O-Zone: Sassafras

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Jess from Glen Carbon, IL

"Remember: Foles is 30, so it’s not unreasonable to think an elite Foles could be the Jaguars’ franchise quarterback for five, six, seven years or more." It is unreasonable. Why: There is no "elite" Nick Foles. There's Nick Foles, who was the backup quarterback for a Philadelphia Eagles team with an elite offense line, elite tight ends and elite wide receivers. If Nick Foles were the starting quarterback for the 2018 Jacksonville Jaguars, the win-loss record is no better. If the Jaguars do not get above-average offensive-line play and improved production from their bottom-dwelling receiving corps, it's unlikely they will have any success next season. I hope they do, but Nick Foles’ history with less than elite-level offenses isn't promising.

I never wrote that the Jaguars signing former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles as an unrestricted free agent guaranteed them a franchise quarterback for a half-decade or more. And I never wrote that the signing was without risk. It’s most definitely risky, primarily for essentially the reasons you cite: because he never has started more than 11 games in an NFL season – and his success usually has come with very good players around him. The answer you’re referencing was about the possibility Foles could be a franchise quarterback. To refresh: I wrote that it’s not unreasonable to think an elite Foles could be the Jaguars’ franchise quarterback for five, six, seven years or more.” The key word in the sentence is “elite.” If Foles is elite, then he could be the franchise quarterback for that amount of time. If he’s not elite, then it’s a different conversation.

Scott from Jacksonville

You mentioned anything the Rams pay Bortles will reduce the Jaguars’ salary cap. But how does this affect Bortles? Does he get two paychecks? Or do the Jaguars pay Bortles less the amount the Rams are paying?

Former Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles signed a one-year, $1 million with the Los Angeles Rams this week. The Rams will pay him $1 million and the Jaguars will pay him the remaining $5.5 million in guaranteed money for 2019 per the contract he signed in the 2018 offseason.

Jeremy from Dodge City, NM

So, the Jags have to pay Bortles $6.5 million even though he is playing for another team? Seems like a sweet deal for Bortles.

It is a sweet deal. He was guaranteed such sweetness when he signed his contract last offseason. I was amused Wednesday when I saw people upset that the Rams had paid Bortles “just” $1 million, which was barely over the league minimum. Considering he already was making $6.5 million no matter what the Rams paid, why would they have paid him more?

Will from Jacksonville

Why is it that you would be "surprised if the Jaguars went that route (T.J. Hockenson, tight end) as opposed to an offensive lineman" with the No. 7 pick? Is that knowledge from being in the building? Because you have stated that you believe an elite-level tight end is more valuable than an elite-level offensive line/right tackle. I think that a tight end would be more valuable, particularly in offensive coordinator John DeFilippo's/Foles offense.

I would be surprised if the Jaguars went tight end No. 7 overall this year because the tight-end draft class is deep this season. My guess is the Jaguars will believe there’s better value in selecting an offensive linemen early and a tight end in Round 2 or 3 than taking a tight end early and an offensive lineman later.

Roger from White House, FL

John, will the defense light Sixteen Candles now?

I see you, Roger.

Matt from Oxon Hill, MD

Foles seems to be most successful out of the shotgun. Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette has always struggled running out of the shotgun. How do you see this problem playing out? Will both players have to get better and adjust or will the game plan fit Foles or Fournette specifically and the other will have to "sink or swim?”

This will be a significant storyline early in the season. My guess is the Jaguars will use a lot of shotgun because Foles is comfortable in it, and I imagine efforts will be made to incorporate Fournette’s strengths into that. That must be a major charge for the coaching staff this offseason. My guess is Fournette will have to adjust more than Foles.

Mike from Section 238

I understand why the Jags wouldn't take Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins at No. 7 if available, but I can't shake the feeling that we learned nothing from missing out on Ben Roethlisberger under similar circumstances.

Fair.

Brandon from Duuuuuvall

Sir O, How do you see the Jags using newly-signed linebacker Jake Ryan? Will he be taking over for Leon Jacobs? I thought the team was happy with how Jacobs performed last year and players typically make a Year 2 jump.

I expect Ryan will start at strong-side linebacker. The team was fine with how Jacobs played last season for the most part but needed to improve depth there.

Robert from Ponte Vedra, FL

When will the 2019 NFL schedule be released?

Mid-April.

Tim from Kingsland, GA

With everyone talking about weapons for Foles, what has happened to Allen Lazard? He was a good weapon in college and on Madden 19 he is a beast. My question is why don’t we go for wide receiver D.K. Metcalf of Ole Miss or Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson and promote Lazard?

The Green Bay Packers signed Lazard off the Jaguars’ practice squad late last season. I wouldn’t rule out the Jaguars selecting Hockenson or Metcalf at No. 7 overall, but I expect the Jaguars to select offensive line there.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

How likely is it that they draft offensive tackle and tight end with the first two picks?

Very.

Jim from Neptune Beach, FL

I like the Nick Foles signing, and I think he'll be excellent. But, we're one bad hit/injury away from starting Cody Kessler, or one of the two rookies. If I were the general manager, I'd be pretty nervous. Drafting an offensive lineman or tight end in the first round doesn't fix that. If he's there, take Haskins. He's the only possible fill-in for Foles should the worst happen.

Haskins is far from the only possible fill-in for Foles. I think it’s more likely that the Jaguars select a quarterback in the later rounds, or that they sign a veteran quarterback later in free agency. If you select Haskins, you’re taking him with the idea that he will take over as the starter for Foles in the foreseeable future – i.e., in two or three seasons at the most. I don’t believe the Jaguars will be thinking that way.

Sam from Winter Park, FL

If the Jaguars thought they could of gotten Fowler back for 12 million bucks would they have made the trade?

Probably.

Scott from Wichita, KS

If rookies rarely make a difference in their first year, then this first-round pick should be a quarterback. This is a no-brainer. I'm all for giving Foles weapons and protection, but rookies don't do that historically. They do not impact the game as we hope. Pick a quarterback at No. 7 and then add your weapons and protection after that. And then hope they all develop!

I’m all for the Jaguars selecting a quarterback at No. 7 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, but if they select an offensive tackle that player can and should contribute at a relatively high level immediately.

Travis from High Springs, FL

Almost everything I've read about the draft says that Jawaan Taylor from Florida is considered to be the best and most pro-ready offensive linemen available. Some say he can start at right or left tackle and some say he's strictly a right tackle. If the Jaguars we're to draft him with the seventh pick, do you believe he would be drafted as a right or left tackle?

Right.

Scott from Casuarina, Australia

Hi John, With the addition of Foles and offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, what happens with the offensive scheme and language? Will they adopt the Jags previous terminology or does the offensive coordinator bring in his own. Who has to adjust: quarterback and offensive coordinator? Will our offense be mostly the same? On a side note, even though it was time, it was sad to see Blake go, it would be great to see him land somewhere with a chance to play. A mature professional, tough with a big heart.

The Jaguars’ offensive philosophy and approach is being determined in meetings this offseason, and that process will take more-focused form now that the team has signed Foles. The terminology will be that used previously by DeFilippo. Foles will be familiar with that, while other players will have to adjust. And yeah … another fer Bortles.

Chris from Nashville, TN

I like the sassy you, John. Keep it up!

Shut up.

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