JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Chris from Jax
So, the one thing I really don't like about the schedule is there are zero home games in a row. I know, I know, the London game is a "home" game, but it still involves the stresses and lost time of travel so ... ugh. Do you think this'll have impact?
The Jaguars indeed will play the entire 2022 season without back-to-back games at TIAA Bank Field, with their lone "streak" of home games being a three-game stretch with an October 30 home game in London against the Denver Broncos representing the middle game. That's the nature of the schedule you when have nine road games and eight home games – with one of the official home games being played internationally. Just to clarify: The Jaguars actually do have more than "zero" home games in a row. They have one home game in a row – seven times. But that's nitpicky – and a bit snide – and the point of your email is correct: The Jaguars never really will get settled into a stretch of games at the 'Bank this season. How much it will affect the season is hard to say. Good teams tend to play through tricky circumstances, so if the Jaguars are good the schedule shouldn't be a season-breaker.
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville
Thanks, NFL. For a league that wants to have a team succeed, you really seem to be shafting us with the schedule. I mean would it KILL YOU to give us a home prime-time game? Sunday Night? Monday Night? Guess the ratings are struggling enough we can't risk the ratings by having the Jags host something. So curious when was the last time we actually hosted a non-Thursday night prime-time game?
The Jaguars will play in prime time when they get more competitive. They must earn their way onto the national stage. And yes … they will play those games if/when that happens. Before Peyton Manning arrived in Indianapolis in 1998, that smaller-market, oft-struggling franchise played sparingly on Monday Night Football – then the league's premier regular-season stage. They had no shortage of prime-time appearances when Manning led them to 11 postseason appearances in 12 seasons.
David from Chuluota, FL
Johnny O – I have a lot of questions now that Tony Boselli has been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. For example, are you required to stand and clap every time he enters the room? What's the punishment if you make direct eye contact with him? If Tony requested that you start referring to him as Sir Tony Boselli, would you be cool with that?
I have a lot of answers. For example, no. Boselli knows where to find me. No.
Mark from Jacksonville
Hi, John. I was surprised by your answer to Hal from Jacksonville Beach about the schedule difficulty. In years past, haven't you stated that we really don't even know how hard the schedule is until like a month into the regular season? (Which I think is correct, by the way). I don't think our opponents look that difficult. They're normal NFL opponents. And we also have to consider that every other team in the AFC South plays almost the exact same schedule. The one thing that I do think is difficult in general about our schedule is that we are playing seven games at home and 10 away from home.
Good eye. You're correct that you don't know the true difficulty of an NFL schedule until a month or six weeks into a season. But when analyzing a schedule on May 15, you have to base it on something – and based on last season's results, the Jaguars' stretch of games in November against the Las Vegas Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens appears tough. Ditto a late-season stretch that includes a game at home against the defending NFC East Champion Dallas Cowboys and defending AFC South Champion Tennessee Titans. But yes … the most obvious difficult part of the Jaguars' schedule are the long stretches away from Jacksonville – four games in six weeks on the road early and four more games in five weeks on the road late. That figures to be challenging no matter how the opponents in those games are faring next season.
Keith from Saint Augustine, FL
Is media expert an oxymoron?
Stop being mean to Gene.
Adam from St Johns, FL
Well, that's a 5-12 schedule. Sure glad we didn't take any offense. The defense better carry this team and I don't see that possible with this schedule. Do you honestly think the offense has been improved?
We'll see. If tight end Evan Engram and wide receiver Christian Kirk are improvements – and there's every chance they are – then the Jaguars' offense can be better. And it can sure be better if Lawrence is improved. Remember, Alan: Lawrence remains the key. He's a projected franchise-level talent entering Year 2. And he should be in a better overall situation than last year. It's fair to expect improvement on that front.
Tony from Johns Creek, GA
O, I believe it was the late coach, George Allen, who said, "If you can run the ball and stop the run you can win at football." The game has changed significantly since his era, yet this still holds true.
That quote may indeed have been from Allen – and it still holds true in the modern NFL. There are other elements to it now, of course. You must be able to pass effectively. and you darned sure better be able to make big plays because it's very tough for any offense to drive the length of the field with 10-play drives against modern defenses. And you better be able to rush the passer on third-and-long; modern NFL quarterbacks are too good to allow them time to throw to modern receivers. But you still must be able to stop the run defensively. It's something that has been repeated here often in recent days, but if you don't do that you never get a chance to do anything else defensively. Even in a modern game geared significantly to the pass.
Brian from Tracy, CA
I have done a 180 on General Manager Trent Baalke. I like the way the organization handled the draft and aggressive free agency moves.
Hey … one fer Baalke – and fer 180s.
Steve from Nashville, TN
There are quite a few "revenge" games this year with Russell Wilson (now with Denver) at Seattle and Von Miller (now with Buffalo) at the Los Angeles Rams the first week of the season. Throw in Carson Wentz with four opportunities if you count his loss to the Jaguars last year to end his playoff chances and most likely his stint with the Colts. Coach Pederson takes his Jaguars team to Philadelphia in Week 4, when we get there how much will you cover this story line of returning to face his old team? I know the Eagles fans are tough customers, but do you expect any cheers for him that Sunday for the coach that brought the city their only Super Bowl win?
I expect Pederson to talk about returning to Philadelphia. I expect him to speak positively about it and to try to downplay the angle it as much as possible. I expect to write about it and talk about it that week because Pederson will be talking about it – and because it will be a storyline. I expect Pederson to be cheered loudly before the game because he is still well-liked by Eagles fans.
Ross from Mechanicsville, VA
As I recall, Jimmy Smith after the 1999 season complained about all the prime-time and nationally-televised games making it difficult to be consistently strong on the field. Proof that consistent winning yields more prime-time games – even if that may be more difficult for the team. But this thought led me to another. The team had amazing success in the first five or six years. Do you think this started many of us down a road to "remember the good old days when..." and now we are disappointed a little too easily and often? (But only one winning season a decade is tough).
I don't recall Smith saying that, but it's possible he did – and yes, prime-time and nationally-televised games can be difficult on a team in terms of preparation and consistency. As far as your second thought … I can't agree. Yes, the Jaguars had success early. And their success from 1996-1999 indeed set a high standard. But the last 22 seasons since then haven't been successful enough. And the last decade damned sure hasn't been close to successful enough. Jaguars fans are disappointed often, but their team has had double-digit losses every season except one since 2011. They're supposed to be disappointed. What else should they be?
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ
O-man, how is the feel of rookie camp versus last year?
It's quieter. The public address system apparently is broken.