O-Zone: Wailing wall

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Nathan from St. Augustine, FL

Enough talk of backup quarterbacks who we hope never play and a certain defensive lineman who we hope has a small role. The Jags are playing the trendy Super Bowl pick Sunday. What I want to know is do our Jags have a chance in this game?

Of course the Jaguars have a chance Sunday. This NFL is professional football – not college – so even the worst teams always have some semblance of a chance against even the best teams. When it comes to the 2019 regular-season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs at TIAA Bank Field, the Jaguars have far more than a semblance of a chance – and in fact they have a very good chance. They’re playing at home. They will be playing in brutal heat, which should be an advantage. They have what should be an elite defense, with as many or more playmakers than the Chiefs have on a very good offense. The Chiefs also enter the season with some significant unknowns on defense. The Jaguars aren’t without unknowns. Or flaws. Their offense must produce. I wouldn’t call them the favorite in this game. But they absolutely have a chance.

John from Cape May Courthouse, NJ

People need to relax about defensive tackle Taven Bryan. Is he a superstar? No, but how many superstars were taken at the 29th pick in the draft? Not many. From a skill standpoint, there's not much difference between late first-round picks and third-round picks. I saw improvement from him as the preseason went on, and if he can be a valuable contributor as a part of deep defensive line rotation, then myself – and more than likely the team – would be very pleased with that.

OK.

Al from Orange Park, FL

Isn't it a bit worrisome to switch long snappers a week before the games start to count? Any idea what brought about that change?

Me thinks we’re a bit lost in the weeds here. Timing between snapper, holder and kicker is important, but such timing is not so elusive that it can’t be quickly obtained. The Jaguars turned to Matt Overton in recent seasons when long snapper Carson Tinker was unavailable because of injuries. They were around Matt Orzech in Baltimore when the Jaguars and Ravens practiced in August. When Orzech came available, they considered him an upgrade over Overton. That’s what brought about the change.

David from Chuluota, FL

O: There’s a proverb, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” Myles Jack took the bird in the hand and Yannick Ngakoue wants the two in the bush. Should be interesting to see how this plays out.

I never know what’s going on.

Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville

I have to tell you, O-man. The position I am most excited about on this roster is wide receiver. It seemed only yesterday we were talking about Marqise Lee being a rookie and now he is the vet in the group. It is mine and every Jag fan hopes that new quarterback Nick Foles can make these guys shine this week. The speed and height of our wide receiver group should give defenses lots of matchup challenges. Which position do you think will give the other team the most trouble?

I expect the Jaguars’ defensive front to be the position group that gives opponents the most trouble, though that admittedly is an obvious answer considering the talent level there. Offensively, I agree that wide receiver is an intriguing area – and one that is potentially underrated. Chris Conley, DJ Chark Jr., Dede Westbrook and Lee all potentially will benefit from Foles’ presence – as could Keelan Cole. I’m not expecting the Jaguars’ passing offense to rival the league’s elite, but I do think this group will be better at producing on third downs and to be more explosive than it was in the past. That should mean marked improvement.

Don from Marshall, NC

Patrick Mahomes ll is one of the most exciting quarterbacks to come in to the league in a long time but if he tries to throw that submarine against the grain on this defense he is in big trouble.

I expect the Jaguars to create big plays and force turnovers Sunday. That’s what the defense was built to do, and it’s what the defense must do for the Jaguars to win.

Sam from Winter Park, FL

I'm not sure what took longer to get to its destination. Dorian or a deep out thrown by Gardner Minshew II. Boom. Roasted.

I don’t get it. It doesn’t mean it’s not funny. I just don’t get it … Wait. I just got it. It still wasn’t funny.

Mac from Jacksonville Beach, FL

John, we need a fullback. Former Jaguars fullback Tommy Bohanon is a free agent. Let's just stop this madness and bring him back to this team where he belongs.

The Jaguars went through the entire offseason training camp without a “true fullback” on the roster. I doubt they change courses now.

John from Jacksonville

Wasn't Tom Brady a sixth-round pick? One for Minshew ... sort of.

Brady indeed was a sixth-round draft selection, but we’re long past the point of legitimately being able compare all late-round quarterbacks and saying, “Well, Brady was selected late so this late-round quarterback will be good, too.” Brady is the ultimate outlier. His success means nothing for those that follow.

Bruce from Owensboro, KY

Hey Great and All Knowing Zone, do you think the Jags gave anything away by saying Jalen was going to shadow Hill during the upcoming game?

First, it’s highly unlikely Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey will shadow Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill the entire game. Teams rarely play man-to-man on every play, usually mixing zone and man looks. It’s more accurate to say Ramsey will shadow Hill when the Jaguars are in man. Did this give anything away? Do we really think the Chiefs read that and were surprised?

Dwayne from Jacksonville

Palatka Nick was hilarious. But then I realized the only thing holding Taven Bryan back is a great nickname - so let's call him "Chainsaw Bryan" and watch him have an All-Pro year.

I laughed at this.

Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL

I know when Foles signed there was noise about the contract. Some thought the Jags overpaid, had no competition, etc. The noise was both from some fans and some national media. I see these deals quarterbacks are getting now (e.g. Jared Goff) and it seems to me Nick was a steal and he hasn’t thrown a regular-season pass yet. Where does he rank in average annual salary among all QBs?

The “noise” about Foles’ contract was silly at the time, considering the team at the time was signing a player it believed will be the franchise quarterback for the next several seasons. It was also silly considering the Jaguars are paying Foles $22 million a season – about 14th in the NFL. That’s hardly a ridiculous amount to pay on the open market because the open market isn’t the idea place to obtain a franchise quarterback. Foles by my estimation will now be the 14th-highest paid quarterback in the NFL after Goff completed his deal. That may be a bit much to be paying Foles, but it’s not ridiculous considering the circumstances.

Mike from Cortland

Hey O, just saw another early extension agreed upon with Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff. Why do teams give these huge extensions years early? Especially with quarterbacks. I understand the security of not losing a hugely valuable player for the foreseeable future, but there’s a huge advantage with having a top tier quarterback on a rookie deal. Having a ton of room to hold around him for a three-to-five-year window before having to pay him. Does the peace of mind of having your quarterback locked up for five more years instead of two or three more really outweigh having the additional 25ish mil in cap space for the next few seasons?

Any NFL contract has an element of being a leap of faith because you’re paying for future performance and not past results. When teams give these long-term contracts to young quarterbacks, it’s absolutely a leap of faith and statement that you believe the player is your quarterback of the future. Some of it’s about peace of mind, but it’s also establishing that this is the player around which you are building – and the contract around which you are building your salary cap.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

I am going to take the hand wringing about reserve players as a sign of the overall quality of the roster. Just a few years ago we had no real defense to speak of, very bad quarterback play, and no real good skill position players on offense. Now, I've never seen so much wailing and gnashing of the teeth over bottom of the roster decisions and reserve players. We have to have something to talk about, right?

Without question.

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