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O-Zone: Big number

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Michael from Orange Park, FL

I must say, Zone. The Super Bowl made me sad. I look at two great teams and just see our Jaguars a long way from being there. Sigh.

I understand your emotion, and many Jaguars observers perhaps felt the same way Sunday night. The Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers, 25-22, in overtime in Super Bowl LVIII – and Jaguars fans who believed the Jaguars would contend for the game this past season had every reason to feel disappointment. The 2023 season didn't go as planned for the Jaguars, and the team at season's end was going in the wrong direction. It was beyond frustrating. Are the Jaguars indeed "a long way from being there?" That's tough to tell. They do from this view seem a step below teams such as the Chiefs and 49ers, two teams that have defined their conferences for the last half decade or so. The 49ers have perhaps the NFL's deepest, most talented roster and the Chiefs in Patrick Mahomes have the era's defining quarterback. He will make that franchise difficult to beat as long as he plays. The 49ers appear to be likely to be tough to beat for a while, too. The current position for the Jaguars is this: Whereas they spent much of the last decade selecting in the Top 10 of drafts, they have turned in winning seasons the last two seasons. They have talented playmakers offensively. They have front-level edge players defensively. There are more pieces than this franchise has had in a while. They have in the past two seasons ascended from awful to contending for the postseason. The next step is contending for the Super Bowl, and that's a much tougher step than the one already taken.

Darren from Jax

What a great game by the WWE. Too predictable. Taylor & Travis …blah blah blah. I think I'm done with this overly predictable "entertainment" Boring.

I had multiple thoughts watching the Super Bowl Sunday. That the game was predictable or boring wasn't among them. The Chiefs are really good. They have won three of five Super Bowls. You're watching an all-time team with an all-time head coach in Andy Reid. You're watching Mahomes become one of the all-time greats. If that's boring, you may need to watch something else.

Big Jags Fan from Jacksonville

For the past decade plus, we Jaguar fans have bemoaned that our team lacked a franchise quarterback, a bonafide head coach with NFL credentials, solid bookend offensive tackles, a shutdown cornerback, a stud pass rusher and playmakers in the wide receiving corps. In my opinion, the 2023 team had each of these. Injuries and/or suspensions limited the availability, play and results from quarterback Trevor Lawrence, left tackle Cam Robinson, cornerback Tyson Campbell, wide receiver Christian Kirk and wide receiver Zay. Now I read comments in the O-Zone where fans state the team needs to trade, fire or not offer another contract to the best potential franchise quarterback in team history, the head coach who has led the team to winning records in his first two season at the helm, a pretty solid left tackle, and a speedy and talented wide receiver (Calvin Ridley) for whom many Jaguar fans were thrilled when he was acquired in 2022. Some have even recommended blowing up the roster and starting over through the draft! Is the current team roster perfect for a Super Bowl victory? No, but it is sure more complete than any Jaguars' roster in many years. There are several positions that need to be upgraded for sure, but to let talent walk at this point in the roster-building would be ludicrous. Yes, a few players must be let go due to salary cap limitations, but not those who are the foundation of building a team that can make the playoffs each year and possibly appear in a Super Bowl.

The Jaguars will not "blow up the roster" in the offseason. There's no reason they would do so.

Nathan from Southside Jax

I was just reading that since 2022 every NFL team has changed their offensive coordinator. That blew my mind. Can't be good for quarterbacks. What do you think?

This surprised me, though it didn't shock me. One reason for this recent level of turnover among offensive coordinators is head coaches often get hired from the role. Another reason is teams are lightning quick to make changes if all isn't perfect these days, and what better way to make significant change than to change the play-caller? It is, after all, always coaching in the NFL. You're absolutely right that changing coordinators isn't good for quarterbacks. One way to avoid having this change hurt significantly is to have a head coach who essentially runs the offensive system. That keeps year-to-year changes in scheme, verbiage and philosophy to a minimum.

Greg from Orange Park, FL

Is Patrick Mahomes the GOAT.

Not yet.

John from Jacksonville

Hi KOAGF - When discussing the offensive line for the 2024 season, Cooper Hodges is never in the mix of names. If I recall, isn't he one of the rookies last season that showed a lot of promise before his injury?

Guard Cooper Hodges, a seventh-round selection by the Jaguars in the 2023 NFL Draft, indeed impressed during the '23 offseason and early in '23 training camp. The Jaguars liked him very much – enough to keep him on the active roster entering the regular season even though he was going to start the season on injured reserve with a patella injury. That meant he took a roster spot. He eventually underwent surgery and missed the entire season. My thought is he likely would have played – and perhaps started – at some point this past season. We don't know for certain how he would have fared. I expect he will enter the offseason and camp with a chance to contribute or start. It's tricky to assume he will be able to do that with him not yet having played an NFL regular-season game.

Larry from West Jax

  1. Thanks for taking my question. What are your thoughts on the draft? I would like to see somebody "tweeks" along the OLine. Protection for Trev holes for Travis.

It's tricky to project the two and a half months out. I would be surprised if the Jaguars don't address offensive line somewhere on Days 1 and 2 and I wouldn't be surprised to see secondary and/or defensive line also addressed early.

Jon from Jax Beach

I think you understate the need to capitalize on a quarterback first contract. That is the window. It becomes much harder to win once the bulk of your cap goes to the quarterback. The Chiefs are a one-off and only keep winning because Mahomes is a dominant player. The end.

I think you underestimate the importance of quarterback. If the quarterback is good enough, the window stays open as long as he is good enough. If the quarterback is not good enough, there isn't much of a window. The Green Bay Packers essentially always contended when Aaron Rodgers was the quarterback. The New England Patriots essentially always contended when Tom Brady was the quarterback. The Indianapolis Colts essentially always contended when Peyton Manning was the quarterback. I expect the Buffalo Bills always to contend with Josh Allen at quarterback. I expect the Chiefs always to contend with Mahomes at quarterback. I expect the Cincinnati Bengals always to contend with Joe Burrow at quarterback. We'll see if Lawrence is such a quarterback.

Greg Section 122, Jacksonville

I am ex-military, Desert Storm. One thing they teach you in the service is everything about leadership. In leadership, you take ownership for everything. Success and failures, not only yours but of your subordinates. That is the trait I find most lacking in General Manager Trent Baalke in his press conference he was very quick to throw responsibility on others. "Lack of development due to coaching" etc. So in reference to your response to Brian … yes it does fall on one guy. The Leadership. In this case Baalke. It starts and ends with him. Good leaders do that, then they motivate, inspire, empower, in short LEAD their teams. So if the Jaguars Win or Loss it's on Baalke. In another note, this is one quality I have seen in abundance with Trevor and man it's gives you hope. I just really pray his performance rises to meet the "expectations" from his generational status. Thanks O-Man.

I would agree wholeheartedly if we were discussing the military. Because we're discussing the NFL, and because both Baalke and Head Coach Doug Pederson "lead" the Jaguars, I suppose I would say it realistically doesn't "all fall on one guy."

Bradford from Orange Park, FL

Great job laying out, Freddy T.'s numbers. I never knew he averaged 4.6 a carry - only being behind Barry Sanders and Jim Brown. When you consider that stat alone, after getting so many carries a season/over the course of a career, that stat alone is Hall of Fame worthy.

Yes, it is.