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O-Zone: Way too shaky

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Shawn from The mean streets of Arlington

Is this keeping up with the Joneses for NFL stadiums or am I as antiquated as the stadium upgrades?

A little of both, perhaps. And though I can't speak to your antiquatedness, I can tell you that the Jaguars' proposed Stadium of the Future indeed is about keeping up at least to an extent with the Dallas Cowboys, Owner Jerry Jones and their stadium. And it's about keeping up with the stadiums in Phoenix, Atlanta and Minnesota. And San Francisco. And Las Vegas. And the proposed stadiums in Buffalo and Nashville. The NFL is the premier professional sports league in the United States. It's one of the premier professional sports leagues in the world. There are enormous revenues involved and the profile/benefits for cities/franchises are enormous. The cost to maintain pace in terms of facilities and revenue is enormous, too. I suppose you can call it "Keeping up with the Joneses." It's more accurate to call it the cost of staying in the league.

Boxcutter Bill from MA

I hope Travon Walker's superpower is ruining plays. I think that'll be more important than sack numbers. Am I right? Because being right is not my superpower.

You're referencing Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell's comments during a Monday media availability that he at times counsels outside linebacker Travon Walker to use his superpower to make a play. What Caldwell essentially meant was that now that Walker has had a season to learn the NFL – and further learn pass-rush techniques – it's time to use the natural traits and techniques he trusts and make plays. The thought here is that your point is a correct one when it comes to Walker. While observers will focus on statistics – particularly sack numbers – to judge the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, what matters far more is his ability to disrupt plays. If he does that consistently, he can help the Jaguars' front seven control series and perhaps games. That matters more than sacks.

Mike from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Hey, John. If Walker finishes his Year 2 season with the following stat line of 10-plus sacks, 50-plus pressures, 30-plus hurries, three fumble recoveries and three interceptions, would that be an acceptable year two improvement? If so, those numbers belonged to Detroit Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson in his rookie season last year! Just saying ...

It would be a good statistical season. We'll see if Walker gets there. We'll see if Hutchinson can do that again in his second season. There's more to both players than statistics, though that's undoubtedly how many observers will compare them. There's a lot to be determined for both of those players and their second NFL seasons will be another step in that determination.

Westside Mike from Bold New City

Hail KOAF! I just finished watching the promotional video regarding the proposed stadium. It looks wonderful, but I'm a bit concerned that overweight fans seem to have been eliminated from our fan base.

As long as overweight senior writers aren't affected …

Geoffrey from Virginia Beach (working overseas in Kuwait)

I'd like to ask if you've gotten to speak with any of the new players on the team (rookies or vets)? If so, who's been your favorite to interview thus far? Anton Harrison has struck me as a very mature individual with the right mindset to come in, grind and compete. Got a real good head on his shoulders.

Rookie running back Tank Bigsby and rookie offensive tackle Anton Harrison both have been guests on the O-Zone Podcast on this free website since being selected in the third and first rounds, respectively, of the 2023 NFL Draft. Both are impressive and the team likes both a lot.

Deane from Daytona Beach, FL

Yo, O-Zone! The new stadium plans are AWESOME! I love that they are wanting natural grass as the playing surface. Being that Steve Spurrier-Florida Field has natural grass and Camping World Stadium is AstroTurf (I do believe), the obvious choice would be to play at Steve Spurrier- Florida Field. However, I do have a concern about the playing surface being too beat up towards the end of the season or after one of our great deluges thus becoming a liability to the players' safety. How would they repair a field in just under 12 hours for a Saturday night game? In this case, hopefully the NFL would step in and either start giving us some Sunday night games or Thursday night games (not preferred) to give turf crews time to do damage control to the field to make it as serviceable as possible. Would we send our turf crews to help out if we chose Gainesville as our home away from home? Would Florida have to change their intro to "only Gators and Jaguars get out alive?" What says you O-Zone?

College football schedules are short enough that the college season would essentially end about six weeks before the NFL season, so late-season issues would be minimal. I also expect the NFL could schedule the Jaguars away from "home" on weekends when the University of Florida was playing at home often enough that field issues would be minimal. Either way, we're at least three years out from this being an issue. I suspect that navigating this will be easier than getting a stadium financing agreement approved.

Gary from St. Augustine, FL

The Jaguars will probably have a new stadium soon. When they do, you will still suck.

Good eye.

Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL

O. We are now past the Stadium of the Future video. Like many, I thought it was amazing and conceptually addresses all the needs previously discussed and prioritized. Now, however, as the adrenaline high fades, the reality and debate of paying for it soon will dominate much of the oxygen around us. The Jaguars need this stadium and Jacksonville needs the Jaguars. Like many things like this I expect the negotiations to be hard - frustrating at times even. There will be days it feels it's all falling apart. In the end, though I expect this gets approved with much hand wringing and teeth clenching. Part of that might be the end to home games in London or the Jags taking all cost overruns. Whatever it is, I believe this moves forward, but not until all the angst and concern bursts out and people to settle down and remember with what I started - the Jaguars need the stadium and Jacksonville needs the Jaguars. Am I off? If not, the 'dead season' will be filled with stadium angst and money fights.

The discussions over the Jaguars' proposed Stadium of the Future stadium will be contentious, as are all conversations about public money and professional sports. This is true not just in Jacksonville. My expectation is that city leaders will realize that the Jaguars are important to the city and the city is important to the Jaguars, and that that realization will enable the sides to reach an agreement on funding.

Curtis from Shack Outside La Grange

It amazes me to see the griping and complaining about the possibility of having to go to another venue for two seasons in exchange for essentially a new stadium. I would imagine that the games will be moved to Gainesville so that would mean driving 90 minutes to Florida Field. Gator honks in JAX metro don't complain about driving to Gainesville for Gator games and their results have been subpar for a while. I would bet that it takes a large percentage of Jags fans 45 minutes or more to go to a game regardless of where they live. Another 45 minutes to go to Gainesville? Give me a break. Not not, but sadly true. Go Jags!

I thought we had reviewed this whole concept of being nice.

Steve from Sunroom couch

Dear John, How do you think the local politicians would feel about a 25-50% pay cut in good faith to help fund this project?

Probably about how anyone would feel about a 25-to-50-percent pay cut.

Howard from Homestead

Get Taylor Swift to agree to a concert in the stadium of the future and you'll get voters coming from everywhere to support it. There. Problem solved. #NotEvenAFan

It's a little unlikely/unrealistic that Swift would agree to a show so far in advance. But the Stadium of the Future absolutely is being designed with such monster shows in mind. And when that happens, will O-Zone be right up front Shake, Shake, Shaking it Off? Well, let's just wait and see, shall we?