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O-Zone: Extra credit

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Mike from Azores

Hey, John. When Coach Pederson was asked what the Jags needed to improve the most at the recent Owners Meeting, his answer was the pass rush!! Don't we have two first-round top seven picks playing the pass-rush position now? So, if we invest in another first-round pass rusher, under your defense of Walker, we shouldn't expect the pick to help next year's team.

When Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson discussed pass rush at last week's 2023 NFL Annual League Meeting, he mostly discussed outside linebackers Josh Allen and Travon Walker improving in that area next season. And yes, the Jaguars need more from those two players. They need more consistency from Allen, and they need him to turn his consistent pressures into a few more sacks and big plays. And they need Walker to make the improvement expected from a second-year player selected No. 1 overall in the previous offseason's draft. I don't expect the Jaguars to select a pass rusher in Round 1 of this year's draft. If they do, I wouldn't expect franchise-altering impact in his first season. I don't doubt the team would want that. I won't say it can't happen. I just don't expect that sort of impact from any rookie because of the difficulty of transitioning from the college game to the NFL.

P Funk from Murray Hill

With a month until the draft and three-ish weeks into free agency, have the Jags gotten better so far this offseason?

The Jaguars have lost more than they have gained this offseason when it comes to transactions, losing right tackle Jawaan Taylor and outside linebacker Arden Key. Improvement for the Jaguars this offseason primarily will be about improving from within and young players developing.

David from Oviedo, FL

Zone - I'm not even going to Google this one. Cornerback C.J. Henderson, the No. 9 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, is the biggest first-round bust in Jaguars history. What did he give us? A top 10-drafted player, playing in 10 games before being traded? At least wide receiver Justin Blackmon had his moment in the sun.

So, one fer Henderson. Or not fer. Or something.

Scott from Brooklyn, NY

You forgot to add that in the C.J. Henderson trade the third-round pick was CB Tyson Campbell. Not a bad pick. I think.

You're correct that while discussing the Jaguars trading Henderson to the Carolina Panthers, I didn't mention that they selected cornerback Tyson Campbell with the selection obtained from the Panthers. I didn't mention this because that trade occurred in September 2021, nearly five months after the Jaguars selected Campbell in Round 2 of the '21 draft. The Jaguars obtained a third-round selection in the '22 draft in the Henderson trade. They used the selection on linebacker Chad Muma.

Woofie from Louisville, KY

Good thing/bad thing. Jaguars are drafting late. Yay! This old guy has to stay up late to watch. Yuck. Probably won't be able to sleep because of the excitement.

Thank you for sharing this. Really.

Eric from Jacksonville Beach

I know this topic is way overdone, but someone told me once a good way to see if someone should be in the Hall of Fame is whether you could tell the story of the game without them. I know the Pride isn't the Hall, but I always think about it in the same way. Based on that, no way can you tell our story without Coughlin being a major part of the story. Shifting gears, who are your other top Jags that you think could/should be in discussion? I always think of former wide receiver Keenan McCardell and former running back Maurice Jones-Drew. Anyone else come to mind for you?

The story-of-the-game test is a good Hall measure, and it indeed also works well for the "Pride" discussion. Former Head Coach Tom Coughlin defined the early Jaguars teams to a degree that perhaps today's fans can't grasp. And I also agree on your Pride candidates. Coughlin, McCardell and Jones-Drew from this view are the next three most "Pride-"worthy former Jaguars. I also believe there's a place for players such as defensive end Tony Brackens, defensive tackles John Henderson and Marcus Stroud, cornerback Rashean Mathis and perhaps defensive lineman Calais Campbell in the conversation. There are others, but those come to mind first.


Again, it feels good not to have to check out mock drafts every day since we are picking at No. 24. Less stress about who's available, team needs, best available players, etc. I have no input whatsoever into who the Jaguars choose. I think I'll like the surprises this year. I hope this trend continues of picking in the back half of the draft. Do you feel any different this year about the draft process? (Probably not) Heck, I might not even participate in fantasy football. Ahhhh, time to nap. Wake me when it;s over, would ya?


Ed from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Speaking of Poz, is he still a candidate for the Jaguars Ring of Honor? I think he is deserving. I recall going to a game against the Miami Dolphins a while ago, and I heard the announcer about 50 times during the game, "Tackle by Posluszny" felt like he was the only guy in Defense.

Former Jaguars middle linebacker Paul Posluszny is eligible for the Pride because all former players and coaches are eligible. I wouldn't have a problem with him being so honored, but my first thought is there's a long line of players ahead of him.

Steve from Hilton Head, SC

John, left offensive tackle is the highest-paid – and presumably, most-important – lineman. I understand the historic nature of this, with left tackle supposedly protecting the blind side of a right-handed quarterback. But former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli was the best left tackle of his era while protecting a left-handed quarterback. Also, premier pass rushers line up just about everywhere – and sophisticated stunts and blitzes are commonplace. It seems like the pass-protection duties of all five linemen are just about the same. As you say … you're lucky to have good starters and very lucky to have several more good backups. Will the price per year for all linemen fall into lockstep sometime?

Probably not in complete lockstep. We have seen the salary difference between left and right tackle decrease in recent seasons, with the NFL's top five-paid left tackles now averaging $22 million per season and the top five right tackles now averaging $19 million per season. The top five guards average about $18 million and the top five centers averaging a little more than $13 million. I expect the differences to stay small because of the factors you cite, but I expect tackle to remain a little higher paid than guard and both positions significantly more than center.

Sebastian from Poland

Dear, Sir O. Regarding Coughlin, is it not true that the Jaguars were a bad call away from their first Super Bowl, the year Coughlin was hired again in 2017? For some reason, it seems like fans want to criticize Coughlin for the turmoil that the Jags went through but refuse to give him any credit. If we're going to give him blame for the implosion that occurred after that season (my blame personally lies in cornerback Jalen Ramsey, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and linebacker Telvin Smith, etc.), how about we also give him credit for being the common denominator in the most successful seasons (apart from last) in all of Jaguars history?

He was equally responsible for successes on his watch and the aftermath of his tenure. Legacies usually aren't clearcut. Coughlin's with the Jaguars isn't, either. But the team has yet to reach the heights without him as they reached with him. That matters.

Matt from Bartow, FL

In the 2014 NFL Draft, the obvious No. 1 overall pick was defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. It was a no-brainer. No disrespect to Clowney, who I believe is quite underrated due to his lack of huge sack numbers, but wouldn't you agree that defensive end Khalil Mack would've been a better choice, given how their careers have played out? Maybe we should allow for more than one season before we decide what was obvious.

Of course.

Mike from Cartersville (AKA Trevortown ), GA

Does former Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer get credit for that play where former Jaguars guard Andrew Norwell did pirouettes in front of then-Arizona Cardinals defense end J.J. Watt on a play action and Watt just threw him to the ground and caused quarterback Trevor Lawrence to run for his life and chuck the ball up that got intercepted? Didn't seem like an idea born out of experience dealing with someone like Watt.

As much as we discuss the importance of being "nice" here in the O-Zone, some people just do not seem to "get it." It's important to be "nice." This was not "nice."