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O-Zone: Over the edge

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Jason from Suffolk, VA

I do not understand when I read articles where a high percentage of Jacksonville citizens are opposed to the city helping financially for the upcoming renovations to the stadium. First of all, isn't it the city that owns the stadium? That alone should suggest that they should assume some financial responsibility to the renovations. Secondly, does the city not earn any revenue from taxes associated with sales at the stadium? Does the city not benefit at all from having the Jaguars in Jacksonville? Again, I don't live in Jacksonville, so I understand it's really not my lane, but I find it hard to believe that the city doesn't overall benefit even with assuming some responsibility financially.

There are many, many levels in this discussion – too many to address in one O-Zone answer and possibly too many to address in multiple answers. Many people always will instinctively recoil at the idea of public funds supporting professional sports. A first thought always will be, "Why can't rich owners pay for this themselves?" Explaining that small markets can't generate the revenue to justify owners self-funding megastadiums gets a bit too complex and cumbersome for many people to want to accept, so the discussion often ends there. Bottom line: If a smaller-market team is to participate in the NFL, stadium funding usually must be a public-private partnership. Does the city benefit from professional sports enough to merit public funding? Everyone has their opinion. If you're fine with the concept of the Jaguars not being in Jacksonville, then you won't believe the city benefits enough. If you want the Jaguars in Jacksonville, then you will believe the city benefits plenty. It all depends on your perspective.

Bradley from Sparks, NV

Week 8 at Pittsburgh could be premiere game, too.

This continues a recent O-Zone discussion regarding premier – or primetime – games on the Jaguars' 2023 schedule. The Jaguars are scheduled for three prime-time games in 2023 – home against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 13, home against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 15 and at the New Orleans Saints in Week 7. They also will play nationally televised games that will be held in London against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 4 and against the Buffalo Bills in Week 5. Sure, at the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 8 could be a premiere game. Home against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2 could be big, too. And home against the San Francisco 49ers Week 10. As could any number of other games. The Jaguars were good last season and are expected to be good again. When they play quality opponents, they will be premier games.

William from Savannah, GA

So, does Andrew Wingard get an honorary chair in the quarterback's room this year?

Dewey sits where Dewey wants to sit.

Bruce from Owensboro, KY

What does own the Wembley game mean for the Jags? Can you explain this in detail?

I assume you're asking what it means for the Jaguars that their game at Wembley Stadium is a "home game." It means the Jaguars are responsible for staging the game – and that they're responsible for selling tickets and corporate sponsorship. That means greater cost outlay for the team in terms of staffing and travel. It also means the team keeps a far higher part of the revenue generated from the game, which is what makes it so critical to the team's local revenue.

Don from Marshall, NC

The last player drafted by the Jaguars, fullback Derek Parrish, might be the one who ends up getting his tush pushed. Wait a minute, that doesn't sound right.

No, it doesn't.

_Sue from Omaha, NE   _

Hi, John. Do you think we should resign Dawuane Smoot? He was an effective pass rusher last year, and hopefully will return to form sometime this early this fall. Isn't it worth the risk to sign him now, maybe before there is more competition for him? Thanks.

Smoot, a defensive lineman for the Jaguars from 2017-2022, indeed was an effective pass rusher in recent seasons. He sustained a torn Achilles in Week 16 last season. Smoot becoming an unrestricted free agent after the season made the situation tricky on both sides. I have no doubt the Jaguars would have wanted a healthy Smoot to return this season. But even accounting for recent medical advances in this area, a torn Achilles is among the more serious football injuries. Would the Jaguars have been able to re-sign Smoot considering their salary cap? Where is Smoot in his rehabilitation and what contract is he seeking? These are all questions that make this a difficult situation.  

Tom from Loughborough, England

Are you enjoying your nap?


Jason from North Pole, AK

The Jaguars playing back-to back in London from a competitive standpoint is brilliant. (See what I did there?) Do you think players spending the week interacting with fans and practicing there will help build a homefield advantage as Trevor becomes a star? It feels like we could be stealing an additional home crowd in the future.

I think the Jaguars' presence in London is making them more known and popular there. I think winning consistently will make them even more known and popular there – and there's no doubt that quarterback Trevor Lawrence's presence raises the team's profile and popularity exponentially. I don't know that the crowd is necessarily an extreme advantage for the Jaguars yet. I do sense it's becoming more of a factor in their favor over time. I expect that to become more the case as they win more. That, along with being more accustomed to the travel and circumstances because of so many past trips there, should be an advantage on some level.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

What can you imagine the week schedule in between games in London will look like? Same hotels? Normal practice routine just across the pond?

The Jaguars will stay in one hotel leading into their Week 4 game against the Atlanta Falcons at Wembley Stadium, then stay in a different hotel leading to their Week 5 game against the Buffalo Bills at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The schedule during the week between games essentially will be the same as any other week except in London.

Charles from Riverside

Hello, John. Last season was our first really good season since 2017. Wondering if the recent big push for a wholesale renovation with the associated cost was patience on the part of the Jaguars management? Wait for all the positive vibes from a great season, and what appears to really be a successful future, to aggressively pursue the renovation. Not a conspiracy theorist, just seems a bit more than coincidental?

TIAA Bank Field essentially was built in 1995. That means it's essentially three decades old. As Jaguars President Mark Lamping said recently, the stadium has reached the end of its useful life. The positive vibes from a successful season and a potentially bright future should make the upcoming conversations about the stadium more pleasant, but they were going to happen anyway.

Eddie from Section 104

KOAF. Question regarding the stadium remodeling and the thought of playing games in Gainesville. Do you think this will be a competitive disadvantage for the Jags? They will have more travel and won't truly have a home game for two years. This will hopefully be in Trevor's prime years. Go Jags.

Nothing has been determined about this issue, including where the Jaguars might play if they can't play in downtown Jacksonville. Playing home games an hour and a half from their facility isn't ideal. If it were, more teams would play home games an hour and a half from their facility. If the Jaguars are good, they will win games and turn their situation into a positive. Good teams win games.

Armand from Jacksonville

Now that the rookies are signed can the wide receivers and tight ends work out with Trevor and the veterans?


Chris from Fleming Island

O-man, Just my two cents worth on the stadium reno. Jaguars Owner Shad Khan and the Jags don't own the stadium, the city does. The Jags just rent it 10 times a year. If you were renting a house that needed a new roof, the renter wouldn't be expected to pay for that. Same with the stadium. The city owns it and the Jags are offering to split the expense of the upgrade. Am I seeing this right?

It's more complex than this, but there's an element of truth here. The reality is any city and professional sports team have a complex relationship. In larger markets, they might rightfully be expected to pay for their own facilities because they can benefit financially from doing so. That's less possible the smaller the market and the dynamic therefore changes in the smaller markets.

Brad from The Avenues

Okay, the Jags are leaving, the NFL is scripted, and the world is flat. I mean, if it were round, wouldn't we keep rolling off the sides?

Good eye.