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O-Zone: A good step

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

James from Bossier City, LA

There was an article a few days/weeks ago about the Jaguars' team being "family." Is that why they keep mistake-prone players around? Cause they're family and you don't wanna let go of a guy whose personality you like?

Not at all. This often becomes a topic when a team commits penalties – and specifically, when specific players commit multiple penalties. Fans understandably wonder why teams keep the players, or why they don't play reserves over the committing players. As Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer has said multiple times in the last month – fixing penalties is not easy because it's not as if you can go out on the field and practice as you would throwing and catching. Why not simply bench or release players? Because the players committing the penalties are the best players to be playing their position/role or they wouldn't be playing. To remove them or release them therefore would mean replacing them with lesser players – therefore giving yourself less of a chance to win. If simply removing the player for a penalty would fix the issue, you would see far more players released the Mondays or Tuesdays following games. It's not that easy.

Stephen from Wallingford, CT

In the beginning of the season, the secondary was pretty bad. Prior to the season, the coaching staff thought we were set at wide receiver. Could it be that our receiving corps performed great against our bad secondary all training camp, so coaches thought we were all set at that position?

The coaching staff didn't believe the Jaguars were set from top to bottom at receiver before the season. They thought DJ Chark Jr., Marvin Jones Jr., Laviska Shenault Jr. and Travis Etienne Jr. had a chance to be a solid core – and they certainly weren't expecting to lose both Chark and Etienne, the fastest two players of the group – before Week 4. But remember: The Jaguars signed wide receiver Laquon Treadwell in June and Tavon Austin in August. They also released Collin Johnson after the final preseason game, moved on quickly from Phillip Dorsett and began signing/acquiring other players at the position late in preseason and early in the regular season. That's when the revolving receiver situation began. It was the observers (this one included) who misjudged the receivers. Coaches and personnel officials were trying to address the issue relatively early.

Andy Boy from Halifax

Being a get-right team isn't glamorous, but someone has to do it! It is nice to have a purpose :-)

Is it?

JT from Palm Coast, FL

Coming into this season I understood that this was the start of ANOTHER rebuild, but I accepted that. John, the hardest part to understand now is how has this team not progressed at all offensively? We look like we have a decent defense that seems to be forming into their own. Our offense has seemingly gotten worse over these weeks. The offensive overhaul in the offseason is going to be dramatic.

It's really not all that hard to see why the Jaguars have not progressed offensively. They were just OK overall at wide receiver to start the season and they were so-so offensively overall through the first six games. They were most productive shortly before the bye when they got their best offensive player – running back James Robinson – into enough of a rhythm that it gave the offense some balance. That in turn helped Jaguars rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence to improve over a three-game stretch entering a Week 7 bye. Robinson sustained a heel injury in the first game after a bye, the depleted receiving corps never really improved – and then began getting injured – and the result was a further dip in offensive production. It's players and injuries to players who were already there. That's why the offense hasn't progressed this season.

Scott from Rehoboth Beach, DE

Holiday greetings, O-Man. Now the word is Meyer's and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell's plan on changing the offense to better suit Trevor's abilities. Why did it take this long for them to decide to switch things up and play to Trevor's strengths? To figure this out this late in the season is very concerning.

There's indeed a perception that the Jaguars "just figured out" that Lawrence runs effectively and that they're therefore switching the offense to play to his strengths. This is incorrect. They've always known he could execute run-pass option on at least a functional level. But there is a risk to running RPOs and it's not a guarantee that the move is best for his long-term health or development. The Jaguars had a few successful drives last week against the Falcons playing up-tempo with some RPOs. The plan is to use more Sunday. Will this be the approach long-term? Is it the best approach long-term? I suppose we'll learn that over the next few weeks.

Logan from Wichita, KS

Constant mistakes, lack of talent, abundance of youth, unknown strengths, two wins going into week 12, let's hold off until the player develops, too early to tell, trust the process, building something special. What year is it? Take your pick they all look the exact same for over a decade. When does it end?

Stay tuned.

Nancy from Negative

The only thing more depressing than the Jaguars season year after year is their failure to draft year after year. Having to talk about the next draft midseason as if there is hope the pattern will change is just insane to me. The Jaguars have drafted 30 wide receivers. They have all either flamed out (Matt Jones, Justin Blackmon), been busts (R. Jay Soward, Reggie Williams), been too injury prone (Allen Robinson,  Marqise Lee), or just never played more than a handful of snaps (long list). The idea that because there are new shot callers in town is why they "may get it right" is something I cannot get behind. History says the Jaguars suck at drafting. History says the Jaguars suck at winning since 2007. No hope left to give into either basket at this point. Is there something better out there?

Your depression and confusion are understandable. Losing stinks, and the Jaguars have lost too often – and failed on too many different fronts. But while you're correct about the Jaguars' history, there's nothing a team and owner can do to change its history. A team and an owner can change course to try to be successful in the future, which is what the Jaguars did all offseason. Is something better out there? Stay tuned, I suppose. What else is there to do or say?

Ed from Danvers, MA

Are the Jaguars planning to rest rookie Andre Cisco for four years, then sign him to a lucrative extension when he's at full strength?

No. They're planning to play Cisco when they believe he's the best option at the position.

Big on Blake from Philly

Zone, I absolutely get that the current level of talent on this team is lacking, but to say this team hasn't acquired talent through the draft is not accurate. In fact, we're constantly faced with reminders of players gone by (which we're drafted by this team) and finding success elsewhere. For example, Allen Robinson, Jalen Ramsey, Yannick Ngakoue, Leonard Fournette, Marcedes Lewis, Allen Lazard and Ronnie Harrison. These players were jettisoned or forced their way out for one reason or another, but it's hard to say the Jags were always bad at drafting. I'm not lobbying to bring these players back, but it must be pointed out that many, many decisions were made about these players and their time in Jacksonville, and part of me wonders how different this team would look if some of them were still on the roster. That said, I do like the draft philosophy of Meyer and Baalke and I hope it pays dividends in the future and they can create a culture where those players want to stay and contribute as a Jag.

Players such as wide receiver Allen Robinson, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and cornerback Jalen Ramsey certainly would make a difference to this franchise – and while the players you mention left for a variety of reasons, there's little doubt that the franchise couldn't continue the path of years past and expect to contend. That time is gone. The goal of Head Coach Urban Meyer and General Trent Baalke is to acquire good players and retain good players. That's the goal of pretty much all general managers and head coaches. How to create it? Win, treat players right and pay them – though not necessarily in that order.

Paul from Saint Johns

I remember last year that our lack of success was largely defined by an inability to stop the run. Nothing else really mattered if we couldn't stop the run. Well, we greatly improved our run defense in one year. If we can have a similar improvement next year at receiver, does that improvement make us a team with a winning record? All else being equal?

It damned sure wouldn't hurt.

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