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O-Zone: New digs

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Wyatt from Jacksonville

John, the Collective Bargaining Agreement solution to the running-backs-getting-paid problem is simple. The players just need to insist on a small change to the franchise tag: franchise players get paid the average of the Top 5 or 10 paid players at their position, unless that amount is less than the average paid to the NFL's Top 100 highest-paid players, in which case the player gets paid that higher amount. For low-paid positions such as tight end and running back, this would increase the amount paid by a franchise tag dramatically, returning the tag to its original intent – as a way for a franchise to retain a franchise-defining player, not a way to hold down wages for certain positions. Players good enough for a franchise tag should be good enough to just work out a good contract, and kickers should never be tagged. What do you think?

I don't mind the idea, and it would be a positive for running backs and tight ends. Remember, though: Players typically dislike the franchise tag because they want the guaranteed money at the front of a long-term contract. Example: While the $11.36 million Jaguars tight end Evan Engram would have earned playing under the franchise tag in 2023, he wanted the security of a long-term contract – and the long-term contract he signed indeed essentially doubled his guaranteed money. Also: Players good enough to be franchised can't always agree to a long-term contract. I don't know that that would change under your proposal, although the proposal indeed would help some positions in the short term.

Rob from Jacksonville

The running back discussion intrigues me. Does it seem unfair? Yes. But if you make position-specific changes in the CBA, what's next? The simple, albeit maybe unfair answer, is this … if you don't like it, don't play running back.

I tend to agree. While this is good offseason fodder for national talking heads – and for this forum – I do wonder if the discussion will maintain momentum and have any traction when owners and the NFL Players Association are negotiating the next CBA. I suppose there could be a clause allowing running backs to become unrestricted free agents a year earlier than other positions. I imagine resistance there. That resistance would stem from worry that other positions would see this as unfair, thereby creating a push to reduce the time needed for all players to become eligible for unrestricted free agency – something owners understandably strongly would resist.

Abel from Westside

Hey, KOAF! Do you remember when Coca-Cola made the Jaguars Collector Bottle Series? As this was before they played any games, I went to Food Lion close to our house and saw it and bought two six packs! I drank one, gave five away as souvenirs to friends and kept a six pack.

I do remember this. I'm relatively certain I still have one of those bottles, though I don't recall how I came to own it. I'm almost sure it's in the garage, or in the closet where I keep other things I once thought would be "worth something someday."

Steve from Waycross

Can you explain the "no forward handoff" rule change a bit? It seems that this rule would take away a huge part of the play books for teams with running QB's by not allowing RPO.

The NFL rule implemented for 2023 makes it illegal to hand the ball off beyond the line of scrimmage. It is still legal behind the line of scrimmage, which means teams still will be able to run run-pass option plays.

Johnny from Jax

Zone, Do you guys and radio/tv studio have new office space in new facilities or are you still in stadium?

Jaguars Media will execute shows and podcasts from a new studio in Miller Electric Center beginning this fall.

Ryan from Detroit, MI

Seeing lots of teams debut Throwback unis lately. Can we PLEASE bring back the original 1995 teal jerseys for a throwback game or two?

I expect the Jaguars to wear throwback uniforms in the not-too-distant future. I don't have a great feel in what season that not-too-distant future will take place.

Mike from Azores

Hey, John. A simple question for you that requires only a simple yes or no answer. Are you ready for some football? I am!


Joe from Fleming Island

O zone: I have no problem with the Jags in London, smart move done back in a time of relative financial desperation. You may, or may not know, but if you had to make an educated guess, is the revenue received from a London game versus a Jacksonville game, twice, four times, times as much? Thanks for getting us through another dead zone, very much appreciated.

This varies significantly because of pregame demand, attendance, pricing, etc. I have been told often a Jaguars London home game earns significantly more revenue than a typical home game in Jacksonville – enough to make the initiative worthwhile.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, that new practice facility looks bad ass. Is your key card going to work so you can tell us how it compares to the former practice facility?

The pass code issue remains day to day, as it has been for more than 12 years. For now, Lamping seems to be focusing elsewhere.

Ray from Newport News, VA

Are you really posting the daily Ozone at 3 in the morning. Have you lost your mind? I thought I was losing it when I was reading at 6am this morning.

I am the king of all funk.

Greg from Uster, Switzerland

John, I know you are tired of talking about former Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey. I am also. However, I have a different viewpoint from most of the posts who vilify him. In 2018, the Jaguars were a dysfunctional organization. Having worked in several dysfunctional organizations, I know that professional survival depends on change. Either the organization must change, or you must get out. Mr. Ramsey did what he had to do for his professional survival. Mr. Ramsey did not fail the Jaguars, the Jaguars failed Mr. Ramsey.

There may be some truth in your point. There's also part of me that feels elite, star players can have a hand in creating dysfunction and also in pushing through dysfunction to allow the organization to be less dysfunctional.

Steve from Brentwood, TN

JO- When I was a kid (decades ago), the Atlanta Falcons used a tight end (Jim Mitchell) on a designed play called tight end around. Why don't any teams try that play, or a halfback pass or run option? They could try them once every few games as a change of pace.

Teams try "trick" plays now and again, and Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson runs more of these than any coach I've ever covered. But you're right that you don't see a lot of tight end or wide receiver "around" plays these days. They require the tight end/receiver to run from one side of the field "around" to the other, which means they're slow to develop – and therefore more prone to failure than a quicker-developing play. That may be a reason coaches steer clear these days.

Steve from Jacksonville

On game days will the teams work out of the Miller Electric Center or the existing locker rooms inside the stadium? Even though it's right next to the stadium, it seems like the extra walk back would be a lot at halftime.

The team will operate out of the old locker rooms inside EverBank Stadium on game days and out of the Miller Electric Center at all other times.

Jeremy from Gilbert, AZ

If you don't like what your job pays you, go find another one. No one is forcing NFL running backs to make millions to carry a football. There are a lot of career opportunities out there!

Perhaps at the core of this email there are some kernels of truth. Still, we have talked here a lot recently about being nice. This isn't nice.

Chris from Fleming Island, FL

I think it was Vince Lombardi who said "luck is when preparation meets opportunity." Sometimes, you gotta make your own. P.S. I've sent in a few dumb questions you thankfully didn't answer.

I'm aware.

Chris from Middleburg, FL

You always say to be nice. I remember in our inaugural season, local radio hosts Lex and Terry sent a dozen apple turnovers to Steve Beuerlein because he threw three picks in a game. What other "not nice" incidents like this can you remember? And which do you think were the funniest?

I don't remember too many such incidents. I didn't remember that one even though I was covering the team for the Florida Times-Union. It's tough to be so not funny AND not nice in the same gesture. I would have thought I would have remembered it.

Dwayne from Jacksonville

That new Miller Electric Center janitor's stall... is it nice?

State of the art, baby.