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O-Zone: Fun with cats

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

JT from Palm Coast, FL

It's painfully obvious that this team doesn't have anything close to a No. 1 receiver. Nobody on this roster seems to get separation with any kind of consistency. The windows that Lawrence has to throw into are nonexistent. This team has so many holes that I can't see how they can possibly fill them all in a year or even two. Realistically, John, how long is this going to take?

First, you're right that the Jaguars don't appear to have a No. 1 receiver – and these receivers usually haven't created enough separation this season. Second, most contending teams have areas that aren't as strong as others – and areas that fans correctly see as weaknesses. Remember: the 2017 Jaguars team that came within Myles Jack Wasn't Down of playing in the Super Bowl was just OK at tight end, receiver, quarterback … pretty much all over the offense. That's not to say you should stop trying to improve your roster, but you can contend without having a terrifically loaded roster at every position. That's particularly true with a franchise quarterback. The Indianapolis Colts teams I covered from 2001-2010 were very good at quarterback, wide receiver, sometimes running back, tight end and pass-rushing defensive end but were often weaker at other positions – particularly defensive tackle and sometimes linebacker. Those teams made the postseason every season from 2002-2010 and played in two Super Bowls, winning one. So, how long to fill all holes? It probably never will happen. How long to fill enough to contend? So long as rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence continues to develop at his current pace – and that's a really fast pace – not as long as many Jaguars fans might fear.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

Do you think they may begin to sort of take the training wheels off Trevor? By training wheels, I mean game plans designed to help guide a rookie quarterback with easier throws. I remember many Marvin Jones highlights over the years with him running fly routes and post corners in Detroit. Like that's his thing. I understand with a rookie quarterback we need to help as proven by the first few games. I just think about how smooth the Trevor-to-Jones connection looks downfield. And one of Trevor's many strengths is downfield accuracy. Do you think Marvin Jones' quietness in terms of big plays early in the season was a reflection of game-planning for a rookie quarterback? Is Trevor on the other side of the most difficult part of the learning curve? I just kind of feel like Trevor is earning the trust. Also, he has had at least one really nice touchdown throw each of the last 2-3 weeks, those were some beauties.

I think Lawrence will make more complex throws and complex reads the more he grasps the offense, and I think the Jaguars' game plan will grow accordingly. He is grasping the offense and improving at a remarkable rate. Whatever "training wheels" remain will be removed very quickly.

Ross from Mechanicsville, VA

After watching highlights, it seems we have a quarterback who can stare down the rush in his face and still deliver the throw knowing he's going to get clobbered. Am I seeing this correctly?

Yes.

Andy Boy from Halifax

Hey O, are you willing to discuss how you manage to fire off an "O-Zone" each and every day? When is your cutoff time for questions? Do you do them all the night before and edit the next day?

I "fire" off an O-Zone each day by reading questions, answering them – and being my charming, whimsical, knowledgeable, amusing, talented and oh-so-patient self. I typically have most of the O-Zone finished late in the evening before it posts. Sometimes, it gets completed and sent shortly before it is posted in the morning. There is no specific cutoff time for O-Zone questions.

Fred from Naples, FL

So, Jaguars kicker Matthew Wright hits the cross bar on a 50-yard attempt one week and makes a 54- and 53-yarder a week later and now the NFL selects him to do a random drug test? Coincidence? Perhaps they felt he had a little help getting these two over the crossbar??

Maybe it's a coincidence. Maybe it's random. We'll never know, but I would lean to it being coincidence.

Gary from Wesley Chapel

Hey, Oehmeister. Is it just me, or does it seem like that "slide-kill" play might be looked back upon one day as a "pivotal" turning point in the fortunes of the Jacksonville Jaguars from the past into the Jacksonville Jaguars of the future? That was a Big League play call, with Big League execution, followed by a Big League game-winning kick. That did not look like the Jaguars of the past to me! That looked like what I envision as the Jaguars of the future! In the process we identified our young kicker of the future as well. It looks to me like some of the pieces of the puzzle are beginning to come together. More pieces are needed, but I think we are beginning to identify some of the key 'end' pieces. Do you see what I see, or am I just looking through Teal-colored glasses?

I absolutely believe we will look back on the "slide-kill" that led to a game-winning field goal in the Jaguars' 23-20 victory over the Miami Dolphins this past Sunday as the first of many clutch late-game plays for Lawrence. His poise, awareness and execution in that situation were impressive – and without him, I doubt seriously the Jaguars win that game. In that sense, it could be remembered as the beginning of an era. I don't know that that means the Jaguars are going to reel off a bunch of victories after the bye week. This team still feels a ways from that. But does Lawrence make the long-term future something that will look good through your teal-colored glasses? Yes, that gets more apparent by the week.

Brian from Saint Augustine, FL

Hey Zone, now if they can only practice the quarterback sneak as much as they practice the slider, that will be some situational preparation.

OK.

David from Orlando, FL

O - I believe former Alabama linebacker Dylan Moses is on our non-football injury list. Is he eligible to return this season? It sure would be nice to add a potential-tackling machine to this defense.

Only players who were on an active roster as of September 1 can return this season from injured reserve or non-football injury lists. Moses, who signed with the Jaguars as a collegiate free agent shortly after the 2021 NFL Draft and who is trying come back from a serious knee injury sustained in college, will be eligible for offseason activities and for the 2022 season.

_Tyler in SJC from Jacksonville     _

O- Man, given that you're a native son and sports writing is how you pay the bills, how do you learn the skill of being dispassionate enough to do this job? Is it difficult not to get too low in the bad times or too high in the good ones? Is that a natural inclination you have or did studying journalism beat that out of you?

As I've written often, I want the Jaguars to win – though I don't act or behave like a "fan." It's a matter of being objective and not getting caught up in the moment. It's not particularly difficult. I've covered games and written about them on some level for right around 33 years. It's the job. It's the career. It's professionalism. It's just how it's supposed to be done.

Nick from Palatka, FL

Really, Zone? You graduated from Episcopal HS at age 16? I didn't know the Eagles had a mercy rule!

There was no mercy rule. The future was bright. It dimmed. It happens.

Steve from Nashville, TN

With undrafted James Robinson now doing James Robinson things and the emergence now of Jamal Agnew as a reliable receiver, how important is it to the Jaguars' success to continue to find these significant contributions from unlikely sources?

That's important for every team. The way the NFL is structured, it's hard to build a complete roster from "likely sources" such as first- and second-day draft selections and high-profile free agents. You need undrafted players and "journeymen" players to play key roles – sometimes big ones – for various periods.

From Revron in Mandarin

Just curious, hey KOAF, if a quarterback is chased out of bounds behind the line of scrimmage, is that considered a sack?? If not, why not?

That is a sack.

Keith from Woonsocket

Can we please stop with the OBJ to the Jaguars stuff? Why would anyone want him he hasn't done anything since he played for the Giants?

Fans want what they want. Before his demise, my cat liked to chase a little laser light around and bat at it with his paws. He never figured it out. This was OK because he was a cat.

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