PHOENIX, Ariz. – One more NFL-Owners-Meetings-style O-Zone.
Let's get to it ... Stephen from Jacksonville:
Now, three NFL teams in the past 15 months have announced plans to relocate. While I have faith in Shad Khan and his genuine interest in keeping the Jaguars in Jacksonville, I can't help but worry. Mark Lamping again discussed the team's finances in this year's State of the Franchise and there seemed to be a very concerning tone about the team's profitability in our market. I believe improving the area surrounding the stadium could add to the team's stability, but I'm not so sure it would be enough. We as fans can only do so much to buy tickets, merchandise and support the team. What more do we need to do as a city to keep the Jaguars in Jacksonville? Do we need a billion dollar stadium? John, please share your thoughts on the relocation of the Rams, Chargers and Raiders. What do you think about the stability of the Jaguars in Jacksonville? What more can we do to ensure that the NFL has a home in northeast Florida 20 years from today?
John: This was a topic when I spoke with Jaguars Owner Shad Khan Monday minutes after the Oakland Raiders' move to Las Vegas was approved by NFL owners. What does the Raiders' move mean? I think the Rams, Chargers and Raiders moving clearly shows that cities and franchises must work together to ensure that stadiums and the surrounding infrastructure produce enough revenue to keep franchises financially viable. I can't predict the future into eternity and no one can (except J.P. Shadrick, and then only on weeks when there's a full moon). I can tell you that Khan since he took over ownership of the team has made clear his desire to keep the Jaguars viable in Jacksonville and that he never has swayed from that stance. Is Jacksonville a challenging market because of its size? Absolutely. But the renovations to and around EverBank Field in recent seasons are not an afterthought or an aside in this discussion. They are front and center because they not only represent Khan's commitment to Jacksonville, they are also key to keeping the Jaguars viable in the city. Daily's Place and the surrounding areas are revenue-generating projects, and the US Assure Club is a revenue-generating project. A home game at Wembley Stadium in London and the accompanying establishment of a foothold in that market are revenue-producing entities as well. It's all done with the idea of ensuring the Jaguars have a workable model with a home base of Jacksonville. As Khan said Monday, "Actions Speak Louder than Words." His actions remain loud and clear, as does his commitment to this city. Monday made that clearer than ever.
Chris from Nevada:
Thoughts on Chad Kelly? He made a Fit?
John: He made a what?
Anthony from Columbia, SC:
O, right now, who's backing up Calais Campbell at strong-side end?
John: Jonathan Woodard.
James from Suffern, NY:
Why won't the Jaguars give Luke Bowanko another opportunity to get into the starting offensive line? In his rookie year he played very well next to Brandon Linder and in my opinion was a better option than Wiz [Stefen Wisniewksi] was when he was in Jax. I know he's plagued with injuries, but thoughts?
John: The Jaguars certainly will give Bowanko a chance to start in the sense that he will be in organized team activities and training camp, and if he plays well enough to get into the starting lineup, he almost certainly would get into the starting lineup. The reason he isn't in the starting lineup at center is the Jaguars very much like Brandon Linder and believe he's the best option to play center. Until something proves that not to be the case, that's the approach they will take.
John from Boynton Beach, FL:
In the middle 13 (THIRTEEN!) games of last season, Blake Bortles seemed to play like Cougar in Top Gun after that MiG spooked him. Rattled, poor decisions and didn't seem like he could put the ball where he wanted to at all. He lost his edge. It's really hard to believe that the team is standing pat with their quarterback group as it is. Do you think there will be at least one viable quarterback option added to this roster before training camp starts? (I wasn't sure if any millennials read the Zone, so I went with the 30-year-old movie reference.)
John: This question circles back to the same point that so many questions about the Jaguars during this 2017 offseason seem to focus upon: just what is a "viable quarterback option?" Is it a player who's going to clearly be a better option than Bortles? If so, then the answer is probably that the Jaguars won't sign such a player. I think there's a decent chance the Jaguars will draft a quarterback next month sometime after Round 1. If that happens, I am sure to receive questions from the draft until training camp about that player's ability to start. My answer almost certainly consistently will be that a quarterback drafted after Round 1 probably isn't going to start for the Jaguars next season. Will the Jaguars sign a veteran quarterback between now and training camp? I doubt it. (By the way, I read your entire question, something I rarely do. What's a millennial?")
Stephen from Jacksonville:
Gotta win the line of scrimmage to win in football. Gotta get after the opposing quarterback. Gotta protect your own guy. Gotta get the big men early. Jags gotta get a D-lineman in the first round and a couple of mauling o-linemen in the next two rounds. Make it happen for me, Johnny-O.
Brandon from Fayetteville, AR:
We drafted Blake with the intention of him sitting and watching for a year. Have we completely forgotten why that plan was abandoned? He took 16 sacks in two-and-half games. If he's great in the quarterback room, then offer him a coaching job. Why is he taking up a roster spot?
John: I guess you're saying you want the Jaguars to have a backup quarterback other than Chad Henne. One thought on that is finding a veteran backup in the Jaguars' situation is easier said than done. Not all veteran backups are willing to sign with a team where it's perceived there is a starter entrenched. And not all quarterbacks who still believe they can be a starter are willing to sign somewhere where the perception is that a team is likely to stay with a young, early-drafted quarterback. Henne's "taking up a roster spot" because he's a veteran with starting experience. He's not a dazzling option that's going to excite fans. Most backups aren't.
Michael from Port Orange, FL:
I remember the Coughlin years. He led the team to the early successes but he got fired because he didn't get to the Super Bowl and fans were screaming because he played boring football. The only time it got exciting was when we were behind and had to turn Mark Brunell, Jimmy Smith, and Keenan McCardell loose. The speculation that the two tight-end offense will be the staple will bring about the same results. We will also lose one of the three quality wide receivers we have because of the lack of playing time. I will hate to see that. We will win but not enough and it will bore the fans, who then won't come to the games.
John: You offer your points with impressive conviction. Alas, conviction – even impressive conviction – does not ensure speaking the truth. I remember the Coughlin years, too. I covered them from 1995-2000 and I remember four postseason appearances. I also remember covering the Indianapolis Colts for 10 seasons when their favorite formation was a two-tight end set and they managed to play three receivers enough that three caught passes for 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns one season. Bottom line: the fans have come to Jaguars games in impressive numbers for the past five or six seasons, particularly considering the lack of on-field success. They're not going to go away when the team wins.
Miguel from Jacksonville:
How come you always stand on a milk crate when you do interviews with Pete Prisc...wait, he's not really that short, is he???!!!
John: He was the one on the milk crate.