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O-Zone: So luxurious

ORLANDO – Let's get to it …

Deane from Daytona Beach, FL

Yo, O-Zone! With us moving to a 4-3 defense, thus putting Travon Walker and Josh Allen with a hand in the dirt, what's the possible lineup for our linebackers? I am thinking Devin Lloyd and Chad Muma on the outside with Foye Oluokun in the middle. Will Ventrell Miller be available, and could he possibly push for a starting job, or would he just be in the rotation? What says you, O-Zone?

I say it's probably time to discuss this a bit more here in the O-Zone, and I also say it's probably time to stop thinking in terms of traditional depth charts and traditional "4-3" schemes. The idea of a "4-3 defense" has become so outdated that it no longer reflects how NFL teams play defense and therefore is no longer a valid way to discuss or think of a defensive scheme. The reason for this is defenses now play their so-called "nickel" defenses 75-to-85 percent of snaps, meaning defenses are often actually more "4-2-5" sets – four linemen, two linebackers and five defensive backs – than they are 4-3 (three linebackers) formations. This certainly seems the case with the Jaguars under new coordinator Ryan Nielsen. Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson discussed this Monday morning during the AFC Coaches media availability at the NFL's 2024 Annual Meeting here at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Lakes. "You're always going to be in four-down fronts and you're always going to play with a nickel whether it's a normal nickel or a big nickel as a third safety as teams want to call it sometimes," Pederson said. "But it's all part of what Ryan wants to do and what he wants to get accomplished." That said, I would look for Oluokun and Lloyd to be the Jaguars' linebackers in "base personnel" and for them to play a lot of three-safety looks with Andre Cisco, Darnell Savage, Andrew Wingard and Antonio Johnson playing a lot – and also needing to be very versatile.

Marcus from Jacksonville

With the ban of the "hip-drop" tackle, are defenders now supposed to let a guy go if he gets past them with the ball? You can't hit high, you can't hit low and now you can't grab and use your body weight to bring him down. If you're going the opposite direction, you hit and drive through to the ground, but if you're going the same way – i.e, if you're chasing someone from behind – I don't see how you can legally bring someone down anymore.

Fair points. NFL owners on Monday indeed implemented a rule making the "hip-drop" tackle illegal, with the league defining the tackle as follows: "Grabbing the runner with both hands or wrapping the runner with both arms; unweighing himself by swiveling and dropping his hips and/or lower body, landing on and trapping the runner's leg at or below the knee." The penalty will be unnecessary roughness, which is 15 yards and an automatic first down. The "hip-drop" tackle is indeed dangerous. Statistics show us this – and the eye test concurs. At the same time, your premise is correct that the league has made it very hard to play defense and stay within the rules. This is the balance the league must walk as it strives to make the game safer. Is there a point where it's so safe it's no longer the same game? Perhaps we'll find out someday. Soon.

Jerry from Italia, FL

John, I know it's not a position of need, but does Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke pull the trigger if Georgia tight end Brock Bowers is available at No. 17?

If Bowers is the best available player when the Jaguars select No. 17 in Round 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft, I don't doubt that Baalke would select him.

Anita from Springfield

How's our cap space looking for signing rookies, re-signing Josh Allen, and Trevor's big contract? I'm as excited as everyone else for the big splashy moves, but worry about all the committed cash now and down the road. Assuage me.

The Jaguars can sign their rookies, re-sign outside linebacker Josh Allen and execute quarterback Trevor Lawrence's long-term contract extension – and they can do all these things this offseason. This can be done by signing Allen and Lawrence to deals that lower/maintain their 2024 salary cap figures and allot their future "cap hits" in such a manner to make it work for the long-term. Will there be long-term ramifications? Sure. Such contracts by their nature limit future moves, require future restructurings and could eventually cause the Jaguars to move on from other players. Such is the nature and realities of the "credit card" that is a team's salary cap.

Eric from Gulf Breeze, FL

With all the recent free-agent signings, where does the team stand with salary cap? A couple of those contracts were substantial, and I worry the team won't be able to offer Josh Allen a fair market contract extension.

The Jaguars according to have about $11.5 million in cap space for 2024. They can offer Allen a fair-market extension.

Jon from Jax Beach, FL

Do these people really believe that someone intelligent enough to be one of 32 NFL general managers in the world would not be intelligent enough to want to re-sign Allen to a second contract? He is a superstar and those deals always take time in negotiations. Give it a rest people.

One fer patience and perspective.

Nick from Virginia Beach, VA

Just charge the ESPN Plus to Boselli's company card.

It's not that I can't afford ESPN Plus without charging it to Tony Boselli's company card. It's more not being interested enough in the content to make the effort.

Don from Marshall, NC

What receiver the Jaguars really need is Zay Jones healthy. Go Jaguars!

When it comes to Jaguars wide receiver Zay Jones being really good when returning to full health, Don remains "all in."

Greg from Asheville, NC

In regards to signing Josh Allen to a long-term contract, are fans forgetting we went through the same thing with tight end Evan Engram? That turned out pretty well.

Yes, it did.

*Fred from Naples, FL *

L'Jarius Sneed to the Titans to make him one of the highest-paid corners in the league? He's a nice player but being paid as the best at his position. It seems to me the Titans are making a lot of similar moves the Jags made when they were a perennial losing organization. I like our offseason of prudent moves in free agency; moves that filled holes in a few positions but setting us up for picking up "Best Available Player" in the upcoming draft.

If you're going to participate in first-tier free agency for coveted players, you're going to overpay for those players. Doing this is risky with historically mixed results. This is as true when the Tennessee Titans do it as when the Jaguars or any other NFL franchise does it.

Rick from Jacksonville

Sometimes I really wonder if you know what the hell is going on.

You and me both.

Bryan from Rip City

Yo, Grizz! First-round busts abound, but there seems trepidation around the wide receiver position. Is the position more likely to bust than others? Seems cornerback busts are very common, as we have experienced repeatedly. Why not always draft the lines in the first round?

From a purely philosophical standpoint, I would agree with essentially always selecting offensive or defensive line in the first round of drafts – provided you consider edge defenders defensive linemen. The exception to this would be selecting quarterbacks when you were in the Top 5 with the right player available. It's hard sometimes to take a philosophical approach in real life, which is why teams take other positions in the first round.

P Funk from Murray Hill

I don't see the Jags carrying three quarterbacks on the roster into the season. Is there way C.J. Beathard or Mac Jones could end up on the practice squad, so we don't lose them?

The Jaguars could place one of the two players on the practice squad. That wouldn't necessarily keep the Jaguars from losing them. A player on a practice squad essentially is a free agent and able to sign with any other team.

Steve from San Marco

I see some mock drafts picking edge rush at No. 17 like Mock Robinson from Penn St. Wouldn't this be considered a luxury pick? With definite starters of Travon and Josh, would a third starting-caliber edge rusher just be a rotational player? Thanks, and I'll take it off the air.

I don't know that any pick is by definition a "luxury pick" and I don't know that "rotational" players are bad selections. If a player is special and good enough to be effective in the NFL, that's never a luxury. If a player makes big plays at key times, does it matter all that much if he's a "starter?"