O-Zone: Mean old man

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Marty from Jacksonville

Hey, Johnny-O: Please tell Robert from St. Augustine that "good teams beat good teams more often than not" is a mathematical impossibility, since every time a good team plays a good team there is one winner and one loser.

This has become one of this year’s Dead Zone back and forths, a topic that that began with a reader – presumably the aforementioned, “Robert” – making a case that “good” teams beat other “good” teams. I made the case that it’s usually “great” teams that beat other “good” teams, while it’s possible to be a “good” team simply by beating the teams on your schedule you’re supposed to beat. To read the previous two sentences is to realize this really is the Dead Zone, and that it will be good to soon start discussing depth charts, out routes – and, yes, even potential holdouts. Here’s the bottom line on the good-team/great-team discussion: “Good” teams typically beat the “beatable” teams on their schedule, and hold their own – i.e., go .500 or so – against the better teams to get into the postseason. The teams that easily handle poor-to-OK and better teams are rare. They typically get homefield advantage with a favorable road to the postseason. That’s why they win a bunch of games. And why they’re great.

Mattchetti from All Elite

I heard a rumor you might interfere in Chris Jericho’s match against hangman at the next AEW pay-per-view. Any truth to these rumors? Also, do they have theme music for you yet?

Chris Jericho knows where to find me. As far as theme music: “My Heart Will Go On…” All day long, baby. All day long.

Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire, UK

Oh Mighty ‘O’ / King of Funk: Sorry to be pedantic, but the correct response to Flo from London is “You! Yes you, behind the bike sheds! Stand still laddie!” Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” is my favorite album of all time. And yours would be….?

“London Calling” by The Clash.

Don from Marshall, NC

New stadium? They can continue to improve the stadium and make it into anything they want without tearing down and replacing it. You’re never going to be able to get a better foundation than the one you got. Timeless beauty is better always. Go Jaguars!

OK.

ClifG from Orange Park, FL

Given the importance of tight end today, what would Kyle Brady’s career look like if he played today? Gronkesque?

Tight end was important when Brady played in the 1990s and early 2000s. I imagine he would be pretty much the same player he was when he played – a dominant blocker good enough in the passing game to be very good, but not necessarily elite.

Ken from Jacksonville

John, I think the 18/16 regular season idea is awesome. We would get two extra games that mean something. The backup quarterback would get two chances to show off his skills to try and earn a starting job with another team. The buzz created by having to decide what game you bench your starting quarterback would be insane. The team that you play your backup would feel totally disrespected (what!! you think we're so bad you can beat us with your backup). All in all, I think it would be great for the league.

What you’re talking about feels a bit like a novelty act. Those can be cool. People sometimes like them. I wonder how great it would be for the league if starting quarterbacks – i.e., the faces of the league – are not permitted to play in important games.

Tyler from Jacksonville

Marcedes Lewis top 10 All-Time Jags? Maybe Top 100. He was never a Top 10 player at his own position throughout his career. It is a sad day to be a Jaguar fan if he is anywhere near the top 10.

I suppose we’ll keep reemphasizing this until the All-25 has run its course, but former Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis and other players currently playing in the NFL won’t be included because the All-25 list is limited to retired players. Also, you underestimate Lewis a bit. While he made just one Pro Bowl, he absolutely was in the Top 10-to-15 tight ends in the NFL for much of his career. And he was a very good player for this team for a long time. So, while Lewis won’t be in the Top 25 because he is still playing for the Green Bay Packers, he certainly would have been if he were retired.

David from Orlando, FL

I think Michael DiRocco takes more naps than you. He rarely puts news out or updates his mothership site. Hey, Mike, it's almost training camp. Awake from your slumber!

I dislike DiRocco to my core, but it’s July. He is one person covering the Jaguars for ESPN. Would you prefer he take time off in September? Or during April during the weeks leading to the draft? Let the man sleep.

Someone from Jersey City, NJ

O-man: Wow, I was surprised how little the undrafted free agents made during the offseason. If they make the team, how can they expect that pay to change?

It’s true that UDFAs make little in the offseason, but NFL players get paid in two ways: bonuses and salary, with the salary paid on a per-game basis. That means players who don’t make the team don’t make much. Such is life. The outlook for UDFAs who make the team is better: the rookie minimum of $495,000 annually.

Marty from Jacksonville

Hey, John, since Donovin Darius is the No. 16 player in the Top 25 list, it is apparent that two of the Top 16 came from the same draft: running back Fred Taylor and Darius. Interesting to note that Tom Coughlin tried to trade both those picks to the Chicago Bears in exchange for the No. 5 overall pick in 1998 and the opportunity to draft running back Curtis Enis. How lucky we were that they turned us down, huh?

There’s an NFL adage that the best trades often are the ones you don’t make. This was obviously one of those times.

Vince from Duval

Throughout all of this Top 25 talk, I have yet to see anybody mention one of the best linebackers we have had on our team: Daryl Smith. I loved watching that man play and he was so good. Is he a forgotten stud or will I have to wait and see where you place him?

Be patient.

Shane from Atlanta, GA

EA has decided to make a game featuring sportswriters. What overall grade do you receive and what overall grade do you think you deserve? A breakdown in stats is appreciated. I’ve already got you at 99 for naps.

Let’s see: 99 for naps, 99 for consistently figuring a way around giving even minimum effort, 99 for patience with Jerell and Logan, 99 for boyish good looks and a devilish grin … hell, I would deserve 99s across the board. But I no doubt would receive a far lower grade because of a national bias against Jacksonville and the Jaguars.

Sean from Jacksonville

Do I have time to go back to hibernation before any sort of excitement starts up again? *Yawn*

Do what you gotta do.

Jeremy from Dodge City, KS

If Marcus from Jacksonville thinks NFL salaries are "so ridiculously inflated," has he seen NBA salaries? I'm all for the players getting all they can while they can. We all would do it if we could.

Salaries in any major professional sport are ridiculous. It’s not going to change. If people dislike this so much that they can’t enjoy the sport, I understand. I can’t change it. I can’t do anything about it. But I do understand.

John from Daytona Beach, FL

An 18-game schedule would be great. I think a good idea would be to break the time a player needs off into halves. If they had to take four halves of a game off, it would be more manageable. It would bring some sense of excitement seeing how teams would manage it. It would be cool taking your quarterback out at halftime thinking you have a big enough lead and then saying, “I’ve got to put him back in.” What do you think? Are you in favor?

My answer is “no,” which probably sound like I’m screaming, “Get off my lawn.” The suggestions about expanding the schedule with a formula that mandates players miss a certain amount of time sound interesting on one level. I agree that deciding when to bench a quarterback would create buzz and controversy. And many of the 18-game proposals follow that blueprint – that they include caveats that would force coaches to make difficult decisions about when to play players. I suppose those strategy decisions would be interesting, but I keep going back to this: I think the NFL’s interesting enough without implementing a rule that mandates key players be taken off the field. Then again, I also think 16 regular-season games are plenty. Now, get off my lawn.

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