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O-Zone: Still the same

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Bill from Jax Beach

John, with all the talk about player safety with kickoffs, what about fielding punts?? It seems like over the years I have seen more instances of the punt receiver getting absolutely pasted unless it is fair caught!! Are punts the next to go??? Thanks. By the way, I hear the players bathroom floor is a little slippery, so maybe …

Punts long have been identified along with kickoffs as being one of the NFL's more dangerous plays. But the general thought is punts aren't quite as dangerous as kickoffs because the potential for violence is focused on one player: The returner. For those covering and blocking for punts, the speed of collision isn't as extreme – mostly because half the players involved in the play are bigger linemen who can't leave the line of scrimmage until after the ball is kicked. But yes … there are plenty of punt plays on which the outside coverage player – the "gunner" – gets a free shot on the returner and those plays often result in violent and dangerous collisions. Would it surprise me if those plays eventually were a legislation target? Not really. No.

Marc from Oceanway

All Knowing Zone, do you have any insight, or an opinion, or maybe even just a guess, on how Donna Deegan being elected Mayor of Jacksonville might affect the Jaguars future in Jacksonville?

Any mayoral change means a change in city leadership philosophy. That inherently which means some level of change in the relationship between the city and major entities, professional sports teams very much included. And considering this latest Jacksonville mayoral change occurred as Jaguars' future standing moved from a background issue into the fore, Deegan's stance on the Jaguars obviously matters a great deal. She has spoken publicly a bit on the matter, but it's not fair – and perhaps wouldn't accurately portray her approach – to go back and pick apart pre-election thoughts and try to interpret what they mean for the franchise's future. I'm sure she and team officials will speak publicly on this soon enough. I will say this: Nothing I have read or heard from Deegan – and nothing I have heard around the franchise – makes me remotely worry about the team's future in Jacksonville, or the ability of the franchise and city officials to reach an agreement on a stadium.

Al from Orange Park

"Not everyone reads every day. Why on earth would they?" Why on earth wouldn't they?


Blaine from Jacksonville

Dear Mr. O. Of the 30 NFL stadiums, Jacksonville at 67,000 ranks approximately 19th in capacity. It is my understanding after the renovations are complete, capacity of the stadium will actually go down. Is that true? If so, it is all about executive suites. Instead of moving 17-to-20 home games away (including playoffs) from Jacksonville, why not renovate from three-or-four years during the seven months after the season and the start of the next, simply doing it in stages? With the Miller Electric Center in place, there would be little effect on the team during those seven months. What say you?

I do expect stadium capacity to drop after upgrades, though it's inaccurate to say the needed updating is about any one thing. It's mainly about the need for a stadium that is up to standard in a league of state-of-the-art stadiums. As for how the project will be executed, nothing about the process is finalized. I expect many options to be discussed and considered before that happens.

Paul from Saint Johns

I'm writing you from the cruise terminal in Juneau, Alaska. It's still cold here and I've been wearing my Jags winter gear when going on tours. I'm the only outfitted Jags fan around, but multiple people – who are not from Florida – have either chanted "DUuuvvvaaalll" or said "go Jags." One guy even stopped and said he would like to visit Jacksonville someday to see the Jags play. We have the quarterback and the head coach to be special for a long time. The country is taking notice. It's fun being a Jags fan now and I am proud to wear my Jags gear. This, in my opinion, is the significance of having an NFL team in your city. People far and wide hear about your city, because of your successful NFL team. Get the stadium deal done and be proud to call yourself a Jags fan and a Jacksonville resident.

Paul is all in. And has a good eye.

Nathan from Utah, US

"Kick Me" Zone, I'd have to side with Baalke on this one. I, too, would take strength and experience over potential. What a cool move of improvement and perhaps the last this year for the now. The Jaguars are playing for the now. My Jags. Not next year, or in two years, or when this group or player improves. Now! Is this an accurate read on the state of the Jaguars? Go Jags!! DUUUVAL!!!

This has been (over)debated here a lot in recent days, sometimes curiously so. The Jaguars' kicker change this week, trading Riley Patterson to the Detroit Lions and signing Brandon McManus as a free agent, was pretty standard stuff by NFL standards: a proven kicker with a strong leg over a less-experienced kicker who has yet to fully establish himself in terms of reliability. Can it be interpreted as General Manager Trent Baalke and Head Coach Doug Pederson believing the team can win now? Perhaps. But mostly it was about trying to get the best player possible for the position.

Scott from Daytona Beach, FL

What. You're not supposed to read everyday???


Bradley from Sparks, NV

Would you trade Lloyd and Walker for Micah Parsons?

If you take salary out of the equation, yes I would. Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons is in the early part of his prime and has shown himself in recent seasons to perhaps be a perennial All-Pro player.  Jaguars linebackers Devin Lloyd and Travon Walker have shown signs of being very good and have potential. But you take the sure thing over the projections.

Mike from Azores

Hey, John. Let's put the changes-at kicker-talk to rest with a few facts! It's been pointed out that last year, Patterson was statistically the more accurate kicker but his range was limited to maybe 52 or 53 yards. McManus was signed because he has the bigger, stronger leg yet. Last year he was 13 of 33 from 54 or longer (39.4%). In fact, over the last seven NFL seasons, Brandon McManus ranks 31st in accuracy on FGs from 54 or longer (min 5 attempts). Only Ryan Succop, Nick Folk and Dustin Hopkins have been worse. But to top it off, based on last year's numbers, McManus was the 28thout of 34 kickers who attempted more than 10 FGs from inside of 50 yards! So paying $2.5 million versus the less than $1 million that Patterson would make is a good move, why?

I don't pretend to have watched every kick McManus has attempted made in his NFL career. Or even last season. I have no plans to watch every kick he has attempted in his career. Or last season. I did watch every kick Patterson made last season. I like him very much and think he has a chance to be a good, consistent kicker. I never thought he had reached a point of fully gaining Pederson's trust to the extent that his roster spot moving forward was assured. Returning to McManus, Jaguars coaches have watched every kick McManus has attempted in his NFL career. And last season. They believe he's an upgrade. Hence, the move.

Sue from Omaha, NE

Hi, John. Thank you for your answer about how we will find a way to renew wide receiver Calvin Ridley's contract if he lives up to expectations. But in reading your answer, I'm thinking there are going to be tough decisions concerning other players with expiring contract next year, with the need to sign a long-term contract for quarterback Trevor Lawrence Is there a set formula the NFL uses each year to determine the increase in the salary cap? Thank you.

Yes. The salary cap is determined by dividing the percentages of selected league revenue – including media revenue and local revenue – by 32. The league's Collective Bargaining Agreement currently calls for 48 percent of that selected revenue to be shared with the players.

J. Hooks from Orange Park, FL

I get the kickoff rule and player safety blah blah, but the 25-yard line?! In this day and age. kickers are making 50-plus-yard field goals. In this pass-happy new era of the NFL, it basically means all a team has to do is gain 25 yards in one possession. That's super easy for most teams with an adequate wide receiver tandem. I think they overshot the yard-line mark on this rule. Do you foresee a newer focus on defense for teams moving forward bringing balance to the force?