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O-Zone: Shameful

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Noel from St. Augustine, FL

Hey Mr. O. Since you receive a lot of feedback from us fans, what is your feel for which quarterback has the most support to be the starter in 2020? From my limited feel, it seems the villagers will be up on arms if Gardner Minshew II isn't the starter. Also, shouldn't the decision be made sooner than later so Gruden can better tailor the offense to either one as they have different skill sets?

Yes, most Jaguars fans – particularly the vocal, passionate (and awesome) ones that populate the O-Zone – seem to want Minshew to start. And yes … a decision on this issue ideally will be made as soon as possible so that new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden can begin working the offense to the starter's strengths. I spoke to Gruden about this during the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine this past week. He seemed to have no problem with the idea of a quarterback competition between Nick Foles and Minshew, at least in part because both Minshew and Foles have strengths and because they were equally inconsistent at times last season – and because he hasn't even met yet with either player as offensive coordinator of the Jaguars. But he also acknowledged that not knowing the starter isn't ideal. The reality is there's little lost not knowing the starter yet, but it's not something the Jaguars want to linger forever. Or perhaps even into training camp.

John from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Did you go to the 2020 Roar Banquet?

I have no idea what you're talking about.

Josh from Atlanta, FL

In your way-too-early thoughts, with all the uncertainty around the position group, if the team drafts Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown or South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw at No. 9 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, who is our starting defensive line Week 1? Obviously, we can't predict with the slightest bit of confidence; just want to see where Zone's early chips are on the table.

I would imagine in that scenario defensive end Calais Campbell starting at one defensive end with Brown/Kinlaw starting alongside Taven Bryan at defensive tackle. I would also anticipate Josh Allen and Yannick Ngakoue starting at end/linebacker in some sort of hybrid 3-4 scheme. Some of this could depend on Ngakoue's status between now and them – i.e., whether he signs or plays on the tag, how early he gets into training camp or organized team activities to get familiar with any new scheme or wrinkles in the scheme, etc. Overall, much obviously depends on who the Jaguars re-sign this offseason. Until we know more about that … well, we just don't know.

Chris from Jacksonville

Any thoughts on the proposed Collective Bargaining Agreement reportedly including provisions for a team to play three or more international games a year? Seems that the Jags are positioning themselves to take even more home games to London.

The proposed CBA will run for 10 years; that's an eternity in professional sports. For the NFL to put provisions in a CBA means the league office is leaving open possibilities – for all teams. It doesn't mean the Jaguars will move more games to London – or even that they will keep playing two games there past this season. And it doesn't mean the Jaguars are positioning themselves for anything.

Scott from Fernandina Beach, FL

Hi John, will both of our first-round picks have the same fifth-year option?

Under the terms of the current CBA, yes. But the dynamics of the fifth-year option for first-round selections reportedly could be dramatically different under the proposed new CBA, with the fifth-year salary fully guaranteed upon a team exercising the option (right now it's only guaranteed in the event of injury) and the option value tied more to performance than draft position. Stay tuned.

Larry from Jacksonville

According to most draft sites, there will be some excellent guards (and tackles who should move to guard) in the third and fourth round this year. It would seem prudent, therefore, to focus on the defensive line and skill positions with our first three picks. I would be all for two of those picks being defensive tackles.

I'm leaning right now toward the first four selections being defensive tackle, cornerback, wide receiver and linebacker, but I tend to fall down a lot when I lean. Take it for what it's worth.

Dan from Las Vegas, NV

Hi, John. Listening to all this people calling for the front office to pay Yann the money he wants, what's going to happen when is time to pay Josh Allen – as I believe he is the better player than Yann?

Allen indeed appears likely to be a better overall player than Ngakoue, and it's possible – even likely – he will be a better pass rusher, too. That absolutely was the case statistically this past season. But one really doesn't impact the other that much. The Jaguars won't be able to negotiate a second contract with Allen until after the 2021 season, so this isn't a pressing issue yet. But if Allen is as good as appears likely … yeah, it will be expensive. Either way, signing Ngakoue to an extension this offseason wouldn't preclude the Jaguars from re-signing Allen in two years. Both can be done.

Brett from Seattle, WA

Sometimes when I'm sitting in my therapist's office unpacking my luggage, time stands still and his face slowly morphs into yours and begins talking Jaguars football to me ... is this something I should mention to him, nah I'll just post it here.

You handled the situation well.

Bradley from Portland, OR

If Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is taken at No. 2 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, do you think the Jags could execute a trade for No. 3 in order to steal Ohio State defensive end Chase Young?

No. I can't imagine the Jaguars wanting or being able to package enough draft equity to move from No. 9 to No. 3 for a defensive end – even one as good as Young. And trading that sort of equity to get a player wouldn't be "stealing" him. It would be paying through the nose.

Eddie from Jacksonville

Hey, O. Do you think we might be able to trade a certain unpopular and unfriendly senior writer for a third-round pick?

Wait. What?

Wancor from Duval

What are General Manager Dave Caldwell and Head Coach Doug Marrone seeing that no one else is regarding the offensive line? These kinds of comments are really why we should have just moved on. We are awful; the entire team needs improving. This puffery is completely tone deaf.

The entire team must improve. But you can't replace 22 starters in a single offseason, nor can you overhaul every position group in a single offseason. Caldwell and Marrone like the offensive line more than many observers, and they don't seem to think a major overhaul is needed. Much of their projection seems to depend on left tackle Cam Robinson playing better moving forward as he continues to gain strength from his 2018 torn anterior cruciate ligament. It's not impossible that that would happen. Aside from Robinson, it's pretty clear the team likes guard Andrew Norwell, center Brandon Linder and right tackle Jawaan Taylor. If they believe in Robinson as much as they indicated this week, I would be surprised if they select a left tackle in Round 1. That indicates that there won't be much change on the offensive line this offseason. We'll see if that's how it plays out.

Unhipcat from Carlsbad, CA

Hi, John. My question is you should put agree/not agree boxes at the end of each of your responses so you can see how you're doing.

Why would I care about that?

Josh from Pensacola, FL

In your opinion what is the most important factor in keeping a franchise successful? I am a die hard OKC thunder fan and somehow they always find success and are never bottom dwellers. In the past few years they've lost Durant and Westbrook. Not to mention James Harden. But yet here they are planted firmly in the playoff picture. Does culture and management and coaching trump talent? I think so. What day you?

I covered the NBA just enough while in Indianapolis to know I don't know enough to speak intelligently about what it takes to win consistently in that league – though my guess is the Thunder have at minimum decent players. The most important factor to keeping a franchise successful in the NFL is simple. Quarterback.

William from Savannah, GA

John, I can handle the Jaguars losing, as long as they are competitive. And it has taken me quite a while to get over allowing the Culligan girl to take the plunge into the waters of free agency. But Culture Club? Really? The Jaguars organization just crossed the line. Shame! Shame! Shame!

I'll decide where the line is and remember: I have no shame.

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