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O-Zone: Big motivation

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Dereck from Jacksonville

I think you are missing the point of the disrespect that Jags fans feel. There was a perfect example of that this past weekend. One of the most explosive plays of the weekend was a 91-yard return by the Jags. If it had been by the Green Bay Packers, we would have seen that play a billion times on ESPN, SportsCenter, etc. But alas … it was the Jags, so unless you watched the game it never happened. Parity.

I'm not missing the point. The Jaguars absolutely are often overlooked by national analysts, but why wouldn't they be overlooked? They're 1-8 this season and have been one of the NFL's worst teams for more than a decade. As a result, there's little national interest in the team outside of Jacksonville. The Packers are 6-2 and have been one of the NFL's best teams for two-and-half decades; they have one of the league's largest national followings. ESPN and other NFL shows highlight moments and plays they believe will interest the most viewers. Of course they're going to show more Packers highlights than Jaguars highlights, particularly if the Packers win the game. If the Jaguars were 6-2 and had been good for the last decade, ESPN and other NFL shows would feature them more. The Jaguars got plenty of national attention in the 1990s when they were good. They got a lot of national attention in 2017 when they were good. National media was at TIAA Bank Field during game weeks and covered the games on Sundays during those times. That's because there was a lot of interest in a good team. When the Jaguars get good again, the interest will come back. It's as simple as that.

Chris from Mandarin, FL

Some franchises seem to win perpetually. What is it that makes the Jaguars a nearly constant loser with random fluky seasons thrown in?

The Jaguars' good seasons haven't been fluky. The 2017 season, for example, wasn't a fluke; they just couldn't sustain it. Why haven't they sustained it? Why haven't they been consistent? They haven't hit on a franchise quarterback. It starts there.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

My way-too-early prediction for the draft and offseason is a quarterback first pick, and a slew of defensive guys after. We are projected to have around $80 million in cap space. Any thoughts on positions we might look at adding a starting level-veteran? I would love to add a veteran starting defensive tackle or defensive end, defensive back and an offensive lineman. Of course this all hinges on, you know, getting them to want to come here, but with all those millions we can convince without crippling the salary cap again.

I have said and written often that I believe the Jaguars will address defensive tackle both early in the draft and with a high-profile free agent next offseason. I also could see them trying to add a veteran pass rusher to go along with Josh Allen and K'Lavon Chaisson. If they retain the current offensive line, I doubt they will sign a veteran offensive lineman. Stay tuned in the secondary: Let's see how young players there develop the rest of the season.

Steven from Charlotte, NC

John, I have to say that your answer to Daniel about draft picks is so very frustrating. You responded that a bevy of draft picks could lead this team to be competitive very quickly. However, whenever someone asks a question implying that a draft pick is a bust you respond that it clearly takes a couple years to make any real impact. You frequently state certain positions are an exception, such as cornerback. Yet again, if we complain that cornerback CJ Henderson is awful this year, you revert back to your original stance. It can't be both ways! These answers to me only provide false hope as if having tons of picks next year will in any way improve our team. The Jaguars make me so frustrated and sad, sorry for the rant.

A bevy of draft selections absolutely can make the Jaguars competitive quickly, particularly if that bevy includes a franchise quarterback that plays at a high level as quickly as some early-drafted quarterback have played in recent seasons. I would consider very quickly 2022. That doesn't mean rookies don't need time to develop or that the first season in the NFL isn't too early to write off a player. And Henderson hasn't been awful this season. He has had some tough moments, but he also has shown the skill set that caused him to be selected No. 9 overall.

Keith from Palatka, FL

Why do people confuse wanting the Jaguars to lose with the team tanking? I am sure the players and coaches want to win, as they should. I also know that wanting to win does not equate to winning. I am not advocating that the team "tank" as in try to lose. What I do want is for them not to win. In my opinion, shared by most pundits, there are only two franchise quarterbacks in this year's draft: Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields. I would say my desire for the team to lose out is quite hopeful. Until we get a franchise quarterback, we will continue to lose at historic rates. I am tired of losing and want to win, but that only happens when we get a franchise quarterback. I would rather suffer through yet another ignominious season if it means landing a franchise quarterback and winning for the next decade or more.


Eric from Jacksonville

Hi, John. Amidst all the losing and negative thoughts around the season, I think there have been some bright spots to look at for our future. Wanted to see if you would rank these players in terms of who you're the most excited for, based on what they've flashed so far, and who you think has the highest ceiling. Cornerback Sidney Jones IV, defensive tackle Doug Costin, or nose tackle DeVon Hamilton?

I would go Hamilton, Jones and Costin because we've only seen Costin for a limited run – and I wouldn't argue much if you wanted to switch Hamilton and Jones.

Donny from Heathrow, FL Section 35 Day 2

It's amusing to me to see Jag fans advocate to vote Yannick Ngakoue into the Pro Bowl;. I'm sure some of these fans are the same fans that blasted the Jags for not paying him whatever he wanted before they finally traded him to the Minnesota Vikings. If he's as great as he thinks he is, and he's demanded to be paid as an elite defensive end, why isn't he a favorite to be a Pro Bowler this year? He had five sacks in six games with the Vikings and then they traded him to the Baltimore Ravens for a lesser draft pick (third) than they gave the Jags (second). Did the Vikings quickly figure out that he's a very good pass rusher in the right situations but not dominant and average against the run? And once they realized what his 2021 signing price is going to be, then they moved him? He's done little with the Ravens and evidently needs a grass roots campaign by Jag fans to possibly, but doubtful unless he starts making more impact plays, make the Pro Bowl? I'm glad the Jags didn't overpay him. I don't think he'll get more on the open market than the Jags offered him before the 2019 season, but I've happily voted for him for Pro Bowl!

You make many good points about Ngakoue, and my sense is the Vikings traded him for essentially the reasons laid out in your email.

John from Jacksonville

Hi KOAGF - When sifting through all the hate on Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell and Head Coach Doug Marrone, there are a few examples of genius moves. For example, I was surprised and sad to see running back Leonard Fournette get released. Now, he is quickly forgotten and I'm so excited for and proud of rookie James Robinson's success story. What a find...what a management decision to place so much trust in an undrafted rookie. Very few players have the "it" factor. Robinson has "it." He always falls forward and never backward. We have our franchise running back.


Bill from Jupiter, FL

I believe what Robinson is doing as a rookie is even more amazing given the fact that the Jags struggle so much with their passing offense. He's essentially all the Jaguars have until there's consistent quarterback play. This guy is special and will challenge the likes of Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew as all-time best in Jax.

Robinson is good. He looks like he has the skill set and approach to be good for a long time. Can he challenge the likes of Taylor and Jones-Drew as all-time best for the Jaguars? Maybe, though that's a huge task. Taylor was a Hall-of-Fame talent who is among the NFL's best running backs of the last 25 years. Robinson can challenge to reach his level, and maybe he can do it. But he needs to have something close to a Hall-of-Fame career to do it.

Gerald from Hilliard

Can the Jags beat Pitt? My wife's favorite team. I want to say Na Na Boo Boo.

It will take a herculean effort and the Jaguars' best game of the season. But anything can happen in the NFL. #nanabooboo