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O-Zone: Still burning

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Adam from St. Johns, FL

I guess you're not saying six wins is acceptable, right? Even eight wins? When are the Jaguars going to actually value winning? Like an actual winning record? It just doesn't seem to matter here. Honestly, if you were the owner you John O, would you have kept everyone? Do you honestly, and not because you work for the team, believe this is moving in the right direction? I asked you this when former Head Coach Gus Bradley was here and you said absolutely, so I'm interested in your answer.

Six or eight victories are not the objective, and Jaguars Owner Shad Khan doesn't see either as "acceptable." The objective is to win, make the postseason and contend for Super Bowls; the Jaguars have fallen woefully short of that too often for more than a decade. But if the Jaguars win six or eight games and Khan sees the franchise as moving in the right direction, he may maintain that direction. The disconnect between many fans and ownership is many fans believe because General Manager David Caldwell has been here since 2013 that nothing can improve with him still here. Khan clearly believes that's not the case. I think Caldwell has done a decent job for the most part and missed on quarterback Blake Bortles – and when you miss on a quarterback, everything else can look really bad. I do not know if it is moving in the right direction right now; no one does. I do understand people who doubt the direction because Caldwell and Head Coach Doug Marrone returned, but the team has made smart moves this offseason toward rebuilding the roster and fixing the salary cap. We will see how that direction looks after this season.

Alex from Jacksonville

Do you have any insight on how the Jags brass feel about where defensive tackle Taven Bryan is in his development and expectations for him going into the season?

The Jaguars liked Bryan's development last season, particularly in the last few games. The hope and expectation are that will continue. He looked like he had a long way to go through much of his first two seasons – even deep into last season. It looked better late last season. This is a big year for him, probably pretty much make or break.

William from Jacksonville

John, would you trade defensive end Yannick Ngakoue straight up for tight end O.J. Howard? Tampa Bay might do that now that they have Rob Gronkowski.

I wouldn't trade Ngakoue for Howard unless I wanted Howard for the long-term. He has flashed at times in three NFL seasons, but those close to the Buccaneers say he took a step back at times last season. I doubt I would do it, unless the Jaguars see something in Howard the Bucs haven't yet seen.

Bryan from Reston, VA

If it's sometimes time to move on, why for goodness sake haven't we moved on from at least wide receiver Justin Blackmon and linebacker Telvin Smith? My goodness.

I assume you're referencing Blackmon and Smith still being on reserve/retired lists for the Jaguars. It's standard for an NFL team to keep retired players on those lists because you want their rights on the off chance they ever should decide to return to the NFL. Their presence on the lists does not mean they are associated with the team or that the team ever wants the players to play for the team again – or that the team believes that will happen. It does not indicate an association with the team. Also, there is zero cost to the team or reason for the team to not keep the player on the list. In short: it's a non-issue and nothing more than logistics.

Mark from Prescott, AZ

John don't underestimate longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette's run stuffing prowess.

Fair point.

Sam from Orlando, FL

When Eugene "Sunshine" Frenette goes up against Vito "Capo Regime" Stellino at the next Wrestlemania. Who do you have winning?


Mike from Jacksonville

Other than tradition, why does the Mike wear the headset helmet on defense?

You generally want a player wearing the headset who is on the field for all plays. That essentially rules out defensive linemen and the strong-side linebacker. The middle linebacker also is usually in the best position before the snap to call audibles and is usually closest to the opposing quarterback, giving him the best pre-snap perspective regarding the opposing offense.

Jason from St. Augustine, FL

I like how Marrone is getting creative with virtual practice. I can't wait to see who wins the knitting contest.

Marrone indeed is doing a few things in this virtual offseason to promote camaraderie. One of the things is a cooking contest. Not everyone likes it as much as you, Jason. I actually got a response to the story on Twitter that Marrone shouldn't have said "It's not all about Xs and Os" when discussing this contest. Not everyone likes everything. And some people are without humor. Welcome to life, I guess.

Ray from Orange Park, FL

John: Let's assume no one finds highly toxic materials underground and all of the Lot J planned development is built on schedule. At some point, a new stadium will be needed/wanted by the team. The long-term plan must be that the Lot J development can be successful independent of the stadium. I can't imagine rebuilding on that site with the development in place.

I think you're saying that the team/city wouldn't build a new stadium in the same site as TIAA Bank Field because of the Lot J development. That's not remotely the case. If/when the Lot J development happens, I can't imagine the Jaguars' stadium not being adjacent to that development. Khan considers the team's presence downtown key to the overall vision of downtown and vice-versa. And yes … at some point the stadium must be addressed. Whether that's a new stadium or major renovation remains to be seen.

Zach from the Golden Coast

I'm watching the replay of the 2007 Jags versus the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs. That team was basically the same as the 2017 team. Good defense, running game was good. Quarterback who wasn't great but could go rogue and surprise you. When will it change? I believe Gardner Minshew II is the most talented quarterback on the Jags since Mark Brunell. I'd put all my chips in on him if I was in charge. But hey, don't build around the best thing that's happened to this team...

The Jaguars would love to put all their chips in on Minshew. They don't want to do it until they're sure he's a franchise guy. They should know much more about that this season.

Jeff from Orange, CA

Is the following going to net out positive or negative for Minshew? A year of NFL tape on him allows defenses to take away what he's good out vs. a year of NFL experience and an offseason allows him to improve/grow?

That's the question next season will answer. If it's the former, he probably will become a career backup or a marginal starter. If it's the latter, then he could be on his way to become a franchise quarterback. It's usually the ability to do the latter that sets the great ones apart.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

Were you surprised to hear Marrone say "It's to be determined..." in regards to who on defense will make the calls and wear the helmet with the comms?

A little. I was asked in the O-Zone Friday if middle linebacker Joe Schobert would wear the helmet with the player-to-sideline communication, and I said there was no reason that would not be the case. Marrone said on a conference call Friday it was yet to be determined, meaning Myles Jack – who is now at outside linebacker but who wore the device while playing middle in recent seasons – could wear it. He's a veteran and will be in the middle. I would still be surprised if Schobert does not wear it. I've been surprised before.

Sean from Jacksonville

But, will YOU get a trophy? We'll see.

I am the king of all trophies. Don't ever think I can't participate.

Art from Drexel, PA

How is it 2020 and some people still haven't watched the Office?

I just finished watching it start to finish for the first time. It was … enjoyable. Pleasant. I wouldn't rank it anywhere near the best comedies of all-time (Curb Your Enthusiasm and Parks and Recreation, among others), but it was fine.

Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire, UK

h Mighty 'O' / King of all Funk, your light may indeed burn forever bright however the light that burns twice as bright burns half as long. And you have burned so very brightly, KOAF.

I am the light in your dark world. I am the fire that will always burn.