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O-Zone: Bring Them Back

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JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Brian from Round Rock, TX

What are your top three factors that will determine the success of the season? Mine are: 1) Trevor Lawrence's development, 2) Dougie P getting off the couch and taking his job seriously, 3) health of key players.

Multiple key factors from this view will determine the Jaguars' success/failure in 2024, with quarterback Trevor Lawrence's development indeed No. 1 and the health of key players a relatively close second. Remember: The Jaguars were 8-3 and competing for the No. 1 seed in the AFC before Lawrence hit a run of injuries late in the 2023 season. Wide receiver Christian Kirk missing the last five games of the season also played a major role in the late-season slide that cost them the AFC South title and a playoff appearance. I would put the production of the run offense very high on the list, too. If the Jaguars can run more effectively in key situations, the offense almost certainly will become correspondingly more effective. As for Head Coach Doug Pederson "getting off the couch and taking his job seriously" … I confess I haven't the foggiest idea what this means. So, we apparently agree on a couple of points and differ significantly on a third. Considering we live in America, that's OK. What a country.

Lane from Winter Garden, FL

John. Do you think that analysts fail to factor in special teams when grading a team's draft? Unless it's a kicker or punter, they seem to grade prospects in terms of strictly offense or defense. A lot of players drafted on Day Three may be tight ends, linebackers or running backs but they may be solid contributors on special teams. Do you agree?

Special teams overall are almost always overlooked when analyzing any aspect of the NFL. Analysts rarely consider special teams when assessing a team's chances in a given season or game. Players who are good on special teams are typically considered "good special teams players" rather than "good players." This sometimes is fair because players often play on special teams because they're not starting. It's also often unfair because some players are just really good on special teams and therefore make special teams better. I'm not a big believer that special teams are "a third of the game." While that's something coaches like to say, it's not quite true. But they special teams do matter, and yes … they're typically discounted when analyzing a team's draft.

Don from Marshall, NC

Guys like Brian Thomas Jr. do not grow on trees. If he can take the hits and still run, he will be all right. When I watched him, he seems to have a very smooth transition to the ball. His head position is really good when catching. When I watch him, he reminds me of Randy Moss for some reason. He came to the right team with Trevor. If he is any good, he will get the opportunity to make some plays. Go Jaguars!

When it comes to analyzing Jaguars rookie wide receiver Brian Thomas – the No. 17 overall selection in the 2024 NFL Draft – Don digs deep and remains "all in."

Jason from North Pole, AK

If either one of our two LSU defensive linemen develops into a key player, our d-line looks like it could be a major strength.

The Jaguars' defensive line can be strong in 2024 whether or not Round 2 defensive tackle Maason Smith and/or Round 4 nose tackle Jordan Jefferson are key players immediately. The group absolutely needs one or both to develop over the next two or three seasons.

Josiah from Jacksonville

I have been reading the O-Zone for about 12 years now, and while your stance on anything mimics that of Aaron Burr, I still routinely read it every morning. But sometimes, like Wednesday, you don't submit it in the morning and that just seems to throw everything out of whack for me on those days. I realize you release an O-Zone seven days a week, 365 days a year ... but you don't get a break. Not you, John! Please post the O-Zone every morning on time with your typical noncommittal stances. Thank you. BTW, Brian Thomas is going to be so good, I knew it well before the draft and I know it now. So happy with Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke this offseason.

The May 8 version of the O-Zone posted early in the afternoon. It did not post early in the morning. This will never happen again. Unless it does. Stay tuned.

Jon from Jax Beach

Has the streak come to its conclusion?


Bradley from Sparks, NV

Kirk Cousins will (at the very least) earn $330 million in his NFL career. The dude will be 36 coming off an Achilles injury when the season starts, has one playoff win in four starts and still gets cranky when the Atlanta Falcons draft a quarterback. Even Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is laughing at the entitlement. He is currently the most overrated quarterback and I think Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence is currently the most underrated.

Cousins, now with the Falcons, reportedly was a bit irked when the team selected quarterback Michael Penix Jr. No. 8 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft. Perhaps the report is true, perhaps not. But considering Cousins just this offseason signed with the Falcons … yeah, I get how it might be a bit "cranky" with idea. I suspect most NFL quarterbacks would react the same way. Either way, I've never considered Cousins overrated. He gets criticized quite a bit. My sense is most fans perhaps even underrate him. Could an argument be made that he has been overpaid? I suppose, though he had quarterbacked a lot of competitive playoff teams and that's more difficult than perhaps Twitter analysts and chattering heads realize. That's enough Falcons talk for now. We have a rookie minicamp to get excited about. Whee.

Gavin from Halifax, NS, Canada

Given our lack of depth at corner – or rather, our perceived lack of depth – with some good corners still available as free agents, like Adoree Jackson, Xavien Howard, Stephon Gilmore, Patrick Peterson amongst others do you see the Jags picking up another corner to add depth in case of injuries or are we staying with the group we have?

I expect the Jaguars will consider this option. Rookie minicamp begins Friday. Organized team activities begin May 20. If the Jaguars believe in late May that there are positions that should be addressed, I expect signing free agents at those positions will be strongly considered.

Zach from Jacksonville

If the Jaguars win the Super Bowl this year, will you change your legal name to John O-Zone?


Randy from Duval

If you add Mac Jones and Ezra Cleveland to this year's draft class, Round 6 looks real good. Starting left guard, backup quarterback and a kicker. I'll take Jones and Cleveland over any sixth-round guard or quarterback any day of the week.

Good eye. The Jaguars traded sixth-round selections in the 2024 NFL Draft for quarterback Mac Jones and guard Ezra Cleveland. Jones likely will back up Lawrence and Cleveland figures to start at left guard for the foreseeable future. That could make this year's sixth round pretty, pretty good.

Greg from Section 122, Jacksonville, FL

Fans are awesome, and we pay your paycheck so there is that. Just ask Jaguars Owner Shad Khan. Without fans there would be no NFL, Jaguars or Senior Writer positions. Yeah, I know we are a pain in the posterior but hey least us Jag fans are passionate. Not always right, but committed to our wrongness? Love ya KOAF.

No one loves fans more than I do. They're awesome and always right. If you don't believe that, just ask one.

Bradford from Orange Park, FL

Yo O. With the recent talk of throwbacks, and I guess just on the subject of jersey combinations in general, can I not get a post to proclaim the freshest of fresh game day combo for the Jaguars has and will always be the teal jersey with black pants and socks? No other, anything, comes close to touching that "fit" (as my kids say). I can't for the life of me figure out, beyond the heat factor during the first half or so of the season, why that isn't a mainstay selection for this team. You don't seem very moved from what I can tell by previous jersey submission comments/questions I've seen posted here. But if Jaguars Owner Shad Khan came to you - after Trevor tosses four touchdowns, and scampers for another to decimate the opposing defense in the AFC Championship this year – and said, "It's your choice for what the Jaguars rock in the Super Bowl." Out of all the options the franchise has ever worn, what does the King of All Funk go with?

Color rush. Mustard gold. Jersey. Britches. The works. Go big or go home.