Skip to main content

Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

O-Zone: Easy being bad

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Michael from Orange Park, FL

Zone. I think you see Trevor – and this whole team – through your usual teal-colored glasses right now. What we saw at the end of last season was real. This was a quarterback who hurt his team – pretty much weekly – and we would have been better off playing his backup. How can this be good? Explain.

I don't own colored glasses, though I do have a nice pair of eight-dollar sunglasses in which I look real shaaaaarp. I did share a bit of your concern about Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence as the 2023 regular-season season ended – particularly considering his late-season turnovers. Then I stepped back and tried to see the big picture about Lawrence and this team. While Lawrence is far from perfect and far from a finished product, the reality is he played at least well above average for the most part in the last five 2022 regular-season games and first 11 regular-season 2023 games. He threw 29 touchdown passes with nine interceptions during that span and the Jaguars were 13-3 in those games. While he had rough moments, that by any stretch was a winning stretch of quarterbacking. Lawrence then left three of the Jaguars' final six regular-season games in 2023 with injuries. While we may never know the full extent of those injuries, it's illogical to think they didn't affect him at least somewhat. It's also telling how different the Jaguars' record and Lawrence's turnovers were during that span than in the 16 previous games. Do I think Lawrence is the NFL's best quarterback? No. Do I think he digressed so dramatically in the final six 2023 regular-season games that he's not good? No. The Jaguars have a lot of work to do this offseason, but to think that Lawrence is digressing – or not good – and that the team is awful is an extreme overreaction. It's an understandable reaction considering the disastrous finish, but it's extreme nonetheless.

Brian from ROUND ROCK, TX

Did I get that right? Josh Pederson got a contract before outside linebacker Josh Allen and wide receiver Calvin Ridley? Good to see we have our priorities in order. Of course, Josh Pederson should never be signed to an NFL contract. He is a joke, as well as Daddy.

You didn't get it right, shocking though that may be. The Jaguars early this offseason signed tight end Josh Pederson to a "reserves futures" contract, which means he will participate in the offseason program and perhaps training camp with a chance to make the team. It's not an NFL contract.

Randy from Springfield, OH

Do you see the Jaguars addressing the largest need on the team with pick No. 17 of Jackson Powers-Johnson from Oregon, who can play center or guard?


Jon from Jax Beach

I think Aaron has extremely valid points and has a strong argument for all expressed opinions. I too have thought Baalke has done an adequate job … until I looked at his colleagues in our division. He definitely needs to up his game.

The Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts had nice seasons in 2023. Their general managers did nice jobs getting them to records of 10-7 and 9-8, respectively, after double-digit-loss seasons the season before. They are perhaps football geniuses. If so, it's understandable to wonder if Jaguars General Manager Baalke was a football genius after getting the Jaguars to a 9-8 record in 2022 after a 3-14 season in 2021. And if he was a football genius then, is it fair to wonder why is not one now? Is genius so fleeting?

Ben from Cuba, MO

O'. Your gut, does it say we keep both outside linebacker Josh Allen and wide receiver Calvin Ridley? If you had to throw a S.W.A.G. out there in regards to the biggest free agent we sign, who might that be?

I'm absolutely convinced Allen will be with the Jaguars next season. I think there's a better chance of Ridley being with the team than him not being with the team. Projecting free-agent signings is difficult and almost never accurate because teams can franchise and re-sign their own players as free agency approaches – and those factors easily and routinely ruin such projections. I like the idea of Miami Dolphins guard Robert Hunt. That's speculation and I'm always surprised if my pre-free agency speculation has much merit.

Josiah from Plymouth, NH

Isn't a blessing that we actually have a blessing with where we are in the draft and this year's draft has an overload of talent where we need it? If you're like me and think Oregon State offensive lineman Taliese Fuaga and Alabama offensive lineman JC Latham would make great interior lineman, but a guy like Powers-Johnson … he is the first player to touch that ball. He needs an attitude, a grit, and when Lawrence knows his center is big and strong, his pocket comfortability and vision will improve and he will be able to see the targets more and he will see the middle better. Trevor needs a leader for a center. Isn't it a blessing?

The presence of Powers-Johnson at No. 17 in the 2024 NFL Draft indeed could be a blessing – if the Jaguars are indeed seeking a center on Day 1 of the draft – and if they believe Powers-Johnson the right selection for the spot. He seems like a possible fit – and more than two months away from the draft, I expect Powers-Johnson to be a major focus for Jaguars observers as the draft approaches. That doesn't always mean that player being the selection. Stay tuned.

JK from NY & Fernandina Beach

John. The tone in the Zone has been understandably but extremely negative for too long now. The Jags had a historic late-season collapse in '23 that was the ultimate contrast to the joyous run of '22. But the fan base needs to move ahead and get behind this team again. The Jags have a very good foundation, including a franchise quarterback with his best days ahead of him (if you believe). There are many key questions that need to be answered in the coming months about free agency and the draft. Let's be positive and hope for the best by trusting the team to make the best moves possible to help us get back to where we were just a year ago. Remember the Chargers comeback, that is what the Jags can be. Thanks for listening!

One fer perspective.

Chief from Biloxi, MS

Solid? Come back down to earth Mr. KOAF. We all know that you're defending your way of life, but don't have to get that far.

I assume you're recoiling at me referring to Baalke as at the very least having done a "solid job." I'm not sure why anyone would recoil at this. The Jaguars have had winning records in the last two seasons and were a victory from winning back-to-back AFC South titles in those two seasons. While I understand that the bigger goal is to compete for a Super Bowl, to not acknowledge that the Jaguars haven't been awful – and indeed for the most part have been competitive and improved from the recent past – isn't anything close to a far-above-earth assessment. Remove emotion and preconceived notions from the discussion and I'm not sure what other assessment would be given.

Mario from West Kelowna, BC

Zone: I am losing my faith in humanity based on all the questions that people ask you in the O-Zone. I suppose that among all your greatness one of your best skills is to brush off all this negativity and to some extent, ridiculousness.

I am the king of all funk.

Al from Orange Park

So, could Trevor be OK with no new contract this year because the $$ they don't spend on him puts a better team around him, he then plays better, the team wins more, and then his massive payday the next year gets that much more massive? One: Could that make any sense? Two: Was that a run on sentence?

Your theory is a legitimate way to look at the issue, and I'm sure Lawrence on some level could see the logic in it. Then again, a contract extension such as the one Lawrence could sign with the Jaguars is never going to be simple to negotiate – or to consider for either side. It likely will be discussed enough that all parties will look at it multiple ways at multiple times before it actually becomes official. The sentence was probably a bit of a run on, but I understood it – and that's the ultimate test of a sentence. The only test that matters, really.

Bob from Sumter, SC

Have you ever considered becoming an NFL ref? It would greatly increase the number of admirers who already think you're incompetent.

NFL referees are really good at a hard job. To hear most readers tell it, I'm the opposite. I therefore probably wouldn't qualify.