O-Zone: Sweetness

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

Maybe the Jaguars should trade away all their assets and REALLY load up for after Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes retires. No matter how good the team develops, I don't see us ever beating out that offense with Mahomes and Head Coach Andy Reid. It reminds me of the last 15 or so years, when even in our few good years, we would eventually end up in Foxborough, Mass., where our season would inevitably come to a disappointing end.

Teams can't think that way, and they shouldn't think that way. Even the best "dynasties" can be beaten. The San Francisco 49ers were a dynasty from 1981 to 1994 and a little beyond. During that run in which the 49ers won five Super Bowls, the Washington Football Team won three, the New York Giants won two, the Dallas Cowboys won two and the 1985 Chicago Bears turned in perhaps the best season in NFL history. The New England Patriots have "dominated" the spot for nearly two decades, but for 10 consecutive seasons during that time you know what they didn't do? Win a Super Bowl. And while several very good Jaguars seasons ended in Foxborough during that time, they were a play or two away from winning there in the AFC Championship Game following the 2017 season. Yes, Mahomes and the Chiefs look good. But they will lose games this season and they won't win every Super Bowl for the next decade and a half. They will be pushed this season. The odds say they won't repeat. Either way, you don't back down from dynasties. You build and challenge them, then you know what happens? Great games and rivalries. And that's what makes the sport great.

Aaron from Jacksonville

O, if the Jags are so confident in left tackle Cam Robinson, why aren't they signing him to a long-term extension now and using some of this year's unused cap space to inflate his signing bonus and offset the overall contract to keep the annual salary numbers low?

The Jaguars like Robinson. They believe he can take a serious step forward this season from last season because he's two years removed from the torn anterior cruciate ligament that cost him the final 14 games of the 2018 season. If he shows he is playing to the level they hope, what you suggest will make a lot of sense.

Patrick from Victoria, Canada

Hey, O-Zone. I would've never guessed this team could change this much in an offseason, but I'm very optimistic about this franchise's future. It's funny how fans (myself included) were worried about the cap not that long ago. Overall, I feel like General Manager David Caldwell has drafted well for the Jags. It will be interesting to see how many of these rookies are still on the team next season.

Sixteen rookies made the Jaguars' initial 53-player roster in 2020. I would expect 12 or 13 of those players – at least – to be on the roster in 2021.

Sean from Jacksonville

After watching about one quarter's worth of the Thursday night game? I feel this entire season will feel and look like the preseason. *Sigh* Now, onto the question... For any current player in the entire league that was once a Jaguar, who would you enjoy seeing back on the team? I would love to have wide receiver Allen Robinson back in the fold. Imagine him and DJ Chark Jr. creating havoc. *Sigh again*

I didn't get that feeling from the Thursday night game at all. While the small crowd gave it an unusual vibe, the level of play between the Chiefs and Houston Texans was fine. As for current player in the league who once played for the Jaguars … yes, I would go with Robinson, but watch rookie Laviska Shenault Jr. this season and beyond. He may not make you forget Robinson, but he's intriguing.

Will from Jacksonville

How reliable is an "unofficial" depth chart created by the PR department? Are they largely guessing like any other depth chart found on the internet?

Quite. No.

Bryan from PDX

Yo, Grizzle Funk. While I can't spare a moment on the dogface boy, I do have a second for the Grizz. Question: what do you make of these mega-contracts in a year when the future cap number will almost certainly go down? Are these teams crazy? They seem to be guaranteeing disaster (not to mention doing so for a corner with a history of back problems).

Teams often to what they need to do to get deals done, then worry about cap ramifications later. In the case of some of the megadeals this offseason … yes, the salary cap will go down next season because of COVID-19 causing a significant loss of revenue. That could mean more veterans being released for cap reasons than usual next offseason. The assumption is the cap will rise after that when things – eventually, someday, hopefully – return to at least something close to normal.

Jim from Jagsonville

Mr. Oehser, I gotta say I am really excited about this season. Not because of anything the Jaguars as an organization has done these last few years, the results speak for themselves. No, John, it's because of your journalistic excellence! These latest articles on our key players, and that last one on the rookie running back, have gotten me really pumped for Sunday football. I've got high expectations for this season, all due to your wit and panache. I hope you haven't led us astray; I can't bear another disappointing season. Don't let us down, John, it's all on you now. Go Jaguars.

"Journalistic excellence…"

Paul from Jacksonville

I think current Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen will have a better career than former Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey because Allen seems to understand that he has a personal stake in the success of the team. I suspect that if/when the Rams start losing, Ramsey will again become unhappy in spite of his new contract.

Nah. Ramsey will be happy. People who look for the best in people around them and care about people tend to be happy.

John from Jacksonville

So, this is the annual game when we get to find out that the Jags are great and Super Bowl bound or that the Jags suck and are on their way to 0-16. Whether I watch or not will be based on if players squat to pass gas during the National Anthem. If they pass gas and smell up my TV, I'll watch something else and check the result later.

OK.

JT from Fort Worth, TX

Honestly, John: My hope is that we shock the world (including myself). But my fear is that Minshew is good enough to get us to 6-10, 7-9, 8-8. That is Jeff Fisher territory and I DEFINITELY don't want any of that. I believe him maximizing his talent means good enough to not be horrible and we're stuck in quarterback purgatory hell.

That's a legitimate worry. If what you want is for the Jaguars to secure a franchise quarterback, a few options seem most possible right now. One is that Gardner Minshew II develops into that and shows as much by the end of the 2020 regular season; that's the ideal. Another is that backup Jake Luton develops into that; while he showed good signs in training camp, he likely won't get a chance to show anything this season unless Minshew is injured or awful. The third option is that the Jaguars play poorly enough to secure a top selection in the 2021 NFL Draft – or that the Los Angeles Rams play poorly enough for the Jaguars to secure a top draft selection. The worst-case scenario is that Minshew plays well enough to win five or six games but shows he's not a franchise quarterback and that the Rams play well enough to stay out of the top few selections. That's indeed no man's land – or, as you put it, purgatory hell.

Jason from Jacksonville

John, Stating the offense looks much improved and could be much better based on what they've done against a young, bad defense is laughable. This defense has talent issues and will experience significant growing pains, so temper yours and the fans expectations of us seeing a much better offense.

I considered your email. You know what I'll probably do, "Jason?" Write as I see fit and "state" what I see. This offense could be better because of an offensive line that could be better, because of an experienced tight end in Tyler Eifert and because of a promising wide receiver corps that includes a Pro Bowl wide receiver in DJ Chark Jr. Maybe they won't be better. Maybe quarterback Minshew can't do it and will be exposed. If so, I'll write that. And then I'll write as I see fit the next day. And the day after that. And …

Rabbit from Deland

Hey, O-Man! Sweet beard. I've been away since the Super Bowl. How are you doing? Crazy that football is back already. We didn't even have a dead zone this year! Anyways, I wanted to say Hi. Have a good season, Stay safe. And don't forget to bring a towel.

Hi. I have a towel. And yes, it is a sweet beard. Good eye.

Advertising