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O-Zone: So far away

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Stephen from 139 and Jacksonville

John, how much of an issue is it for Yann that he was drafted in the third round (not his fault) – and had he gone in the first or second round, he already would be up significant dollars? If he thinks he was under-drafted – and that that cost him significant dollars – I'd think he'd want to try to recover that (somehow) since that Jags got him "cheap" for the last three years. Thanks.

I've said before and I'll say again: I don't pretend to know exactly what motivates Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. I'm not smart enough to decode his Tweets and I can't read his mind. I do know it's reasonable for Ngakoue to want to maximize this opportunity to earn generational money; this will quite possibly be his best and only chance to do so. As far as whether he would be motivated had he been selected earlier in the 2016 NFL Draft … I suspect he would be equally motivated to become the NFL's highest-paid pass rusher regardless of where he had been drafted and how much he had earned in his career to this point. He's a prideful player, and believes he is as good as – and perhaps better than – anyone at his position. Whether the Jaguars – or the rest of the NFL – agree and pay him accordingly remains to be seen.

RJ from Jacksonville

John, regarding former Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey, you failed to also acknowledge the fact that he was in too much pain to play for his Jaguars brothers. Certainly, team management understood or could have related to that.

I also forgot to mention how much he loved his teammates. It's important to keep that prominently in mind when judging Ramsey.

Chris from Section 437

Two first-round picks for a guy that won't play for you with a fake injury is a bargain. Why does anyone need an explanation for that?


Brian from Jacksonville

Every offensive lineman is being described by the Jags as being awesome and improving. As they should be. Right up until there is a trade or waiver. Jaguar executives and coaches are not going to say anything that isn't glowing and upbeat about their current roster. Nothing is gained by publicly discussing current players' weaknesses. They see what we see, but they must speak on it differently. No surprise here. Free-agent moves will say more than any statements being made now. Tight end and offensive may get the nod?

You're correct that Jaguars management – or any team's management, for that matter – gains little from speaking negatively about a player on the roster. But in the case of Head Coach Doug Marrone and General Manager David Caldwell speaking highly of the current group of offensive linemen this week at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine … I got the feeling that was genuine. It's possible that an offensive lineman could come available in the draft that would be an upgrade, but it doesn't feel as if it will be a priority.

Keith from Palatka, FL

One reason I was not overjoyed at the return of Caldwell and Marrone is their inability to correctly self-evaluate certain position groups – namely offensive line and quarterbacks. My apprehension came to fruition when I read your article about the confidence they had in both groups. Wow. By any standard our offensive line struggled last year. Quarterback Nick Foles escaped with "just" a broken clavicle. In his return, he didn't even have time to set up in the pocket. Quarterback Gardner Minshew II fared better because of his mobility, but at times he just seemed to be running for his life. In what universe can you even remotely think our offensive line was not sub-par? Andrew Norwell, Brandon Linder, and Jawaan Taylor were all functional, but Cam Robinson and A.J. Cann were not. To not upgrade at left tackle and try Robinson at right guard is a travesty. I nearly became ill when I further read Caldwell's assessment of our quarterbacks, "That position group is actually in very good shape." How can both quarterbacks being very sub-par my any statistical metric be construed that way? Are they (Doug and Dave) really that delusional?

When Caldwell said the quarterback group was in good shape, he was talking about the salary cap. He was answering a question wondering if Foles could theoretically be a backup even though he has a $15 million salary this season – and Caldwell said the cap situation overall at quarterback was fine. As far as the offensive line … yes, this is going to be a disconnect between many fans and management this offseason. There was a similar disconnect last offseason at wide receiver, and the wide receivers as a whole were better last season than fans believed would be the case. The Jaguars appear to believe that could be the case with the offensive line this season. We'll see.

Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL

Do you think the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, or Green Bay Packers would pay Yan $20 million a year? Even in the last window of their franchise quarterbacks? Love Yan, but ...


Sam from Orlando, FL

What Tony from St. Louis was looking for you to do was finally admit that Taven Bryan was a bad pick and hasn't/won't pan out.

People can want whatever they want when they ask me questions. I can't control that. I can control the answers.

Jon from Jacksonville

Loving to hear offensive coordinator saying he isn't sure what exact offense we are running. Glad that he's going to shift his personal scheme to fit the players, this seems to almost always be the right approach vs trying to force players to fit a scheme.


Josh from Fernandina Beach, FL

Zone: Josh Allen, Ngakoue, Calais Campbell and Derrick Brown? You have to like the sound of that. Make it happen! Thanks and Go Jags!!!

That would be a good third-down defensive line. That would not be the defensive line in base packages, because the Jaguars wouldn't want Campbell lining up full-time at defensive tackle – and because they want to reduce his snaps. But yes … having those four players on the defensive line would be a good thing.

Kevin from Bakersfield

Bob Sanders was a nightmare … Hall of Fame?

When at his best, Sanders – a safety for the Indianapolis Colts from 2004-2010 – was as good at his position as any player I've ever covered. But he played just two full seasons – 2005 and 2007. Had he played four or five more seasons at his best level, he would have been a first-ballot Hall of Famer. As it stands, he simply didn't play at a high level for long enough.

Bob from Sumter, SC

Caldwell's comments sounded to me like they are more likely to draft a wide receiver than an offensive lineman in the first two rounds. Yes?

Very possibly.

Mark from Archer, FL

John, so I get what you're saying about Myles Jack being better than some think and that he was OK in 2018 and not so great in 2019 because he was trying to do too much. But maybe he was good in 2018 because of Telvin Smith playing next to him and making him a better player than he really is. Not saying that is the case but it is something to think on.

Jack is a good player. He's probably better-suited to playing weak-side linebacker than middle linebacker, but he's not bad at either position. Playing next to Smith helped Jack and not playing next to Smith didn't help; that's how the NFL works – most players play better with better players around them. But Jack has been good more often than not as an NFL player, and Smith wasn't such a great weak-side linebacker that he elevated Jack to a level Jack couldn't otherwise reach.

Mike from Duval

Based on the records, it appears the outside observers are right. Dave has done a good job drafting in bursts but shows a problem analyzing his own roster consistently – re-signing the wrong guys, letting the wrong guys walk.


Don from Norfolk, VA

Funk-O-nator: Have you seen offensive coordinator Jay Gruden or quarterback coach Ben McAdoo around campus, yet? What role do you think they will play in selecting new players for the Jaguars?

Both Gruden and McAdoo are "on campus." They'll have the same role coordinators and position coaches usually do in the draft process. They'll watch, observe and offer thoughts. In the case of Gruden, I expect he will strongly advise on a couple of areas such as tight end and running back. Then, the final decisions will be up to Caldwell, Marrone and Owner Shad Khan.

Lloyd of Jacksonville

The only thing worse than Culture Club was Flock of Seagulls. And I won't add what I say in between "of" and "Seagulls." You lost some respect today, Zone.

I liked Flock of Seagulls.