O-Zone: Push, push, push

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Dylan from Danvers, MA

I think barring significant injuries and assuming competent quarterback play, the Jags have a good chance to win the AFC South. I expect them to perform much better in division games as there is no good reason they should be swept in the season series by both the Texans AND the Titans. (We scored a total of 25 points across all four matchups,) GO JAGS!!!

Your formula is the key to the Jaguars’ season, but it’s not specific to division games. The Jaguars expect to get improved play at the quarterback position from new starter Nick Foles. They wouldn’t have signed him and released Blake Bortles otherwise. And it’s reasonable to assume they won’t sustain the rash of injuries offensively – particularly on the line – as they sustained last season; such runs of misfortune usually don’t repeat themselves. If those two things happen, the offense should improve. If the offense improves, the Jaguars should play with more leads. If the team plays with more leads, the defense should create more sacks and turnovers – a la 2017. It’s a team game, and it all ties together.

Rob from Pittsburgh, PA

What's up, John? Who do you think on the Jags is going be a breakout player and bounce-back player?

Safety Ronnie Harrison and running back Leonard Fournette.

Brad from Orange Park, FL

I agree that quarterbacking two teams to Super Bowl wins should merit a Hall of Fame induction. I don’t think that it was your opining that I read at some point challenging whether Eli Manning – at two Super Bowl wins with the same team – should enjoy that same honor. Quarterbacking two different teams to Super Bowl wins is probably the greater achievement of the two. But is quarterbacking two Super Bowl wins with the same team so much less of one that it should leave debate to a Hall of Fame enshrinement? Don’t take this that I run around screaming how right Terrell Owens is about things ... But should Eli have issues getting inducted, let alone not get in, especially when you consider cases like Fred Taylor and Tony Boselli – would that not build credence to his Hall of Fame corruption deceleration?

My recent answer regarding Foles potentially making the Hall of Fame someday wasn’t solely based on the possibility of him winning Super Bowls with two different teams; it also projected him winning five division titles and playing in more conference championship games. I mention the division titles and championship games because I tend not to emphasize Super Bowls when discussing quarterbacks as much as most people; I believe quarterbacks who get their team into the postseason consistently are often as valuable and great as quarterbacks who get their team to a Super Bowl or two. As far as Terrell Owens’ opinions on the Hall of Fame, I don’t particularly care about them – and that has nothing to do with Boselli, Taylor or Manning. The Hall isn’t corrupt. It’s an imperfect system because by definition any system in which people try to elect five Hall of Famers from 10-to-15 qualified candidates is going to be imperfect. But the system as it stands now is the best one I can imagine. And I’ve never been sure exactly why Owens complained so much. He is in the Hall of Fame. And deservedly so. So, he didn’t get in on the first or second ballot? So what? There’s no law that says worthy players must get in in their first year of eligibility. Many worthy candidates have waited. So, Owens didn’t like being one of them? Oh well.

Josh from Harrisburg, PA

Senor O-Zone: Do you think Jaguars defensive end Todd Wash can break Michael Strahan’s single season sack record this year?

That was on me. I mistakenly wrote end rather than coordinator in front of Wash’s name in a recent O-Zone answer. But yes … he could break that record. He’s scrappy.

David from Oviedo, FL

Do you have any ownership in the Sbarro’s restaurant establishment? I think, we’re going to need to see 10 years of tax statements.

I should be so lucky.

Tim from Fernandina Beach, FL

Does the Jags defensive scheme rely on a "heavy end" like Calais Campbell or could Josh Allen fill that spot as an every-down player (assuming his play earns it)?

Allen likely will play outside end in Campbell’s spot, but only on third downs when Campbell moves inside. The Jaguars’ scheme does rely on a strong-side end in base situations. Remember: Wash the other day specifically said Allen plays the same position as Yannick Ngakoue, who is a weak-side pass-rushing end. I wouldn’t expect Allen to play much strong-side end anytime soon.

Roger from Provo

So, I’m kind of new to this column from a few years ago and trying to catch up.... Is this correct? Jalen is training with Gene, Yannick is at Sbarros with Telvin, and The Culligan girl is no longer part of The Roar, and there is something Funky about the guy who writes all this?

I googled this. You nailed it.

David from Chuluota

Zone - The Jacksonville Jaguars are currently ranked 21st in the league in “salary cap health,” but projected to drop to 32nd next year, with $31 million in the red. In comparison, the Colts and Texans salary caps are rank No. 1 and No. 2 this year, and projected No. 4 and No. 2 next year. So, next year, while the Jaguars front office is checking the ashtray for pennies, trying to re-sign the likes of Jalen Ramsey, Yannick Ngakoue and Myles Jack, our opponents will have the cap space to aggressively improve. What are your thoughts on the state of the Jaguars salary cap?

My thoughts are that the Jaguars are going to have to release some veteran players next offseason to sign players such as Ramsey, Jack and Ngakoue – if they indeed decide to re-sign/retain all three. My thoughts are also that they won’t have to re-sign all three in the same offseason. My thoughts are also that if you’re going to play heavy in unrestricted free agency as the Jaguars have done in recent seasons you’re eventually going to have to release players to get under the cap. The Jaguars planned for this eventuality and will execute it next offseason – as they executed similar releases this offseason.

Tyler from Jacksonville

All this talk of 4-3 vs 3-4... I want a 5-2, Yannick - Taven - Dareus - Calais - Josh Allen... Let them dudes rip offensive lines apart then everyone else can play pass defense.

I’ll pass this on to Wash. His second favorite thing – after playing defensive end – is when I drop by suggesting schemes.

Mandy from Knoxville, TN

I don’t understand why readers find it mandatory to keep writing in about Jalen; this is his thing as he volunteers to do it. He has trained with Pops his whole life and it made him a mandatory pick early in the first round, yet many keep writing and you keep volunteering to respond to the same questions. What is mandatory is that Jalen show up once mandatory camp begins and he volunteers to perform the way he always does...like a Pro Bowler. You may also volunteer to save all these emails for next offseason and the one after that, because it will be probably be mandatory that you will have to explain voluntary again.

I think it’s safe to say that people will be talking about voluntary and mandatory regarding Ramsey this time of year so long as he plays in the NFL.

Ron from Orange Park, FL

Looking forward to a season where I just hold my breath when our quarterback drops back on third-and-medium rather than cringing. Blake had a great public demeanor and I was rooting for him and wish him the best but...less stress will be nice too. hich gwas a nice guyth

Ghffke fgih tik orrt.

Braddock from Jacksonville

We’re not trying to hide anything or create any secrets. There are 31 other head coaches, there are 31 other teams out there, there are 31 other players at each position. I said that to the team today [Tuesday]: ‘What gives you the advantage this year? We all have talent, everyone has talent sitting in this room; it still goes back to the same thing… it goes back to the hard work of what people may not see on the outside, how you ever portray it on the outside. People don’t know how much [work] you actually put in, but the most important person in that is you.’’’ this was Marrone's best quote ever, agreed?

Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone actually says some version of this quote quite a bit, but yeah … it’s a good quote.

Bryan from Capitol City

When Greg Jones does a pushup, he isn't lifting himself up, he's pushing the Earth down.

And away we go …

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