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O-Zone: Eye of the beholder

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Hank from Jacksonville

Your stance that NFL offseasons don't matter is stupid. Of course they matter. If they didn't, why do teams do them?

Of course offseason programs matter. They matter in the sense that it's an extended, relatively pressure-free time when coaches can teach and introduce schemes. It's a time teammates can get familiar with one another. For that reason, it's especially important to young players – and to veterans changing teams. Those players typically need that time to acclimate to new systems and surroundings – and most veterans of any level/experience who are new to teams typically take part in offseasons accordingly. It's also usually important to quarterbacks, if only because they need to be present to ensure all players around them – young and experienced alike – are on the same page and have maximum chemistry. For experienced non-quarterbacks, the time is significantly less critical. It's why the period is voluntary under the Collective Bargaining Agreement between owners and players. It's why there's little consternation around the Jaguars about outside linebacker Josh Allen not attending this year. It's why teams rarely are concerned about front-line veterans attending them. Those players are elite because they know how to prepare and they don't need to be at a certain location to do so. Where the offseason also matters little is "evaluating" a team. This is because what happens on the field during voluntary offseason workouts is toned down enough that very little can be gleaned from what happens. The Jaguars on Tuesday, for example, worked during Day 4 of Organized Team Activities in caps. Baseball caps. This is fine. This is smart. You can teach players in caps and it's a good way to reduce the chance of injuries. It's not a good time for anyone to look at what's going on and say, "This team is going to be better" or "This team is going to be worse." There's time for that beginning in late July.

Bryan from Yorkshire, VA

Wow! They're going to build a hotel and office building near the stadium?? I can't wait to go hang out at the hotel and office building with my buddies after a game one day. Should really highlight the game-day experience.

Wow. So much insight, so little effort put forth. Jaguars Owner Shad Khan is building a Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences across from EverBank Stadium as well as an office building. He's doing this as the first part of what is hoped will be a trend of high-end, community-altering construction in the area. The idea is that such growth will enhance the area on a daily basis and thereby over time enhance the game-day experience. These things take time, planning and foresight. Build the infrastructure first; the game-day fun for you and your buddies will come.

Rob from St Augustine, FL

NFL players are not intimidated by black uniforms. Please stop this.


Bert from Atlanta, GA

Are the players on the Jags grown men? Do they need chaperones? Maybe the organization should hire high school teachers to babysit them?

This email I assume references a story that broke Monday that two women are suing former Jaguars kicker Brandon McManus for incidents they say occurred on the team's flight to London last September. The Jaguars issued a statement Monday that read: "We're aware of the complaint, and we acknowledge the significance of the claims. As we continue to look into the matter, it bears emphasizing that we insist on an organization built by people who represent our community and game with the highest character and class." Head Coach Doug Pederson on Tuesday said the story was the first time he was aware of the issue, adding: "I saw the article that came out. Obviously, disappointing to hear the news that took place. Other than that, honestly, being that it's a legal matter at this time I can't really comment until more information is gathered." Pederson also on Tuesday said: "A typical flight is not that way. It's a business trip. That's how we approach it from an organizational, from a league standpoint. For that, when I read that, that part of it is disappointing." Pederson also specified that the lawsuit was not a reason the team did not resign McManus following his only season with the organization. "I think there were a couple reasons," Pederson said, "One, performance. In this business, whether it's a coach or player, it's performance-driven, right? Then you start talking about contracts and the amount of contracts and the number, dollars and cents that go into it a little bit, the age of the player. A lot of things can factor into it. The fact that, it's a key position, it's critical, it's valuable because it gives us, as a team, points on the board or not. Then if we have an opportunity to draft somebody, looking forward, then we take advantage of that. So, I think there is several factors, not just in this case, in Brandon's case, but I think that is the same way with any position we look at." There's little more to add here from my perspective.

Rob from The duuuu

How about eight years, $488 million, $224 guaranteed, $56 million per. That would seem to be about the market rate for a young ascending franchise quarterback with the potential to be the second-best quarterback in the league. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes' next contract will far eclipse these numbers, but this is Trevor's time and he must be the highest paid for a moment because of his potential and his position. There is no other option.

I admit my eyes glaze over a bit when we get into specifics about Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence's potential contract extension. This glazing is because the numbers figure to be so high as to be meaningless for most observers. The numbers you cite would indeed put Lawrence as the NFL's highest-paid quarterback in the NFL – a status that would be temporary because it is the nature of professional sports right now and inflation that these contracts extend annually. There will naysayers who will say Lawrence hasn't "earned" such a contract. Those saying "nay" aren't acknowledging the realities of the current NFL. So yeah … your numbers are probably in the neighborhood. Hell of a neighborhood.

Jim from Jax

Zone, we've all seen you in a sleeveless t-shirt. Clothes or jerseys don't make someone intimidating.

So you say.

Mike from Jacksonville

I noticed the Jaguars did not move wide receiver Calvin Ridley around that much last year, do you think they will do that more with rookie wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr.?

I would expect the Jaguars to eventually move Thomas around in the offense. I would expect them to keep this to a minimum initially because I expect the team to take the approach of letting him get really good at one position before they ask him to play a bunch of them.

Boxcutter Bill from Mass

I'm really excited about this defense and the guys we have on it. Our new defensive coordinator is talking about moving guys around and being versatile. It's exciting to think about. I feel like our defense in the past has been just don't get beat deep. Am I wrong?

New Jaguars defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen appears to be very capable, and he has drawn positive reviews this offseason from players and coaches. He wants to be versatile in the sense of getting players in the best possible position to make plays. He also has a defensive philosophy of attacking and being aggressive, with the idea of playing a lot of press coverage. I have no doubt this is Nielsen's philosophy. It's tricky to sum up Jaguars defenses of the past with one phrase. Many observers have criticized the defense of the past two years for giving too much cushion. My thought on those defenses was they did decent job for the most part when they were good against the run and a lot went wrong last season when they struggled in that area. I do expect this defense to be more aggressive moving forward and I expect it to look different in scheme/approach from the defenses the past two seasons.

Michael from Orange Park, FL

What will the Jaguars' record be in 2023?

Loyal O-Zone readers – and he knows who he is – know well I'm not given to preseason predictions. But I also know fans love this sort of thing. I think the Jaguars if healthy can be a double-digit-victory team and push for the AFC South title. I think the offensive and defensive lines must be stouter and better running and against the run for that to happen. I think if those things happen along with Lawrence reducing turnovers the Jaguars can be really good. Really good.

David from Maplewood, NJ

I liked the color rush uniforms but they weren't gold. The team may have wanted them to be gold, but they were mustard. I'd still be wearing the jersey I purchased if it didn't have the number 20 on it, real fans know.

They will always be gold to me.