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O-Zone: Dousing the flames

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

JR from The Squatchlands

What position group do you think will be our strength this season? Weakness?

This is tricky; there's so much newness on this team that identifying strengths and weakness requires even more speculation and projection than normal. I expect Trevor Lawrence to make quarterback a strength. But because that's essentially a one-player position, I'll go with tight end as perhaps the Jaguars' best position "group" offensively. Dan Arnold and Evan Engram look like the best receiving duo the Jaguars have had there in some time – maybe ever. And Engram has the feel of perhaps the most-important offseason free-agent acquisition. I'm optimistic, too, about the defensive front seven – particularly against the run. If the group is as stout on the field as it looks on paper that could mean a big step forward for the defense – and the team. I don't know that I see any position as particularly "weak" because the Jaguars addressed a lot of different areas in the offseason. Perhaps safety is the biggest question entering 2022. I expect Rayshawn Jenkins and Andre Cisco to start there. Cisco showed flashes in three games as a starter as a rookie last season, but the duo has played less than a full season combined with the Jaguars. How the position comes together will be a storyline.

Howard from Homestead, FL

Any chance we'll get to see the Oklahoma drill under Pederson? I miss it. It sets the tone and instills toughness.

I would be stunned if we see the Oklahoma drill implemented under Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson. Players don't miss it. It creates too much opportunity for injury and NFL players are plenty tough without it. (Editor's note: the NFL outlawed the Oklahoma drill and other high-impact drills in May of 2019.)

Sean from Oakleaf, FL

The last time a Jaguars tight end cracked the 500-yard mark in a single season in receiving yards was 2012 with Marcedes Lewis. With Coach Pederson's established track record of leveraging the tight end position in his playbook do you see this stat to be threatened this year?


Nathan from Utah, US

Zone, new greatest player name of all-time: Naz Bohannon. Also, on paper the Jaguars roster is as good, if not more talented, than their AFC South rivals. Whatcha think?

Naz Bohannon indeed is a great name. I like the Jaguars' roster. I believe there are a lot of players, particularly young players, who can develop into really good and winning NFL players. But young NFL players, particularly rookies, must learn how to be winning players. The rosters of teams such as the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts have players who already have done this. I get the "on-paper" thing. I get the Jaguars' potential. I like it. But I can't say they're as good as those rosters until there is proof on the field.

David from Orlando, FL

Zone - Evan Engram brings something to this team that has been missing for far too long, a dude with some righteous tattoos.

Good eye.

Pete from Daytona Beach, FL

Zone man, any reason why Tom Coughlin and Keenan McCardell are not members of the Pride of the Jaguars? These two were just as instrumental in the Jaguars success in the 90s as anyone in the club right now. Who votes on this?

Membership in the Pride of the Jaguars isn't necessarily voted upon by a specific group as much as there being a feeling that the time is right for a player to be so honored. I couldn't agree more that former Head Coach Tom Coughlin and former wide receiver Keenan McCardell should be in the Pride. No doubt.

Lester from Boynton Beach, FL

Watch jsguars on tv this season real time

Wow. So close.

Dan from Munich, Germany

Hi, John. Besides outside linebacker/defensive end Josh Allen, who else is due to sign extension if deemed deserved?

I think you're asking what Jaguars players could be eligible for second contracts following the 2022 season. Players can renegotiate following their third NFL season, so that group would be the 2020 NFL Draft class. Players on the roster from that class: Outside linebacker/defensive end K'Lavon Chaisson, wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr., nose tackle DaVon Hamilton, guard Ben Bartch, linebacker Shaq Quarterman, safety Daniel Thomas, quarterback Jake Luton and cornerback Chris Claybrooks. Luton would be eligible for renegotiation sooner than the others because he has been released and since re-signed, meaning he no longer is on his rookie contract.

Travis from Athens, GA

KOAF, I need some help here. Apparently in my old age I can't keep up with our slogans from years past.  Mooddachay and Full Consistency are two, but I know I am missing four or five. Help me get ready for the Dead Zone this year. What Dead Zone slogans am I forgetting?

Shadricksighting may not have been a "slogan," exactly, but it was glorious.

Nick from Palatka, FL

I wish someone would bulk up our starting quarterback. I see that Mr. Lawrence's (possessive not plural) weight is still listed as 213 pounds. Is this accurate? Seems like it needs to start trending 10-to-20 pounds higher if he expects to survive long-term. Thanks.

Lawrence said recently he was down to around 212 pounds "for a minute" following a stomach "bug" and also said he played around 221 or 222 last season. I would expect that to increase to 10 pounds or so in the coming seasons. Time and years have a way of adding those pounds. Trust me on this one.

Steve from Nashville, TN

Listening to your podcast this week with Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke it was interesting to get to know him a little better with your non-football questions. I still chuckle on his response to a 2023 draft question when he said 2022 would be the last year he would be drafting 1st overall (meaning he would not be around for that if the Jags had the 1st pick in the 2023 draft). I think a sense of humor is important to have if you have a high position of responsibility with this organization I sense that Coach Pederson has a good sense of humor, the honeymoon is still on with the media right now, we will see how that goes a few weeks into the regular season.

I don't think you need to worry much about Pederson not maintaining perspective and his leadership style in adversity. He knows how to manage an NFL season. His Philadelphia Eagles teams faced – and overcame – plenty of difficult situations in his five seasons as a head coach. He will be fine on this front.

Bo from Winter Springs, FL

No question. Jags 9-8 in 2022 with possible chance for playoffs in a competitive yet not good AFC South this year. I know that's optimistic but I'm always an optimist when it comes to the Jags in the offseason. Can I get an Amen brother?

My sense is observers are way too dismissive of the AFC South this offseason, perhaps because those same observers are caught up in the Hallelujah choruses proclaiming the AFC West the best division in the history of sport. The Titans had the AFC's best record last season and the Colts played like one of the NFL's best teams through a lot of last season. I'll believe those teams aren't good when I see it. I do believe the Jaguars can be improved enough in 2022 to get into the six-to-seven-victory range. I'm too conservative to project better than that. That's probably not "Amen"-worthy. Apologies.

_Chris from Dirty 'Dina  _

Given that one wants to get their best players on the field, please entertain this question. If, for example, let's take it that the Jags coaching staff fall in love with all three linebackers: Chad Muma, Devin Lloyd and Foye Oluokun. Would it not be prudent to adapt back to a 4/3 base front seven and assign them sam, will and mike respectively? That would leave Josh Allen and Travon Walker at end and your choice of Foley Fatukasi and any other (DaVon Hamilton, Malcolm Brown, Jay Tufele) at the other defensive tackle position. Point is, I don't know if we have a true 0/1 technique on this team to truly excel at a 3/4 alignment/gap scheme.

The Jaguars like Fatukasi – who they signed as an unrestricted free agent this offseason from the New York Jets – as a nose tackle and they like their defensive front. I don't get a sense watching organized team activities that they're planning to veer far from a 3-4-based hybrid front any time soon. Could that change out of necessity? I suppose.

Richard from Samson St Johns, FL

Just curious if you were fan of Atomic Blonde and soundtrack?

I don't recall seeing it, so I'm not a fan of the movie. The soundtrack includes "99 Luftballons" by Nena, "London Calling" by the Clash, "Cities in Dust" by Siouxsie and the Banshees, "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)" by Bowie and "I Ran (So Far Away)" by Flock of Seagulls, so … yes. Yes, yes, yes.