O-Zone: Tears of a clown

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Christopher from Orlando, FL

Here is why I think people are freaking out on how Ramsey acts, John: To me, our best corner was Rashean Mathis. He had more interceptions by the end of his third year, more tackles and more defended passes. I like Ramsey, but Mathis didn’t have to talk; he just played. What’s your take?

My take is if you’re going to continuously be annoyed because Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey won’t not talk and “just play,” then you’re never going to fully enjoy watching the best corner in franchise history – and if Ramsey isn’t that already, he’s well on his way. Former players such as Aaron Beasley and Rashean Mathis played the position well, but they weren’t the level of athlete – or player – as Ramsey. No statistics you can cite will change that. As for the off- and on-field chatter … some players are simply going to talk a lot. That seems a bit truer these days than ever, and perhaps it’s truer of today’s younger players. I control whether people like that or not, but I can tell you it’s probably not going to change.

Scott from Wichita, KS

What's with fans wanting to trade away our best player? I don't get it. Talk about a losing culture. Geez, people: Get off the bus if you don't want to ride.

Fair.

David from Chuluota

O-Zone - Week 1, if left tackle Cam Robinson isn’t well enough to play, how much of a concern is this and who will hold his spot?

There’s no reason at this point to believe Robinson won’t be ready for the regular-season opener. While he likely will be limited when training camp begins, that’s standard stuff for a player who sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament the previous season. If Robinson would happen to be unavailable Week 1 … that wouldn’t be ideal, but it wouldn’t be tragic. Remember: Josh Wells for three games last season filled in following Robinson’s season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament. He played at least as well as Robinson during that span, and a case can be made that at times he played better than Robinson – who hadn’t played consistently enough in the first couple of games and preseason. The Jaguars very much want Robinson in the lineup this season; he’s their starting left tackle for a reason. He’s the future at the position. But they’re confident that Wells can play efficiently in the short term.

David from the Island

OK, so Blaine Gabbert was a big flop at No. 10 in the draft, especially considering the Jaguars traded an extra pick for him. However, the Jags were a dumpster fire at the time and putting him out there to quarterback that mess was a big mistake too. Dude can sling it because he's still making cash doing so and we're talking about him. He who laughs last laughs best. Not sure this one fer Baine, but he wasn't the only problem.

The Jaguars put Gabbert in an awful situation in 2011. They played him too early, and the surrounding cast was weak – particularly the wide receivers. Still, Gabbert is a capable backup quarterback who can function as a low-level starter in the NFL. I doubt that assessment would be different had he started his career in better circumstances.

Brian from Fleming Island, FL

Why was Del Rio in the chow hall during the first round?

I assume you’re referencing former Head Coach Jack Del Rio saying he was getting ready to eat when the Jaguars moved up to selected quarterback Blaine Gabbert No. 10 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft. This wasn’t unusual. The Jaguars held the No. 16 overall selection entering the draft, so they moved up six spots for the selection. That meant Del Rio understandably thought the Jaguars were at least an hour from selecting. It wasn’t silly for Del Rio in that scenario to assume he had time to eat and get back for the selection.

Chris from Mandarin

I say $15 million a year with an incentive of $750,000 per sack over 10 sacks in the regular season. That seems reasonable for Yannick, but what do I know? I’m just some guy.

You’re more than just a guy, Chris. You’re the awesomest. Really.

Braddock from Jacksonville

You probably need to consult someone at PFF. He was the 39th-ranked cornerback last season and hasn't had a great season since his rookie season. He stopped tackling and any time anyone wanted to pick on him, they did. By those standards UF and LSU deposited them every year. Not to mention Patrick Peterson and Joe Haden without a pass rush. He is a spoiled child.

I assume you’re referencing Ramsey, and I’ll “consult” whatever I want to consult – i.e., my eyes, the opinions of other players, coaches, personnel types, etc. All would take precedent over Pro Football Focus. And remember: Use PFF as a guideline and a tool, but not the end-all. Their grades are interesting and entertaining, but they’re far from football gospel. And if you really believe Ramsey’s “bad” and that he’s the 39th-best cornerback in the NFL – or that he hasn’t been great since his rookie season … well, if you really believe that I can’t help you.

Steven from Duval

All this talk about corner versus defensive end is a little tricky. I love Yan, but are there any stats that explain how much of his production was a direct result of more time and busted plays due to coverage and linebacker play. Just seems like it needs to be acknowledged that he plays with one of, if not the best, defense in the league. Much like how much offensive line and wide receivers affects quarterbacks and vice versa. This is the ultimate team sport.

The corner-defensive end conversation always is tricky. It’s tricky in the same sense that any football discussion is tricky; while we can theorize and argue one position’s importance compared to another the truth is no position in football operates independently and very few players achieve greatness if players around them aren’t performing well enough to help teammates succeed. Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue unquestionably benefits from front-line teammates on the defensive line and a front-line secondary. They benefit from him as well. I believe if all else is equal defensive end is more important than cornerback because a pass rusher can disrupt any play while an offense theoretically can throw away from a cornerback. That’s just a theory, and in real life you must make decisions based on the overall quality of player as opposed to a theory about positional value.

Joey from Far, Far Away

Pretty sure the FBI could never prove it, but I've heard they suspect Gene of being DB Cooper. Wonder what he did with the money. And … "So, go Dawgs..?" And someone said you weren't funny ....

Longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. “Gene” Frenette darned sure never said I wasn’t funny. Dude knows better.

Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL

Yan is going to play, and we will overcome the loss of Smith. The most important story of the offseason is Nick Foles. The sky is the limit because we have a new quarterback. Because quarterback. This has been the best offseason since I can remember and I’m so excited for the season because quarterback.

Good eye, Rob. Because the offseason storylines have focused largely upon Ngakoue, linebacker Telvin Smith and Ramsey – there hasn’t been as much talk about quarterback Nick Foles as otherwise might be the case. But make no mistake: If the Jaguars are going to be improved this season, that improvement will come largely because of an improved offense – and Foles’ ability to mesh with his receivers and bring stability to the offense likely will be the deciding factor in that area. Yes … because quarterback.

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

If Leonard Fournette can’t produce running out of the shotgun, is running back a position that rookies have an easier time coming in and having an impact, particularly if that rookie had a lot of success running out of shotgun in college?

I understand that Fournette’s ability or inability to run effectively out of the shotgun is a major topic and a major concern among Jaguars fans. But while that has been a topic among the football-analytics types, the thought here is the idea that Fournette struggles out of the shotgun is a little overblown. More important will be how the Jaguars’ offensive line fares. If it run-blocks better than it has the last couple of years, Fournette – and any other back – should be fine. If not …

Mike from Codgerville

You make a grown man cry.

I cry often.

Paul from Monaghan

I swore it was Gene who did "The Thong Song." I distinctly remember him in the music video.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who cries.

Advertising