O-Zone: Pricey pick

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Marcus from Jacksonville

In “nine experts” this week, five experts mentioned fixing the culture of the team as one of the most important offseason keys. What does that mean for Jalen Ramsey? He has performed on the field and is (hopefully) in the long-term plans, but he has also been a distraction with his off-field antics, has clashed with fellow players (most notably in the preseason) and has come across as selfish in many ways – at least off the field. Can they change the culture without changing Jalen, or is he going to have to change for the team dynamics to improve?

A couple of myths should be dispelled here. One: While fixing culture indeed is an offseason priority for the Jaguars, you can have outspoken players and a positive culture. Another myth – and a bigger one – is that Ramsey is bad for the Jaguars’ culture. It’s true he was a distraction last offseason and early this past season. He also had a miserable game at Indianapolis in November in which he made several mental errors that arguably cost the Jaguars the game. But Ramsey to my knowledge didn’t clash with teammates this past season or in the preseason. More importantly, he caused no distractions over the last month or so of the season and appeared to work to change his approach and to be more professional. I understand that this is going to continue as a topic. Ramsey’s off-field actions, particularly last offseason, were such that it’s going to take time to change the perception that he’s a selfish, me-first player. And it may be a while before he becomes a true team leader. But whatever the perception, Ramsey is not the problem with the Jaguars’ culture. Perception may be otherwise, but in this case,  perception is not reality.

Chris from St. Augustine, FL

This is your annual reminder that the former Jaguars general manager drafted a punter ahead of Super Bowl champion Russell Wilson. Wonder how things would have been different if we were wiser. Go Jags!

Thank you. Who knows?

Josh from Fernandina Beach and currently in Fort Lauderdale, FL

Campbell's play and leadership as a Jag to date, receipt of the Bart Starr Award while in Jacksonville and his continued stay in the First Coast via the anticipated contract all seem to set the stage for Calais being one of the all-time great Jaguars. Great timing for a franchise looking for a cultural identity. Many thanks and respect to Campbell, the award is well deserved. Go Jags!!

Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell, who received the Bart Starr Award for serving as a positive role model to teammates, family and community on Tuesday, already must be considered one of the two or three best unrestricted free agent signees in franchise history. I say “one of” because right tackle Leon Searcy and wide receiver Keenan McCardell signed as UFAs in 1996, and both were Pro Bowl-level players throughout the most successful stretch in franchise history – and therefore deserve to be discussed in the same vein. But yes … going a step further, Campbell also is fast reaching the point of being one of the most important players in franchise history. Will he maintain his level from the past two seasons long enough to be an all-time franchise great on the level of, say, left tackle Tony Boselli, wide receiver Jimmy Smith and running back Fred Taylor? Perhaps not, but his level hasn’t dropped yet – so maybe.

Jordan from Jacksonville

Gil Brandt tweeted that Trevor Lawrence was the best true freshman he ever has seen and that he would be trading for as many 2021 picks as he could. I know this isn't how it works, but I would sign up for 0-16 the next two years if that means getting Lawrence when he comes out. I know it sounds crazy to say that, but people are talking about this kid the way they talked about John Elway and Andrew Luck.

I agree that Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence looks as good as any young quarterback since Andrew Luck, and I expect a slew of Tank for Trevor emails in the coming months, weeks and years. This makes sense; he appears as sure a bet to be elite as any young quarterback I can remember. There’s not much to say beyond that, I suppose. But the Jaguars aren’t going to lose on purpose to draft him, and I would be surprised if they make trades to try to get him. Remember: Win now.

Ryan from Apopka, FL

Other teams have been successful in getting a rookie/young quarterback and building a strong defense (and paying them early) around them as they develop. This to me looks like the direction the Jags should go over trying to find a free-agent quarterback. Plus, the Jaguars don’t have a whole lot of cap space this year. Can we be the next team to make a deep playoff run with a young quarterback and top defense like Seattle and Philly?

Yes.

Mike from Jacksonville

A lot of focus has been on injuries. Shouldn't management pay more attention to the coaches that teach this, and the players willingness to buy into it? As a former athlete, I was always taught, strength and flexibility training helped to avoid being benched – especially for the little nagging things.

The Jaguars’ strength-and-conditioning staff essentially was the same in 2017 as 2018 – and while fans often want to blame that staff for injuries, injuries are part of the game. But Head Coach Doug Marrone did spend a good chunk of his end-of-season press conference emphasizing the need for players to be present throughout the offseason program for just this very reason. It would therefore be difficult to emphasize it much more than that.

RVJag

Former Jag ticket holder: Every year I sign up for the NFL Preseason that allows me to watch all the Jags replays since I can’t see the regular games live. However, this year I didn’t watch any of the replays because there wasn’t anything that peaked my interest. I’ll save my money next year and just listen to the game on Sirius FM.

Well, now we know.

Stan from Braselton

In my business experience when a leader loses discipline they are never able to restore it. I believe Jaguars Owner Shad Kahn and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin have made a serious mistake in retaining Marrone.

Restoring discipline once it is lost indeed is difficult, and it’s a concern for the Jaguars. It’s one of which Marrone is well aware. We’ll see how it plays out.

Mandy from Section 414 and Tallahassee

Well, the dumpster fire of this season is over. This team has made me feel so terrible for so many years. I guess I just like the punishment. Or maybe I like the NFL in my backyard and seeing good football teams come to town. But watching the “bandwagon” fans already come and go around my seats, I’ve come to realize I just love my Jags. And, I really don’t know why. New season-ticket holders, fair-weather fans were done half way through the season. Yes, I had more leg room, but it does make me think if I’m completely stupid wasting my hard-earned money watching this team every year. But, you know what O? This teal girl will be sitting in my seat again next year. Am I glutton for punishment or what? Have a safe new year ...

DTWD

David from Broward County

O-Man, the Jags pick at No. 7. Let’s say that Coughlin and General Manager David Caldwell determine that Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins is the Jaguars’ future quarterback. What would it take to trade with the Arizona Cardinals at No. 1 overall to ensure they get Haskins? This year’s No. 7 overall selection plus what else? Another year’s first rounder and more?

This question is impossible to answer because we don’t yet know how the quarterback class will be viewed once teams get further into their evaluation process – and a lot can change during that process. Patrick Mahomes, remember, was widely considered a second-round selection during January and February the year the Kansas City Chiefs selected him No. 10 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. There were also widely varying opinions on the two other quarterbacks eventually selected in Round 1 that year – Mitch Trubisky and Deshaun Watson. If Haskins solidifies himself as the One and Only Top 5 Can’t-Miss Quarterback in the draft, then it likely will be very expensive to move up. If other quarterbacks solidify themselves as Top 10 selections, then the demand for Haskins could drop along with the price – and the perceived need – to move up. If Haskins is in high demand, I expect the price would be the No. 7 overall selection, next season’s first-round selection and another first- or second-round selection – at least. It’s going to be pricey, which is why you need to absolutely on an organization-wide level believe he’s an elite, franchise-defining quarterback. Stay tuned.

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