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O-Zone: Easy answer

JACKSONVILLE – Look-ahead Thursday.

Let's get to it …

Charles from Savannah, GA

Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer names Trevor Lawrence starting quarterback for Week 1. Since Trevor was selected No. 1 overall and is going to be the face of the franchise, couldn't we just assume Trevor would start? What took so long?

You absolutely could assume Lawrence would start Week 1 and many did – correctly — assume this long before Meyer made it official Wednesday. Lawrence was the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft for a reason, and it was difficult to imagine he wouldn't start when the regular season began. As for "what took so long…" it in reality didn't take long at all. Now, it did take a long time in the minds and opinions of many fans, observers and analysts. We live in an age of "right now," and fans/observers/analysts believed every second that passed with Lawrence not officially the starter was some sort of travesty. But the Jaguars named Lawrence the starter on August 25. The regular season begins September 12. There was no rush on this. Lawrence took extensive repetitions throughout 2021 Training Camp and he worked eight series with the starters in the first two preseason games – so essentially what he would have worked with the starters had he been formally named the starter weeks ago. Why did the Jaguars not name him the starter before? Meyer has been clear on this from the beginning – that he wanted Lawrence to earn the job. That approach has received a collective eye roll from many analysts and fans, but many coaches take exactly the same approach. I felt and said all along that the angst over this has been very much ado about very little at all. Lawrence is the starting quarterback now, and I expect that will be the case for a long time. If he missed any "continuity" with the rest of the offense, it was minimal. It starts now. Stay tuned.

Larry from Duncan, OK

Great and powerful O, C.J. Beathard seems to be the most with the least among the Jaguars quarterbacks. Wonder how he would look against Dallas as the starting quarterback? He can't look any worse than the other two, what say you?

I don't particularly wonder how Beathard would look against Dallas as the starter. But the interesting part of your question is that it implies that Lawrence has looked bad in the first two preseason games. It's possible we're watching different games. Has he been perfect? No. Could he improve? Sure. But Lawrence has not looked bad. He just hasn't.

_Eric L. from New York, NY            _

Hey Zone, earlier in the summer you predicted the Jags would win 6-7 games this year, but now I see that's lowered to 5-6 games. Preseason got you down?

Five. Six. Seven. Whatever.         

Unhipcat from Carlsbad, CA

Hi, John. Am I wrong to think the Jags are not a good enough team to have their best players miss games during the regular season because of covid issues?

You are not wrong, but your question may be a bit too narrow. No team in the NFL is good enough to win without its best players.

Biff from Hopeville

There was a team I knew. I thought it cared about me. It tried to make my world. The way it thought it should be. Yeah, we were desperate then. To have each other to hold. But love is a long, long road.

Poor, poor little Biffer.

Nathan from Utah, US

Zone, this changes things. Back to the same ol' offense. Will they replace Etienne with another explosive playmaker, or go with what they have?

The loss of rookie running back Travis Etienne (Lisfranc) for the season does change things. He's a dynamic playmaker and was selected No. 25 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft to provide mismatch opportunities – and to strain defenses with his ability to score from anywhere. I don't know that it's "back to the same old offense," because I don't know that we've seen this offense yet. The unit by design showed little of the scheme against the Cleveland Browns in Week 1 and a struggling offensive line missing three starters contributed to the Jaguars not running well enough to show much against the New Orleans Saints in Preseason Week 2. As far as replacing Etienne in the offense, I doubt the Jaguars will be able to do that. They can try, and I suspect they will search the waiver wire and free agents. But they selected Etienne in Round 1 because they believed he was a special talent. It's difficult to find special outside Round 1. It's even more difficult to find it places other than NFL rosters.

John from Jacksonville

Will Etienne's salary still count against the cap if he's on IR before the season?


Dave from Jacksonville

At this rate, do you think Urban will make it through this first season?


Joseph from Acworth, GA

Is a Lisfranc still career-ending? If I recall correctly, MJD was never the same after he had his.

It's a serious injury. How serious and long-term in my experience typically depends on the extent of the injury. But it's a concern. Absolutely.

Keith from Soon to be St. Augustine, FL

Myer's mistakes to date: (1) trading pass catching tight end Josh Oliver, (2) Franchising Cam Robinson instead of letting him walk in free agency and then upgrading left tackle in free agency, (3) trading Joe Schobert since most NFL teams play nickel defense two-thirds of the time, (4) Not upgrading right tackle in free agency or the draft, and (5) not letting Trevor Lawrence take first team snaps the majority of the time instead of the quarterback competition charade. Big fan of the hire at first; losing confidence in decision making with each new snafu.

It's M-e-y-e-r.

Nathan from Utah, US

Zone, I'm concerned about our quarterback situation. Is C.J. getting reps with the ones? Does he give this team their best chance to score/win?

Beathard is not getting repetitions with the first team. I don't believe he gives the Jaguars the best chance to score or win. Jaguars coaches don't believe this, either.

Mike from Jacksonville

Any fool should know Meyer was hiding how he was going to use Etienne in the new offense but guess he will hide it until next year now. Do you think it's very important that they find someone with his speed and skills set from another team?

It would be great for the Jaguars to do that. I don't think that it's possible, but it would be great. Absolutely. Go for it.               

Jason from North Pole, AK

I'm still not worried about the offensive line, but Shaq Griffin should not be getting torched the way he did Monday. Our secondary has a lot of work to do.

We'll allow this on Look-ahead Thursday because we haven't discussed Griffin's performance Monday against the Saints here. Griffin got beat twice for touchdowns by wide receiver Marquez Callaway Monday – and in one sense, you are correct that it shouldn't happen. At the same time, it wasn't as if Callaway was five steps behind Griffin and blowing the Jaguars' cornerback off the ball. Griffin had decent coverage one touchdown and really good coverage on the other. It's also OK to get some pressure on the quarterback, something that really didn't happen on either touchdown. The secondary does have a lot of work to do. That's true of pretty much every Jaguars position group. But one game where he got beat when he had pretty good coverage doesn't mean you should be worrying about Griffin too much.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

Any credibility to the idea that Laquon Treadwell and Phillip Dorsett II making the roster over Jalen Camp and Collin Johnson has all to do with wanting Lawrence to have more experience around them? I was curious if you thought maybe the team wouldn't potentially risk those two young talents to the practice squad (if indeed they end up there) if the quarterback wasn't more experienced. Either way, I'd prefer giving TL the most proven/better players right now.

Treadwell and Dorsett haven't made the roster yet, and I still expect wide receiver could be the most-competitive, difficult cut come final roster-decision day. But while experience certainly would help Treadwell and Dorsett perform, I don't expect that to be a reason the Jaguars would keep the players. Dorsett has special speed, and that's why Meyer likes him. Treadwell has performed well in 2021 Training Camp, but he must keep doing that. Have Johnson and Camp played well enough to merit being on the 53-man roster? Have they played so well that teams would be in line to claim them? There's still some time for those questions to get answered.

Al from Orange Park, FL

I'm starting to change my expert opinion that Lawrence starts Week 1 to "he's not ready yet" to "start Beathard until he is." Are you still as confident?

That Lawrence should start? Absolutely.