JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
JR from The Squatchlands
Zone, I have read the offseason hype the last few years, mostly rolled my eyes and was not surprised when the following seasons went poorly. However, I feel some real excitement for this coming season. Coach P seems genuinely enthusiastic and well qualified. We went for broke in free agency. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence is poised to take a big step in Year 2. We have some serious draft capital. By adding a playmaker on each side of the ball through the draft and with a bit of luck, I think we can make some significant improvements this coming season. What say you? Will next year be different, or am I just being overly optimistic?
I expect the Jaguars to make strides in 2022 and I like what I hear from – and about – Head Coach Doug Pederson. I like his NFL pedigree, his knowledge of how the league works and he seems very capable of guiding the franchise out of the NFL abyss – which by definition is where you are when you have the NFL's worst record as the Jaguars have had the past two seasons. My optimism is about the long-term, and I think Pederson is the right head coach in that sense. I don't know that the Jaguars will contend for the postseason in 2022 because that's a big step from 3-14. I would be surprised if this team doesn't look different in 2022 than it looked in 2021 and give a very optimistic feeling for the future.
Wade from Westside
Will Pederson establish a player's leadership council like he did in Philly?
Yes. Pederson said during the 2022 NFL Annual Meeting this past week he indeed planned to have a players' leadership council. His plan is to get to know the players this offseason then establish the council sometime in training camp before the regular season.
William from Savannah, GA
O-Man, why should we even bother with overtime? Let's just go straight to penalty kicks and be done with it!
Roger Goodell, hire this man!
Daniel from Jax
I'm hoping they take the best available no matter what … but I'm also hoping the best available is left tackle, then a fast wide receiver and then a longtime starting center. That seems to me like it would build the offense for years. And maybe we'd have the lead often enough to need to improve the pass rush next year! Last year's defense would have been pretty solid if they weren't on the field most of the game! Oh, and one fer Shad …. A couple dozen loud mouths who think we could be more fortunate than Wayne Weaver and Shad Khan get way too much airplay from complaining so loudly. Without those two men there would be no Jaguars in J-ville!
Adding an elite offensive lineman, top-tier wide receiver and a starting-level center would improve the Jaguars' offense. It might even transform it. But whoever the Jaguars select with their first three selections they must make sure they're good players as opposed to ideal positions. As far as former Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver and current Jaguars owner Shad Khan … yes, your thoughts are accurate. Assess them as you like as on-field owners. The reality is the Jaguars probably wouldn't be in Jacksonville if not for either of them. On that front, one fer both …
William from Jax
Mr. O, you recently replied to a question about Mr. Khan by stating that an owner really doesn't have much control over what happens in the field. If that is true, who does have the responsibility? It seems to me that this particular buck stops on Mr. Khan's desk, and he has done a lousy job for 10 years performing this area of his responsibility as owner.
It's Khan's responsibility. It's his team. The buck stops on his desk. That doesn't mean he necessarily has control over it.
Tyler from Jacksonville
The Jaguars have whittled their fanbase in Jacksonville to no more than 10,000-to-20,000 people that still care AT ALL about the Jaguars. This has been accomplished by a combination of going woke and constantly losing. It is time for the team to pack it up and go to London.
"Hot takes" are awesome.
Woofie from Louisville, KY
I can't remember an apparent tilt of apparent talent in one conference like it appears now. How has the AFC attracted so many top players all of a sudden? Pure luck?
AFC teams, perhaps more than NFC teams, seem to have gotten caught up in the "arms" race of acquiring big names – and high-profile quarterbacks – this offseason. It's almost certainly the case that executives saw teams within their divisions "improving" and felt the need to make corresponding moves. Improving is in quotes in that last sentence because it remains to be seen if the offseason arms race automatically will mean teams improving the next season. Sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn't. My experience is teams typically improve the most by their own players improving from within – and that high-profile chasing in free agency doesn't always yield desired results. We'll see how it plays out this season. It certainly has the chance to be a watershed year. If the teams that made big moves win, others will follow suit. Stay tuned.
Royce from Jacksonville
Mr. O. what would be reasonable expectations for a player picked No. 1 overall in the first four years of their career barring injury?
This depends on the players; not all No. 1 overall selections are created equal.
Jason from USS Arlington somewhere in the Atlantic
With the new overtime rules, how long will it be before people start questioning why their team didn't get a second chance to score another time after both teams initially score a touchdown. My point is, where does it stop? Someone is always going to think the OT isn't fair and their team got screwed.
This is true. Games are 60 minutes. That affords both teams plenty of time to win the game. Overtime is a way to decide the game. In professional football, there is a reality that you don't want those overtimes lasting forever because of the potential for injury. There's no perfect formula that everyone will like. Defense is legal. The rules in recent seasons have been just fine. That doesn't mean we'll go back to them, but they were fine.
Robert from Oneonta
JO, you have a long and impressive history in the Zone of being resistant to change. There are an array of peer-reviewed neuro-psych research projects showing the inability to cope with change is associated with decreased cognitive function and the inability to relate to others.
Me not relating to you is a gift, not an "inability."
Trevor from Jacksonville but currently in Louisville
I know it's not a question, but I do want to know if you would agree with me when it comes to the Pride of the Jaguars. Next Tom Coughlin. Then MJD. Then we do the Twin Towers – Marcus Stroud and John Henderson – at the same time. We did Wayne and Delores Weaver as a joint induction. So it's not unheard of. Plus "AW NAW JOE THAT AIN'T NO GOOD!" is one of the greatest quotes in human history.
No. I think former Jaguars wide receiver Keenan McCardell should be the next to go into the Pride of the Jaguars, followed by former Head Coach Tom Coughlin and then former Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew. I could be talked into a different order for those three, but I see those three as clearly the three most deserving of the Pride not yet in the Pride.
Marc from Oceanway
Zone, I think former Jaguars cornerback Rashean Mathis is also a good candidate for the Pride of the Jaguars.
Bill from Jacksonville, FL
Marvin Jones Jr. and Zay Jones out wide, Christian Kirk in the slot, tight Evan Engram to the right of right tackle Jawaan Taylor, and Travis Etienne in the backfield. I gotta say John, I don't think this lineup is scaring anyone. Is there a single defensive coordinator concerned about Trevor Lawrence's "weapons" in 2022?
I would expect the Jaguars to add at least one wide receiver in the 2022 NFL Draft – perhaps at the top of the second round. I also expect Dan Arnold to play a role at tight and James Robinson at some point to play a role in the backfield. Is that the best lineup of skill positions in the NFL? Hardly. But the addition of Kirk in free agency was a solid one, as was the addition of Engram. If Lawrence takes a step forward in 2022, that will help his weapons. This should be a better group of weapons and a better offense than the Jaguars had in 2021. That's a start.
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ
O-man, is it just me or is there an unusual amount of "love" in the Zone lately?
I missed that day.