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O-Zone: Full throttle

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Michael from Orange Park, FL

Zone, what are your predictions for the schedule?

The NFL is expected to announce the 2024 schedule Wednesday for all 32 teams including the Jaguars. Loyal O-Zone readers – and he knows who he is – may recall I'm not much given to "predicting" the schedule. While I understand the excitement over the schedule, I rarely see predictions close to accurate – and I don't really understand the point. There will be a schedule and the Jaguars will play it. I expect the Jaguars will finish the regular season against a division opponent. I also would think there's a good possibility they open the season with a division game because that happens a bit. I expect there's a decent chance the Jaguars will play on Thanksgiving because they have a road game at Detroit in 2024. That would be cool because they never have played on Thanksgiving. I expect they will play two-to-three prime-time games with one on Thursday Night Football. I also expect Jaguars fans won't like the schedule. I'm not remotely sure about any of these predictions. Except the last one, of course. I suspect I'm absolutely right about that.

Sean from Oakleaf, FL

Besides wishing for 17 1 p.m. starts, how much do you pay attention to the schedule release? Do you prefer a home game for the season opener or don't care as long as the game starts at 1 EST?

I pay close attention to the schedule because it dictates the Jaguars' season – and because it dictates my work schedule for the final six months of each year. I have no real "preference" when it comes to schedules as long as holidays aren't affected.

Tucker from Nashville, TN

John, talk to me. We've drafted 22 players in two drafts. What's the over-under that four make it to second contracts?

I would put the over-under as slightly under four. This is not a commentary on the draft classes because we'll only begin having a clear idea of the 2022 class this season – and we're a looong way from any clear idea of the 2023 class. You would feel very good as a general manager if you got four second-contract four players from two draft classes with another six-to-eight good starters/contributors. Give or take.

Chuck from Beaches

Hey, O. I have not heard anything about Jarvis Landry after the rookie tryout weekend. Is he going to get an extended look through the organized team activities or training camp? Thanks.

Veteran wide receiver Jarvis Landry participated in the Jaguars' rookie minicamp this past weekend on a tryout basis. He has not been signed to the offseason roster. That doesn't mean it can never happen or that it won't be considered. It means it hasn't yet happened.

Deane from Daytona Beach, FL

Yo, O-Zone! There has been a little chatter about incoming rookies wanting certain numbers and paying handsomely to make it happen. I think our fifth-round pick, cornerback De'Antre Prince, should ask defensive lineman Jeremiah Ledbetter for No. 99 and a safety should wear No. 19. O-Zone, being the music aficionado that you are; you have to admit that would be awesome! What says you, O-Zone?!?!

A cornerback can't wear No. 99, though a safety can wear No. 19. But I was dreaming when I wrote that. Forgive me if it went astray.

Jack from Palatka, FL

Zone, do you have a minute?


Don from Marshall, NC

You know Brian Thomas Jr. really has a long stride. I would bet his stride at top speed is longest in the NFL. He can really cover some ground quickly. He is really going to be a fun addition to watch. Go Jaguars!

When it comes to Jaguars rookie wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr.'s speed, Don remains steadfastly "all in."

Cultured Gentleman from Clayton New Jersey

Hey, O. What's your favorite kind of pasta? Do you prefer tomato sauce or alfredo sauce? What's your favorite thing to mix in with pasta? What's your favorite pasta dish?

Pasta's pasta. Pour on some Ragu and move on.

James from Italy

How Jaxson de Ville and Fred Taylor aren't already in the HOF is beyond me.

Former Jaguars running back Fred Taylor isn't in the Pro Football Hall of Fame largely because he circumstantially missed the Pro Bowl in at least three or four seasons in which he played as well as any running back in the NFL. He also played on just one team that made a "deep playoff run," with that being the 1999 Jaguars team that lost the AFC Championship Game. Jaxson de Ville isn't in the Pro Football Hall of Fame because he's a mascot and he – like Biff from Jacksonville – isn't real.

Zach from Jacksonville

My reaction to the draft is it's maybe the best draft General Manager Trent Baalke has had since quarterback Trevor Lawrence was drafted. It will take some time to say if that's true but kudos to Baalke for shoring up this roster to only really have a true need at corner. It allowed for the team to draft for depth and to simply get better without forcing their hand. They reinforced positions they felt iffy on. In contrast to last year, when it felt they drafted backups at tight end and running back.

One fer Baalke and the 2024 NFL Draft.

Crash from Glen Saint Mary

OZ! Going with an 18-game schedule and an extra bye week means the Super Bowl would be on President's Day weekend. A holiday after the Big Game!

I don't doubt for a moment the NFL will go to an 18-game schedule soon and that we'll soon be playing the Super Bowl on President's Day Weekend. And I realize many observers and fans would like this. My thought is mid-February is ridiculously late to the end the NFL season. My thought is we don't need 18 games or two bye weeks. I'm not that bright, but I'm smart enough to know my thoughts mean nothing in this discussion. Bah. Humbug.

Marcus from Jacksonville

You have mentioned a belief that the Jags will carry eight or nine offensive linemen on the 53-man roster, meaning that there will be one or two on the current two-deep that will end up on the practice squad. My question is, how much gamesmanship exists in deciding who that is, or do they just put the best guys on the active roster and the others on the practice squad? For instance, if you think a guy like guard Cooper Hodges is one of the top eight and center Luke Fortner is the first man out, do you consider putting Hodges on the practice squad because he's less likely to be picked up by another team, since he has no game tape and no game experience, versus Fortner who has two seasons of starts under his belt?

This isn't as much "gamesmanship" as much as it is reality. If you don't want to lose a player and you believe he's going to get claimed by another team if you release him, you keep him on your active roster.

Jason from Jacksonville

Do you think it might take some time for the offense to click this year? While a lot of players are entering Year 3 in Head Coach Doug Pederson's system, two of the top three wideouts are new to the team. We already know wide receiver Gabe Davis is going to be out for a chunk of the offseason. Do you expect it will take a few months for Davis and the rookie to get a chemistry with Lawrence?

I expect this will be an early-season storyline, and it's logical it will take some time for Lawrence to find optimum chemistry with his receivers. This is expected with a player such as Davis switching teams and with Round 1 receiver Bryan Thomas transitioning from college to the NFL. I expect the bigger storyline to be the Jaguars' offensive line, particularly the addition of center Mitch Morse. If that unit is more reliable blocking for the run, that will keep the Jaguars on the field more consistently and give the passing game better down-and-distance scenarios. That will help the offense significantly and the benefits there would outweigh any early (theoretical) chemistry issues with Lawrence and the receivers.

David from The Island

Have you seen the roast of Tom Brady on Netflix? I was pretty tired of looking at him beat everyone for 20 plus years. However, when he went to Tampa and won the Super Bowl, I enjoyed their season and his greatness. Long live the GOAT!

I haven't seen the roast of Tom Brady on Netflix. I've been watching the NHL Playoffs and binging my subscription to PBS Documentaries. I also rewatched Moneyball the other night. I'm aware that this answer may sound like I am perhaps living life at too fast a pace. All gas, no brakes. That's what I say.