JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Michael from Orange Park, FL
Even you can't deny it after this weekend. Admit it, Zone. #NFLrigged.
I received multiple thoughts along these lines in the wake of the AFC and NFC Championship games this past Sunday, and I suppose all I can really admit is once again being amazed at people's willingness/need to always jump to the conclusion that dark conspiracies rule our lives – including our lives as NFL fans and followers. The overriding theory here seems to be that the NFL wanted the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles. To which I must ask: Toward what end? Is that so much more compelling a matchup than the other possibilities – Chiefs-San Francisco 49ers, Eagles-Cincinnati Bengals or 49ers-Bengals – that the NFL would order officials to risk their careers and the integrity of the league to "rig" the games? Do we really think the NFL feared people wouldn't watch the Super Bowl if Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes weren't playing? Or if the Eagles made it over the 49ers? Is Mahomes that much more compelling than Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow? We needed Travis Kelce in the game that much? I personally would rather watch Burrow and the Bengals than the Chiefs. That's not a knock on the Chiefs as much as I just find the Bengals more compelling – and my guess is many NFL fans feel the same way. I'm not saying there weren't some missed calls or mistakes made by officials Sunday. I'm sure there were. But the most "controversial" call – a play on which officials ruled that there should be a replay of a third down for Mahomes and the Chiefs – was the correct call. The play also didn't have much of a bearing on the game's outcome because the Chiefs punted on the possession. The NFL is a complex, fast-moving game with many – sometimes – obscure rules. Because of that there are sometimes some missed, weird calls. It doesn't mean the league is rigged. It just doesn't.
Robert from Duval, CA
Hypothetically, let's say Jags over/under for wins is 9.5. You taking the over?
I expect the Jaguars to be better in 2023 than 2022. That doesn't always mean an improved record – though in this case, I do expect the Jaguars to have a better record than the 9-8 they posted in the 2022 regular season. I believe this not because I pretend to know specifically which opponents they will beat. I just think they will be more consistent more quickly than they were this past season, and I believe quarterback Trevor Lawrence will make a big jump in his second season in Head Coach Doug Pederson's offense. I expect those two factors will allow them to win a few hypothetical games that were real losses this past season. So, in your hypothetical world … I hypothetically would say I expect the Jaguars to win 10 or more games in '22. Hypothetically.
Adam from Springfield, NJ
I was sporting my jaguars Beanie at the grocery store in Springfield, NJ and was approached by a random employee: "Hey, man … just wanted to say it was a great run." He then beamed he had a Trevor Lawrence rookie card. As a longtime Jags fan, so nice to see the fan base expanding. Go Jags!
That is cool.
Howard from Homestead, FL
Wow. The NFL announced a huge bump in the salary cap for next season. Two questions: Was an increase this big expected? Are we now suddenly under the cap?
The NFL reportedly informed teams on Monday that the 2023 salary cap will be $224.8 million per team. That's essentially what most teams were projecting, so the number is not a surprise. The Jaguars currently project about $33 million over the cap according to Spotrac – which again, was essentially what has been projected for some time. The expected release of cornerback Shaq Griffin will save about $13 million with other decisions and restructurings to come as the March 15 start of the 2023 League Year approaches.
Jim from Jagsonville
Can't even get past the Super Bowl before displaying a mock draft? Isn't there some dignity left, a grace period perhaps? What happened to the Senior Bowl as a starting point? Please Johnny O, show some journalistic integrity!
I traditionally post the first "mock draft tracker" a week or so after the Jaguars finish playing. It therefore actually started a bit later this season than past seasons. What's a "dignity?"
Nathan from Utah, US
Zone, I know us Jaguars fans would love the reunion. What's your thought and feeling on a one-year deal for former Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis? Thoughts on a one-day deal?
Lewis, a first-round selection by the Jaguars in the 2006 NFL Draft, played the past five seasons with the Green Bay Packers. My understanding is he wants to play an eighteenth season next season, so I don't foresee any one-day deal this offseason; those are typically executed so a player can retire. I would love to see Lewis with the Jaguars again. Anyone who knew Lewis when he was here likely feels the same. Would that work out in terms of fit? Money? Mutual interest? It's probably a long shot, but we'll see.
David from Ada, OK
Kevin Durant is now officially a fan of the Jaguars. He's an outspoken fan of T-Law, running back Travis Etienne Jr. and wide receiver Christian Kirk. I can now finally get some much-deserved rest.
I was very nearly a big Durant fan, following him with interest in 2007-2008 when he was a rookie with my longtime favorite NBA team – the Seattle SuperSonics. I lost interest when the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder, robbing Durant of the bucket list item of having me as an ardent fan/supporter. He did appear to be a fan of the Jaguars in the last few weeks of the 2022 season/postseason, though – praising them on Twitter and his Podcast, The ETCs. So one fer Durant, I suppose.
Allen from St C
If the NFL eliminates the Pro Bowl game will that eliminate alternate selections? Seems like every year there are a lot of alternates added.
The NFL already has eliminated the Pro Bowl game, with plans this season calling for skills competitions and various 7-on-7 flag football games. It has not eliminated alternate selections, with Jaguars wide receiver Jamal Agnew being named an alternate as a returner on Monday and Trevor Lawrence being named an alternate at quarterback replacing Patrick Mahomes on Tuesday.
Bradley from Sparks, NV
I am not sure where the Jags ranked as a team in sacks, hits, and pressures but pretty sure it was near the bottom. I am sure defensive linemen Arden Key and Dawuane Smoot were the most productive on a per snap basis and both are free agents. Can the Jags afford to not re-sign both players?
The Jaguars according to Pro Football Reference finished 25th in the NFL with 35 sacks and finished tied for second in the NFL in pressuring opposing passers – with 168 combined sacks, hurries and knockdowns. I suspect the difference in sacks and pressures likely stems from the Jaguars struggling in coverage throughout much of the season, thus allowing quarterbacks to get rid of the ball a bit more quickly and therefore avoiding sacks. Perhaps that's incorrect; it's a theory. Smoot and Key indeed were productive pass rushers, with Smoot registering five sacks with 12 quarterback hits and Key registering 4.5 sacks with 15 quarterback hits. The Jaguars ideally would love to re-sign both players. I expect them to be successful re-signing Key. Smoot is trickier because he will be rehabilitating a torn Achilles sustained in a Week 16 loss to the New York Jets. Stay tuned.
DJ from Western, NC
I've been a Washington Commanders fan all my life. I've been a Clemson fan for many years. I became a Jags fan when they drafted Lawrence and Etienne. I just want to say thanks for what has been probably my most fun season since Washington last won the Super Bowl in 1991. Congrats to all you diehard Jags fans and I hope there's room on the train for this new Jags fan. Can't wait till next year.
Robert from Elkton
Is there anyone happier about wide receiver Calvin Ridley joining the team than tight end Evan Engram? I could see Ridley opening up gaping holes for Engram to run wild in.
If Ridley is as good upon joining the Jaguars as he was with the Atlanta Falcons before his 2020 suspension, I expect Lawrence to be pretty happy. And Engram. And all of the Jaguars' other receivers. And …
Scott from Gilbert, AZ
Hey, Zone. Sorry to be an ass during Weeks 4-8 this season. I'm hoping to be a big enough person one day to admit when I'm wrong. Is it too early to talk about what the Jags should do with the 32nd pick in the 2024 draft?
You weren't an ass in Weeks 4-8. Checks notes … oh.