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O-Zone: People are people

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Dan from Ormond Beach, FL

I agree that quarterback Blake Bortles is probably not back with the Jaguars next season; Justin Herbert will return to Oregon for his senior season, further weakening next year's draft-able quarterback class. I believe that you believe the Jags will draft a quarterback in the first round next year and I am afraid you might be right. It would seem you are only worsening your chances by selecting a quarterback out of sheer desperation in a year where the quarterback class is extremely weak. Do you think the decision-makers have the patience to let quarterback be addressed at a "non-franchise" level for another year while waiting for a better opportunity? Just don't want to pick a quarterback for the sake of picking one. As proven in the past, that can set you back also.

This seems destined to be a major point of discussion for Jaguars observers between now and the 2019 NFL Draft, and the makeup of the quarterback class appears likely to make it a legitimate topic. Can reaching for a quarterback set you back? Obviously. What’s less obvious – and what we may not know until much closer to the draft – is how the Jaguars truly feel about the 2019 quarterback class. Remember: how draft experts paint a class with broad-brush strokes is often different from how a team perceives a class. And while a “class” may be considered weak at a certain position, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a great player at a position in that class. But there’s no question that reaching for a quarterback – or any position – is a real danger. It’s why teams talk all the time of drafting the best player available as opposed to need. Desperately drafting for need theoretically leads to reaches and mistakes because teams talk themselves into a player. That doesn’t mean the Jaguars will do that at quarterback, but it is a legitimate concern.

Johnny from Jacksonville

I love Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith but his last two pick-sixes (not sure about the first one), the Jags have had to kick off from the 20 ... that needs to change.

Fair.

Emiel from Texas

Who cares what the draft order is? If you think he’s the guy, bet the farm and trade up to get him.

Fair.

Mike from Port Orange, FL

Why is it OK for NFL players to act like prima donnas? This attitude of “look at me, pose in the end zone, stand over a player and crow after a play” … that behavior is condoned around the league; sometimes it is flagged, other times is not. Take the score away from the team if it happens on the offense, punish the defense by putting the ball on the one-inch line. Take the big salaries and the bonuses away from the hot dogs who want the world to look at them. Maybe they would play with some sportsmanship or not be in the league anymore. As a fan, a player through college and a coach for about ten years at the high school and college level, I am really getting turned off of the game I have loved since I was a little kid. The rules favor the offense and allow the showboating to go on. It is only selectively penalized. Because the league wants the owners’ pockets to get fatter and treats the players like replaceable parts.

I’m not sure I can be much help here, Mike. The league does want to make money and it’s not going to take away end-zone celebrations any time soon. The league’s belief is that a lot of the things you don’t like – end-zone celebrations, theatrics and an offensive-oriented league – are things that draw ratings. And ratings matter. And so does money. So yeah …

Sean from Jacksonville

Hmm … right now? Nick Foles.

Yeah, he looks great right now. And he has looked very good for stretches of his career. No doubt about that.

Kyan from Le Mars, IA

With Herbert staying at Oregon, that is one less top quarterback prospect in the draft. Why do the Jags find themselves in this position, but the Colts get Luck-y the year they are bad??? Will the Jags over-draft for a quarterback and put us back five years again?

There is literally no way to answer your first question or know way to know the answer to your second question until the draft – or perhaps for several years.

Mike from St. Augustine, FL

Bring Terrell Suggs to Jacksonville. #puznasty. You want defense, bring it. Cheap contract, angry man. Go jags

What?

Al from Orange Park, FL

I know such is rare, but I'm hoping that we draft a kick-butt center and move Brandon Linder back to guard. Wadda ya think?

This is possible. I wouldn’t call it likely. The Jaguars like Linder at center and he has played well there when healthy. You probably also would need to take a center in the first two rounds of the draft to make that happen, and that limits your opportunity to make the move.

William from Jacksonville

What are the requirements for the position of General Manager? Obviously player evaluation isn't one.

Yes, it is.

Fumo from Boston, MA

Now that Bortles has the starting job, do you see him getting cut even if he completely balls out against the Texans? I was a hater in Years 1-3 but seeing how he would take criticism and still go out on the field run the ball and take hits the football lover inside of me forced me to cheer "Let's go Blake." Bought a B.O.A.T shirt from an unofficial store after they made the Patriots fans up here quieter when I walk around in my Jaguars gear. Give me some hope for the boat to still be sailing next September.

I don’t think one game – even one in which he balls out – will change the team’s perception of or plans for Bortles. I wouldn’t mind seeing Bortles return. I think he could serve as a bridge quarterback, and I still believe he can win with right circumstances around him. But sometimes you have to move on – and it still feels as if the Jaguars will move on. That’s not saying things can’t change once final conversations take place after the season. But that’s how it feels now.

Big on Blake from Philly

“Sometimes it’s time to move on” seems foolish in this situation. Every quote I heard postgame Sunday from a defender was Pro-Blake. The money has already been spent. He’s comfortable running the offense and has the team’s support. It doesn’t make any sense to kiss $16 million goodbye when we have a capable, proven winner as a bridge, on the roster. If he does play well early 2019 he can command some trade value when switching to the new guy. I’m all for moving on, but moving on for the sake of moving on doesn’t seem to fit here.

OK.

Dave from North Kingstown, RI

John, Nick Foles and a rookie quarterback next year? Along with a few new pieces on the O-line. Can they make that happen?

I’m getting a lot of emails with this suggestion: but remember, while Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles is expected to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2018 season, that status makes Foles free to choose what he sees as his best option. If Foles would agree to sign with the Jaguars, he almost certainly would do so only if the team wanted him as a relatively long-term starter – i.e., multiple seasons. That would probably mean the Jaguars not taking a quarterback in the first few rounds of the draft, which means you would need a veteran backup behind Foles.

Jason from Duval

You said the Jags should be able to find their quarterback of the future picking ninth in the draft. But everybody seems to be forgetting there is no quarterback worth taking Top 10 this year.

OK.

Joe from Fleming Island, FL

John, I realize you all are professionals, but people are still people. Working in the media with a player such as Malik Jackson, and the shows/web spots he does, is it awkward knowing the probability of him not coming back next year? Malik seems to be doing well in all the times I have heard him online or on the radio, but it would seem awkward knowing the significant possibility/ probability that the team is going to part ways while there is still time on his contract.

It indeed is a touch awkward, but there also are realities of the NFL everyone involved understands. Jackson, who does appear on several Jaguars broadcasts, understands he is unlikely to return next season. His contract moving forward combined with a reduced on-field role make that evident. But Jackson also is a professional and a class act. He has handled himself accordingly and I would have expected nothing less from him.

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