O-Zone: Making magic

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Tony from Richmond, VA

It’s crazy to think that after the 2016 draft we had, it’s possible that only linebacker Myles Jack – the most inconsistent player of our first three picks – will remain on the roster. I get the Jalen thing, and I agree he had to go. What’s with this notion of not wanting to pay Yannick? What are we saving the money for? Defensive Calais Campbell? Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus is out. Cornerback A.J. Bouye will have to take a pay cut to stay. Wide receiver Marqise Lee unfortunately probably won’t be back, quarterback Nick Foles will likely be out in two years, and I really don’t see guard Andrew Norwell playing his contract out. Aside from wide receiver Dede Westbrook (running back Leonard Fournette has his rookie option), who is getting an extension next year? Left tackle Cam Robinson? Knowing the Jags, they won’t pay wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. or safety Ronnie Harrison in two years, because they will “only offer what we think they’re worth.” Who is worth the money? WHAT ARE WE SAVING FOR??

You make many assumptions to make your points – and while some of what you’re saying is correct, I hardly know that it’s an assumption that Foles will be gone in two years, or that the Jaguars won’t pay Chark. As for defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, his contract continues to be a point of contention and misunderstanding for many observers and fans. There is a perception that the Jaguars don’t realize Ngakoue’s importance, and that they have somehow botched the situation and allowed a good player to leave. No one ever said the Jaguars didn’t want to pay him or that they don’t realize his importance. They do on both accounts. He also very much remains on the team, and the Jaguars want to keep it that way. The issue was that they weren’t willing to pay Ngakoue what Ngakoue wanted this past offseason. Some fans assumed that this was because the Jaguars were “blowing it.” They assumed this without knowing what Ngakoue and his team were wanting because I’m not sure many people outside Ngakoue and the team know. What if that was number was so extreme as to be ridiculous within the context of the player’s value – even for a very good player? What if you were buying a car that you were willing to spend a lot of money on and that was a very good car, but the guy you were buying it from wanted so much more than that that it was ridiculous. Would you just “pay the man” just because your friends thought it was the right thing? I’m not sure why this is so hard for people to understand. The Jaguars wanted to pay Ngakoue very well. He wanted to be paid more than what they wanted to pay. I believe the sides will find common ground at some point and that Ngakoue will re-sign with the team, but this was never going to be easy.

Michael from Fruit Cove, FL

I’m with Chris who doesn’t think the heat is really keeping fans away. We live in Florida; it’s hot. Everyone who grew up here has spent a significant amount of time outside, especially during the summer. People play sports, go to the beach and do all kinds of other outdoor activities all summer long and enjoy the weather. Sitting in a chair for a couple hours isn’t difficult. It will cool down for the next remaining home games but if the record isn’t better, fans still won’t be filling the stadium. It’s not the weather.

This isn’t a matter of opinion. This is a matter of having spoken with people who tell me it keeps them away. Not everyone, but some. It’s real.

Rob from Jacksonville

Rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II didn't get demoted. He filled in far better than planned while the boss was out sick but now the boss is healthy. Based on how he filled in there is a succession plan that might take effect next year, the year after or longer ... we should all be thrilled about this.

Yes.

O-Man from Jacksonville

Long time, no see, Big O! My question: How much of the Foles decision played into the coaching staff trying to save their jobs? We all remember what Jaguars Owner Shad Khan said about winning this year. I feel awful for Gardner, but I can’t help but think Marrone is basing his decision on job security.

Marrone made this decision because he believes it gives the Jaguars the best chance to win the most games right now. That’s how he coaches and that’s how he makes decisions. If he had believed Minshew gave the team the best chance to win, he would have played Minshew. He’s not thinking about the future, or the salary cap or about anything else. He and every other coach realize that winning is the way to keep their jobs, so in that sense the decision was based on job security – just like every other decision Marrone and most other coaches make every day.

David from the Island

Is Ryan in the building? Working on the sideline? Is he ever gonna suit up?

Former Florida Times-Union Jaguars beat writer Ryan “All Is Good” O’Halloran now covers the Broncos for the Denver Post.

Crash from the Westside

I think we’re going to see the NFL going to an 18-game schedule in the near future. Khan gets two games in London. We still get seven games in JAX. Whatcha' think O Man?

I don’t know that two home games in London is an automatic for the Jaguars if the league indeed goes to an 18-game schedule. I think it’s more likely that the league in the foreseeable goes to a 17-game schedule with the Jaguars continuing to play a home game in London and also participating in an international game along with every other NFL team every season.

Robert from St. Augustine, FL

Easy predictions. Minshew will be the starting quarterback against Tampa Bay. Head coach Doug Marrone will be fired following losses to the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans. By season’s end, Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin will finally get his just deserved retirement. General Manager Dave Caldwell may weather the storm, but I suspect the owner will want to clear house. Goodbye Mr. Caldwell. The future of Foles will be discussed in great detail. The Jags will finish 6-10 but may hit 7-9 only if Indy secures a playoff spot before the last game of the season. Sadly we’ll drop down the draft order in a draft we desperately need.

I would be very shocked if your in-season predictions are correct. I don’t know what the future holds or what record the Jaguars need for Marrone, Coughlin and Caldwell to stay. I do know the sense I got from Khan last weekend before the loss to Houston was he believed the team had done a nice job overcoming adversity and that he was pleased with that. I doubt one loss with a backup quarterback changed that perception. My guess is if the Jaguars are competitive with Foles in the second half of the season to the tune of finishing around 9-7 or 8-8 then Khan will continue liking the direction of the franchise. I don’t know the record or circumstances it will take for him not to feel that way. Only Khan knows that.

Raymond from Orange Park, FL

John: Can we (readers, not you) stop with the excuse that it is too hot to go to early-season games? Khan has failed to put together a front office that can deliver a consistent winner. Losing teams don't attract fans. Winning teams are popular. We live in Florida. We deal with the heat. It is ironic that many traveled to Boston for the AFC championship game and braved very cold weather to watch the only successful Jag team in recent memory. I was there with many other fans. It did not seem that cold for the first 55 minutes of the game.

You’re right. People will endure difficult conditions for games of great interest and to watch teams experiencing great success. Witness the regular-season game against the New England Patriots last season. But there are many games and many seasons that aren’t miserable but also aren’t mind-blowingly successful. In those “average” seasons, people have choices to make that aren’t clear-cut and aren’t driven by a frenzy over the team’s success. Asking fans to endure health-threatening temperatures in those seasons is … well, it’s asking a lot.

Renee from Duval

Hey, John! Can we hope for some 1996 magic? How about Foles runs the table? It can happen. We just need for Vinny to put the ball on the ground and Andersen to miss a chip shot. You know maybe we make our own luck. What ya think? GO JAGUARS!!!!!

You go, girl.

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