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O-Zone: On the contrary

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

GenuineJag13 from Jacksonville

The Jags and the O-Zone have placed No. 90 (defensive tackle) in the witness protection program, so his name cannot be mentioned in this format as an answer for what is wrong with the defensive tackle position even though he was drafted in the first round, right Mr. O?

Not really. It's perfectly fine to mention defensive tackle Taven Bryan's name in the O-Zone. He has been inconsistent in his first two seasons and he hasn't yet been as good as hoped when he was drafted. He also hasn't been the draft disaster many fans believe. Remember, he was the No. 29 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft and not a Top 10 selection; there's a big difference in expectation for a Top 10-drafted player compared to one selected near the end of the first round, or at least that should be the case. Either way, even if Bryan had been a Pro Bowl player in his first two seasons, defensive tackle would be a need for the Jaguars in this draft. Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus probably isn't returning, and the Jaguars must improve against the run. They can't let 2019 repeat itself on that front.

Cliff from Orange Park, FL

Maybe old news but with the draft on the horizon, I looked at our past first-round picks. Only three are still on the roster and only one made a Pro Bowl and he is not on the roster. These players should be the core of our team. Does this explain the struggles?

The Jaguars' first-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, defensive end Josh Allen, made the Pro Bowl as a rookie – but your point is a good one. The Jaguars must draft better in the first round than they have in recent offseasons.

Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL

If Brown is gone we should consider Simmons, a linebacker with faster 40-yard dash time than former Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Could leave Jack inside and have elite talent at Will. Brown makes the most sense, but if he is gone we should really consider Simmons. Thoughts?

I think if defensive tackle Derrick Brown of Auburn has been selected before the Jaguars select at No. 9 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, there's every reason to believe they will strongly consider selecting Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons there.

Ben from Cuba, MO

With Simmons' huge athletic showing at the combine, it's a no-brainer to take him if he drops to us. He could fill former Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith's spot, a safety position – and apparently he can do many other things. Wide receiver speed with linebacker size is ultrarare. What's the chance he falls to us now?

About the same as before, which is to say decent.

Bill from Folkston, GA

Hey, John. I was wondering if you could clear something up for me. A couple of weeks ago you were talking about how the Jaguars needed to upgrade their offensive line performance – yet now, since Caldwell and Marrone said our line is fine, you seem to have changed your opinion. Just wondering which position you actually are taking.

The Jaguars do need to upgrade their offensive line performance. General Manager David Caldwell and Head Coach Doug Marrone, from what they said at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine, appear to believe that can be done with improvement from all or mostly the current group – and with further return to health/peak level from left tackle Cam Robinson. My position is I'm skeptical that simply bringing back the same group will improve the unit enough. But I also don't know exactly why the line hasn't been as good in recent seasons as necessary. Perhaps Caldwell and Marrone are right – that the players there can get it done. They need to be correct. We'll see if they are.

Alan from Bangor, ME

Has there been any news on Telvin Smith? Is he officially retired? If not, do you see him returning to the team this year?

Former Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith is on the NFL's reserve/retired list, which means he officially retired. That doesn't mean he can't "unretire." I don't expect Smith to play for the Jaguars again. We'll see.

Scott from Woodland Park

Help me understand the math. The players get around 48 percent of the revenue from the NFL. There is a salary cap that teams do not need to spend all of and each player gets an individually negotiated contract. Is there some other pay given to the players so they do in fact get the full CBA percentage of revenue?

Teams also have a salary-cap floor that they must reach – and because of bonuses, many teams spend more cash than the actual cap each season. The competitive nature of the NFL ensures that it's rare that teams spend very far below the cap.

Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville

Funny thing, O-Man. You reply that Dave and Doug's assessment of the team is fine and my saying they are oblivious to reality is just an "opinion." Well … let's see, cow pies in field taste bad and are not good to eat. Yeah it is my opinion, but it doesn't mean it is wrong or not correct. I don't understand why you defend these two when CLEARLY the results of their body of work demonstrate their lack of success. As the saying goes, "the results speak for themselves." Go ahead and defend them based on the W/L record, because that is what matters. And how about that variable pricing, Shad Khan getting his money!!

You're frustrated. That's understandable. It doesn't make your assessment of my answers accurate, but it's still understandable. I get questions. I answer most of them. I try to explain why the Jaguars do what they do. I don't recall saying Caldwell's and Marrone's assessments this offseason have been fine; I recall explaining why they made those assessments and that we'll have to see what the Jaguars' actions will be based on those assessments. That's all we can do at this point of the offseason. I frankly don't have any idea if the assessments are fine, awful or outstanding. We'll find out next season. And yes … the Jaguars are charging more for a couple of premium games at TIAA Bank Field next season. They announced this during the same press release in which they announced two London games. It's not news. I get that it doesn't make fans particularly happy, but it's not news.

Bernabe from Monterrey, Mexico

Hey, Zone, I was wondering … after the Jaguars hire someone, do they introduce them to you? I mean when they're making the rounds, do they stop and formally introduce you?

Not if I see it coming.

Brian from Jacksonville

Big O, if the Jaguars don't reach a deal with defensive tackle Yannick Ngakoue (and they don't franchise tag him) and instead he explores the market, he definitely won't be a Jaguar, right? If he goes out and finds that the Jags were offering his market value, he wouldn't be able to come back home because he would lose face doing so. So then he would probably throw the Jaguars under the bus to publicly justify why he signed for the same amount or less than the Jags offered.

It's unfair to assume what Ngakoue will do in a situation that hasn't happened yet. I wouldn't want to assume that he would speak ill of the Jaguars when in fact in your scenario he could easily just speak highly of the team with which he signed and not comment much on his former team. But the answer to the first part of your question is probably yes: it's rare for a player to sign with his former team once he hits the open market in free agency. Pride typically prevents it.

Steve from Duval

Before we go and try and emulate the Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Packers, and New England Patriots for decision making, can we at least get up to the level of the Bucs first?

Fair point, and you're right: to get anywhere near the level of any good franchise you must make good, sound long-term decisions – and sometimes those decisions aren't popular.

Jack from St. Augustine, FL

Do you think management speaking honestly about any position before free agency or the draft would be a good idea? Secondly, are offensive linemen that are great run blockers also good at pass blocking and vice versa? They seem to be much different skills sets.

Management speaking honestly before the draft and free agency happens, and I think overall Jaguars management is pretty honest when discussing team needs in the offseason. Not that they give away everything, but they're generally relatively honest. Some offensive linemen are good at both pass blocking and run blocking and some excel at one or the other. It depends on the player.

Marty from Jacksonville


No, it's not.