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O-Zone: Best month ever

JACKSONVILLE – Look-ahead Wednesday? Already?

Yeah … baaaaaaybee!

Let's get to it …

Bill from Hammock, FL

Zone, which is most important moving forward – choosing the players or coaching the players? No one can argue choosing players has not been our strength. I was hoping this year's group would be a turning point, but it doesn't seem that way. Anything you can add that will help us fans feel better about our future player choices?

Choosing players is critical because it's difficult to win in professional football without players making plays above the Xs and Os in big situations. Fit and buy-in also matter, which is very much about coaching – and also about the players' makeup. As far as this year's group as a turning point, the reality is it's too early to judge that. The Jaguars' 2021 free-agent class was never going to be a "turning-point" group because it was more about getting quality players in multiple positions across the lineup than "turning-point" players – and the free-agent class has been OK in that area, particularly on defense (cornerback Shaq Griffin, safety Rudy Ford, defensive linemen Roy Robertson-Harris and Malcom Brown and linebacker Damien Wilson). And although saying this often irritates some people, we're just getting the first real idea about the 2021 NFL Draft class and won't really be able to assess it until next season. I like what I hear when General Manager Trent Baalke talks about the draft. He has sound philosophies and believes in the right approach. How that plays out remains to be seen.

Kyan from Le Mars, IA

Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer has mentioned multiple times he doesn't micromanage his coaches. I understand he believe his coaches should know who should be in and when. My question is how common is it for head coaches to overrule in-game personnel? I can't imagine most head coaches have a ton of time to sit there and dive into which exact players are in the game during each play.

Position coaches almost always determine rotation at given positions, which is rarely noticed at most positions. At offensive line, for instance, there is rarely much rotation and rotations on defense are often straightforward, routine and based on predetermined situations and packages. The same often is sort of true at tight end and wide receiver. Also: most positions aren't noticed much when rotations change. It comes up a bit more at running back for the very reason it has come up with the Jaguars recently – that fans and observers notice when a running back is or isn't in the game because he's carrying the ball. But no … head coaches don't often get heavily involved in deciding the rotation.

Scot from Jacksonville

Hi, John. We got our quarterback of the future in last year's draft, so losing to improve draft position is counterproductive at this time. I think one of you guys said it best during a "Drive Time"... Something along the lines of, "These players need to win enough so that winning doesn't feel so surprising to these guys going into next year." Or something along those lines anyway. For me, I keep thinking, "One of these days we'll figure out a way to beat those guys."

This team needs to win. Many of these players, and certainly quarterback Trevor Lawrence, will be the core of the 2022 Jaguars. They need to show themselves they're moving toward what they want to become.

Kevin from Jacksonville Beach, FL

John, I was surprised that you didn't ask how Jalen's back was doing during your talk with the Rams' reporter. That is a question on the mind of all Jaguar fans.

You're right. My bad.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

Are we going to sort of limp to the finish line? Is that the plan?

That's not the plan. Or the goal. but given the state of the offense – and given recent injuries to wide receiver/returner Jamal Agnew and tight end Dan Arnold, two players who were contributing to an already struggling offense – it certainly seems possible.

Vince from St. Augustine, FL

_Yeah, Lawrence has a lot of rough edges to smooth out, no doubt. But you know what gives me hope? The announcers noticed and pointed out that, at one point, he stepped out of the huddle because he would've made the twelfth man and would've drawn a penalty. A real unforced error. We see a lot of them, too many, but this time, Lawrence had the awareness to take control. That young man has real leadership abilities that I hope will only blossom.     _

He will be fine.

Andy Boy from Halifax

What would the best historical example you can think of where a QB has a rough first year and is still very successful? I know there are some and it would be nice to be reminded of them right now.

Troy Aikman. Peyton Manning. Josh Allen (the Bills' Josh Allen). We don't know how Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes might have fared as rookies because they didn't play as rookies. Remember, too: All quarterbacks forge their own paths and have their own careers. Just because one player failed after a tough rookie season and another succeeded after a similar season doesn't mean Lawrence will go one way or the other.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, when a practice squad player gets released, is it usually because of regular "employee stuff" such as showing up late, not doing your job, etc., or is it typically for football related reasons such as freeing up roster space, lack of talent, etc.?

The latter.

KC from Orlando, FL

KOAF - I feel we have put too much hope in Lawrence for this year to get us into the playoffs or a close miss. Our talent level just isn't there. Hope for this team to pull it around is going to require a vast amount of talent. Looking ahead to the offseason, what do you hope to see from the front office concerning talent acquisition? What do you think will they shop for in free agency vs the draft?

I suppose there were people who thought Lawrence would get the Jaguars into the playoffs or result in a close miss this season. Those people were not dealing with reality, which is OK because fans aren't supposed to do that; they're supposed to want their teams to win and be angry when that doesn't happen. And you're right … the talent level on this team isn't there. I thought the Jaguars could perhaps win six or seven games this season because I thought the offense would function better than has been the case. The defense for the most part has exceeded my preseason expectations, and it bodes well for that unit that it mostly has been improved against the run – and has generated pass rush – despite still needing to add some pieces to the front seven. As for what they will seek in the draft and free agency, I can only answer in general terms because we don't know who will be available in free agency. I would expect heavy, heavy emphasis on wide receiver in the draft and free agency. And I always expect offensive and defensive line to be a priority for Baalke.

Mark from Greenville, SC

One constant over the past years has been the Jags ownership. Given the results under Shad Khan, how much of this futility in failure can be laid at his feet? Success (and failure) often starts at the top.

Khan owns the Jaguars. In that sense, he's responsible for everything.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

This team is an embarrassment. I am sick of wasting my damn time and money on it.

The Jaguars have lost way too much this season and in the last decade to expect fans to not feel this way. It's tiresome and frustrating. I get it.

Dave from Jacksonville

Hey Zone, Trevor is only capable of functioning in a zone-read style offense and not a drop-back, stand-in-the-pocket-and-scan-the-field offense. Would you agree?


Josh from Fernandina Beach, FL

My question relates to the notion that we need to wait beyond the ensuing free agency period to be aggressive in building this team. I have trouble finding logic in delaying player acquisition when: 1, There is a dearth of talent; 2, Trevor seems able to assimilate potently ahead of schedule; 3, We have the cap space; 4, Another losing season may have intangible, negative effect that supersede the theoretical benefits of waiting for the 'perfect' timing to try to change the direction of an organization's trajectory. Can you offer some hope that the Jags' brass senses the importance of doing something compelling sooner than later? Thanks and Go Jags!!

I'm not familiar with the notion that the Jaguars need to wait beyond the 2022 free-agency period to be aggressive. I never have heard Baalke or Meyer say or indicate anything to make anyone think that that would be the case.

Tom from Nocatee