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O-Zone: All the difference

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Josh from Atlanta, GA

I really do love Cam, and I think he's a great tackle. Is there a world where Walker takes the job and never lets it go? Guy was a top prospect and still getting better with all his time off.

You're referencing Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson, who will serve a four-game suspension for a violation of the performance-enhancing drug policy to start the 2023 regular season. You're also referencing Walker Little, who is expected to start the regular season at left tackle. My guess as of late July is that Robinson probably will move into the starting lineup when he returns. This is because Robinson is a seven-year veteran and the most-experienced left tackle on the roster, making it logical he would start. It's also logical because Little has worked at guard in practice at time throughout his two seasons with the Jaguars, and Little could move to guard when Robinson returns. That could get the Jaguars' five best offensive linemen into the starting lineup. That's how it currently looks from this amateur view. Could Little play so well to make the Jaguars rethink that plan? We're two months from Robinson's return. Many things could happen. But sure … that scenario is among them.

David from Chuluota, FL

KOAF - Which player will get in game-time first, Ben Bartch, Dawuane Smoot or Cam Robinson?

Robinson can't play in the regular season until Week 5. Left guard Ben Bartch (knee) and defensive lineman Dawuane Smoot (Achilles) are currently on the Physically Unable to Perform list. If both players start the regular season on PUP, the earliest they could return also would be Week 5. It sounded from listening to Head Coach Doug Pederson this week that Bartch could return late in training camp. If that happens, I would guess he plays sometime during the first four weeks of the season. I would be surprised if Smoot returns so quickly. Therefore, let's go with Bartch for this answer.

David from Orlando, FL

Zone – When left guard Ben Bartch returns from his knee injury, how likely is it that he is reinserted as the starter?


Scott from Fernandina Beach, FL

Hi, John. I'm old school in the sense that you run to set up the pass, but between quarterback Trevor Lawrence and our wide receiver/tight end rooms, looks like maybe we pass to set up the run?

I don't know that I'd go as far. I would say the Jaguars are a balanced offense and that Pederson doesn't believe you have to overemphasize the run on first down. Another element to this is Pederson – like many West Coast offense disciples – believes short passes can substitute for a lot of would-be running plays. In that sense, maybe this offense does use the pass to set up the run. At least sometimes.

Bill from Hammock, FL

Zone, I fully agree with all the accolades given to Trevor Lawrence. He has surpassed most expectations and has an incredibly bright future in Jacksonville. However, in watching several national interviews, he is much more than a potential franchise quarterback. He is poised, thoughtful and completely unassuming. He is a tremendous asset not only to the Jaguars but to the entire city of Jacksonville. A big thanks to the New York Jets. Sorry. Not nice. But not sorry we have Trevor for years to come.

When the Jaguars secured the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, there was the feeling that selecting Lawrence there could change the future of the franchise. That perhaps gives the impression that Lawrence succeeding and being a franchise quarterback was a "given." It might give the impression that you automatically get a franchise-defining, generational player on and off the field when you select a "generational" quarterback No. 1 overall. It doesn't always work out when you select such a player. The reality is that player must be unusually mature, focused and driven beyond what even the most optimistic observer might hope. Lawrence indeed appears to be that level of "unusual" off the field and that indeed bodes well for at least the next decade around the Jaguars.

_Jeff from Jacksonville   _

Hello, John. I believe the Jags should have re-signed Jawaan Taylor. Instead, they let him walk. This forced the Jaguars to draft a tackle. Now, they will start a rookie on one side and a part-time starter on the other. When Cam is available to return, it will take time for him to get into football shape and get his timing down. I see the offensive line as a problem. The defense still has no one to rush the passer. Yes, Josh Allen is on the team, but the Jags have been waiting for him to develop the last four years. I believe he is a slightly above average defensive end. Travon Walker was a nonfactor last year and I saw no improvement from him. Even if the Jags sign a proven veteran defensive end, I see this team struggling offensively because of the o-line. I will root for them, but I believe they will take slight step back this year.

The Jaguars would have loved to re-sign Taylor. Had they done so, it would have been a major salary-cap strain over the next two or three seasons – particularly for a team that already had Little and Robinson on the roster. As for a step back … maybe the Jaguars will take one. If Lawrence continues to develop as he did late last season, I doubt that will happen. We'll see.

Big on Blake from Philly

Zone, it's a shame the league moved to a 17-game season because I'm feeling a real 16-0 vibe this year. Lawrence to Calvin Ridley all day. Also, why does the submission for Ozone ask for an email? I even have to type it twice to verify. You never email me. C'mon man!

I don't know why the submission form asks for an email. Or for you to type it twice. I do know why I never email you. I think we both know.

John from Jacksonville

Your son just lost his job – again. He wasn't doing a bad job. The boss just preferred someone else in the company over him. He just needs more than a brief opportunity to show what he is capable of. There is an opportunity for him to work where you are employed. The job will help keep his name out there for future employers. Even if it's only short term, it could be just the kick start his career needs. It's your son. What do you do?

I would hire him, but I don't make those sorts of decisions. The Jaguars are smart enough to ensure I don't make decisions.

Dave from Jacksonville

I am glad they have a plan that all are comfortable with for Robinson's return. I am even more excited he is recovered from his injury. Do you think, if not for the suspension, would he have started on the PUP list similar to Ben Bartch? Either way, it works out about the same don't you think? What do you see as the plan?

Robinson, who missed the last three regular-season games and two postseason games last season with a medical collateral ligament injury, has been cleared and is practicing 100 percent. If not for the suspension, he would be practicing and likely in the starting lineup at left tackle – and projected to start the season there.

DenMiz from Duuuvallll

I can't believe the Dead Zone is already Dead. This was one of the most positive dead zones we have experienced in years. It's so awesome being on the winning side of the spectrum.


Fred from down Monument Road

If you reflect, does it boggle your mind to think how much has transpired from the start of training camp two short years ago until now?

My first thought here was that a lot transpires in every NFL season, and that it's sometimes hard to reflect on even a year and put the events of an NFL year into proper perspective. Then I thought back to two years ago in training camp. I fondly remembered the sweet sounds of voices announcing winners and losers of individual drills over the loudspeakers. Seen through that lens, that the Jaguars are now entering the '23 season as defending AFC South Champions and doing so in a state-of-the-art facility … yeah, the mind is at least a little boggled.

Dan from Jax

Okay. Now that the dead zone is gone and buried for another year, it's time to focus on the reality zone. I'm sure you've received a thousand emails regarding the season following Myles was not down and we figured the next we'd be Super Bowl bound ... only to fall apart. Sooo, what makes you think this team won't follow suit? Luck has never been on the Jags' side when the chips were down. Anxious fans.

Lawrence plays quarterback for the Jaguars.