why is there such an urge to get players into the Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility? Do you think there would be a policy put in place that would limit on the amount of first-year inductees?

I’m not sure why there’s such an urge to get players in their first year. It’s a relatively new phenomenon, and I do believe it has hurt some not-so-well-known players. I was surprised in recent years when linebacker Brian Urlacher and defensive end Jason Taylor were elected in their first year, and I never understood the outcry over wide receiver Terrell Owens not being elected in his first year. Owens reacted to not being inducted in Year 1 as if some wrong had been done, which frankly couldn’t have been more insulting to the players/coaches were elected. But no … I don’t think there will be a policy limiting first-year players.

Crash from Section 148

Next year for Tony and the Big Cats at the Super Bowl.

Absolutely.

D.J. from Atlanta, GA

Are practice-squad players eligible for a ring if their team wins the Super Bowl?

Practice-squad players aren’t officially on the roster, so they’re not guaranteed a ring, but typically a player who spent most of the season on the practice squad – particularly in the postseason – gets a Super Bowl ring.

KC from South Florida

Dumb, but maybe kinda fun question: How good would the 2018 Jaguars had been if they had David Garrard and Maurice Jones-Drew?

Better.

Jason from Da’Hass

Maybe two more officials IS a bit much. I’d rather them keep the replay rules the same and not add more challengeable plays, though. But the game is getting too fast, and is requiring too much precision, to keep doing things the same way. Perhaps the answer is to use technology to take some of the more mundane stuff out of the officials’ hands – i.e., spotting the ball, measuring for first downs, running the game clock, etc. This way the officials can focus much more on the calls and administering the game. Isn’t it strange that the billion-dollar NFL is still using links of chain to measure first downs, and asking officials to make a judgment call on an out of bounds spots on a punt? Tennis has tech down, and the NFL should look into it.

I suppose I can’t get overexcited about adding technology to the mundane stuff. Will it make things better? Will it change outcomes? Maybe. I just don’t have much passion when it comes to pumping more technology into a human game – particularly if you’re not stuffing it into areas that might solve big issues.

Marcus from Jacksonville

As time has gone on, I have seen more and more predictions with the Jags selecting Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray in the first round. I know that more and more people are coming around to the idea that a shorter quarterback can succeed in today’s NFL, so I don’t necessarily think it’s an outlandish prediction. But Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin is an old-school guy, and old-school guys typically want a prototypical NFL quarterback behind center to hand the ball off and run play action. Do you think Coughlin’s old-school mentality will come into play when picking a quarterback in the draft, and could that lead them away from Murray as a selection?

I admit to waffling a bit on this issue. Because it’s late January and there are nearly three months before the draft, I haven’t dug deep enough into the quarterback class to be passionate about any one quarterback. But generally speaking, I would expect the Jaguars to lean toward Dwayne Haskins, Daniel Jones or Drew Lock for the reasons you cite. All are more prototypical pocket passers than Murray, and prototypes are very attractive at draft time. I do think Murray’s play-making ability is such that the Jaguars would be negligent not to seriously study whether he is talented enough to make him an outlier.

KC from Duval Soon Enough

Why is it that after one down year certain players are candidates to be cut (linebacker Telvin Smith, cornerback A.J. Bouye) or switched positions (linebacker Myles Jack)? Isn't that a little bit of an overreaction considering these players played at a high level the previous year?

Teams change each offseason and personnel/coaches reevaluate and make changes each offseason.

Marcus from Yulee, FL

I agree with drafting a quarterback in the first round, but I think it's a good idea to put the young guy on the bench while observing behind Blake Bortles starting for another season. The best quarterbacks have started their NFL careers learning from the bench before being put in. For example: Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, Baker Mayfield, Jimmy G, etc.

Barring something dramatically unforeseen, Bortles is not going to be the quarterback of the Jaguars next season – nor will he be on the roster next season. I would shocked if anything happens that is dramatically unforeseen.

Michael from Elberton, GA

Getting it right is the most important thing? I'm not so sure. Before anything else, football is a game played for entertainment. It's not too entertaining to go to replay review after every third play to see if a penalty should or should not have been called. It's also not entertaining to go to commercial break and come back from the break and the referee is still under the hood. These fans wanting to live in a world with perfectly officiated games are just going to make the sport unwatchable.

Fair.

Sam from Winter Park, FL

What has Dwayne Haskins done differently than every other Ohio State before him recently? I ask honestly. They have all put up spectacular numbers over the last 10 years. what makes him different?

Numbers are only part of evaluating an NFL quarterback – a small part. Haskins has prototypical size (6-feet-3, 220 pounds), big-time arm strength and seems to have potential to have good awareness and decision-making in the NFL.

James from Socorro, NM

Much like the Jaguars and the Super Bowl, there will always be someone slightly better to keep Tony Boselli out of the Hall of Fame. Every year adds more candidates, every year it gets tougher.

I understand the sentiment, and I understand the frustration. But I’m not sure it’s all that accurate. Whereas this year was a strong Hall-of-Fame class with safety Ed Reed, cornerback Champ Bailey and tight end Tony Gonzalez considered locks or strong possibilities as first-year candidates, safety Troy Polamalu is the only first-year candidate remotely considered a lock. A lot can change in the next 364 days, but my initial thought is Boselli will get in next year. Considering he will be in his fourth year as a finalist, and considering the strong feeling of many voters about his merits as a candidate, I would be very surprised if it doesn’t happen.

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