JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Bradley from Sparks, NV
MVP candidate Trevor Lawrence is one of 10 returning starters entering Year 2 in the Pederson offense and they add Ridley, Harrison, Strange and Bigsby. The defense should improve, perhaps dramatically, from within with potential dominators at all three levels. They went from a Tier 5 team to the top of Tier 2 in one season. Do you think if they stay healthy they will be a Top 2 seed in the AFC this year?
Your view of the Jaguars' 2023 season is optimistic – and also possibile. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence showed last season he is capable of being a Most Valuable Player candidate and is at the point of his career in which dramatic improvement is possible. The potential for improvement with Lawrence and a strong core of returning players in their second season in Head Coach Doug Pederson's offense is perhaps the No. 1 reason for believing this team could take a real step in 2023. My thought is that this is the season we will get a firm grasp of just how good this offense – and this team – can be in this era of the Jaguars. And the offseason additions of wide receiver Calvin Ridley, offensive tackle Anton Harrison, tight end Brenton Strange and running back Tank Bigsby should as a whole give the offense more weapons and depth than it had last season. I'm more cautious than you in assessing the defense's chance to improve in 2023. I believe second-year players such as linebackers Travon Walker and Devin Lloyd can ascend and be dominant, but they must do that – and you don't know if they can do it until you actually see them do it. Remember, too: The jump from "Tier 2" team to elite is tougher than the one from "Tier 5" to "Tier 2." I believe the Jaguars can make that jump and therefore be a top two seed. It's possible. I'm expecting something more along the lines of 11 or so regular-season victories and perhaps moving past one of the AFC's Power Three. Considering the strength of that Power Three – the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals and defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs – that would be a significant accomplishment.
Seamus from Sioux Falls, SD
I'm still puzzled by the need to demolish the current stadium and build a new, "state of the art" stadium that, I dunno, has better lighting or plumbing, I guess? In other words, we have pools, some of the largest scoreboards in sports (no, not top 10, but still pretty big), and I'm not aware of any major advances in plumbing or electrical wiring since the '90s. I just don't get the need to spend all that money when all they want to do is add some stadium covers. Why is there such a big push to demolish the whole stadium and start from scratch?
It's outdated and lacks the amenities in terms of premium seating – and just general "niceness" – of most other stadiums in the NFL. They're not "adding stadium covers" when they do this. They're bringing the facility into line with other facilities in the nation's premium professional sports league. To play there, you must pay.
Steve from Hilton Head, SC
John, Jerry Rice? The guy on Dance Center? The best ever? How is that possible? He did not come from a powerhouse D1 football program. Some crazy GM drafted him.
Greatness is greatness. I do sense it becoming rarer and rarer for a small-school player such as Rice to become an NFL great, but I expect it always to be possible.
Cliff from Orange Park, FL
I love the thought of a new stadium, but I live in Clay County. I believe we greatly benefit from the Jaguars playing in our neighboring county, as do the other surrounding counties. Shouldn't we be asked to chip in when the financing of the new stadium is discussed? Is there any historical example where others in a metropolitan area participate in stadium financing?
As with much of this discussion, we are early enough in the process that many options are being discussed – and many paths can still be taken. And the history of stadium financing tells us that there are nearly as many different ways to fund a stadium as there are stadiums. Also: Different states, counties and cities have different laws and policies that dictate financing. Some stadiums have received funding assistance from surrounding counties. Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, for example, received funds from a one percent increase in restaurant sales tax from six surrounding counties. But help from surrounding counties is relatively rare and difficult to procure.
Genius from Duval ThinkTank
Regarding funding for the new 'Bank, start charging for mayonnaise and let those Titans fans cover the costs. Let's Go!
I thought we had been over this. It's important to be nice. This most certainly is not nice.
P Funk from Murray Hill
If we end up with a state-of-the-art new stadium along the lines of Sofi Stadium, as we are hearing, do you think Jacksonville can host a Super Bowl once again?
This likely would require more than "just" updating the stadium – and it likely would require even more than just upgrading the immediate area around the stadium. While a state-of-the-art stadium and surrounding area would be one "box" to be checked for Jacksonville hosting a Super Bowl, significantly more infrastructure downtown would be needed – particularly more high-end hotels. It's not impossible, but it likely would be far in the future. If indeed it ever happened.
Justin from Duuuval
Do you expect any more kicker drama this upcoming season or does Riley have that spot locked up?
I expect Riley Patterson to enter 2023 Training Camp as the Jaguars' kicker. I expect he will have to perform well to hold that position, which is as it should be at any NFL position.
Greg from Saint Johns, FL
Cheers O- It's booked! Seat mags and I are heading across the pond this year (can't wait to get the credit bill next month). Got a favorite pub or two?
I don't have any specific favorites. I haven't been in many bad pubs in London. Or in Jacksonville. Or in Nashville. Or in Indianapolis. Or in …
Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL
Is this "two years" thing definite, just because the mayor made some comments? Is there no way in today's age, this couldn't be done in say 18 months instead of 24? Does a renovation really save so much money that it's worth shipping the Jags out of town for two years if that is the timeframe? We really don't know anything yet, right?
Nothing is definite when it comes to the Jaguars' Stadium of the Future. It's all discussion and projection at this point. Many, many options will be discussed and considered.
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ
O-man, any conversation about the best of this and or past era's without specifically adding the caveat "not counting Gene Frenette" is already wrong from the start right?
Longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette must be removed from all discussions of greatness across many fields. His presence has skewed many a bell curve.
John from Jacksonville
I took my son to the first Jaguars home preseason game when he was 12 years old. The extent of my football watching was Super Bowl parties until that game. Since then, we've been to countless games. The stadium has been through many iterations since then. If you ask me, the current state of the stadium is the best it ever has been. So is it the underbelly of the stadium that's so bad? From above it doesn't look bad to me.
TIAA Bank Field probably currently probably is the best it ever has been. And the upgrades of the last decade have been positive. But even with those upgrades, it lags behind other NFL stadiums – and left unaddressed, it will continue to slip far further and further behind. Remember: Three quarters of the NFL stadiums have been built since TIAA Bank Field opened in 1995. Most of the other stadiums have undergone full-scale renovations to basically make them new stadiums. Franchises such as the Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills have recently had billion-dollar-plus stadiums approved and more are on the way. It's not enough in the modern NFL to have a stadium that's not so bad. It must keep up with the rest of the NFL and generate local revenue.
John from Jacksonville
Hi, KOAGF. Is it true that the Jags owner has a nice yacht, but that icon Gene Frenette has one that is much nicer and more like a cruise ship? Legend is that it includes a full stadium. Perhaps the Jags home games can be played there while construction of the new/renovated stadium takes place?
This is very possible. Let me check into this and get back to you.