O-Zone: WWPD

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it … Marc from Oceanway:
If you alone were in charge of who makes it into “The Pride of the Jaguars,” which past players would you include? Which current players do you foresee?
John: I am not as persnickety as many fans and observers regarding the Pride of the Jaguars. I prefer to see the process as inclusionary rather than exclusionary; it’s about memories and honoring deserving players, and I would rather induct too many than too few. I also don’t believe someone must be a Pro Football Hall-of-Fame level player to be considered – provided he meant something special to the fan base. I think wide receiver Keenan McCardell and running back Maurice Jones-Drew need to be in, and I think cornerback Rashean Mathis, defensive end Tony Brackens and defensive tackles Marcus Stroud and John Henderson also deserve consideration. Not having covered Stroud and Henderson – and not having covered Mathis in his prime – I don’t feel as strongly about that group as I do McCardell and Jones-Drew. As I wrote early this week, I do believe middle linebacker Paul Posluszny should be considered, and I believe linebacker Daryl Smith also merits consideration. As far as current players, there are obviously many talented enough to eventually merit consideration. Still, let’s let some careers play out a little longer before we begin nailing big, white letters to the side of the building.
Sid from Sidsonville:
I will need a new updated fresh Jaguars jersey, but who should I get? Jalen Ramsey, Leonard Fournette, Yannick Ngakoue or Josh Lambo ...
John: Yes.
JG from Silver Spring, MD:
Hi, John. Regarding the option on Dante Fowler Jr., it makes sense for the Jaguars to not pick it up. The Jaguars have the highest salary obligations in the NFL for players under contract in 2019. The option was already going to be tough for the team to afford in that scenario. For the same reason, the Jaguars will be hard-pressed to afford expensive free agents in 2019. If Fowler does great next year, he will sign a megabucks deal elsewhere, which could result in the Jaguars collecting a compensatory pick – potentially a third- or fourth-round pick – which won't be offset by big free-agent signings. If he does poorly, in 2018 the Jaguars wouldn't want to pay him the salary required by the 2019 option anyways. Seems like they team would be reasonably happy either way. Do you think this logic makes sense?
John: It does make sense. To refresh, because Fowler was a first-round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Jaguars have the option of picking up the fifth year of his contract – 2019 – at $14.2 million. If they pick up the option, they will either have Fowler play at that number in 2019 or release him following the 2018 season. If Fowler wasn’t healthy as of the start of the NFL’s 2019 League Year that March, the Jaguars would owe him the $14.2 million. If they don’t pick up the option, they still have the option of negotiating a long-term deal during the season or before he hits free agency next offseason. The Jaguars picked up the option last offseason for Blake Bortles, but quarterbacks are a different beast than defensive ends. Considering the Jaguars’ projected 2019 cap situation, I doubt they will pick up Fowler’s option. This doesn’t make it a done deal that Fowler won’t return for 2019, but this clearly a situation in which the Jaguars can give themselves time.
Mike from Atlanta, GA:
I also enjoy my hot dogs with many 'fixins' because that's how they should be eaten. This makes me wonder: What is your favorite region specific food? Is it the Philly Cheesesteak, chowder, fish tacos, the Denver Omelet, hot dish, gumbo, deep-dish pizza, or something else? I have to go with Chicago's deep-dish pizza. It's clearly the superior pizza and you can't get the same quality outside of Chicago.
John: I had a decent barbeque plate an American-based eatery in a mall across from Wembley a couple of trips back, but I suppose that’s not what you mean.
Tucker from Nashville, TN:
Thank you for responding to my questions.
John: ....
Kyan from Le Mars, IA:
Poz and Telvin interview was amazing. I get goosebumps just thinking about it again. I say, if he wants, we find a coaching spot for Poz. This way when we win the Super Bowl he's officially part of it. Everyone knows he has some part of the culture change going on now no matter. One more for Poz!!
John: Hey, one fer Poz! And another. And …
Steve from Denver, CO:
JO, I have flip-flopped on my idea for the first-round pick. Imagine if Will Hernandez earned the starting position. Will our new All-Pro mentor him like Poz did for Telvin?
John: Any player will have a tough time mentoring another quite to the degree Paul Posluszny did Telvin Smith. Their relationship obviously was unique and special. But sure … I’m sure Andrew Norwell would help any young player. Why wouldn’t he?
Peter from Liscombe:
Next Thursday in Round One of the draft I really see the Jags going best available player. So, positions like linebacker, cornerback and defensive line aren't out of the question. What are your thoughts? Agree or disagree?
John: Agree, though cornerback would surprise me quite a bit.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
If the NFL does indeed do away with kickoffs sometime in the future, how do you think that will affect roster management? Teams keep three special teams players (two kickers and long snapper), but they also have other specialists for kick return and kick coverage. Those guys also play backup roles elsewhere, but generally only in emergencies. Do you think more teams might ditch some of those guys in favor of another quarterback, more linemen, or another skill position player? I'm just curious.
John: I do expect the NFL to eliminate kickoffs in the relatively near future. The league has taken steps toward this in recent seasons, moving the kickoff to encourage touchbacks; this was a sharp change in philosophy after years shaping rules to encourage the kick return because it was one of the game’s most exciting plays. When and if the league does eliminate the kickoff, I do expect teams to adjust how they approach special teams. You will still need the long snapper and two kickers, and I imagine there still will be players who are valuable enough on punt coverage and punt return to merit keeping on the roster. But teams these days like to keep multiple “four-core” special teams players. Eliminating kickoff would definitely reduce the importance of those players.
Scott from Jacksonville:
Don't kid yourself, the current unis are awful - not comfortable; plastic hot plates on the shoulder pads. We made it to the AFCCG in spite of the uniforms. Looking forward to the new era of comfort and style. Oh, and winning.
John: The Jaguars didn’t make the AFC Championship Game in spite of the uniforms. They didn’t lose for years because of them. They’re uniforms. Like them. Be interested in them. Hate them. Whatever. But don’t kid yourself into thinking they changed what occurred on the field.
Steven from Duval:
I recently saw a mock draft where we got North Carolina State defensive tackle Justin Jones in the fourth round. I didn’t watch a ton of the Senior Bowl or NFL Scouting Combine, but I remember him standing out even more than N.C. State defensive end, Nick Chubb. If he’s available in the third round, we take him. Mark my words: He will be a Pro Bowl talent in a couple years. Just wanted to make it official.
John: OK.
DreamWeaver from Section 141:
Is there any player you've covered for the Jaguars that better embodies/represents the City of Jacksonville and what it means to be a Jacksonville Jaguar than Paul Posluszny? If you can bring a man like Telvin Smith to tears …
John: I can’t in good conscience put Polsuszny above a lot of Jaguars players I’ve covered in terms of embodying what it means to be a member of the Jaguars. Players such as Tony Boselli, Fred Taylor, Keenan McCardell, Calais Campbell, A.J. Bouye … the list of players who work/worked tirelessly and display/displayed admirable professionalism for this franchise is long. It’s in truth a lot longer than the five players I just mentioned. But Posluszny absolutely is on that list and it’s hard to think of anyone clearly above him.
MrPadre from Kingsland, GA:
WWPD. I understand T-Shirts could be made for the players to wear. I have a feeling they would be very popular amongst fans as well. Get it done Jags! #whatwouldpozdo
John: When discussing Posluszny on Tuesday, Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone mentioned the possibility of T-Shirts for players next year in training camp saying, “What Would Poz do?” His point was it would easily remind players of the right thing to do in a situation – and be more effective than Marrone constantly saying it to players. And yeah … it probably would be pretty popular among fans.

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