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O-Zone: Filled to the brim

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Let's get to it …

Brad from Orange Park, FL

Not to be argumentative ... but the 2023 Jaguars weren't awful "until the last six games of the season…" with a nod to not being able to stop the run, a complete inability to run the ball and keep quarterback Trevor Lawrence from unmanageable passing situations and injuries. That and wide receiver Zay Jones' lack of full health and the loss of wide receiver Christian Kirk for the season obviously were not particularly advantageous to the quarterback's reasonable success, either.

This was a little all over the place, but who needs things all in one place anyway? You're correct that any point made that the Jaguars weren't awful in 2023 must come with the caveat that they were awful enough late in the season to lose five of six games and miss the postseason by a game. Head Coach Doug Pederson following the season called it a collapse, because what else do you call it? What the Jaguars must do this offseason is balance having been one of the AFC's best teams for three months of last season with being unable to stabilize a difficult situation in the final six weeks to finish what should have been a memorable season. There were multiple reasons the Jaguars were "awful" during the final six weeks and you touched on many: A declining run defense, an offense that continued its inability to run when it needed to run and injuries that took away any chance for cohesion at receiver/offensive line. Did Lawrence struggle down the stretch? Yes. Did his own injuries and injuries around him make his task much more difficult? Yes. Both things can be true, and both were true in 2023.

Ryan from Detroit, MI

I can't stomach any mock draft that has the Jaguars taking a position other than the offensive line in Round 1. We were 29th in pass-block win rate and dead last in runs stuffed for zero gain or negative yardage. I don't care if it's a tackle, guard or even a center - whoever General Manager Trent Baalke has as the highest-rated offensive lineman on his board at the time needs to be the pick.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Jaguars select a tackle, guard or center at No. 17 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft. I also wouldn't be surprised if they select cornerback or defensive front there.

Kevin from Jacksonville Beach, FL

I like it when you and J.P. Shadrick are on the air together. Do you like him?

He's a-ight.

Barry from Jax

In today's football it is not good enough to have a really good quarterback.

True. The ideal is to have a really good team and a top two or three quarterback. I suppose the ultimate ideal right now is to have Patrick Mahomes at quarterback and whatever the hell else you happen to have around him. Short of that, you want to have the quarterback be as good as possible and supplement that with quality around him.

Tudor from Saint Augustine, FL

I think the Jags should start a second honorary club called "Shame of the Jaguars," with Jalen Ramsey and Urban Meyer as the founding fathers.


Shawn from Moore County, NC

What is your favorite thing about being at the combine? What is your least favorite thing? Mine would be getting to meet so many future stars and hearing their background stories. My least favorite would be hearing our coach and gm sounding like they still believe in this substandard o line.

I suppose my "favorite" part of the NFL Scouting Combine is getting a chance to hear the thoughts of the head coach and general manager on the previous season and the upcoming offseason. The combine in that sense servers as a valuable reset point – and a transition to the upcoming season. I don't worry much about the details of what they say when discussing specific players or position groups – and that includes what they're saying about the offensive line this offseason. The Jaguars know that group must be better moving forward. There's no benefit to either Pederson or Baalke to being overly critical of players in a public setting.


Lay it on me, man. How long do I have to hibernate? Can I get a wakeup call this summer?

Jaguars 2024 Training Camp begins in late July. Free agency begins March 13. The 2024 NFL Draft is in late April. I plan to nap periodically before, after – and if all breaks right – during those dates. When you squeeze sleep in is up to you.

Mike from Azores

Hey John, does this quote bother you as it does me? Baalke: "I don't ever try to look back and say, 'What if?' Shouldn't the number one talent evaluator and the guy making these important decisions as far as draft picks go, be looking back at last season's choices and of his-versus-the other rookies performance picked by others? I believe it is extremely valuable to look back and question what the Jags evaluation missed on players like Puka Nucua and Kobie Turner as just two examples of players that would have made a difference on last year's Jaguar team! A lot in life is learned by looking back at past mistakes, is it not?

Baalke saying he doesn't look back doesn't bother me. This is because he said this during a media availability – and instead of rehashing past failures publicly during such sessions, Baalke opts to focus on the future. The quote doesn't mean he and the Jaguars don't study what went wrong and right in past seasons and offseasons.

Brad from The Avenues

John, I've been married three times. Been in love more times than I can count. None of them broke my heart quite like Ramsey did. No Pride.


Jon from Jax Beach

Hall of Fame GMs you say? Gil Brandt and who else? Don't think that's a thing.

General managers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame are absolutely a thing – and it's a list that includes Ron Wolf (Green Bay Packers), Tex Schramm, (Dallas Cowboys), Bobby Beathard (Washington, San Diego Chargers), Al Davis (Raiders), Bill Polian (Buffalo Bills/Carolina Panthers/Indianapolis Colts), Brandt (Dallas Cowboys), and George Young (New York Giants).

Tim from Jacksonville

Gary doesn't like you. A lot.

He makes some good points.

Boomgrounder from Moundsville, WV

Hey, Zone. Why you want to let Agnew walk? The guy is a big playmaker. Did you forget his play at Indy on opening day on that punt return? If he doesn't make that play the Jaguars don't score twice in the fourth quarter to be the Colts. Who will replace him on special teams?

Let us be clear here: I in no way want to "let Agnew walk." Jaguars wide receiver/returner Jamal Agnew's speed has allowed him to be one of the Jaguars' most dangerous playmakers. He also is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on March 13. If the price makes sense, the Jaguars should keep Agnew. It's sometimes hard to make every unrestricted free agent's price make sense.

GP from Savannah

Thirty-three fumbles in three years is not what you expect in an NFL quarterback. Not sure how you change that if there was no improvement from year to year.

Lawrence's turnovers, particularly his propensity to fumble when sacked, are an issue. You change it by securing the ball better when under pressure. You change it by being better at knowing when to give up on a play. You know it by being more aware. I don't know if Lawrence will improve in this area. I know it's possible to improve in this area.

Mark from High Springs

Oehser, what do we have to do to get you and Prisco together weekly in this next season? I know how much Pete loves mixing it up with Tony Boselli, and J.P. Shadrick is top-notch talent we have to keep on our roster, but I got so much solid content from your Happy Hour conversation with "The Mayor of Jacksonville" at the Scouting Combine that I've got to ask for more. Would a muffin basket help?

CBS NFL guru Pete Prisco indeed joined Shadrick and me for Thursday's Happy Hour from the NFL Scouting Combine. I worked with Prisco at the Florida Times-Union from 1988-2000, and worked daily with him covering the Jaguars from 1995-2000. We traveled together, shared press rooms and – more often than we care to remember – also shared planes, taxis, rental cars and hotel rooms. We have appeared often together on Jaguars Media channels in the last decade-plus, and these are enjoyable experiences. I consider Pete one of the best NFL writers and one of my best friends in or out of journalism. As far as signing on for more on a regular basis, I think what I have described in this paragraph is what is known as "a full glass." Pete to my knowledge doesn't eat muffins.