JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville
OTAs mean little to if anything about the true team status. We win pajama exercises every year and look much less intimidating on the actual field. What I want to know is this: Cornerback Shaquill Griffin said last year he would find a fan in the stands wearing his jersey number and deliver his first interception ball to that fan. Seeing as he had NO interceptions last year, I wonder if he will keep this same agreement this year. This is an area this team desperately needs to fix. We were last in the league in turnovers last year. This team can't win unless we are getting the offense extra possessions. What do teams who get takeaways do better than those who don't? Is it coaching? Mentality? Focus? Why do we seem to suck at creating turnovers?
There is no one key to creating turnovers – but struggling teams often struggle in this area. Creating turnovers usually is more about pass rush than the secondary. Quarterbacks are so good these days that most don't throw intercept-able passes under normal circumstances. Their mistakes often stem from being under pressure, which means a defense must disrupt the quarterback to force interceptions. That disruption also can mean sack/fumbles – the most impactful sorts of turnovers. Further: A key to pass rush is pass-rushing opportunities, which most often come when offenses are trailing or in obvious passing situations. Offenses play much more conservatively when they are in control of games and in manageable situations. The Jaguars have trailed a lot and haven't been good against the run in recent seasons. Offenses therefore have felt very comfortable playing the Jaguars. The Jaguars' defense therefore hasn't had enough opportunities to create pass rush and turnovers. They also haven't been as good as necessary along the front seven. If you combine lack of opportunity with a lack of elite playmakers up front, you get a pretty good reason the Jaguars have struggled in this area. That's more of a reason than mentality, focus or coaching. Far more.
_Scott from Fernandina Beach, FL _
Good morning, O. Did Tyson Campbell show improvement in man coverage late last season or were his improvements more attributable to playing more zone coverages? Thanks.
Campbell, a second-year veteran cornerback selected No. 33 overall by the Jaguars in the 2021 NFL Draft, struggled early in his rookie season and dramatically improved late. It seemed to this observer that he improved in both man-to-man and zone coverage. His struggles early in his rookie season weren't as much about struggling with either man or zone. He has the physical ability to do both, and he seemed particularly good in man at times. But Campbell's early struggles were mostly about tracking the ball in the air. He would sometimes be in proper position and then allow the reception. He got much better in this area as the season continued – enough so that an argument could be made he was the team's most improved player by season's end.
Jesse from San Diego, CA
Why hasn't anyone thought about the comparison of this? Jaguars rookie outside linebacker Travon Walker can play a lot of positions on the defensive line, frequently using the word freak. He reminds me of someone who destroyed us for years: The original freak, Javon Kearse from TEN!!! If we can get that from Travon I would be blown away with General Manager Trent Baalke's pick after a year we were in the streets with torches calling for his badge! THOUGHTS?!
Tom from Charlottesville, VA
Last year wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. was a leader and us fans heard from him often. This year he has been more quiet. Did all the turmoil of last year create bad feelings between him and the team?
The 2021 Jaguars season was one of weirdness and losing. I don't know how Jones in particular felt about what was happening, but many players didn't like what was going on – and many have voiced that. Organized Team Activities just began last week. That was the first mass opportunity for media interviews of the offseason. I don't expect Jones to be particularly quiet or show any signs of ill will toward the organization. That's not his style; he's a pro. Remember, too: This is a new coaching staff and new direction. One would assume the reason or reasons for bad feeling might not be here anymore.
_ Gary from St. Augustine, FL_
It's almost June. I hated you in May. I still hate you.
Mike from St Augustine, FL
As I recall, we stunk in 2016 then went on a run in 2017. Here me now, believe me later: 10-7 gonna happen. Also, it looks like Gary from St. Aug. doesn't like you very much...
What's a "Gary from St. Augustine?"
Dave from Jacksonville
Wizard of O, do you see in your crystal ball a tight end trio of Evan Engram, Dan Arnold and Chris Manhertz working on the field at the same time? I would think It would be an awesome group inside the red zone. Should we look for a package or two for these three together at points during the season. A Tight End tres amigo's. Has our tight end room improved that much this year?
Three tight ends would be possible in short yardage. The positive for the Jaguars is that they now have enough talent and versatility in the tight end group to have multiple really effective two tight end packages. Offensive coordinators love two-tight end packages because they create difficult matchups for defenses; it's the most-balanced formation. The better your tight ends, the more effective those packages. Obviously. And yes … the Jaguars' tight-end position does appear to have improved that much in a year. The transformation has been pretty dramatic.
Daniel from Johnston, IA
I did it. I finally broke down and googled "Gene Frenette" since I'm not from the J-ville area. I'll admit, I'm disappointed. I thought he would be a lot older...and look more like Clark Griswold's father.
If you googled longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette and were disappointed, then you probably googled the wrong longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette.
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ
O-man, "The Hunt" was great, but I was left wondering if you are going to take all the credit for it?
Michael from Orange Park, FL
Aside from Trevor Lawrence, what's the most important player or position for the Jaguars next season?
David from Oviedo, FL
KOAF - One of most exciting players from last year isn't getting much ink, and that player is Jamal Agnew. He turned in the Jaguars' most electrifying play of the year, in returning a missed field goal 109 yards for a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals. He returned another kick 102 yards against the Denver Broncos. He also made impact plays running and catching the ball on offense before going on injured reserve. When discussing the receiver group, Agnew is usually not mentioned. I think, Jamal Agnew could be Corey Grant 2.0, our speed kills guy. Do we know anything about how the new coaching staff is playing on using him?
Agnew hasn't been discussed much this offseason, mainly because he continues to rehabilitate a hip injury sustained late last season and therefore isn't practicing. Head Coach Doug Pederson recently said Agnew seems a little ahead of running back James' Robinson in terms of return timetable, which means Agnew is targeted to return sometime in training camp. I would expect Agnew's role to be primarily as a returner with spot use as an offensive weapon – similar to his role last season, though perhaps with him not playing offense quite as much as he did midseason last season when injuries gave him a lot of opportunities offensively.
Doyle from Jacksonville, FL
I work construction. I build things. Do you understand how important that is to the world, Frank? But I don't use the Oxford comma.
Many, many important people apparently read the O-Zone. Who knew?
Don from Marshall, NC
Is Chris Simms in the concussion protocol? If not he should be. That dude is tripping! Mouth moves without engaging brain. It does not matter what he says it is never good about the Jaguars. Still leads a sheltered life I bet. Go Jaguars!
I confess I don't pay that much attention to Simms. I'm never surprised when national media says negative things about the Jaguars. They have had the NFL's worst records to consecutive seasons and have had one winning season since 2007. With that record, you're going to be discussed negatively. With reason.
Kendall from New Zealand
Hey O, you got any early speculation on who we'll take No. 1 overall next year? Hope there's a star!
Well, well, well … who knew Kiwis were so damned clever?