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O-Zone: Big mysteries

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Chris from London, UK

O, why did the Jags go mostly defense in the offseason and draft? Because we need Trevor to take a step and Trevor's woes last season were because he forced too many passes he shouldn't have, why??? Because we were always behind, why?? Because our defense couldn't stop teams scoring for toffee! Just maybe if Trevor isn't seven points down before he takes the field, he takes that step.

First, the Jaguars didn't go mostly defense the entire offseason. They signed wide receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones, tight end Evan Engram and right guard Brandon Scherff as unrestricted free agents; those are major moves that cost major capital. They did focus on defense in the 2022 NFL Draft, moves that should allow an improved defense to keep the Jaguars from constantly playing from behind – and that should help the offense and quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The Jaguars for the last few seasons have struggled to stop the run – and to pressure the quarterback and force takeaways. It's true that you don't win in the NFL these days without being able to score proficiently. But if you can't stop the run defensively and create pressure in big situations, that also is going to keep you from winning. The Jaguars moved to improve the defense in the draft. That's not being negligent. It's just doing part of what's necessary.

Joshua from Jacksonville

What's your take on the commentary that Jacksonville messed up the wide receiver market with signing of Kirk? Is it possible there was a bidding war for Kirk that got out of control, which set into motion a lot of wide receivers asking for more money? Or did agents know what was coming down the road with those huge deals, and that is what drove up Kirk's deal for the Jaguars?

The Jaguars indeed in March were criticized by some around the NFL for driving up the receiver market to sign Kirk as an unrestricted free agent. This is absurd criticism. Teams can spend what they want in free agency so long as they are under the salary cap, and why should one team worry about what other teams think about their signings? Remember: The Jaguars went 1-15 and 3-14 the past two seasons. When teams struggle to that degree, it's not usual that they must overpay to compete for unrestricted free agents. Why would players want to go to struggling teams for bargain money? As far as what "caused" Kirk's high contract, there indeed was a sense entering the 2022 offseason that wide receiver contracts were going to skyrocket. The league is trending toward that. To compete in that market, the Jaguars went in with a strong offer to a player they coveted. They got the player they coveted. What it "did" to the rest of the receiver market wasn't their primary concern. Can you imagine if they had not signed Kirk then said, "Well, we could have signed him but we were worried that teams might not like us anymore." C'mon.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, have you been flippin' cigs with Blake this offseason?

There's still time.

Taylor from Columbia, MD

Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Arthur Smith recently said something to the effect of "Good teams know how to rebuild/be competitive every year." He went on to say that the NFL has changed dramatically from the Jimmy Johnson era, and that teams no longer can or should view draft picks as untradeable, citing the highly transactional nature of the current NFL. Is this Coachspeak or something you ascribe to? In the past it was discussed here that teams may follow the Jaguars model of allowing longer rebuilds to occur (if they had success). They did not. Do you still think sacrificial seasons (such as 2020 in Jax) are prudent?

Each team must take its own approach to building based on its circumstance. When a team's roster is average to above – or even a little below average – then rebuilding/being competitive every season is realistic. That's particularly true if that team has front-line quarterback play. If you have Tom Brady/Aaron Rodgers in their primes, it's possible to plug and play around them and be so successful that you're really never "rebuilding." The recent success of the Los Angeles Rams in trading draft selections for star players has contributed to the idea that that's a model for success. The Rams' Super Bowl victory suggests that might be the case. Is it a sustainable model? That's a different question. The thought here is that drafting and developing supplemented by prudent free agency and occasional impact trades is still the best approach. And somewhere along the line, you better add a quarterback. The best way to add premium talent is still the draft. I doubt that changes on a permanent basis.

Adam from St Johns, FL

You say and will continue to say, "Stay Tuned," a lot. You've been saying it for a long time. What exactly are we supposed to stay tuned for? How many seasons to we need to "stay tuned"? Is it like the two and two from Chuck Wollery? You know, sometimes the Love Connection actually had a happy ending or two.

It's Woolery, Alan. Stay tuned.

Matt from Houston, TX

How does Etienne look so far compared to his rookie minicamp? Do you see the same explosiveness that caught your eye last year?

The first practice of Jaguars 2022 Organized Team Activities is scheduled for Monday. It is open to the media. How running back Travis Etienne Jr. is running – and cutting – after missing last season with a Lisfranc injury – will be among the primary storylines.

Brad from The Avenues

I get that uniforms aren't really a thing for you, John, but the talk seems to be spinning up again so here we go. In the beginning I thought … teal hmm, wouldn't be my first choice but I accepted it. Then for a while it all but went away except for the Jaguars tongue. I didn't like that at all. Then the return of teal was announced and I was elated, only to learn that the shade had been lightened to something, well, not teal. I hated it. To make things worse, in a game against Tennessee that same season, we wore white over color, they wore color over white, and they were so close that when I had left the room for a minute and then returned I mistakenly cheered a play for the Titans. THE FREAKING TITANS, JOHN. I was sick for weeks. BRING BACK THE REAL TEAL!!

One fer teal.

Rich from Springdale, Arkansas

Even the lower-round draft picks have four-year contracts worth millions of dollars. But what if they do not make the team? Then how much do they get? Thanks.

This depends on the contracts. If years in a contract are guaranteed, then the player is paid the salary those years even if he is released. Otherwise, the player receives his signing bonus and is paid for the years – and games – he plays. Most first-round contracts these days are fully guaranteed for all four seasons, with the later selections of Round 1 often having the first three seasons guaranteed. The trend has been for more fully guaranteed contracts late in Round 1. I would say to "stay tuned" to see if that continues, but Alan might not like it.

Tudor from Saint Augustine. FL

Dear KOAF (AKA my Shirley), if the Jacksonville Jaguars ever make it to the Supe Bowl, my 30 minutes before kickoff song has got to be Blood Red Skies by Judas Priest.

Now we know.

Charles from Riverside

Hello John, glad to see you have Marvin Jones as a starter. I thought he was one of the bright spots on our offense last year. We were up about 20 seats from the northeast corner of the end zone during the Denver game last year. Lawrence rolled out of the pocket and threaded a spiral between two defenders to Jones, who controlled – and double tapped – on his way out of bounds. Beautiful pass and TD. Seems like he made those kinds of dependable professional plays all year. I don't want to call him a journeyman, cause maybe he's a step up from that?

I indeed expect Jones to start at wide receiver for the Jaguars in 2022. If he doesn't technically start, I expect him to have a huge role in the receiver rotation. I expect him to be among the Jaguars' best wide receivers because he has been a productive receiver throughout his career regardless of team and circumstance. I wouldn't call him a journeyman. I would call him a really good, productive professional receiver and good teams need those.

David from Orlando, FL

KOAF - Why do fans keep asking you about the "Culligan girl" and the "comments section" when you've made it perfectly clear that you know nothing about them?

I have no idea what you're talking about.

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