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O-Zone: Change-up

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Reformed Clown from Jacksonville

John, if you happen to bump into General Manager Trent Baalke, could you please tell him that I was totally wrong about the clown thing, and I humbly apologize and ask for forgiveness?

I have received several of these emails in recent days and weeks – and that's fair. Baalke would be the first to tell you not every draft selection and free-agent signing he has made in the last two offseasons has been perfect, and that's because any honest general manager would be the first to tell you not every move they make is perfect. General managing is a projection game played out in real life – and when you project in real life, you by definition make your share of imperfect moves. But Baalke did a very difficult thing last offseason, fortifying huge parts of the roster through unrestricted free agency. That's as often than not a path to disaster/disappointment, but the Jaguars had to do it because of a lot of past mistakes and roster holes. Not only are the vast majority of the Jaguars' 2022 free agents producing, they're team leaders and huge reasons for this season's success. Multiple players in Baalke's first draft – quarterback Trevor Lawrence, running back Travis Etienne Jr., cornerback Tyson Campbell, offensive tackle Walker Little and safety Andre Cisco – are also starting and contributing in a big way for a team that won the 2022 AFC South championship. So, yeah … one fer Baalke.

Joel from Rhinelander, WI

All I have to say is my Jaguars are doing what they need to do to win and they have certainly earned their way into the playoffs considering the teams they beat to get there. I'm so proud of y'all! GO JAGS! DUUUVAL!

This is true and shouldn't be overlooked. The Jaguars finished 2022 with a winning record (9-8), won seven of their last nine games and went 3-3 against playoff teams. They beat two playoff teams (Baltimore and Dallas) in the final two months of the season and swept the defending champions of their own division, the AFC South (Tennessee). They earned this. They're good. Without question.

Jeff from Atlantic Beach, FL

"Jaguars gonna Jaguar" has a different meaning now.


Pete from Jacksonville

Saturday night at TIAA Bank Field was such a blast; the stadium was rocking! This Saturday's game should bring more of the same excitement. The Chargers are early one-point favorites, but had several key players get banged up against the Denver Broncos Sunday. Now the Chargers have six days to recover, get ready and fly across the country to play our Jaguars. I am sure they will be ready and wanting revenge for the early-season shellacking the Jags have them. Your thoughts KOAF?

I believe the Chargers will play much better Saturday than they did in a 38-10 loss to the Jaguars in Week 3. I believe the Jaguars will play much better offensively then they did in 20-16 victory over the Titans Saturday. I believe traveling cross-country and playing on five days rest won't be good for the Chargers, but I don't believe that will be the difference in the game. I expect the Jaguars to be bolder and more effective than against Tennessee, and I expect that to be the difference in the game.

Ray from Newport News

Wow, just wow. Winning games you're supposed to win is a nice feeling. Happy for the team, city and fans. Looks like revenue is going to be up just a little this year. I think we have a real shot at pulling off another win or two this year, what say you?

At least one.

Bruce from St. Simons Island, GA

O, The Jaguars' future is bright, especially in the AFC South since we have the best (only) good quarterback in the AFC South. Also, the defense is improving. Regardless of the playoff results, the Jags had a very successful season. You agree?

The Jaguars' season was successful even before this late-season run. That's because you knew the team was moving in the right direction and you knew Lawrence at minimum was going to be very good. The season is uber-successful now. Nothing can change that.

Paul from Washington, D.C.

You know who showed up on defense? Every one of Trent Baalke's draftees and free agents from the offseason. Credit the players, the coaches — and the general manager.


Josh from Mosinee, WI

How far do you think the Jags will go?

I believe the Jaguars can win their first-round playoff game against the Chargers Saturday. I believe advancing past the next round will be very difficult.

Zac from Austin, Tejas

I told you that the Jaguars would not be competitive until 2025. I was wrong and you were right. P.S. What was your last take that you were wrong on?

I don't remember.


First, I desperately – no, passionately – want the Jags to take this ride all the way and gain the support and respect they have now earned. Having said that, and with the release of next year's opponents, I would say we need to get a whole lot better just to have the same success so far. What say you KOAF?

I say the Jaguars' 2023 schedule on paper looks more difficult than the 2022 schedule. It is a first-place schedule compared to a last-place schedule. I also say what I always say when it comes to NFL schedules – that you don't know schedule difficulties until about five or six weeks into a season because so much changes in the NFL each season. Remember, too: The Jaguars are 3-3 against playoff teams this season and had a very real chance to beat the playoff-bound New York Giants. I expect the Jaguars to be more consistent and better to start the season next season than they were in 2022. Beyond that, we're way too far from 2023 to even begin to analyze anything.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, do you think his back contributed to our former teammate not making the playoffs?

Just not nice.

Jeremy from Gilbert, AZ

The Jags' offense scored 13 points. That doesn't win games in the NFL. The defense saved the game but what happens next week if the Jags O is MIA again?

The Jaguars' offense struggled against Tennessee. The defense had a big game to make it for it. I wouldn't expect the Jaguars to beat the Los Angeles Chargers with the offense playing that way.

Johnny from Westside

We won. Yay us. But it feels like we are winning on flukes and turnovers. Are we good enough to beat good teams without crazy tip-drill-interceptions and heel-kick-fumbles?

You don't win in the NFL on flukes. You put yourself in position to win, play hard and do the right things. Sometimes, things go your way at the end of the game. Sometimes, they don't.

Humble Pie from Jacksonville

Should I feel guilty for doubting the Jags all season? I thought that were going to win less than six games. I thought that wide receiver Zay Jones was going to be a bust. I thought that Trevor would continue to wilt under the pressure of close games. I was so wrong! Am I a bad fan?

No. There's no such thing.

Neil from Baltimore, MD

Do you think we will finally get a Thanksgiving game next season? It's the one we haven't ever gotten.

I haven't the foggiest idea, though two of the slots aren't possible because the Jaguars aren't playing the Detroit Lions or Dallas Cowboys.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

Colin Cowturd said on a nationally syndicated show that the Jags and Chargers have the same level of support at their home. He said home field advantage wont matter in this game. He obviously has no clue about how the city supports Jax. Everyone will find out on Saturday just how much we "don't" support them Saturday. Cowturd included.

Yeah, that's a pretty big miss on his part.

Josh from Section 106 and St. Johns, FL

My question is about Scherff. Any injuries reported about him. There were a couple of uncharacteristic plays towards the end of the game.

Jaguars right guard Brandon Scherff has played through fairly significant abdomen and ankle issues in recent weeks.

Jason from Jacksonville

I wrote you about midseason when we were 3-6 and said we aren't the same team as the past few years. I said I knew a team in 1996 that was playing good but losing games. Good eye?


Pete from Daytona Beach, FL

Doug Pederson coach of the year! Hands down!

It's difficult at this point to make an argument against Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson being Coach of the Year. Pederson in one season has changed the culture of an organization, and a team that finished with the NFL's worst record two consecutive seasons won the AFC South to make the postseason. That's end-of-season award stuff.