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O-Zone: Fun boy

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Stacy from Dallas Center, Iowa

When do you expect decisions on Calvin Ridley and Josh Allen's big pay day? Is the team able to negotiate now or is it later in the offseason? Jaguars Owner Shad Khan and General Manager Trent Baalke: If you are reading this, pay Josh Allen. Please don't let him walk!

There is no hard, fast rule or "norm" here. Teams typically take the first few weeks after any season to meet internally – key coaches, personnel officials and decision-makers – and formulate offseason plans. I expect the Jaguars to do that in the coming weeks, after which negotiations with projected unrestricted free agents such as outside linebacker Josh Allen and wide receiver Calvin Ridley would begin. Remember, too: The "decisions" involving Ridley and Allen aren't as much "decisions" as they are discussion and negotiations, with the sides needing to reach agreements that makes sense for both sides. Such things often don't happen until a deadline forces action. As for a timetable … sometime in mid-February through mid-March makes sense. The beginning of the 2024 NFL League Year is March 14, at which time those players would become unrestricted free agents if they're not under the franchise tag. So … around then. -ish.

Steven from Jacksonville

I guess you'll be referring to Trevor's injuries as a main factor in his late-season performance. They may have hampered him a bit, but it was not the cause of his lack of mental awareness and carelessness disregard to protecting the football. A healthy Trevor will continue to have those issues. He is what he is. Average.

Good eye. I expect I will include injuries when discussing Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence's 2023 performance. This is because it's illogical not to include them. The Jaguars had won 13 of 16 games and Lawrence had thrown 29 touchdown passes with nine interceptions during that span before he sustained a high-ankle sprain in a Week 13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. He threw seven touchdown passes with seven interceptions while leaving three of the next five games with injuries – and the Jaguars lost five of six games during that stretch. Did Lawrence's injuries account for everything in that time? Was he perfect even before the injuries? No and no. He must improve in many areas, ball security chief among them. It would be disingenuous to not refer to those issues when discussing Lawrence. It's equally disingenuous to ignore the fact that his dropoff this past season coincided with his run of injuries late in the season.

Rob from St. Augustine, FL

I don't pay much attention to any draft related things until around April 1.


*Joseph from Acworth  *

How much of a difference would it have made if we had an All-Pro center this year? Think, hypothetically, of swapping Luke Fortner for Jason Kelce, for example. I think we win two-to-three more games, myself. This team was/is that close, in my opinion.

An extra All-Pro player or two can make a difference on most NFL rosters. The Jaguars would have been better with more disruption on the interior defensive line, or with one more playmaker in the secondary. Or perhaps had they had the clear No. 1 wide receiver in the NFL. But would they have been better had they been stronger on the interior of the offensive line? Sure. Absolutely.

Chance from Tecumseh

I find myself constantly going on any related Jaguar site, checking Twitter, googling things to see if we're doing anything. When do you realistically think we'll hear things about Calvin, Josh, DC, fifth-year option, Trent etc?

In due time.

Woody from Dunlap

KOAF: I just stumbled upon an article from summer 2023 which indicated the Jaguars were projected to have a solid offensive line for the upcoming 2023 season. Obviously, that projection did not prove accurate. Injuries played a significant role. One offensive lineman that received praise during training camp but ended up on injured reserve for the season was Cooper Hodges. What was the nature of his injury and is he expected to be totally healthy for 2024? Would he be a likely candidate for improving the interior part of the offensive line?

Hodges, a seventh-round selection by the Jaguars in the 2023 NFL Draft, indeed received praise during 2023 Training Camp. He sustained a patella injury that caused him to begin the regular season on injured reserve. The Jaguars thought enough of him to allocate a roster spot on the original 53-player regular-season roster, meaning they expected he could play at least a reserve role this past season. He instead underwent surgery during the season and was ruled out for the season. I've heard nothing to indicate he won't be fully healthy for the beginning of the offseason program in mid-April. The belief around the Jaguars is he can be an NFL starter. I originally expected him to start at one of the guard positions in 2024. Whether he will be ready to do so after missing his rookie season remains to be seen.

Chris from Orange Park, FL

Why are there so few conversations with Trent Baalke and the media over the course of the season? I see general managers from other teams speak more often than my own team's general manager. If the coaches are required to address the media weekly, shouldn't the NFL make some requirements to the owners and general manager to speak more frequently to the fans.

I don't monitor other teams enough to which general managers speak to the media more or less than Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke. He does take the approach of not speaking publicly during the season – or at least rarely doing so. This from my experience isn't particularly unusual, with many general managers speaking only in the offseason with the idea of allowing the team to have "one voice" – that of the head coach – during the regular season.

Al from Dowling Park

I know exactly what went wrong with the Jags this past season! They didn't use the Culligan Girl!

I have no idea what you're talking about.

Bradley from Sparks, NV

I thought I agreed with your assessment that the Houston Texans were basically the Jags of last year and we shouldn't automatically think they were going to dominate the division the next 10 years. Then I really looked at the Texans and what their general manage has done since he was hired and it's extraordinary. Hiring the best young coach in the league, DeMeco Ryans, was inspired and then collaborating with him to assemble an amazing staff. His aggressive and utterly brilliant drafting has been otherworldly, while his restraint in free agency has left the team with a ton of cap space yet he still brought in some key veterans. The Jags have the talent to be good or even great but they have their work cut out for them if they want to keep up with the Texans.

The Texans have done a nice job. Quarterback C.J. Stroud appears to have a bright future. They appear set to be a formidable foe for the Jaguars moving forward. They finished one game ahead of the Jaguars in 2023 and the teams split the series. The Texans also lost their final game of the season 34-10, to the Baltimore Ravens, in a game that was strikingly similar to how the Jaguars lost to the Ravens in early December. Do the Jaguars have their work cut out for them to keep up with the Texans? Sure. They must improve the roster and develop from within, just as they would have needed to do no matter who else is good in the AFC South.

Bob from Sumter, SC

On a positive note, considering how the season ended there could have been public finger pointing, sniping, grumbling among the players but there hasn't been. The leaders didn't duck the media even up to the day they cleaned out their lockers. Classy.

My impression of this group of Jaguars players overall is that for the most part is made up of decent guys with team-first players. Classy? For the most part, yes.

Dick from Beaver, Pa.

What's the big deal about Etienne getting a thousand yards; they play an extra game, didn't they?

Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. rushed for 1,008 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2023, marking his second consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season. Was it a big deal? No game was stopped, best I recall. No statue was commissioned. The city did not decree a Travis Etienne Jr. Day and close libraries. Trash deliveries were not stopped. I wrote about Etienne surpassing 1,000 rushing yards – and I imagine others covering the team did, too. That seemed warranted and hardly overdone.

Jason from North Pole, AK

I am sure "John from Jacksonville" who picked the Jaguars to suck and lose to Tennessee is a real blast at parties.

He's more fun than me, I imagine. But that's admittedly a low bar.