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O-Zone: Absolute beast

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Clif from Washington, DC

For this season, you believe the Jags will push to be .500. What did you think the Jags would be last season before summer hit?

Let's clarify something here. My preseason thoughts and predictions on what the Jaguars' record might be in a given season are worth essentially nothing, which is pretty much what all such preseason thoughts and predictions are worth. I offer predictions only when asked – and only because I get asked quite often this time of the year. My predictions are typically essentially what I believe the Jaguars' record could be if much goes right and if offseason moves work out mostly right. That's sort of how predictions must work when you're covering a team that consistently has lost double-digit games for a decade; there's no body or work to assume it's going to be a .500 or plus team without massive improvement or a lot going its way. I thought last season that if everything went right – and if Head Coach Urban Meyer adapted quickly to the NFL – that the Jaguars had a chance to push for .500. I realistically thought five or six victories was about as good as it could be unless a lot of close games went their way. I do believe Head Coach Doug Pederson's presence will have a calming effect that should allow the Jaguars to be competitive far more often than last season. And I believe quarterback Trevor Lawrence will be in better situations, and that Lawrence's expected second-year improvement should allow the team to be more competitive. I would be surprised this season if the Jaguars don't win at least six or seven games and look at lot better in most games than they did last season. That very could mean pushing for .500 – so yes, I feel much better about the direction of the team than last season. We'll see if that's accurate.

Ross from Mechanicsville, VA

It sure seems that the Jags are happy with many of the offensive weapons that they had in place last year. Maybe we forgot many starters were hurt early in the season. Make sense or am I off base?

I don't know how much last season's injuries affected how the Jaguars approached this offseason. I do think there's some hope that running back Travis Etienne Jr. can add a playmaking element to the offense after missing all his 2021 rookie season with a Lisfranc injury. Remember: A lot of the Jaguars' approach to offense must depend on Lawrence and on the idea that he will improve in Year 2 – and help raise the game of players around him. If that happens, then the Jaguars indeed will be happy with a lot of their offensive weapons.

Zac from Austin, Tejas

I graduated with my M. Ed in Ed Policy recently. The speaker ended with a Tony Dungy quote. Thought of you, which is weird. Why was I thinking about the Jaguars at my graduation?

Go Jaguars.

Tim from Jax

I'm not following the logic of fans who state the team has upgraded the offense: Christian Kirk for DJ Chark Jr., Brandon Scherff for Brandon Linder, Ben Bartch for Andrew Norwell all feels like a wash to me – not an upgrade – with the possible exception of Engram at tight end. This isn't what was needed for an offense that couldn't score 20 points a game last year.

A couple of thoughts. First, Scherff is a five-time Pro Bowl selection; the Jaguars' thought is that he's a significant upgrade for the interior offensive line. Second, I don't know that we yet know exactly who is starting where on the offensive line, so it's a little tricky to analyze upgrades in terms of additions/subtractions to the roster. As far as the Kirk/Chark discussion … I agree that if Chark is healthy and playing fully to his potential, he has enormous potential and could be a significant loss. He really only played to that one potential season – and that was his 2019 Pro Bowl season. Perhaps he will play at a high level for multiple seasons and prove that the Jaguars should have kept him. The Jaguars' thought is that Kirk will be an upgrade and will fit what the Jaguars want to do offensively. One thought: Engram's acquisition shouldn't be overlooked. The Jaguars believe that's a significant upgrade and that his impact will be felt and help the entire offense. Stay tuned.

Levi from Bedford, IN

Might be time to give EJ Perry a shot. Kids got an arm.

Free Perry.

Sam from Orlando, FL

Since 2015, Christian Kirk has had one 1,000-yard season at either level, college or pro. Maybe he simply is exactly what everyone thinks he is: Overpaid and not the help Trevor needed for that kind of money.

Many people do feel that way about Kirk. There are also those who believe he fits what the Jaguars want to do offensively and that he has a chance to be key part of a balanced and improved receiving corps. But hey … one not fer Kirk, I guess.

Jonathan from Jax

Are any of you that are still shocked that we didn't draft a receiver not the least bit shocked that Kirk and Zay Jones – especially Kirk – put up the production they did as the third or fourth option? I guess the silent minority is looking forward to what they can do as the first and second option. Evidently the Jags brass does, too.

… and one a little more fer Kirk and Jones …

Raymond Sis from Windermere

Thank God we drafted a head scratcher with the first pick whom didn't play nearly as well in college as the second pick. But man, did he have that one good day in shorts! Can we buy Super Bowl tix now? With the No. 1 pick no one wanted and the 62ndbest tackle in the league guarding Law's blind side, we are going 17-0.

… and one not fer pretty much everything.

David from Oviedo, FL

Zone - I think Bucky Brooks would make a great general manager. Do you ever think it will happen?

Brooks, the unquestioned star of the Bucky Brooks Huddle Up Podcast starring Bucky Brooks and other shows across the Jaguars' Media Channels (starring Bucky Brooks) absolutely could be a high-ranking official in NFL personnel. As high as general manager at some point? Absolutely.

Robert from Elkton

Reading an NFL.com article on the top 101 free agents, I saw that about 22 are still unsigned. I know it's just another list, but what surprised me was that the Jags had signed seven of the 79 that had signed. I knew they were active, but they signed one out of every 11 free agents? Using the same ratio for the draft would mean drafting 23 or 24 players.

The Jaguars went 3-14 and had a lot of salary-cap space entering the offseason. They had a lot of work to do and did it.

J. Hooks from Orange Park, FL

Yo!!! What was that goofy little term they had during former Head Coach Gus Bradley's tenure here? It wasn't the Mike or Sam, it was some nifty little term that we had to hear all the time when we were trying to figure out who was gonna play the role. I can't remember and it's driving me nuts!

Yo! Leo. /ducks

Brian from McMinnville, OR

Do you think our current running back tandem can be as good or better than Maurice and Freddy! Love your daily post!

No. That's not a knock on current Jaguars running backs Travis Etienne Jr. and James Robinson. It's acknowledging that Maurice Jones-Drew was a three-time Pro Bowl selection – and most importantly, that Fred Taylor was a Hall of Fame talent. It's not a fair comparison or standard.

JR from The Squatchlands

I think Gary needs a hug?

Didn't work.

David from Orlando, FL

Johnny O. - Did you read that article about the Detroit Lions preparing to draft Travon Walker had the Jaguars selected Aidan Hutchinson. I thought that was pretty good evidence that the Jaguars didn't go rogue with their No. 1 pick.

I did read that, and it was indeed further evidence that Walker was a legitimate Top 2 or 3 selection – and yes … if you're a Top 2 or 3 selection, you're a legitimate selection at No. 1 overall. That won't convince people who called the selection a reach. That's OK. You can't convince everyone of everything.

Tim from Oklahoma City, OK

You can't win, can you KOAF? You give your opinion on what the Jags will do in the draft, and people assume you have some sort of insider knowledge. Then when it doesn't happen, you are the new "spin doctor." Your patience is unparalleled. I'm not saying I would melt down, but I would melt down.

'Tis indeed a heavy burden I carry. My back is not broad, but it's still a hurtin'.

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