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O-Zone: Cool runnings

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Jay from So-Cal

I didn't think a win-and-win would be possible this weekend. Hmmmmmm. What should we do with the No. 1 pick?

The Jaguars' 26-11 victory over the Indianapolis Colts Sunday in the 2021 regular-season finale at TIAA Bank Field indeed was as close as possible to a win-win for a team with the NFL's worst record. The Jaguars achieved the positive of a confidence-building victory in the season finale, and also can glean whatever positives come from a confidence-building performance from rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The Detroit Lions also winning Sunday means the Jaguars still hold the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. While you don't want to select No. 1 overall every year, if you're as bad as the Jaguars have been in recent seasons you want to select as early as possible. As far as what to do with that No. 1 selection … take the best player available at the most premium position possible. If that player happens to be a dominant defensive or offensive lineman, that's the logical direction.

Damien from Jacksonville

OK, John. What's the o-line look like next year?

Good question. The first issue here is the future of George Warhop, who has been the Jaguars' offensive line coach the past three seasons. His Jaguars future, along with the rest of the coaching staff, won't get decided until the identity and direction of the next head coach is determined. Until that happens, we won't know much about the makeup of the offensive line. Left tackle Cam Robinson is an unrestricted free agent this offseason, as are guards Andrew Norwell and A.J. Cann. Ben Bartch started this season after Cann sustained a season-ending injury – and Bartch fared well. Will the Jaguars try to re-sign Robinson? Or Norwell? Could the team benefit from moving right tackle Jawaan Taylor inside to guard? Those possibilities have been discussed by observers. There are currently too many unknowns to know many specifics.

Tony from Los Angeles, CA

Wow! Seems like this team will be playing like a champ by next week.

Tony's got jokes.

Paul from Washington, D.C.

What an effort to close a lost season. With a new general manager, new coach, the top pick, and key free agents, could this team threaten .500 in 2022?

That feels like a reach. Not because the Jaguars can't improve quickly; they can. But to reach .500, there likely must be some continued development among young players on the team – and among players likely to join the team in the 2022 NFL Draft. If you're going to build the roster right, you're going to need to build through the draft – and you also must provide the accompanying time to develop to build that way.

Tyler from Belfort Road

With Sunday's win, which players solidified their case for remaining in Jacksonville next season?

There no doubt will be players from this year's Jaguars – many players, in fact – who play key roles this season. Despite the convincing nature of Sunday's victory, I doubt any players specifically solidified his future with just that game. At least one would hope not. You want to take a player's entire body of work into account when making such decision, not one game – however impressive the game may have been.

Hunter from New Hampshire

Do you think the Jags should keep the current interim head coach? I have liked him so far, his energy, how straightforward he is, and how he rallied a lost team after a 50 Bomb dropped on them. If I'm Trevor, or any person on the team, seeing a coach from the year prior would seem comforting in a way. Honestly, they just need an offensive coordinator in my opinion.

Darrell Bevell did impressive work as the Jaguars' interim head coach the last month in very difficult circumstances, and he deserves to be considered for the permanent position. And he indeed said Monday morning that General Manager Trent Baalke told him the team wants to interview him for the position. My sense is that ownership will seek a new direction and more of a reboot at head coach, but that's just my sense. Jaguars Owner Shad Khan reportedly is being patient in this search with an emphasis on being open-minded and making the right decision. That likely will mean listening closely and carefully considering all candidates, Bevell included.

Frank from Jacksonville

So, you're saying there's still hope for this franchise and TL?

I never have said or written that there wasn't hope for the Jaguars and Lawrence. There absolutely is hope for the franchise, and Lawrence is a big reason. That has been the case since the team selected him No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, and I expect it to remain the case.

Braddock from Jax

Can you try to explain the logic behind Khan waiting until six other teams with a much better history and tradition fired their coaches before he made a decision? Now he has competition. Not very smart to me.

Khan seems to want to do his due diligence, work the interview process and make the right decision in terms of head coach and organizational structure. Does that mean risking losing a candidate to a different situation? Perhaps. But given the current situation – and given what the franchise endured for the past season – ensuring he gets it right seems a prudent approach.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

Is the defense better than they got credit for all season? Whatever games the Jaguars were in or close, the defense kept the game close. I still think they have some problems in the back end to work out but Sunday the front didn't even let the Colts get to the point where it mattered. They never really played with a lead all season, so the aggressive attacking front wasn't able to pin their ears back. The Colts' offensive line is really good and they got beat. Did they just have a really good game or was a decent defense hidden behind an offense that never let them play with a lead? Seems like there isn't a need for as much turnover on defense as offense.

The Jaguars' defense probably received about the amount of credit it deserved this season – at least form astute observers near the team. Many who follow the team closely and locally believed the defense was vastly improved over last season and that it played well-to-OK more often than not. The unit still must get stouter up the middle and it needs more playmakers – along the front seven specifically, but realistically on all levels. Is there need for massive turnover? Perhaps not, but adding playmakers – particularly on the front – is paramount.

Tom from Jax

What happened to or where is Ozigbo? I thought the Jags brought him back to the practice squad…

Running back Devine Ozigbo is on the New England Patriots' practice squad.

Nick from Annapolis, MD

Maybe it was just the accent, but Adam Gotsis was impressive on the podium. He also fared pretty well on the field. Can he take another step and be an impact player next year, or is this his ceiling?

Jaguars veteran defensive tackle Adam Gotsis perhaps was the team's best interior defensive lineman this season. He can be a very functional part of a good defensive-line rotation. I don't know that he's going to be a "impact" guy in the sense of a bunch of sacks and tackles for loss, but you need really good interior linemen who can disrupt at times and are generally reliable. Gotsis is that.

Rob from Pittsburgh, PA

Hey, Zone, can you imagine what how many more sacks Josh Allen would have if the Jags had a lead or running mate on the other side?

Yes, I can. Quite a few.

Justin from Jax

Hey, Zone. Helluva win Sunday. What an exciting way to end the season. The fans, players and coaching staff deserved that one. My question is this, realistically, who do you think has a better chance to be a part of the wide receiver corps next year, Treadwell or Shenault? To be honest with you, Treadwell impressed me quite a bit more then Shenault did this year.

I would expect both Laviska Shenault Jr. and Laquon Treadwell will have a decent chance to be with the Jaguars entering the new league year, which begins in mid-March. Both have shown they can play a role in an NFL receiving corps. Now, should the Jaguars enter the season with either projected as go-to receivers? Likely not, but they can have a role in a good group of receivers.

Greg from Saint Johns

How does this team manage to suck me in every year??? Heading into the last home game, I was mentally prepared to not renew my season tix for the first time since 1995. They got me for another year … winning fixes everything.

Winning is cool. People like it.