JACKSONVILLE – We'll lead today with another reminder:
If you read and submit O-Zone questions on the mobile app, there's no problem with the reading part – but the form to submit questions is STILL not working properly. SO …
If you want to ask a question – and who doesn't want to communicate with the witty, admirable and decidedly "awesome" senior writer? – please use the form on the website in a traditional browser, or email the senior writer directly at Joehser@gmail.com.
When will this madness ends? When will the app-centric among us – and kids these days do love their apps – be able to communicate with said writer? Who knows? But this is where we are now.
Let's get to it …
Sam from Nottingham, UK
So ... looking at tight end, I think it's becoming increasingly evident what the plan of General Manager Trent Baalke and Head Coach Urban Meyer has been: Get Hunter Smith or Jonnu Smith in free agency if the price was right. If not, draft Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth (connection through our new tight end coach) and bank on Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate, Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz or Chicago Bears tight end Jimmy Graham to get released/traded in a very favorable deal. Do you think this is accurate and what would you be prepared to give up in a trade for Ertz?
I do think the Jaguars would have liked to have addressed receiving tight end in the first wave of unrestricted free agency last month. But the competitive nature of that first wave makes it difficult if not impossible for teams to address every need – particularly in an offseason in which a team had as much to accomplish as the Jaguars did in this one. Regarding your approach, I don't know that the Jaguars' entire draft plan regarding tight end is Freiermuth – though the connection with Jaguars tight end coach Tyler Bowen makes him a logical target. The Jaguars more likely have multiple options at the position throughout the first three rounds of the draft. As for their interest in the veterans you mention, it seems likely the Jaguars will wait until after the draft to pursue anymore higher-profile veterans. If they indeed feel the position still needs to be addressed, then they could get reinvolved in free agency or a trade in May. I don't know that I would give up more than a later-round selection for Ertz. That seems to be what the league views as the right price, and it feels about right.
Alon from Malibu, CA
Last offseason, it appeared offensive lineman Will Richardson Jr. could be a future starter at left tackle. Sounds like he fell off the Jaguars plans, as I have heard very little about him. How did he do last season, and do you think he is in Jags future plans?
Richardson, a fourth-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, played in 16 games in 2020 and started one. He played just 74 snaps, but that's not unusual with neither right tackle Jawaan Taylor nor left tackle Cam Robinson missing a start. Richardson's lone start came on December 27 at guard – with both center Brandon Linder and guard Andrew Norwell injured and out of the lineup. It's hard to project Richardson as a future starter at left tackle considering his career thus far. As far as his future plans, that will depend on how he plays this season – i.e., if he gets an opportunity, and whether he takes advantage of it if he does.
Sean from Jacksonville
If fans spent some time digging into other teams around the league, they would see that... 1. Other teams are a complete mess. 2. Their fans think the exact same things about their own team as they do. 3. EVERY other team has passed on so-and-so who has gone on to be phenomenal. 4. Management makes screw ups on 31 other teams. 5. ALL team's senior writers can be a snark-fest. So, go ahead, take a gander at teams yonder and maybe you will ponder less.
Rob from Jax
If you were given the chance to coach them up in the NFL (for some reason), what would your general philosophy be on offense and defense? I know your belief is you must have the franchise quarterback to give your team a chance every year but what about scheme? 3-4? 4-3? 4-6? Blitzing, attacking style on defense or more of a cover 'em up Tampa 2? And offense? West Coast? Spread? Carry a fullback and go run heavy with some play action to open them up? Just curious as to how you would do it given your unique perspective above the Xs and Os after covering the NFL for this long. Thanks.
No sane owner or general manager would ever afford me such an opportunity (for any reason), but sure … I'll play along – with the caveat that any head coach has to adjust his scheme and philosophies at least somewhat based on his personnel, particularly at quarterback. I ideally would want an offense built around a quarterback that could win from the pocket, but I would want that quarterback to be mobile enough to make plays above the Xs and Os and cover up potential mistakes/deficiencies on the offensive line. So, I'd want pro style with an emphasis on throwing out of three-receiver sets – or two-receiver sets with a capable tight end. I wouldn't worry so much about being "run-heavy" as I would making sure I had a running game that could complement the passing offense and establish the threat of the run – and run when running is necessary. Defensively, I would prefer a 4-3 base with Tampa 2 behind it – with the caveat that I would need a pass rush that can pressure with four down linemen and the occasional blitz. If my defensive line couldn't stop the run and couldn't rush the passer, I wouldn't want a 4-3 scheme. Then again, if my defensive line couldn't stop the run or rush the passer, I wouldn't care what scheme I was running. Because my defense wouldn't be good, and I wouldn't win very many games.
Dwayne from Jacksonville
If during training camp Trevor gets hazed with a buzz cut, would that mean we'll have nothing to talk about?
Jeff from Jacksonville
Of all the current and former Jaguars you knew, is there one in your mind that sticks out with a hidden talent, like singing, comedy, or magic, something other than being good at football? If there was ever a "Jaguars' Got Talent," who would you favor to win?
Former kicker Josh Scobee is and was a phenomenal golfer, though he made no effort to keep such a talent hidden. As far as the winner of Jaguars Got Talent, pencil me in. But keep an eye on Boselli. We're known to go 1-2 either way at weekend River Dance Contests.
Zac from Austin, Tejas
The fact that Joe Burrow was severely injured his rookie year last year, preceded by Nick Foles getting injured his opening game with the Jaguars, is why I feel like a beaten dog that can't be pet.
I'm guessing those aren't the only reasons.
Anne from Aldie
Zone, after following the Jags for a while now and watching these drafts play out, I am finally at the point of drafting best available player. I used to want to fill in holes nicely in one year. I would say other than the quarterback, BAP all the way and perhaps we begin to challenge our division consistently. Is that reasonable expectation and what's your feeling in how this draft will work? Will you be able to offer an opinion after the draft in their draft philosophy?
I'll absolutely be able to better assess the Jaguars' draft approach following the 2021 NFL Draft, though it will take two or three years to accurately assess the true quality of draft class. As far as your approach to the draft, it seems your draft experience and instincts are pushing you in the right direction. The most dangerous draft approach is selecting players purely based on need. Such an approach can cloud judgement and prompt a decision-maker to covet a player because he wants to fill a spot on the depth chart with an immediate need. This approach is understandable because teams need players to line up the following season, and it's comforting to look on the office white board and see highly regarded names at all starting and backup positions. But the more you lean toward drafting for value and talent rather than immediate need, the better. As I've written many times on this site, the reality is pretty much every teams drafts with a mix of need, value and "best-available player." The more value and best-available you can have in the mix, the better. Considering how the Jaguars approached free agency, it appears Baalke and Meyer want to lean as heavy toward that as possible. We'll see.
Paul from Gainesville, FL
When you say "app," I think "food."
Congratulations. You are one step closer to unlocking the chaotic mind behind the genius of J.P. Shadrick.