O-Zone: Time well spent

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Blues Man from Jacksonville

John ... I’m not fully understanding your nonchalant responses to the recent Fournette arrest; you seem to blow it off as something acceptable from a young NFL player. I’d agree if this were the only negative thing he’s done, but it’s not. All of this could have been avoided by simply paying a fee, but it appears as though he doesn’t have the maturity to even handle the simplest of tasks. It’s disappointing, and also disappointing that you’re blowing it off ... thank God no one has been hurt yet.

I’m sorry you’re disappointed. Disappointment can be … disappointing. And while I don’t know I’m blowing off Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette’s recent issues, it absolutely is true that many people are overreacting to this particular situation. Fournette reportedly was arrested Thursday for driving with a suspended license, with the incidents involved apparently speeding violations for which he was driving 12 and 20 miles per hour over the speed limit. Fournette unquestionably was wrong for not paying the ticket, and his actions since joining the NFL indicate he must continue to mature. He has missed games for disciplinary reasons twice, so that’s enough to indicate an issue. But this specific incident simply isn’t enough by itself to make me think differently of Fournette, or to reconsider what the Jaguars should do with him – or the running back position – going forward. As far as anyone “being hurt yet …” again: we’re not talking domestic abuse, violence or anything of the like here. While you’re right that it shouldn’t be “blown off,” neither is it necessary to blow it out of proportion.

Sam from Winter Park, FL

I know Jerell is the "Iron Sheik" bad guy of these forums, but spraining a finger while writing a check was pretty funny. Also, hot take: Fournette won't be on this team come Game 1. Suspended, cut, traded or otherwise.

Wow, that is a hot take. (#hottake) But if Fournette isn’t on the team next season it shouldn’t be because of what happened this week.

Don from Marshall, NC

I think everyone’s picture needs to spread all over the globe for every traffic violation. That will teach everyone not to break the law. It’s a traffic ticket and everything stops dead when you get one of them. Do not forget your light bill that will be reported as breaking news! Go Jaguars!

Fair.

Rob from Ponte Vedra, FL

Last year, I got a small ticket for failure to come to a complete stop. I forgot to pay the ticket. I was later stopped for another small infraction and was informed by the officer that my license was suspended and that he could arrest me if he did not have a more serious crime to respond to at that time. It happens and I’m sure Fournette didn’t know it was suspended until he was stopped. All he needs to do is pay a fine. He was not driving drunk or with drugs in the car; it is just minor traffic violations. One fer Fournette to overcome this and have a great year.

All true. Fournette needs to mature. Everyone understands that – including, ideally, Fournette. But there’s a “pounce-on-this-situation-so-it-will-prove-what-I-already-believe” element of much of the reaction to this situation. I’m not big on that sort of reaction.

Chris from London, UK

O Zone, Fournette is going on 25 years old and is a father. Young men may sometimes make bad decisions, but Fournette is no longer a young man. Plus, a millionaire not paying a $200 fine is an arrogant decision, not a bad one! Not sure how it works on your side of the pond but over here a player’s agent would be taking care of things like that!

Fournette is twenty-four, but whatever: Either 24 or 25 is young.

Dan from Jacksonville

Climbing up on my soapbox for a sec here. Fans must realize that Nick Foles is the quarterback; we just have to keep him that way. Look at Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. For the first part of his career, he seemed to set records for lying on his back to the point where he missed an entire season. Last season he seemed to set records for not being on his back because the Colts built a decent offensive line. Address and fix the line protecting Foles. Done. Now, stepping down from the box.

I expect the Jaguars to select offensive tackle early in the 2019 NFL Draft. They also hired George Warhop to coach the position. Those will be the major changes at the position next season.

David from Broward County

When national football media talk about great backs like Curtis Martin and Terrell Davis, they never talk about Fred Taylor. Now, I am not saying Freddy T is better than Martin; career stats say no. But he is at least as good, and in my opinion and many other observers, a better running back. Freddy T is no doubt held back by his injuries during his career, but his dispelled the Fragile Fred misnomer. Also hurt by dearth of Pro Bowls and All Pros, plus not that much playoff success. But no less an authority than the all-time greatest running back Jim Brown said Freddy T was, other than himself, one of the greatest if not the greatest RBs he ever saw with his eyes. Freddy T belongs in the HOF, as does Boselli and Jimmy Smith. Thoughts?

Taylor should be in the Hall of Fame. He was more spectacular and better at his best than either of the players you mention – though Davis has Super Bowl success on his resume and Martin had more total yardage. I believe Taylor will eventually get more serious consideration for the Hall than he currently is getting, though I don’t have a good feel for whether he eventually will be enshrined.

Tony from Richmond, VA

Last offseason we had the chance to lock up our best playmaker with a multi-year deal, albeit he was coming off a major injury, and we committed to the run. Fast forward one year, we spend $100M on a quarterback, hire an offensive coordinator who wants to throw and we are about to be without our Top 5 pick running back. We also have no clear-cut No. 1 wide receiver. How do you think the front office feels about that decision now?

The Jaguars tried to re-sign wide receiver Allen Robinson. There was a limit to how much guaranteed money they were going to offer. The Jaguars didn’t spend $100 million on Foles, and I don’t know that the Jaguars are about to be without Fournette. Overall, I don’t get the sense they’re as broken up about the Robinson decision as your question assumes. They wanted him, but there was a limit. And I don’t know that it’s fair to say the Jaguars would have a No. 1 receiver had they re-signed him.

Kyan from Le Mars

I know Fournette has a ton of potential but when is enough, enough? I mean how do you not pay a speeding ticket? I was able to pay mine when I was in high school flipping burgers at the local Dairy Queen.

This is a silly situation. It’s not a situation that is earth-shattering enough for “enough to be enough.”

Josh from Fernandina Beach, FL

O-Dog, what McGough's ceiling, in your humble opinion? Thanks and Go Jags!!

I haven’t seen enough of Jaguars quarterback Alex McGough to know his ceiling. I do know he has a chance to be on the Jaguars’ roster next season and I wouldn’t rule him out being the backup quarterback.

Shaun from Jacksonville

I see letting safety Tashaun Gipson go as having the same negative impact on the team as when they let tight Marcedes Lewis walk. Do you feel as good about Harrison and Wilson being the starting safeties as the team does?

I don’t know that the team feels all that great about letting Gipson go in free agency. It’s not as if they did cartwheels and threw parties when it happened. But in the salary-cap era, sometimes you must make difficult decisions and take calculated risks. Letting Gipson go was the best option, and they feel like Wilson is a good option to replace. The calculated risk there is whether Wilson can show over a full season at safety what he has shown during brief stretches. If he does, the Jaguars can be fine in the secondary. If not, the risk wasn’t worth it. We’ll see.

Name Withheld from Town Withheld

Hi John, When I was about Leonard’s age I was arrested for not paying a $50 littering ticket. Other than the embarrassing call to my parents to come bail me out, no permanent harm was done. It was amusing in lockup talking with the other guys … what you in here for? “Battery,” “Assault,” “DUI,” and me … “Littering.” Sigh.

This made me smile.

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