JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Bruce from Saint Simons Island, GA
O, The real season starts now. All of us will have a better evaluation after the regular season begins. My impression is that the offense will be better. My concern is that the defense must be better as well in order for this team to win the AFC South and beyond. Although the defense was not bad last year, and seemed to come on later in the season, the defense must be able to win some games when the offense is not "clicking." Do you think that the defense has improved to the point where that will happen?
I'm not trying to be argumentative here, but the answer depends on what we mean by "clicking." The Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl last season and won one game – a 20-17 overtime victory over the Tennessee Titans – scoring less than 23 points. They scored 17, 20 and 24 points in their three losses. They never held an opponent under 10 points. The Chiefs' defense in 2022 was good enough to complement an elite offense and make big stops in big situations. The Jaguars were good offensively last season. If they're going to ascend as a team and become elite, they must ascend offensively. They absolutely have the potential do that. An elite offense and complementary defense appear likely to be the Jaguars' formula in 2023. That can win.
JR from Callahan
So, I guess it's time to start gathering predictions for wins? I lived in Indiana before, during and after the Peyton Manning years. This Jacksonville team looks like the teams from the Manning era. I really think we are a two-to-four loss team. Offense is going to be tough to stop and we are never out of a game. Defense is better than the Colts D was back then. This should be a fun ride!
Two to four losses mean 13-to-15 wins. That's a lofty total. I expect the Jaguars to win 10-to-12 games in 2023, probably 11ish. I'll wait until they win 11 or 12 games a couple of years in succession before comparing them to the Colts in the Peyton Manning years. The offense absolutely has a chance to be very, very good. I don't know that the Jaguars' defense is better than all those Colts defenses, though I agree that this Jaguars' defense has a chance to complement this offense very well.
Brian from ROUND ROCK
Cudos to you for calling it like it is: the initial roster. I loose respect for any reporter that calls it the final roster. Yeah, it's final until tomorrow.
Loosing respect is not cool. Senior writers don't like it. Cudos to me, indeed.
Ray from Newport News
Finally, real games start soon. The focus should be on Week 1 against the Colts and I am sure our Coach will keep the team focused on the task at hand. It is a little hard to not look forward to our Week 2 matchup. Rumor has it their defense might be a little different to start the year.
The Kansas City Chiefs-Jaguars game in Week 2 at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville will be a big game. The Jaguars won't be thinking about it when they play the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Jacksonville in Week 1. Looking ahead is a big issue for fans, observers and media. It's far less of an issue in reality for NFL teams. Teams lose surprising games in the NFL because all teams are capable of beating other teams more than because they "overlooked teams." Either way, I don't anticipate lack of focus being an issue in Week 1 for a team that won one more game than it lost last season.
DMiz from THE 904
It's so cool seeing so many young rookies make it. It's also just as amazing (if not incredible) to see so few (if any) top three draft picks from each of the prior years by General Manager Trent Baalke get cut. The clown gets the last laugh. Baalke seems to have been an excellent hire and one for Khan to stay with his guy.
One fer Baalke.
Steve from Nashville, TN
What does third-year tight end Luke Farrell bring to the team?
Quality blocking with improving production as a receiver, which he increasingly has shown in practice and games. Credit to Farrell: He was a bit overlooked as a fifth-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. He since has turned himself into a nice player and one the Jaguars value.
Mike from Orange Park
Mr. O. Longtime fan, first time asking a question here. Are you ready for a great season?
Bill from Ponte Vedra, FL
Put this in your time capsule: In three years Gerrit Prince will be the starting tight end for the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, and Elijah Cooks will be playing arena league football.
This take seems a bit over-passionate and perhaps a bit overly critical of Cooks, but hey: What's Labor Day Weekend without some heightened passion and criticism? I liked what I saw of Prince during his time with the Jaguars and believe he can play in the NFL for a while. I was surprised the Jaguars released him. But Cooks has impressive traits and could develop into a very good NFL receiver. The Jaguars had to make difficult decisions as they trimmed their roster to 53 players. There was risk involved. Losing Prince was difficult. Maybe the Jaguars will regret it. Sometimes, that happens.
Bill from Jacksonville
John, I normally take preseason with a grain of salt, but I must admit, I am a little excited about the coming season. Can you talk with the sound guys at the stadium and tell them that it is alright to play "WE WILL ROCK YOU" now that it is a bit more meaningful!
Kevin from Ponte Vedra Beach
John, At this point of the season are audibles already installed? I ask because I wonder how much info Gerrit Prince could share with KC to get a leg up on Week 2. I also wonder why do you think Gerritt would choose KC's practice squad to join.
Prince, a tight end who spent last season on the Jaguars' practice squad and this past offseason and training camp with the Jaguars, joined the Chiefs' practice squad. Players changing NFL teams is not uncommon and terminology used to change plays at the line of scrimmage changes relatively often to ensure opponents can't "steal" plays. I expect Prince joined the Chiefs' practice squad over the Jaguars' practice squad because he believes there's a better chance of being promoted to the active roster there than in Jacksonville – and because the Chiefs run a similar offensive system to that of the Jaguars.
Al from Orange Park, FL
How much does your online/on air Ozone/KOAF persona match up with your real life? For example, as much as we hear about Rat Dog, I'm betting that in real life his name is Precious or Poopsie and he cuddles on your lap while you watch Hallmark movies…
Rat Dog is a "her." Her name is Juno. I am the king of all funk.
Tom from Jax
Your readers do know that Rourke can be signed off our practice squad during the season don't they?
I've learned enough in 12 years writing this column to know I don't know what readers know and don't know. I'm good. I ain't that good.
Darren from Jacksonville
How intense do you figure the fan panic will be if the Jags lose the first game of the season?
Bren from Jax Beach
Why has the community not heard much about the stadium renovations and downtown development recently? It was the talk of the town during the community huddles, but seems to have gone silent when those ended.
Sometimes there's not much to say until there's something to say. The Jaguars unveiled conceptual designs for the Stadium of the Future in early June. Jaguars President Mark Lamping discussed the issue for several weeks during huddles around the community. Now, team leaders and city leaders must negotiate a stadium deal that makes sense for both sides. Mayor Donna Deegan has been in office two months, and she has hired Sidley Austin LLP to represent the city in negotiations and the City Council hired former Jaguars Senior Vice President Michael Huyghue to assist in the process. Preparing to negotiate takes time. I wouldn't expect the silence on this to last forever.
Don from Marshall NC
This football team is going to be hard to stop if they are able to stay injury free. Every offensive skill player can beat one on one coverage. The defense is stacked with play makers. The depth is crazy good and you can see the players came into camp ready. They look focused and watch out there will be some records broken at the end of this journey. Go Jaguars!
As the 2023 regular season fast approaches, Don remains "all in."