O-Zone: Run for the hills

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Al from Orange Park, FL

What, if anything, did Ngakoue's holdout accomplish?

This is a fair question, because defensive end Yannick Ngakoue ended his holdout Sunday by reporting to 2019 Training Camp without a new contract. Ngakoue, who also skipped the Jaguars’ three-day June minicamp, perhaps accomplished a couple of things with his absence. He made clear to the Jaguars his desire for a new contract, and his agent made clear to the Jaguars what it will take to re-sign Ngakoue to an extension beyond his rookie contract. And Ngakoue certainly used whatever leverage he had by holding out nearly as long as possible without losing a year toward unrestricted free agency. So, if the idea was to ensure loud public conversation about this issue, then that goal was accomplished. But there was ultimately little tangible Ngakoue’s holdout could accomplish because the Jaguars had the leverage of Ngakoue needing to report or not be eligible for unrestricted free agency next offseason. That was put in the Collective Bargaining Agreement to protect teams from holdouts in the first four years of a player’s career. In this case, that rule protected the Jaguars – in the short-term, anyway – and prevented Ngakoue’s holdout from its desired short-term accomplishment. As for what this will mean for Ngakoue’s future with the Jaguars in the long-term after this season … stay tuned.

Sean from Jacksonville

Roc Thomas, eh? Maybe he's a guy that is signed to cover Thomas Rawls and Ryquell Armstead's place in line since they are dealing with health issues? Let's say he makes the team, but he'd still be suspended the first three games of the season. I'm trying to make sense of signing a guy to, maybe, cover for two of our other running backs, but he won't even be available until the fourth-regular season game. Can you make an intelligent guess as to why we signed this guy?

You’re overthinking it. The Jaguars signed Thomas to see if he can make the position better. And I’m guessing the Jaguars think they want to see if Thomas can help them for 13 regular-season games, not three.

Fred from Naples, FL

Is it just me or are we on the brink of a very special season?

Perhaps. The potential is there for the Jaguars to push for the postseason. Past performance – and current talent – makes it likely the defense will be good-to-very good. The addition of quarterback Nick Foles along with the apparent development of the receivers in training camp has me more optimistic about the offense than I have been in some time. Even a marginal improvement offensively could mean a big improvement in the record. Bottom line: Much must go right. Running back Leonard Fournette must fulfill his potential. So must offensive tackles Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor. The Jaguars must be healthier than last season. But is special within reach? Sure.

Jerry from Jax

Remember when Jalen didn’t volunteer and it was a thing?

You’re referencing Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey missing voluntary organized team activities this past offseason. I do remember people being upset about it. And I also do remember saying it makes not a whiff of difference whether Ramsey attends voluntary offseason workouts so long as he reports to training camp prepared and performs at a high level. Some players don’t need to attend OTAs because some players are talented and motivated enough to perform without being there. Ramsey is one of those players.

Paul from St. Johns, FL

Ngakoue's reported $19 million per year seems quite reasonable. Considering the player wanted $20 million per year and still has a year on his current contract, and could get injured this year, what gives? Is the guaranteed money far off or something? I was thinking the Jags were offering something much lower than $19 million per year and that was the divide between the two camps ... but the difference between $19 and $20 million seems negligible.

Any discussion of what exactly kept the Jaguars and Ngakoue from reaching a long-term deal is speculation because there have been no credible, exact reports outlining what Ngakoue wants or what the Jaguars offered. They certainly were further apart than $1 million a season, and my guess is the Jaguars probably weren’t as close to offering $20 million as reports may have indicated.

Brandon from Duval

John, it appears to that Yannick's thinking is shortsighted. If the reports are true, two years, $50 million "guaranteed" and then you're 26 and in your prime and ready for another massive contract after the market increases seems like a better deal than playing for $2 million then getting a four-to-five-year contract with $70 million guaranteed and then not likely getting another nearing age 30. Am I wrong?

No, but again: We don’t know the details of the offer or the details of what Ngakoue really wanted. Without that information, it’s not fair to criticize how Ngakoue approached his decision.

Fred from Naples, FL

As bad as we have had with quarterback play in our 25-year history with the exception of Mark Brunell and perhaps a few good years from David Garrard, it has been just the opposite with our kickers: Starting with Mike Hollis with our foundation, then Josh Scobee and now Josh Lambo. Gosh, even Jason Myers had a couple of clutch kicks for us and he made the Pro Bowl soon after leaving us with the Jets. When you look at other team's struggles at the kicker position (see Bears) we have indeed been fortunate through the years. Not sure if I have a point here; just sayin'.

OK.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

It obviously is blind faith because he has never played an NFL snap, but I have extreme confidence in Josh Allen. If Yann and the organization can’t strike a deal, I think we will be fine giving the reigns to Allen. You can never have too many pass rushers, but we can't throw unsustainable contracts at players who have a potential superstar behind them. We have other areas with less promise that need protection for the future (i.e. Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack).

Early indications about Allen are positive. He looks impressive so far. If he’s as good as those indications, your point has a lot of merit.

David from Orlando, FL

A few years ago, I submitted this question: “When it's time to draft a quarterback, wouldn’t it make sense if we hire a quarterback scout, preferably a successful and highly-opinionated former NFL quarterback?” I was reminded of the question the other night, while watching the Hall of Fame game. Since John Elway has been at the helm in Denver, the Broncos have drafted the following quarterbacks: Brock Osweiler, Zac Dysert, Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch and Drew Lock (which sounds like Andrew Luck, but nobody will ever confuse the two). I’m not sure if this is an example of how poorly Elway evaluates quarterbacks or how much of a crapshoot it is find a star quarterback. I’m leaning towards the latter.

I don’t remember the question, but my guess is I answered that the ability to play any position – quarterback included – has little to do with the ability to accurately project whether a player will excel at that position. If playing ability equated scouting ability, NFL front offices would only employ former Hall of Fame players and teams would hit on 90-to-95 percent of their draft selections.

Seamus from Vancouver, British Columbia

Good for Ramsey coming to camp in the Brinks truck; it was funny and anyone who scorns him for it should really reconsider why they watch football, anyway; it can't be for the entertainment; maybe it is for the commercials? Also, why did it take a week for you and everyone reporting on that to mention, off-handedly, that it was for an Adidas commercial? How did that crucial detail slip between the cracks? #aggravatedbutonlymildly

I don’t pretend to have read every story about Ramsey’s training-camp arrival. I remember references to it being an Adidas commercial. I don’t remember how prominently those details were mentioned. It’s not that stories about how players arriving aren’t critically important, but …

Chris from Nashville, TN

Wow, O! Two stories in one afternoon? Don't overexert yourself and end up on the IR, big guy.

Thanks for reading pretty much any day in training camp or the regular season.

Dave from Chorley, England

Is there not a part of you, O, that dreads another injury-riddled side that limps into fourth place this season? I'm running for the hills in despair already! The life of a jags fan.

I don’t dread or not dread another injury-riddled season. I’ve covered 24 NFL seasons, and that’s enough to know that some teams are going to be riddled by injuries in some seasons and some teams are going to be more fortunate in this area. There’s no controlling it. It will play out as it plays out.

Advertising