O-Zone: Much too fast

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Brian from Gainesville, FL

Big O, you recently stated that Jacksonville doesn’t have the infrastructure to host the draft given the spectacle that it has become. Why not? Jacksonville is about comparable to Nashville in terms of population. So … if Nashville, why not Jacksonville? Also, what is the timeline for the infrastructure buildout to accommodate things like the draft? Every time I read an answer such as the one you posted, it makes me fear that eventually and inevitably the ownership will realize that Jacksonville is the wrong place for the Jaguars. I’m not saying they want that, but I worry it’s inevitable. I get that places like Cleveland, Cincinnati and Kansas City have more history invested in their sports teams. I’m hopeful that Jacksonville will get the opportunity to develop their own history.

My recent answer regarding the draft has nothing do with Jacksonville’s population or its ability to be the home of an NFL team. It has everything to do with downtown’s current ability to host an event as grand as what the NFL Draft has become. Dallas, Philadelphia and Nashville in current years have had the facilities and surrounding areas to turn the draft into a megafestival. Perhaps infrastructure wasn’t the best word, but Daily’s Place, TIAA Bank Field and the surrounding area currently don’t have that same ability. As also stated in my recent answer regarding this, that could change if the city and the Jaguars move forward and complete the plans that have been proposed for Lot J and the area surrounding TIAA Bank Field/Daily’s Place. As far as the timeline for that, that all depends on when/if the proposed developments move forward and are completed. So, yes … Jacksonville absolutely can have the opportunity to develop its own history with events such as this. But the surrounding areas must improve. You say you worry about ownership realizing Jacksonville is the wrong place for the Jaguars. What ownership wants is for downtown Jacksonville to become more right for events such as the draft.

JT from Fort Worth, TX

John, I want to preface what I am about to say with saying that I was born and raised in Jacksonville. The military pulled me out of my hometown. That said, downtown Jacksonville will never be what it could be with the backwards mentality that they (those in charge) have always had. Downtown Jacksonville has the potential to be just like any other major downtown city in the United States. Not many downtowns have a river that runs right through it. As it stands now downtown Jacksonville is trash and that pains me to say. Too many vacant buildings, most businesses have left and the crime in the surrounding area is horrible. As presently constructed, downtown Jacksonville can barely support the Florida/Georgia game let alone anything else.

It must improve. That has been obvious for a long time. The Jaguars have plans on this front. Now, it’s a matter of making those plans happen.

Crash from the Westside

Which came first? The chicken or the egg? What about us roosters? Why is it always about the women and the children? The rooster came first! BTW … who is the toughest of roosters? You or Gene?

I never know what’s going on.

Sean from Jacksonville

How serious (or non-serious) is the injury to Josh Allen's knee? Needing an X-Ray? Wrapped for protection? Aargh!

Jaguars rookie edge defender Josh Allen sustained a knee bruise in practice Tuesday. It wasn’t wrapped when I saw him walking to practice Thursday. I don’t know when Allen will return to organized team activities, but this for the most part is a non-issue.

Gary from Suffolk, VA

I understand that fans gonna fan, but my issue is how fast some fans turn on players. For example, 20 and 50. I guess they are truly fair-weather fans because in 2017, they weren’t complaining. My question, if 50 squares away his health, is it possible for him to return to the field at any point this season?

Possible? Sure. Why not?

Len from Harrisburg, PA

OK, Big O! Yes, I know it’s underwear time, but can we talk football now? First question: Who at guard looks the part that might unseat the right-guard position? Second question: How does Dontavius Russell look at defensive tackle; does he belong? Third question: Who is the most surprising so far as free agents right now? Let’s talk football. All the bull conversation … sorry for the impatience. I am tired of hearing about the surrounding nonsense.

I’m sorry you’re impatient – and of course, we can talk football. That’s always a fair topic here. As a reminder, here’s how this forum works: People ask questions and I answer them. It’s tricky, I know – but that’s always the best way to think of it. As for your three questions … First answer: No one’s likely to unseat A.J. Cann at right guard; the Jaguars re-signed him in the offseason with the idea that he will start. Second answer: Russell, the Jaguars’ seventh-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, has looked fine running around but there’s not much to evaluate with a defensive tackle in non-padded offseason work. Third answer: We’re only a few practices into OTAs, so it’s premature to talk free-agent surprises. No one from the group has stood out yet, but perhaps that will change in another week or so.

Sam from Winter Park, FL

Unpopular opinion but here goes nothing: Most people seem to think quarterback Nick Foles isn't going to do well in the 904. The people that are adamant that he will also thought Blake Bortles was going to be a good quarterback. It's not exactly a great feeling.

Yes, Alex … I’ll take unfounded generalizations for $400, please …

Big in Blake from Philly

Given the fact that Eric Berry is still available and the safety group is good but lacks experience, couldn’t it be argued that the Jags would like Eric Berry starting over Jarrod Wilson even better than their current situation? That said, I don’t think it will happen, but I’m surprised a player of Berry’s ability and experience is still unsigned. Secondly, Jerrell? I’ll have what he’s having.

If the Jaguars thought signing Berry would improve the situation – and if it made sense financially – they would have signed Berry. You can’t always sign every familiar name and play Fantasy Football with the roster. Sometimes you need young players who you’ve signed/drafted/developed to play starting roles next to your bigger-name core players.

John from Jacksonville

Why are our preseason games on Thursday as opposed to Friday or Saturday? On a Thursday night I struggle to fill my three or four seats, I arrive late, leave early and drink very little. On a Friday or Saturday night my four seats are occupied, and we all drink $10 beers all night long.

Per chance the Jaguars are concerned about your well-being.

Brian from Greenwood, IN

I wonder if "Big on Blake from Philly" realizes that Bill Belichick was 5-13 in his first 18 games as the head coach of the Patriots, and was possibly on the hot seat. It was his 19thgame when Tom Brady had his first start, and they ended up winning their first Super Bowl that season. There is no doubt that Belichick is a great coach. But, Tom Brady is a once in a generation quarterback. That type of player can make many coaches look really, really good.

While I am fully aware of the sports fan’s unending need to give a single person singular credit or blame, the truth remains that football is such a team sport that no one person determines success or failure. Neither Brady or Belichick would have accomplished what they accomplished without the other, but you’re right: Without consistent, elite quarterback play, long runs of success in the NFL are very rare. That always has been true, and it perhaps never has been truer than it is now.

Bruce from T-Zone

Instead of Johnathan Cyprien, can we have Josh Allen and Josh Oliver alternate at tight end, defensive end and safety wearing each other's numbers and uniforms? After all, apparently Oliver played defensive end and receiver... and maybe even put Cyprien's name on the back of their uniforms on some plays? Belichick would.

Googling this …

Brian from Staten Island, NY

If you think Sbarro is the best pizzeria in Florida, I don't know how I can trust your judgment on anything. Also, did you hear the initial title of Prince's hit Little Red Corvette was indeed Little Red Frenette. He chose to have the name changed due to modesty.

Sbarro isn’t the best pizzeria in Florida, pal; it’s the best pizzeria in the world. As for Prince initially naming Little Red Corvette Little Red Frenette to honor longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. “Gene” Frenette … yes, that’s absolutely true. I hadn’t mentioned it lately because I assumed this was common knowledge.

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