JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Marcus from Jacksonville
Four weeks ago, this defense was an embarrassment. The secondary looked like they didn't know what they were doing. Now the defense looks solid … maybe not elite, but definitely solid. Is there any chance we could see a jump like that from the offense? Is there a possibility that something might "click" with those guys and they will make a significant improvement like the defense did?
Sure, there's a possibility. There always is a possibility. There's a possibility I wake up tomorrow with my head sewn to carpet. The chances of the Jaguars' offense improving before season's end isn't nearly that remote, but improving the unit during the season feels like a tougher task than improving the defense. Defensive coordinator Joe Cullen was able to switch from primarily playing man concepts in the secondary to playing mostly zone coverage, and the defense also has gotten improved play at nickel safety from veteran Rudy Ford. That coincided with improvement from some key players on the defensive front. Those elements helped further solidify the run defense, and a pass rush that was playing OK through six games improved as the defensive interior got more push – and as defensive end/linebacker Josh Allen continued to emerge as a playmaker. The offense's major issue is a lack of speed and playmaking ability at wide receiver; that probably doesn't get fixed with a few adjustments. That has caused the offense to operate in a very small area. That doesn't make marginal improvement impossible. If running back James Robinson can return to health, and if receivers can make a few more clutch catches, you could see the Jaguars get a touchdown or so more per game. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence obviously must be a touch more accurate in some big situations. But can the offense become a dynamic offense this season, scoring in the high 20s consistently? One wouldn't think so. But one certainly can hope, I suppose.
David from Chuluota, FL
Johnny O. If I was a wide receiver on the Jaguars it would upset me … all this talk about needing a serious upgrade. Marvin Jones Jr. has been among the most productive receivers over the past five years and now he's a liability? In the offseason, Laviska Shenault Jr. was a beast, but now since he can't catch the ball with his feet, we need better? Maybe the receivers could do a better job of getting open, but maybe the timing with a rookie quarterback has something to do with it. I think Lawrence is still adjusting to the speed of the game, which is throwing off his timing and causing him to get the ball out quicker than the play design. So, what does this look like to the receiver? Passes thrown too early, late, high, low and behind them. When a quarterback has his timing down, like Aaron Rogers and Tom Brady, they can practically succeed with any receiver. All I'm saying, don't be so quick to dismiss our receivers, I'm not sure under current conditions are receivers could thrive. Thoughts?
I don't know if the Jaguars' receivers are upset by all the talk or not. I do know it's the NFL, which is a professional sport. And in professional sports, there is going to be talk that upsets players if their team isn't winning – or if their position group isn't performing at a high enough level.
Matty from Saint Augustine, FL
Bench Trevor, Trevor isn't living up to his billing, Trevor is regressing. Are they even fans or just wanna-be couch critics? The people commenting makes it seem like they have never watched a rookie quarterback play before. Couch critic fans are bad for the NFL.
Hey, one fer Trevor (and not as much fer couch-critic fans) …
Jeremy from Gilbert, AZ
I love Trevor and of course hope he's the guy. But if his throws were on time and accurate we wouldn't be wondering or questioning. They're not on time and accurate, at least not yet.
… and one not at much fer Trevor.
Gero from Wenden, Germany
Hello, John. Sunday's game was not the first game where the offense was penalized before the first play. Why do these mistakes repeat themselves? Are the guys not fired up enough before the game? Or is one or the other nervous? How do you want to start a decent, productive first drive when you start first and 15 right away?
It's difficult to have a decent drive starting first-and-15. Pre-snap penalties are usually concentration and self-discipline. They rarely if ever have anything to do with not being "fired up" – and in the NFL, nerves shouldn't come into play.
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ
O-man, how many "great" plays do you think Agnew has so far this year? I think he has four or five, which is about one every other game or so. If he can make an amazing play every game, kid's going to be a star.
Wide receiver/returner Jamal Agnew has made at least three great plays this season – a 66-yard touchdown run against Indianapolis last week, a 102-yard kickoff return against Denver early in the season and a 109-yard return of a missed field goal against Arizona a week after the Denver game. Those are the Jaguars' three longest plays of the season. I don't know Agnew's ceiling as a wide receiver, but he sure has turned himself into a critical member of this team and its best chance for big plays. Is he becoming a star? Sure. Why not?
Ulysses (Useless) Crud from Pig Park, GA
I am baffled by the apparent difficulty of players having to learn a "new offense." How different can they be? You block, you run, you get open for receptions, you tackle. But the scribes make it seem as much a challenge as a mastering Mandarin Chinese.
The terminology is different from team to team. That's usually the biggest challenge. It's not Mandarin Chinese, but it takes time to learn.
Andy from Alpharetta GA
Zone, no apologies necessary, but I'm confused by the concept of not wanting "rentals." I understand that if we were playing young players who are believed to be future core pieces and game reps are required. But then in the next sentence I hear "we need to significantly upgrade (position X)." If we need to upgrade, aren't the current players essentially rental players that we will move on from anyway? Why is a rental so bad in this scenario?
A rental isn't bad, but the expense must be considered. If it's really expensive, the thought is it's not worth the money you won't have to address issues moving forward. Remember, too: It can take a week (or more) to get players acclimated into an offense or defense. Signing a player in mid-November can mean not getting much out of the player until December, further diminishing the value of the rental.
P- Funk from Murray Hill
I love what Dan the Man (tight end Dan Arnold) is bringing to the team, giving Lawrence a legit tight end, but for gits and shiggles, do you think Shenault could add bulk and transition to tight end at some point in his career?
This seems unlikely.
KC from Orlando, FL
KOAF. I know that our offense has been struggling and that wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. didn't necessarily shine immediately before getting injured. Do you anticipate he would resign on a prove-it, one-year deal? Looking at his stats, he averaged 22 yards per completion and is second in receiving touchdowns with two despite only playing three games. Looking at teams like the Cowboys who have three 1,000-yard-capable receivers, getting the best wide receiver with our first rounder, resigning Chark on a team-friendly prove-it deal, and perhaps bringing back Allen Robinson would appear to help improve our offense and win total for next year. What do you say?
I expect the Jaguars to be warm to this – and likely to discuss it with Chark. Whether Chark could agree to it likely will depend on how he and his representative perceive the market. He has shown enough in four seasons that some team/teams could offer a better deal. I don't expect we'll know if this is the case until close to unrestricted free agency begins in March.
MrMakersMark Sec 408
Fans can say what they want about Shad Khan, but at least he doesn't wear a 1983 sock tie to games ... ugh Kroenke.
What's your beef with sock ties? I am proud to say I "rocked" sock ties on more than one occasion at Episcopal High School in the early eighties. Either way, when you make Kroenke/Khan money you wear what you choose. Hell, if I had the money of Khan or Kroenke it's likely the last my dear readers would see of me would be me running through downtown Jacksonville in little more than a sock tie, corduroy "OP" short shorts and a Lightning Bolt tank – arms raised, blonde mane flowing in the breeze. Freedom!!!!!