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O-Zone: Cover me up

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Tom from Cairo, Egypt

We don't have a post-London bye because Coach Pederson prefers a later bye week. OK, but don't all coaches prefer and request a late bye?

I don't know if all NFL head coaches prefer and request a bye late in the season, though most coaches I've covered and heard discuss this do prefer late-season byes. Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson requesting and preferring a late-season bye didn't guarantee the Jaguars wouldn't receive a bye this week following back-to-back London games. But ordinarily the league will automatically give a team playing in London a bye the following week. Pederson saying he didn't want one gave the option of the league giving the Jaguars a later bye week.

Rob from Jacksonville

The wins were obviously great, but aside from that, how was the two-week "experiment" viewed by the team? Being away for two weeks, etc., etc.? Was it a generally positive experience?

The Jaguars indeed generally considered the 10-day, two-game, back-to-back London-game "experiment" a success. And a big positive. Players and coaches talked afterward of camaraderie built during the time helping in both games, and the overall reaction was positive. The camaraderie was cool. So was winning. Players and coaches like camaraderie, particularly when it accompanies winning. Winning two consecutive games against teams with winning records is particularly cool. And positive.

Marcus from Jax

With three first-round pass rushers on the roster, with a combined 127 games of NFL experience, are you surprised that the Jags biggest need at the trade deadline is a veteran pass rusher?

Not particularly. We knew entering the season it was a possibility.

Marcus from Jax

Hey, John. I know much of your job revolves around convincing fans things aren't as bad or as good as they seem in the moment, because we fans are pretty impulsive. But I have a question about the way you evaluate talent. Specifically, it seems like you're quick to affirm a player is "good," but less quick to admit that a player is "bad." I know such designations don't matter, but you have said running back Travis Etienne Jr. has lived up to his status as a first-round pick, but after the same number of games, you've been unwilling to admit the opposite for Travon Walker. Is it the positions they play? Is it different for each player? When anyone insinuates that Travon is not living up to his draft status, or that he is a bust, or that he's just not playing well, the sentiment seems to be that he needs more time to develop and that it's too early to make any judgments one way or another. Why is it safe to mark Etienne down as a draft win, but it's too early to declare Walker as a draft bust?

My job revolves around covering the Jaguars. In this forum, my job is answering questions though I've done this long enough to not believe I'm going to convince some fans of much if they're predisposed to disagree. Etienne has had a 1,000-yard season and is clearly playing well, and my thought he's clearly fulfilling his status as a first-round selection. I don't declare that Walker's not playing well because saying so would be incorrect. Is he living up to his status as the No. 1 selection? Perhaps not yet. If he were selected slightly lower in the first round, that answer would be different. But Walker's not a bust. It won't be declared here because it's not true.

Keith from Jacksonville by way of Miami

You mentioned former Jaguars starting quarterback and current Indianapolis Colts quarterback Gardner Minshew II being motivated against his former team. Is this something that is brought up during team meetings, that this player may be coming into the game more motivated that usual? I'm just wondering if coaches acknowledge that sort of thing.

Coaches might mention such a thing in passing. It wouldn't be a major point of emphasis.

Jeremy from Gilbert, AZ

According to research, the human body takes one day per time zone traveled to acclimate. The Jags' body clocks should essentially be normal by Friday. Therefore, the "jetlag" story line is not a real thing.

I tend to agree. But it's something Pederson is monitoring and wants to watch this week, so that makes it a storyline within the context of this team and this game.

Brian from Greenwood, IN

Is there a timeline in which the city and the Jaguars will come to agreement on the new stadium funding issue? Is it months, years, etc?

Months, not years.

Sean from Oakleaf, FL

Have you seen enough tape on Indianapolis Colts quarterback Anthony Richardson to sense that his style of quarterback play is not sustainable in the NFL due to the risk of injury?

Every player's body absorbs contact differently. I'm always concerned when NFL quarterbacks run extensively because of exposure to potential injury. Richardson has sustained three injuries in five career games and is currently on injured reserve. If I'm the Colts, I'm concerned. How could you not be?

Brian from ROUND ROCK, Texas

Have you ever taken notice of the handshakes between Pederson and Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid. Reid is stone faced and Pederson has a big goofy smile on his face. It's time to wipe the smile off your face, Coach.

The Jaguars and Chiefs played in Week 2.

Daniel from Geneva, Switzerland

O-man, how when we know if/when Trevor is elite? What does elite look like to you?

You know it when you see it, which in this view is when a quarterback is consistently making teammates around him better, leading his team to the postseason and having big plays – and big games – in pressurized situations. It's also when the player is good enough to be the focus of the team's salary cap and lift a less-experienced – and perhaps not-as-deep – roster to the status of perennial contenders. Lawrence isn't there yet. He's improving and elite is still an attainable level for him.

Gregg from Jax

Hanging with some friends from Boston who are devastated with the Patriots' latest efforts. Schadenfreude at its finest!!!


Sam from Orlando, FL

At some point we have to be able to discuss Trevor Lawrence and not holding onto the football. Year 3. Is this a who-he-is type thing? Because you can't be an elite quarterback fumbling eight-to-10 times a season, can you? He has 27 in 3 years.

We pretty much discuss this whenever Lawrence fumbles.

Trevor from Cape Girardeau, MO

It's becoming more evident that Travon Walker is not an outside pass rusher. At what point do the Jags look at moving him inside on pass rushing plays or on every play? That was talked about last year.

I don't know that this is something the Jaguars would do every play because Walker sets the edge impressively against the run at outside linebacker. He's part of the reason the Jaguars' defense is stout and good against the run, and he's therefore part of the season the unit is playing well early. I could see it being something they do in passing situations, which is something that has happened at times in the past.

TB from Tampa, Florida

Matt Lombardo mentioned that "The Jaguars are a good team right now, but they could be great if they had drafted better the last two years." He mentioned that "Had a couple of decisions gone slightly differently, the executive believes the Jaguars' ceiling could be even higher, their long-term outlook much brighter." He mentioned to "Just imagine this team right now if they drafted Aidan Hutchinson over Travon Walker," the Scouting Director said. "Walker is just a guy. Anton Harrison is not very good. The front office did a poor job finishing off this roster, in my opinion. We'll see if they can finish near the top of the conference." At what point will the realization that General Manager Trent Baalke is a detriment to the organization come to fruition, hopefully, prior to the retirement of Trevor Lawrence?

Well, if Matt Lombardo mentioned it …

Anita from Springfield

Do you see the Jags trading for any players at the deadline? I can see OL or DL, and especially a pass rusher like Danielle Hunter or Chase Young. I know you always temper fan's Madden-inspired (TRADE MACHINE!) expectations, but I'd appreciate your thoughts on how realistic a trade would be.

I think a trade for a pass rusher is very possible. How realistic a trade for any particular player is could very well depend on how the Jaguars perceive his long-term signability and how that player affects the salary cap moving forward.

Big Jags Fan from Jacksonville

Attention Jags fans attending Sunday's game: If the only Jags shirt you have to wear is an old Gardner Minshew No. 155 Jaguars jersey, either please tape over the name on the back with Jones (for Jags wide receiver Tim). Don't pay homage to the enemy's starting quarterback!