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O-Zone: Break the cycle

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Sascha from Cologne, Germany

Hey, John. I had really high hopes before the season and now we are again at a point where I am not sure whether to root for two or three wins or if we should hope to have the No. 1 pick again to build on. I know the Jags will not tank. But as a fan we unfortunately are still in a similar position like last year.

This is very fair because the playoffs yet again are a distant possibility – and because we live in an age when the draft is (over)hyped and (over)analyzed for months leading to the event. Your answer? Root for winning – almost always and particularly this season for the Jaguars. This team needs to win. Rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence needs to play well enough to win and the team needs to learn to win around him. Draft position is fine. And having the No. 3 selection in a draft versus, say, the No. 4 selection, gives you a percentage better chance of selecting the right player. But there's so much interpretation, speculation and good fortune that goes into whether a rookie succeeds that there's rarely any real reason to stress too much about a position or two. There are exceptions. The Jaguars' situation with Lawrence last season was such an exception. This year doesn't feel like that.

Nathan from St Augustine, FL

Hey, John. I hope you're right about this being the year for Tony Boselli getting into the HOF. It's time! My question is about Fred Taylor and what you think his chances are eventually? His overall stats are on par with some other backs in the Hall of Fame, and some of his best games came against top defenses! If the Jaguars had won a Super Bowl, do you think Taylor would be voted in? It just seems outside of Jags fans he isn't remembered as one of the best, which is exactly what he was!

I think Taylor has a chance to get into the Hall of Fame. I think it is a slightly longer chance than Boselli's. I think this because Boselli was generally regarded as the best player at his position in the NFL for a three-to-four-year stretch – and that general belief is at the core of why many voters believe Boselli eventually will be enshrined. Taylor's is trickier because he never was generally considered the NFL's best running back – as evidenced by him only making one Pro Bowl during his career. Because of that, voters will have to be reminded that a lot of the reason Taylor didn't make the game was circumstantial. For example, he absolutely should have made the game – and perhaps merited All-Pro consideration on multiple seasons. His rookie season of 1998 was one season. His third season, 2000, was another. He merited Rookie of the Year consideration in 1998 and he was as good as any back I've seen during most of the 2000 season. Now that Taylor has become a regular semifinalist, I believe he eventually will become a finalist. Once he becomes a finalist, voters will begin reexamining discussing his career far more closely than thus far has been the case. Once Taylor's career is reexamined, his career – and his highlights should sway a lot of voters. Taylor was phenomenal. He has the statistics and the performance to merit Hall of Fame consideration and selection. The voters sometimes have to be reminded about certain players. That's the case with Taylor and I expect his candidacy to gain a lot of momentum at some point. Stay tuned.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

I thought today was Sunday. I was getting ready to watch football all day. I don't know which day of the week it is any longer. I guess we will wait a couple days.

I thought this was a weird email. It was really weird when I realized it was written last March and got hung up on the server. Godspeed, Mike.

Bradley from Sparks, NV

This game is No. 10. It seems favorable to me for the Jags' offense to breakout. At some point Lawrence must start hitting well-covered receivers because that's what the great ones do.

Sunday's game is Game 11 – and yes, great quarterbacks are often capable of working with less-talented – and well-covered receivers. But great quarterbacks are rarely great quarterbacks as rookies.

Andy Boy from Halifax

Maybe I am just being a young softy but I would like to see A-Rob back in Jacksonville this offseason! Reminiscent of his 1,400yd season and different times. You think that would be a consideration?


Logan from Wichita, KS

Does the NFL punish teams for having constantly lots of cap space and being constantly uncompetitive? I know how high or low the salary of a team doesn't necessarily equal wins/losses. Just grasping at straws to talk about anything other than the next top 5 draft pick options. In November... Again...

There is a salary cap floor, which essentially means teams must spend to a certain level over the course of multiple seasons. The Jaguars never have in danger of not spending to this floor and they spend perfectly acceptably compared to other NFL teams.

Igor from Jacksonville

Hey John! Around draft time, when there were suggestions – mostly from fans, and some from Urban –that the Jaguars trade all the picks besides the No. 1 pick plus perhaps the 2022 first-round pick to Atlanta for No. 4 and pick Kyle Pitts or Ja'Marr Chase some "experts" were screaming NO NO NO. Hell, the experts were 100 percent wrong, look at the contribution now from all the players drafted plus the talent pool in the 2022 draft. None are worth Pitts or Chase, period. Lawrence and Pitts/Chase or the 7, 8 , 9 other players we drafted that aren't even playing? Please tell me why those "experts" were right?

One, I don't know that the Jaguars' entire draft and the first-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft – would have been enough to move up. Fifth-, sixth- and seventh-round selection don't hold much sway when trying to trade up in Round 1. Remember, too: Moving from No. 25 to No. 4 is a loooooong way. Who's to say Atlanta or Cincinnati would have wanted to trade out? Also: While the seven, eight or nine other players aren't playing yet, that's not to say they will never play or won't be very good.

Jason from Green Cove Springs, FL

When it became clear last year that the Jaguars were in position to draft Trevor Lawrence, I was absolutely ecstatic. I couldn't sleep that night because it felt like all these years of losing would finally be coming to an end. Except for 2020 I've dumped tons of money and energy going to games and rooting on my team through some absolutely dreadful seasons. Then news came of Urban Meyer and I was even more stoked. As this season has worn on my excitement has slowly turned to disappointment. This team still feels so far away from being competitive. The defense is pretty good sometimes but that's all us fans to hang our hats on. I knew there were going to be growing pains on offense but I thought they would at least give us a few flashes of competent play every now and then. But alas even if a receiver does get open deep the quarterback doesn't see him or if he does he throws an uncatchable pass. Seven games are left this season and I feel much like I have at this point every season since Del Rio left; hopeless and waiting for next year. Will the Jags ever break this cycle?