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Big Cat Country Q&A: Will the Calais Campbell trade backfire on us?

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

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Let’s answer some Jacksonville Jaguars questions as we head into the DEAD ZONE, folks!

Today we’re talking the team’s inability to win, letting go of Calais Campbell, an outlook for the cornerbacks, and Lift Every Voice and Sing.

JacksonvilleJag from Sparks, NV

Q: It seems the Jaguars kinda rushed and got rid of Calais Campbell. How bad is his loss gonna bite us in the ass?

A: This year, it will show. He is still a good player and he wanted to take whatever time he had left and move to a contender. And the Baltimore Ravens are certainly a contender as long as Lamar Jackson stays healthy. But it was a move for the future. I would expect Josh Allen, K’Lavon Chaisson, and Dawuane Smoot to be an ample edge rushing group moving forward. And if the unthinkable happens and Yannick Ngakoue stays here long-term, we’re only looking better on paper.

Kreg from Jacksonville, FL

Q: What do you think of the AFC South and the Jaguars’ chances? I think the Titans didn’t get better and I don’t trust Ryan Tannehill for a full season. The only real and more consistent threat seems to be the Texans. I think the Jaguars have a shot at that final playoff spot.

A: I think the Texans and Titans should absolutely be favored for the top two spots to finish in the division. The Titans have an insanely powerful run game and one of the best offensive lines in football. The Texans, despite Bill O’Brien’s best efforts, still have a top-5 quarterback in Deshaun Watson along with a formidable defensive line. The Jaguars will struggle to get even six wins this year.

Troy from Gainesville, FL

Q: Why can’t we win games?

A: It starts at the top.

Robert from Herrin, IL

Q: Why haven’t we brought in a decent veteran corner to help mentor these young corners? Our position group needs some upgrading.

A: Because the plan was to go with young guys and develop those young guys. You can’t spend big at every position. For some, like quarterback, we’re still invested heavily despite Nick Foles being traded. Same with offensive line and linebacker. The coaching staff thinks they have a better chance of developing young defensive backs, which is why they made C.J. Henderson a top-10 pick. Rashaan Melvin is serviceable. I’m not ready to give up on Tre Herndon either as an outside guy. He flashed last season. And we have some depth at the nickel spot between veterans like D.J. Hayden and rookies in Josiah Scott. It’s not the best position group on the team, but it’s certainly not the worst.

Keith from Jacksonville, FL

Q: How much will the season opener attendance take a hit with the bullsh*t playing of another so called “national anthem”?

A: I know we open ourselves up to emails and questions like this when we write about players protesting police brutality and mock the President of the United States when he tweets out a preschool-level understanding of science and viruses. But Keith, you have to understand... we do it on purpose.

So, Keith. Poor, pathetic, pitiful Keith. Let’s talk about James Weldon Johnson and the “Lift Every Voice and Sing” anthem and how it will be played before sporting events going forward.

At its worst, the move is pandering. What people of color actually want is accountability and transparency with what has become a corrupt police system here in America. They want police officers be held accountable for things like — oh, I don’t know — breaking into random apartments and shooting women as they sleep or choking out a man who allegedly used a counterfeit bill or killing a man in broad daylight because he sold loose cigarettes on the sidewalk. Playing an anthem doesn’t solve anything.

But at its best, it celebrates liberation and affirmation for Black people. The song is powerful, so much so that people renowned the world over — Maya Angelou, Stevie Wonder, Anita Baker, and LeVar Burton — have used it to educate, grieve, or highlight important milestones in our shared American history.

As far as an answer to your question, it won’t make any difference on attendance this year because there aren’t going to be fans in the stands. The case count is rising every day. Today we had more than 50,000 cases reported. Tomorrow it will likely be more. And by the time football is supposed to start, that number will likely be too large to even entertain filling football stadiums.

But when it’s played, Jacksonville will be an appropriate place to ring out the anthem — James Weldon Johnson wrote the words and he was born right here in Duval.