JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Cole from Jacksonville
Hey, John. Just wanted to say I really enjoyed and appreciated your first podcast. It really affected my opinion on Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell. Like most, I felt we should have burned it down after last season but I had to admit that last year's draft and the offseason moves and draft this year made me open to listening to what he had to say on the podcast. I truly appreciated his candor. I was surprised a "company man" like you asked a lot of tough questions and even more surprised he answered every single one. I definitely look forward to hearing from Jags players and brass in the future.
Caldwell was the guest on the first O-Zone podcast, which can be heard here. I wasn't surprised he answered all questions. He always has been willing to answer questions and explain decisions – though I agree that his answers on the podcast do explain well some concepts that have confused many Jaguars fans this offseason. Michael Silver of the NFL Network is next week's guest – and that should be entertaining and informative, too. The plan is to do the podcast weekly and talk to Jaguars players, Jaguars coaches, Jaguars front-office people, media members, former Jaguars players – and pretty much whoever else interests me at the time. The goal is to have some fun, entertain and inform. Oh, and not to suck. That would be cool, too.
Darren from Fort Worth, TX
I'm seeing a lot being said of the Jags not picking up running back Leonard Fournette's fifth-year option, and what it means for his status and the running-back market overall. I'm a little confused, though, because I'm seeing a lot of teams decline fifth-year options this year. Why is this so much more meaningful for Fournette than other players?
Mike from Atlanta, GA
Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue is still playing on his third-round rookie deal. On the franchise tag, he would get around $17 million in salary for playing for the Jaguars this year. I've learned to never say never, but the probability of him foregoing that money two years in a row are approaching zero. I can think of a lot of things to do with $17 million in salary for six months of work.
There's a good chance you're right – and for the reasons you cite. But Ngakoue forewent a substantial salary last season, too. He's a prideful guy who clearly doesn't mind taking a stand and gambling on himself. I don't know if he will take that route in 2020, but it's possible.
Sean from Jacksonville
Another player that I am at a loss for having been signed. "In 2019, he played in all 16 games with the Bears and totaled six tackles, 2.0 sacks and two passes defensed." SIX tackles all year? My mother, 83, can tackle better than Aaron Lynch. Is it because of the 3-4 scheme?
The Jaguars signed edge defensive Aaron Lynch on Tuesday. He's a veteran reserve. He was signed for depth. After the draft. You expected 15 sacks and a Pro Bowl resume? Relax. (And your 83-year-old mother couldn't get two sacks. But mine could. She's relentless. She would get them just to spite me.)
Joseph from San Marcos, TX
The Colts let quarterback Curtis Painter play 11 games in 2011 and go 0-11 before they benched him. His replacement won two games and was clearly the better player. In my opinion, they were tanking for Andrew Luck. Painter was awful. He couldn't hit the side of a barn with a football.
Well, now we know your opinion.
Josh from Atlanta, GA
Does Keelan Cole have a spot on this roster? His contract tender isn't guaranteed and on paper we have sizeable upgrades in Collin Johnson and Laviska Shenault Jr. I like Keelan but it looks like he is the odd-man out.
I don't think Cole "has a roster spot" because he must earn it. I anticipate DJ Chark Jr. being on the team along with Chris Conley, Johnson, Shenault Jr. and Dede Westbrook. So, for Cole to also make it the Jaguars will have keep six receivers. That absolutely could happen.
zac from Austin, tejax
What has been the most exciting Jaguars game to cover from the last 10 years?
The AFC Divisional Playoff victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers following the 2017 season.
Andrew from Mattoon, IL
Let's say you and your neighbors get your stimulus checks. Everyone has to take turns shopping for new furniture. When your turn comes the best quality stuff is living-room furniture, even though you would really like to have some new patio furniture. But the quality of this living room furniture is amazing for the price. Wouldn't you buy the best quality? Especially when they have some decent quality patio furniture you can buy later? If the best quality guys in the early rounds were defensive players, why would you draft offensive guys over them that are not of equal value?
I expect to finish painting the upstairs porch in the next couple of days. I don't know if I'm going to get new furniture for it. Probably not. Probably swip-swap or something like that.
Taylor from Columbia, MD
Not to be snide, but does losing our London games for 2020 hurt the Jaguars' viability in Jacksonville?
Not if they're lost for one year. If it's for two or three, that's different.
Robert from Fernandina Beach, FL
I think quarterback Gardner Minshew II is going to be a star and is the long-term answer in Jacksonville, but for those crazy for Trevor Lawrence in next year's draft, the Jags could be in position to draft him by having the fourth or fifth pick. And that could happen if the Los Angeles Rams or the Jaguars land there – and if the teams ahead of us, likely one or two who drafted quarterback early in this year's draft, have no plans to draft a quarterback.
Perhaps, though my guess is Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence will go No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft – if not to the NFL team with the worst record in 2020 then to a team trading with the team with the worst record to get into the No. 1 slot.
Bradley from Sparks, NV
A variety of NFL insiders are saying Tony Khan is the real deal. Do you see him on a trajectory that will lead him to Lamar Hunt or Art Rooney status?
I have said and written often that I believe Khan is developing/has developed into a very good front-office executive, and I do believe he can develop into the status of the owners you mention. The reason is simple: He has in nine seasons immersed himself into learning the league on a deep level. He never assumed he could be a good owner/front-office executive without putting in the necessary work, and he absolutely has put in that work. He is humble and understands the value of listening. Not every owner has those traits, and they will serve him well throughout his time as an owner.
Hulk from Las Vegas, NV
With the draftees and signings and the overall message and obvious direction change with our locker room, I'm still a bit concerned. We've jettisoned a few players that hurt the locker room (some just cap victims) but it sounds like a couple are still left. Mainly Yannick. Nothing in the last six weeks says that he will keep his negativity to himself if he decides to play on the franchise tag. You have K'Lavon Chaisson coming in, who is his obvious replacement. What guarantee is there that these players who are under the microscope and labeled distractions don't attempt to poison the rookies' minds? Fournette and Yannick are vocal and have drawn unwanted attention to the franchise by their actions. How do you change a culture when some of the bad seeds are still in the building?
Ngakoue has been vocal in wanting to be traded. But he also has a four-year track record with the Jaguars of being a good teammate who shows up, practices hard, plays hard and is a good locker-room guy. He fit the latter description in 2019 when he was very unhappy about his contract. Fournette also is vocal on social media. And while Fournette has not been perfect off the field during his time in Jacksonville, I never have sensed nor seen evidence that he is a divisive or negative force among teammates. Ngakoue wants to be traded and the Jaguars reportedly tried to trade Fournette. Those aren't ideal situations entering a season, but they're not bad enough situations that they can't be handled.
Chris from Section 437
Do you think answering questions every day for the O-Zone has changed you at all and if so how?
Absolutely. It's made me a kinder, more understanding person. And people … God, do I love them.