JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Bradley from Sparks, NV
I like the idea of drafting a later-round rookie project quarterback to pair with Lawrence. It seems like this strategy has worked well with elite prospects in the past. Feleipe Franks comes to mind as guy who might work well in this capacity.
There's nothing wrong with this concept – conceptually speaking. And whether the Jaguars select Trevor Lawrence of Clemson No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft or another quarterback, what they do elsewhere at the position this offseason indeed also is important. I lean toward the idea of having a veteran who is comfortable being a backup; such a player could set an example for how to study, prepare, etc., while also being capable of playing at least at a .500 level for month or so if needed. This isn't the only way to approach this, and having two rookies in the quarterback room is not unprecedented. The Washington Football Team famously did this in 2011, selecting Robert Griffin No. 2 overall and Kirk Cousins in Round 4 – and Cousins ultimately started 57 games for Washington compared to 35 for Griffin. Bottom line: There's no right or wrong way to build a quarterback room around an early-drafted, potential franchise player. The backup should be able to keep a team afloat in a crisis, help the starter when needed and understand the dynamics of his backup role. No matter his age.
Sean from Jacksonville
Not a Jaguars thing, but J.J. Watt goes to the Arizona Cardinals? He said he wanted to go to a contender, so his choice is puzzling. My guess, you ask (with exasperation)? Money. Money. And... money.
The Cardinals are perceived, rightly or wrongly, as a franchise headed in the right direction with only a few additions needed to contend. They had flashes last season, and quarterback Kyler Murray is thought by many to be a rising star. Considering that, Watt's choice isn't all that puzzling. Considering the Cardinals reportedly are paying him $23 million guaranteed, it's not puzzling at all.
KC from Orlando, FL
KOAF - if Alex Smith gets released by the WFT, do you think the Jags would pick him up as a veteran backup due to his history?
I wouldn't rule this out for multiple reasons. One is that Washington quarterback Alex Smith has a connection with Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer, having played for Meyer at Utah. Another is that Smith appears to be exactly the sort of player you would want to set an example for a young player such as Lawrence – or whatever quarterback the Jaguars might select No. 1 overall. Still another is that Smith clearly can perform at a more-than-competent level in the NFL. All those things could make Smith intriguing if indeed the Jaguars want a veteran backup behind a young quarterback next season. One consideration is the consideration that always comes into play in these situations – and that's whether Smith pictures himself as a backup, tone-setting veteran or if he still wants a chance to compete for a starting position. Only Smith can answer that.
Chris from Mandarin
I don't understand why the 17thgame on teams' schedules isn't just played at a neutral site like Mexico City, Toronto or London. With multiple cities used, the NFL could feature one neutral site game every week.
My guess is that's a real possibility in the future – and it indeed makes perfect sense considering the circumstances. I doubt seriously it will happen this season because of the logistics and challenges of COVID-19.
David from Oviedo, FL
O - Even the losers get lucky sometimes.
It's just the normal noises in here.
Tom from Charlottesville, VA
Does Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II put in the study time like a Peyton Manning used to do? I know you will say no one did it quite as much as Manning, but a backup/mentor should have that work ethic to instill in a rookie quarterback. All pros have talent, but how they approach their job makes the difference between good and great, do you agree?
Minshew absolutely works and studies – and my understanding is there is nothing wrong with his work ethic. As you said, I have tough time comparing work ethic to Manning; I witnessed Manning's tireless, detailed approach for a decade yield phenomenal results on the field. There were times Manning would check to plays that would result in key first downs or touchdowns that only happened because of his experience in the offense, knowledge of the opposing defense and ability to translate that experience/knowledge at a moment's notice on the field. But I covered Manning from his fourth season to his 13th season, so I witnessed his prime as he grew into an experienced quarterback with years of NFL experience and knowledge. To compare Minshew – or indeed most quarterbacks – to that is impossible and unfair. As for how talent and approach influence a quarterback's career, there is a difference between talent level – even at the NFL level. Arm strength, accuracy, ability to see in the pocket, poise, ability to process in the face of a pass rush? Those things matter. But for quarterbacks that have those things … absolutely how they approach the job can make a monumental difference.
Zac from Austin, Tejas
How many points of extra credit this month should I give per winning game predicted for March Madness?
Three. No, four.
Reuben from Pikesville
I don't know why Minshew isn't shopped for a late pick. Whatever the circumstances, the fact remains that he compiled good numbers and teams with picks like the New England Patriots and Washington could afford to part with a fourth-round pick for a young quarterback with some ability. The Falcons did trade Brett Favre...
Perhaps that will happen. I'm not sure Minshew will bring a selection quite so early as the fourth round, but we'll see.
Zach from Pomona Park
Hey O'man, what on earth is a Culligan? And what does a Culligan person do?
I have no idea what you're talking about.
Josh from Atlanta, GA
Really enjoyed the running back preview. At the end of the day, No. 25 is too high for a running back with this many holes ... right? I would love to have Najee Harris of Alabama, but James Robinson is more than capable and a very good backup could be found later on. UNLESS the people making the pick think 25 is not too high for a running back. Right?
I don't know that we agree on this one. I would say No. 1 through No. 10 or so generally is too early to select a running back – and I usually would say that's true perhaps into the teens. But I do believe a running back at No. 25 or 33 could be a possibility for the Jaguars in the 2021 NFL Draft. That's not a knock on Jaguars running back James Robinson, who was phenomenal as a rookie this past season. But the Jaguars' offense under Meyer figures to emphasize the run – and while Robinson was incredibly productive and reliable as a rookie, he is not necessarily a breakaway or explosive runner. The Jaguars need explosiveness all over the offense. Robinson is good, and he will be a key part of the offense, but it's probably not ideal to have him be the lone option in the running game as was the case last season. Using No. 25 or 33 could give the Jaguars more options and explosiveness at the position.
Jess from Glen Carbon, IL
O-Man, nice job getting "The Sure Thing" question into the Zone, and referencing Cusack, Zuniga, Edwards, and Robbins. But man, you blew it by not mentioning "The Sure Thing" - Nicolette Sheridan.
Michael from Fruit Cove, FL
You mentioned recently that the $180 million number would be the floor, that teams would have to spend at least that much this season. I thought that recent reports were that the salary cap (most you could spend) for the upcoming year would be at least $180 million. I believe the league called it a "floor" in the sense that the cap will be at least that much based on lower revenues due to the pandemic, but they don't have the official number yet. This would mean the actual floor that teams must spend would be quite a bit less than $180 million. Can you clear this up?
The NFL's "salary-cap floor" is a bit of a misnomer; there really is no year-to-year minimum an NFL team has to spend during a given year. Teams do need to spend 89 percent of their cap space over a four-year period, but there no such rule regarding specific seasons. The $180 million number indeed is the lowest that the NFL's actually salary cap currently can be this season, though the exact cap number has not yet been set.
O-free from Duval
Can I get an O-Zone free O-Zone?
You wish. Hell, we all wish.