O-Zone: Speaking of which

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

I don’t know if the Jaguars really control Jalen’s destiny for two years. Seems like he would be a candidate to not play under the franchise tag and sit out a year. As far as I know, Le’Veon Bell is the only player to do this “successfully,” but it seems that NFL players are increasingly trying to shift the balance of power more in their favor. They’ll never have as much power as NBA players, but I think they seem to be heading more in that direction than the other way around.

Cornerback Jalen Ramsey currently is under contract with the Jaguars for two more seasons – 2019 and 2020 – with the team able to apply the franchise tag for at least another season after that. As for exactly how long the Jaguars “control Ramsey’s destiny,” I don’t know that the limits of that will be tested. I expect the Jaguars to sign Ramsey to a long-term extension before the tag is an issue, and I expect it will happen next offseason – not because the Jaguars are up against a deadline on the issue, but because Ramsey is an elite talent who should be an era-defining player for the franchise. He’s that good. But if it did come to using the franchise tag, I don’t know that Ramsey would sit out a year – because I don’t know that running back Le’Veon Bell was successful when he sat out a year while being tagged this past season. Yes, he eventually forced his separation from the Pittsburgh Steelers. But he also sacrificed a lot of money that he’ll never recoup. The wisdom of that is still very much open to debate.

Brian from Gainesville, FL

Big O, you’ve stated a few times that teams that draft well necessarily must lose some of those good players. While that may be true, that’s not exactly the situation the Jaguars are in. Going back to roughly 2013, and without reference to the most recent draft, how many good players have the Jaguars drafted? Ramsey, linebacker Myles Jack, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, perhaps safety Ronnie Harrison and perhaps wide receiver Dede Westbrook. That’s not so many that the Jaguars are in a situation of letting their best players go. For now, it’s reasonable to think every one of those players should be signed long term.

The Jaguars have drafted more good players lately than the ones you listed, but you’re right that they absolutely should re-sign their good players. And they have every intention of signing their good players. Just because good players aren’t signed to a second contract doesn’t mean they will not be signed. Not everything happens instantaneously.

Chris from Houston, TX

I think it is safe to say that linebacker Telvin Smith is not showing up to camp. Do you know if there has been any communication between him and team yet in terms of his plan? I understand fans are frustrated and wish he was in camp because he's a great player. I wish him the best and hope whatever he needs to get done gets resolved and we see him back on the field again soon.

Smith is on the reserve/retired list. That’s his plan until something happens to change that. I don’t remotely expect Smith to play for the Jaguars this season, and I would be surprised if he plays for the franchise again. We’ll see.

Eric from Jacksonville

No question. Just a random post from a nobody who was once a season-ticket holder, but now is not because executive-level management is a joke and refuses to pay Yan what he deserves – BUT will pay a horrible quarterback who proved literally nothing. Dave is a joke. Tom is a joke for staying with Dave. But it all makes sense now. Seems very familiar to a motion picture starring Charlie Sheen and a baseball team. The Jags should be embarrassed with themselves. Horrible management and player relations.

We can go around and around forever on this topic – and sometimes, it feels as if we have done just that. One important aspect of this that people overlook about the Jaguars overpaying former quarterback Blake Bortles is that you handle the quarterback situation differently than other positions. Yes, the Jaguars in retrospect erred in extending him, but I don’t know how many teams would have handled it much differently given the circumstances they faced at the time. They gave Bortles a relatively short contract extension that they would have been able to get off their salary cap in two seasons. As it turned out, he only lasted one more season. But I digress. To your point: The Jaguars don’t have a philosophical problem paying Ngakoue. Now, are they going to automatically pay him $20 million a season – top-of-the-market pass-rusher money – when they still have a year remaining on his contract and control of his rights after that? That’s a different topic.

Roger from White House, FL

John: Remember that time Brian Bosworth was a supplemental draft pick by the Seattle Seahawks and landed at training camp in a helicopter? How awesome would that have been if in 1987 there was social media?

I guess the answer depends on your definition of awesome.

Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL

I wish we could have a stadium like State Farm Stadium, home of the Cardinals. It might not have a pool, or as large an electronic billboard, but it’s got one thing we haven’t … air conditioning. Maybe someday?

Never say never, but I would be surprised if an air-conditioned indoor stadium is in Jacksonville’s future. Now, as for finding creative ways for shade …

Keith from Section 435 BB Since 1995

As long as Jalen continues to bring it on Sundays, I don't give a frog's fat tuckas on his behavior as long as its not violent or abusive. I thought the armored truck was a good jolt into getting people to think about the Jags.

OK.

Big on Blake from Philly

Zone, what came first your love for tennis or your son’s ability in the sport? I get interested in how parents become invested in certain sports once their child begins to excel in them. It’s always great to see when child and family go all in on their passion and pursuit.

I first followed tennis in the 1970s and early 1980s during the Jimmy Conners/John McEnroe era – and though I was a casual fan at best, I liked McEnroe a great deal. I always have had a casual interest in the sport, but it certainly increased as my son played more. What also increased the interest was the high level of the game – particularly the men’s game – in recent years. The trio of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have produced the unusual situation of perhaps the three greatest players of all time playing at the same time. They have raised each other’s games and elevated as a group far beyond the current level in a way that is fascinating and unmatched in the sport’s history. Now, back to our regularly-scheduled programming…

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, Jalen has the look of someone who really wants to the GOAT. What would it take for him to achieve that?

Stay healthy. Continue to work to improve each season. Avoid inconsistencies and play even better than he has already for the next decade. Ramsey has otherworldly ability and it’s entirely conceivable he could be in the Hall of Fame. The bar for GOAT is phenomenally high.

Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL

Ramsey’s entrance was an Adidas commercial. Why don’t people understand that? Do you get mad at every athlete you see in a commercial on tv? That was a commercial meant for social media. People do it all the time. He didn’t do it on his own; he gets paid by Adidas. Why don’t they get it?

People like to complain. They like to criticize. It’s how it is. If you’re going to be in the public eye, it’s something you need to accept. Ramsey seems to understand this and have a good attitude about it.

Paul from Gainesville, FL

I see where Pete Prisco has stated the Jaguars suffered from a lack of "harmony" in the locker room last year. Would you care to comment on Mr. Disco's commentary regarding the Peace, Love, and Understanding deficit? Was that a cause, or an effect?

It’s my experience that teams that enter seasons with lofty expectations tend to suffer from a lack of harmony on some degree if they don’t meet those expectations. It’s usually the case that it’s the losing that causes the disharmony more than the other way around. I would say that was true of the 2018 Jaguars.

David from Orlando, FL

O - Just as there is “Coachspeak” there is “Playerspeak.” Are there certain players you hate to interview because they never have anything of substance to say?

“Hate” is a very strong word …

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