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O-Zone: Scary times

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it … Bryce from Section 116:
Zone, it's probably not the senior writer's job to tell people what to do with their tickets, but I hope to maybe get a #SecuretheBank or #DTWD. Home games against franchises with fan bases that travel well such as the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and Washington Redskins will present opportunities for Jags season-ticket holders to sell game seats at a profit next season. While I appreciate a free-market economy and people's right to make a buck, I very much hope O-Zone readers and game-day-die-hards will help convey the much greater value of keeping all seats in the ‘Bank teal for 2018. Let's make the ‘Bank exclusive to Jag fans only this year; that can ultimately result in a collective reward exponentially greater than any individual's few extra dollars. #NoOpposingJerseys #KeepItTeal!
John: O-Zone readers and game-day diehards are the least of your worries on this front. True believers likely will do whatever possible to have EverBank Field all-Jaguars all the time; it’s the less-dedicated, not-so-die-hard fans that likely will sell their tickets. Either way, you’re never going to keep opposing team’s fans out of a stadium – particularly in the era of on-line secondary markets. But I can also tell you this is far from a Jaguars issue. Every NFL stadium has fans from opposing cities in attendance; Jaguars fans were well-represented at traditional stadiums such as Cleveland, Pittsburgh and New England this past season. And remember: a passionate home crowd has a tendency to overwhelm a few thousand wayward fans. Remember the AFC Wild Card playoff game last month? There were stories leading to that game about Buffalo Bills fans overwhelming EverBank Field. There were some Bills fans there. But aside from some regrettable behavior by a few of them before and following the game, their impact on the day was minimal at best. But yeah … #Keepitteal #DTWD
Bryan from Yulee, FL:
O-Man, before you delete this question and call me crazy, hear me out. Now that Johnny Manziel has announced his bipolar diagnosis, would there be any harm in inviting him to OTAs or training camp? Maybe with the structure and discipline the Jaguars have now it could be a good thing for him.
John: Please. Stop. Talking.
MrPadre from Kingsland, GA:
What do you feel is Blake Bortles's future with the Jaguars? If we draft a quarterback in the first three rounds, do we keep all three? When I see lists of potential cuts to free up some salary I never see him as a possibility.
John: Henne, the Jaguars’ backup quarterback the past four seasons, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on the March 14 start of the 2018 NFL League Year. Keeping Henne will be tricky if the Jaguars select a quarterback in the first three rounds because you’re talking about carrying three players at a position where the Jaguars typically carry two – and because Henne’s $3.25-million-ish cap range along with Blake Bortles’ $19.1-million range puts you at a pretty large number. You don’t see Henne as a possibility for cap-saving cuts because he is scheduled to become a free agent and therefore isn’t currently projected as being on the Jaguars’ 2018 salary cap.
Edward from Atlanta, GA:
Will the Jaguars be making any changes to the logo because they are making changes to the uniform and helmet?
John: The details of the uniforms and helmets moving forward will be announced later this spring. But seriously: I advise people discussing details before then to do so at their own peril. They’re serious about that stuff around here. Shadrick talked about it last Thursday and I haven’t seen him since.
Paul from Westside and Bud Zone:
Compare the stats of BB5 and Kirk Cousins. About the same. Only big difference … BB5 has won two playoff games.
John: Yep.
Don from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Do you think Manziel will ever play in the NFL again? Sometimes young men come to the crossroads and make a good decision. I thought he would be a good quarterback if he matured. Doug Marrone would be a great coach for him if Tom Coughlin gave him that chance. I hate to see guys with talent just throw it all away just to have regrets later. I am still waiting for Justin Blackmon to come back. How dumb is that?
John: I don’t think you want me to answer that.
Chris from Mandarin, FL:
Apart from the Jaguars Reddit, where internet points and up votes are more important than rational thought, it seems Blake has the people in his corner now rather than Cousins. I think this is smart. Look, Bortles can throw the corner route over the receiver's back shoulder very well. This is the hardest pass for quarterbacks to make. There have been issues with Blake seeming to not lead receivers properly, but I would say that is just as much receivers not completing their assignment given a scheme. $19.1 million for Blake.
John: We’re three weeks removed from the AFC Championship Game and about a month from free agency, so I suppose that’s about the right time for a “Jaguars Reddit” question. Look, there are a few areas where Bortles is not as strong as would be ideal. If that weren’t true, he would be locked up to a long-term, franchise-defining contract. He has a few throws you would like him to make better. He makes a throw or two a game on average you would like to have back. He hasn’t yet shown he can lead a team-saving, come-from-behind drive. He also has a bunch of traits you love such as leadership, knowledge of the offense and escapability. I think Bortles will be the quarterback next season because I think the Jaguars will look at the market and find out the cost to replace Bortles is far greater than the benefits of making a change. Maybe I’ll be wrong about that. We’ll see.
Marcus from Southside of Jacksonville:
What will the new official capacity of the stadium be for a Jaguars home game in 2018?
John: The capacity for the Bills-Jaguars Wild Card game in January with tarps removed was 69,442. EverBank Field’s capacity with tarps removed next season will be in that area. That’s very, very large for this market, but considering the momentum built late last season this is a good season to have them off.
Dane from Jacksonville:
Blake will be 26 going into next year and a full contract's worth of NFL experience compared some incoming rookie quarterbacks of the same age. He's only going to get better, and he's not bad at the moment.
John: True.
Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL:
Thoughts on replay ... I think the calls should be overturned by a panel of referees off the field who quickly go through all angles and then radio the call down to the official during the game. Call should be made within 20 seconds and the referee never leaves the field. These refs should also release comments explaining calls, or have postgame press conferences in controversial situations. I think this would make the replays faster and the availability of refs would make the NFL seem more transparent and fair. I think they need a change this year because a lot of fans (not just Jags) are pretty skeptical after this past season. Thoughts?
John: When it comes to replay, the quicker the better – within reason, obviously; the whole idea is to overturn obvious mistakes, after all. I have no philosophical problem with a postgame press conference for referees. I doubt it will happen, though, because the league already has a system in which referees following games with controversial calls speak to a pool reporter.
Dylan from Tulsa, OK:
Mr. O, what do you think of the chances of either signing Kirk Cousins or another free agent or letting Bortles get one more year and drafting a quarterback early as insurance?
John: I think the Jaguars probably will explore the idea of signing Cousins, and I think that exploring could involve getting into the bidding that likely will take place during the NFL’s pre-free agency negotiating period March 12-14. I don’t think they will be involved with any quarterback in free agency other than Cousins. If Bortles indeed is the starting quarterback next season, I think there’s a very good chance the Jaguars select a quarterback somewhere in the top three rounds of the draft.
Luis from Section 412 and St. Johns, FL:
Bleke! Blake! He's our man! If he can't do it, no one can!
John: Hey … one fer Bleke!
Chad from EverBank:
I hate to come across as spoiled, but are there going to be any announcements regarding stadium improvements/upgrades? I just heard the tarps are going to be removed. Anything else in the works?
John: The State of the Franchise will be held later this spring; I expect it to be sometime perhaps in April. I also expect there will be some conversation that day about the Shipyards and other developments. I would say more but I have said too much already. These are scary times. Trust no one.

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