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O-Zone: Necessary evil

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Mike from Azores

Hey, John. I for one Jag fan am looking forward to attending the consecutive games in London! It's now worth the much shorter trip to London from here in the Azores versus Jacksonville. Do you think this will become an annual occurrence? I'm in favor and as you would say, "Mike's all in for London."

I think there's a decent possibility of the Jaguars playing a home game and road game in London on back-to-back weeks in future seasons. I doubt they would play back-to-back home games there unless it was part of a temporary arrangement while the Jacksonville stadium is being upgraded into the Stadium of the Future. I think all thoughts on multiple London games matter will be influenced by what happens this season when the Jaguars play a home game against the Atlanta Falcons and a road game against the Buffalo Bills in London on back-to-back weeks.

Scott from Atlanta, GA

Several media outlets are making vague references to Allen missing the voluntary portions of the offseason because he wants a new deal. They refer to a holdout as he wants a new deal. Have you seen or heard anything to give this credence?

Media – national and otherwise – make vague references to situations when they don't know enough about situations to say things specifically. While Jaguars outside linebacker Josh Allen – like any NFL player – certainly would love a long-term contract, that wasn't why he opted to not attend the voluntary portions of the 2023 offseason program. He trained elsewhere – in Phoenix and in Jacksonville – because he believes that's the best way for him to train and maximize his abilities next season. He did this last offseason, too – though he did participate in organized team activities last offseason after training away from Jacksonville early in the offseason. Remember, too: Missing voluntary workouts is not "holding out." It's opting not to do something you're not required to do. Come to think of it …. it's not only not a holdout – it's really not anything at all.

Al from Orange Park, FL

There's a lot of hoopla about playing games away from Jacksonville during construction of the Jaguars' proposed stadium. But that only affects the fans who attend the game in person. What percentage of the total number of Jags fans is that? And how many of them are also Gator fans who often drive to Gainesville for game anyway? For me personally, the games will look the same from my couch whether played in Jacksonville or Gainesville.

Jaguars fans consume products multiple ways. My son, who lives out of state, often follows on his phone – and not everyone goes to games in person for various reasons. That doesn't make them "less of a fan." But there is a large group of Jaguars fans who consider the home games in Jacksonville the core of the "fan experience." For those fans, it's difficult to think of two seasons worth of games played away from Jacksonville. The team understands this, and the ideal scenario would be to build a new stadium in Jacksonville while playing in the old one. That approach, according to Jaguars President Mark Lamping, would add $1 billion to the project. That's a lot of money, particularly to those spending it.

Brad from Section 38

More of comment than a question, but after watching the Stadium of the Future video, I noticed there's nowhere to tailgate. Tailgating is ingrained in the culture of Jacksonville, and I can't imagine the prospect of charging fans $25-to-$50 to park in a garage with no tailgating.

One for tailgating.

Dan from Munich, Germany

Hi, Zone. In your response to a recent question about the supplemental draft, you say that is in place so players can't enter the NFL as a free agent. My question is about players that have been playing in other football leagues. Aren't they in the same category? Is it not allowed for someone – let's say like you – in great physical condition to pursue his dream of playing professional football?

Such players are typically eligible to sign as free agents because they already have been eligible for the NFL Draft and either been drafted or gone undrafted. There are also cases of players who haven't played college football entering the NFL, but they still go through the draft process with the requirement to do so having been out of high school for three years.

Rob from Pittsburgh, PA

Hey, Zone. What's up? How well do Devin and Chad know they know the defense playbook? Last year they were rookies. Is the defensive playbook complicated?

Jaguars inside linebackers Chad Muma and Devin Lloyd indeed were rookies last season. They struggled at times in 2022 with recognition and reaction – and with knowing the Jaguars' defense on a deep enough level to play as instinctively as they had in college. This is not uncommon, particularly at inside linebacker. Both were full participants in the Jaguars' 2023 offseason program, and both were among the veterans who participated in the offseason-ending three-day minicamp. The idea behind this was to give them both as many repetitions in the defense as possible. I expect they know the defense better now than a year ago. This is a process.

David from Chuluota, FL

KOAF – Back in the day, some criticized Peyton Manning for curling up in the fetal position at times when was about to get sacked to avoid the big hit. To me, this makes the same sense as throwing the ball away when a play breaks down. You cut your loss and avoid the bad play or injury. Sure, turtling-up may lose a few "toughness" points, but it's better than a broken collarbone or blown knee. The fewer direct hits the better. Isn't it in the team's best interest to protect our Golden Goose? Thoughts?

Good eye.

John from Jacksonville

Hi, KOAGF. I was thinking about an amazing talent we have in Foye Oluokun and wondering about the possibility he has in leading the NFL in tackles a third year in a row. If the Jags become a team that leads games in 2023 more than playing from behind, will that hurt his chances?

Jaguars linebacker Foye Oluokun, after leading the NFL in tackles with the Atlanta Falcons in 2022, indeed repeated the feat in his first season with the Jaguars this past season. And while tackle statistics are unofficial, this is an impressive accomplishment. And yes … an inside linebacker's tackle statistics could be hurt somewhat if opponents are throwing more because they are trailing.

John from Jacksonville

Hi, KOAGF. Is the $190 million extra to extend the project to four years and the $120 million extra to play at the University of North Florida part of the same overspend of dollars? Is it really only the difference of $70 million between the two options? If so, the best decision is obvious.

Playing outside the city in stadiums such as Florida Field in Gainesville and Camping World Stadium in Orlando is also an option.

Doug from Jacksonville, FL

Not to get nitpicky, there are only 30 cities with an NFL franchise. Los Angeles and New York City each have two.


David from Oviedo, FL

KOAF - In 2010, the Jaguars had a promising new kick returner named Scotty McGee. As I recall, this guy was lightning fast and fearless as he ran full speed into the teeth of the opposing defenders. Unfortunately, in one of his returns, zipping down the sideline, he met a linebacker running full speed with the impact of a brick wall and – just like that – his NFL dreams came to a crashing halt. I'm not sure if all my facts are straight, but this is the image in my head when I see all the safety proposals trying to curtail the dangers of this one brutal play.

Kickoffs are the most NFL's most-dangerous play. It's why the league probably is changing rules to make it safer and probably why it eventually will be no more.

Kevin from Jacksonville Beach, Fl

Hi John. A quick question about the additional $190 million if the Jaguars elected the four-year renovation option. What do you think changes that would cost so much more money? They are building the same stadium, using the same design which should call for the same materials. So what's so different other than the time required to build it?

I confess this is not something into which I dug deep when speaking to Jaguars President Mark Lamping about this a couple of weeks ago. As Lamping explained it, stopping and starting the project on multiple occasions – and adding two years to the process – adds the $190 million. I will try to find out more specifically why this is the case.

David from The Island

Good teams lose good players. You can't keep them all. It's a good place to be in as an organization. Sure beats the alternative doesn't it?