JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …
Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL
Lots of talk about the Jaguars’ roster being loaded. Obviously, our players and level of play has been greatly improved, and much of the credit is understandably directed towards Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin and Head Coach Doug Marrone. I wonder, though, why fans and media don’t talk more about General Manager Dave Caldwell. After all, isn’t Dave the guy who got the roster talent ball rolling?
Fans and media do often overlook Caldwell’s role in the team’s success last season, probably because it’s easy to point to the hiring of Coughlin and Marrone last offseason as the franchise’s turning point. And while the acquisitions of defensive end Calais Campbell, cornerback A.J. Bouye, safety Barry Church and running back Leonard Fournette certainly made that a benchmark time, it’s incorrect to ignore that players such as cornerback Jalen Ramsey, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, safety Tashaun Gipson, linebackers Telvin Smith and Myles Jack, center Brandon Linder, quarterback Blake Bortles and defensive tackle Malik Jackson – just to name a few – were here before last offseason. So, why doesn’t Caldwell get mentioned more? Probably because it’s more difficult to look at the facts and see layers of a story than to see things in one-dimensional fashion.
Marc from Oceanway
Wow, two months after the draft before we had our first question concerning an unsigned contract. Is that a record?
I’ll google this.
Richard from Los Angeles, CA
Who will be the Jaguars’ leading receiver this season?
This will be close, with perhaps two or three receivers very close in terms of receiving yards, receptions and even touchdowns. Here’s my best guess: Wide receiver Donte Moncrief will lead the Jaguars in touchdown receptions, wide receiver Keelan Cole will lead in receiving yards and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins will lead in receptions. A final thought: Enough receivers/tight ends will contribute in a key way that it won’t matter too much who leads in any particular category, but the overall result will be an efficient passing offense.
Ken from Orlando, FL
I’ll say what everyone’s thinking – what everyone’s always thinking – you’re terrible.
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville
I don't think Campbell declined in the second half of the season so much as teams started game-planning for him after they saw what he could do. While he wasn't get the sacks, pressure started being effective from a lot of other areas because they were having to account for him. Let's hope this is again the case as I want to see Sacksonville put on a defensive clinic this year. I am worried about the departure of Poz and seeing if Myles Jack can step up.
I agree that Campbell continued to be effective in the second half of the season, as shown by his continued pressure and penetration as the season wore on. His sacks dipped a bit, but defensive linemen and linebackers far too often are measured solely by sack numbers when the reality is their ability to pressure, penetrate and draw double teams can disrupt an offense nearly as much – if not more – than sacks. I am confident the Jaguars’ defense will continue to be disruptive this season – and that Campbell will be a major reason for this. As far as the linebackers, the loss of middle linebacker Paul Posluszny isn’t a positive; his experience and reliability were important to this defense. But the last thing that should worry you is whether Jack will step up. I would be surprised if we’re not talking about Jack as one of the Jaguars’ best players by season’s end.
Dwayne from Jacksonville
So, you now admit the new O-Zone format and all the ads are a pyramid scheme?
Bill from Ponte Vedra, FL
Here's a hard one: Last year did the pass rush make the defensive backfield look better than they were or vice versa?
This was a topic Wednesday when I appeared on a show on Giants.com previewing the Jaguars-Giants regular-season opener. The point I made was that while I long believed that a defense had to have a quality defensive line and pass rush to be elite, the Jaguars’ defense last season made me rethink that. That’s because while the Jaguars’ pass rush was really good last season, it absolutely was helped at key times by opposing quarterbacks having to hold the ball a half second longer because of the lockdown coverage of Ramsey and Bouye. So, for the purpose of answering your question I’ll say that the Jaguars secondary made the defensive line look better. The problem with your question, though, is it implies that one of the units wasn’t good and that the better unit made all the difference. The Jaguars’ secondary had two All-Pro selections; the line had three Pro Bowl selections and a ton of depth to go along with it. It’s not as if either group had to carry the other.
Mike from Melbourne, FL
The ads have ruined the O-Zone reading experience.
One still very much not fer … apparently.
Big on Blake from Philly
This year’s offseason narrative around the Jags centers around the idea that the Jags were good last year, but they surprised a lot of teams. Thinking back to last year of the teams the Jags beat, they had some of the largest wins by point differential in the league. So sure, say the Jags surprised a couple teams and buried them by 20-plus points, but that doesn’t sound like a surprise to me. It sounds like a good team, that after this year’s offseason appears to only be better. My question is, do you think the Jags will have greater or fewer big wins this year than last, now that the “element of surprise” is removed? And how funny is this concept to you that it’s actually being discussed as a “thing” at this point?
The narrative that the Jaguars snuck up on people last season is ill-informed – and doesn’t accurately reflect NFL reality. The Jaguars in December and January played four contending teams in games in which both teams had much at stake – home against Seattle, home against Buffalo, at Pittsburgh and at New England. They went 3-1 in those games; if any of those teams overlooked or were surprised by the Jaguars then you must question what in the world they were thinking overlooking the NFL’s No. 2-ranked defense and No. 1 running game. The Jaguars were good last season; you don’t “surprise” your way to the AFC Championship Game. As for this being discussed as a thing, it doesn’t surprise me. Conversations about the NFL don’t always reflect its reality. It’s just how it is.
Tyler from Jacksonville
Who wins a tug of war? Starting five offensive line versus Campbell, Marcell Dareus, Malik Jackson, Abry Jones, Taven Bryan.
I’ll go offensive line, but I’m not going to feel real confident in my selection.
Michael from Fruit Cove, FL
I don’t get the confusion about special teams positions. I grew up in Fruit Cove watching football and it is obvious punt/kickoff return and field goal kicking/punting are very different. Why do people from other places (Ponte Vedra!!!) not get this?!?!?!
And the bizarre-yet-obviously-very-very-real Fruit Cove-Ponte Vedra rivalry takes another spiraling downward turn …
Bill from Melbourne, FL
You never talk much about kakapos. Why?
Have you ever looked into their eyes? I mean, really looked? Terrifying.
Jerry from Jersey City, NJ
The best part of the O-Zone the past couple days with your insight, Pedal Bin’s research and follow up to my question with great historical information regarding the Great Pyramids is now when some kid in the future has to do a school report and googles the great Pyramids he will find a link to the O-Zone and be able to get an A on what really happened. But, Zone, the original question, are you indeed, Better then Ezra? Have you beaten the 2,345 consecutive yet? Remains unanswered.
The streak stands at 2,517 days.
Paul from Jacksonville
PharOehser, I tip my hat to you and Pedal Bin for what might just be the quintessential "Dead Zone" O-Zone. Debates about the legitimacy of your royal funkitude may rage on, but you are unquestionably the Susanna Hoffs of Dead Zone irony. PMWDTWD!
Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire, UK
Oh Mighty 'O' / King of Funk, "Pharaoh Menkaure (“Menky”) Wasn’t Down…” I laughed so hard some coffee came out of my nose!
Wipe it up.
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ
O-man, on that last question yesterday, I think you lost us on "The."
Speak for yourself, Daniel. Pedal Bin, Paul and Jerry had no problem staying with me.
Mark from Prescott, AZ
One fer you AND one fer your readers!! But I have to ask … how many days left???
As my good friend and former Indianapolis Star Colts beat writer Mike Chappell likes to say when an injured player is said to be day-to-day: “Aren’t we all?”