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O-Zone: Futuristic

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Brian from ROUND ROCK, TX

Don't Doug and Press have to take a large portion of the responsibility for Trevor failing to take the next step last year? It seems that Dougy P took the year off and delegated his job to Press. Get off the couch, coach!

Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson and offensive coordinator Press Taylor indeed have responsibility to develop quarterback Trevor Lawrence, as does quarterbacks coach Mike McCoy. Most of the responsibility falls to Lawrence, though. It's his career and only he can fully control his work, focus and dedication to improving. The thought here was Lawrence for the most part improved through the first three months of last season – if not so much in his statistics, certainly in his pocket awareness and handling game situations. I wouldn't have called him "elite" during this stretch. I don't think he has yet reached "elite" level. I wouldn't even say he took the jump last season in his second season under Pederson that I expected. But I did think he was improving, and it definitely seemed he was worlds ahead of where he had been at the start of 2022, his first season under Pederson. Lawrence clearly dropped in effectiveness the last six games last season. I attributed this largely to him leaving three of those games with injuries and not practicing much during that stretch. How much "blame" do Pederson and Taylor get for this? As much as you want to give, I suppose. Either way, a head coach allowing an offensive coordinator to call plays is not "delegating a job" – and it doesn't mean he's on the couch not doing his job.

Limo Bob from Neptune Beach

Which Jag players do you believe have the potential to be traded during the draft?

I see left tackle Cam Robinson as a possibility because of his salary-cap figure and because he has just one season remaining on his contract. My thought is that's possible if – and only IF – the draft falls in such a way that offensive tackle is the best selection for the Jaguars at No. 17 overall. I wouldn't like to see Robinson traded. The thought here is that Robinson is valuable and the sort of player you want around your team. But I do see a trade in that scenario being possible.

Jeff from Jacksonville

Hello, I've watched as much film as I can find on both Alabama cornerbacks in this year's draft. It seems Terrion Arnold is a bit better of a playmaker than Kool-Aid McKinstry, at least from what I see. Do you see a scenario where both players are available at the 17th pick?

Very possibly.

Kerry from Millersville, MD

KOAF - So let me get the fans fanning recap. Jaguars General Trent Baalke is a failure for "renting" wide receiver Calvin Ridley for a year at the cost of a third-round pick and $11 million, and Casserly is a genius for renting wide receiver Stefon Diggs (who as you pointed out was definitely not wanted by the team that knows him best) for a second-round pick and $23 million for one year ... yup … makes perfect sense to me:)

Nick Caserio is the general manager of the Houston Texans these days, though Charley Casserly – the franchise's first general manager – was a damned good guy. As for your question … yeah, Jaguars fans are criticizing Baalke on this front. Jaguars fans seem sort of stuck in this vein when it comes to Baalke, Casario and all things Texans these days. The Texans won the AFC South last season and the Jaguars didn't. The Texans have been active in free agency this offseason, and fans/observers tend to like offseason activity whether it matters or not. Caserio will be praised in this circle right now and Baalke will be criticized. That's where we are. The Jaguars must fare better than the Texans in 2024 to change that. Such is the nature of these things.

Scott from Jacksonville

Our Jags used to win the offseason pretty much every year only to fall on their faces once the real season showed up. I'll enjoy watching some of the same for the Texans this year. Now, if Trevor can just take that jump in performance this year that we were expecting out of him last year, we just might be in business.


Marcus from Jacksonville

I'm having an existential dilemma over something that I need your help with, John. In a traditional I formation, with two backs lined up behind the quarterback who is under center, why is the one closest to the quarterback called the "fullback" and the one further away called the "halfback?" Shouldn't it be the other way around?

As with most stories involving why things evolve, there is no undisputed "reason" a fullback" is called a "fullback." I'll explain the best I can using the Wikipedia explanation as a starting point. In the days before the "T Formation," most teams had a quarterback, two halfbacks and a fullback with the quarterback lined up a "quarter" behind the offensive line, the two halfbacks "halfway" back and the "fullback" the farthest – or "fullest" back. That Wikipedia explanation is a decent way to summarize formations used in that early era. When the T- Formation took over, the quarterback emerged as the sport's most important position with the fullback remaining important as a power-runner and blocker. When football emphasized running, the fullback and halfback were pretty equal in terms of usage with fullbacks such as Larry Csonka, Jim Taylor and John Riggins – and many more – as/more important to their offenses as their halfback counterparts. As football became more pass-oriented, the fullback declined in importance. Why did it keep its name? Because one year turned into the next and no one decided to call it anything else.

Marty from Jacksonville

John, Please tell those asking for more "receiver help" that receiver help can come in the form of better pass blocking, a better running game and even a better defense to keep us in games. Those things might do more to help our passing game than yet another wide receiver, no matter how good he is.


Capt from Fernandina Beach, Fl

John, no question we need to draft a cornerback, but the talk of drafting a wide receiver at 17 is not wise in my opinion. We need to continue to upgrade the offensive line. If we have a strong offensive line that allows us to run the ball on third-and-1 on anyone no matter how the line up, we will be able to beat anyone with the roster we have. Your thoughts.

I think it's always good to draft offensive line if the lineman is a good player and I think there's a chance the Jaguars could select offensive line at No. 17 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft if the right player is there. I think there's a better chance they will take cornerback No. 17 overall because the need is greater and the player available could make a lot of sense.

Levi from Boise, Idaho

Balke is going to continue to Balke. The question is, Shad he continue? Khan he continue? I mustache you this...

I don't know if this is clever or not. It seems you worked sort of hard on it, though. Good on you, I suppose.

Daniel from Johnston, IA

I didn't say much about it when it happened but what is your take on the defensive coach change for the Jags? I felt like last year, the strategy/plan was fine we just sometimes didn't have the healthy talent to stop the run etc. You say it's always coaching and if Pederson made the change then maybe it is, but do you think it was the defensive coaching last year?

I tend to think coaching – meaning coordinating and playcalling – is a little overrated and overanalyzed until proven otherwise. Not that it's unimportant, it's just way overused as a reason things happen in the NFL. If it's really good or egregiously bad, it can make a difference. More often than not, it's about players believing in the head coach or coordinator deep down and making plays whatever the scheme. Did Jaguars players last season deep down believe in defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell and the defense? I heard nothing to indicate they didn't, but when you lose five of six games to end the season and struggle to stop the run, it gives the appearance that something fundamentally isn't working. This doesn't make Caldwell a bad coach. NFL offensive and defensive coordinators are fired annually and the best coaches in NFL history get fired. But Pederson clearly believed a change will help. I don't believe all the Jaguars' defensive struggles in 2024 were on coaching. It's never all on coaching – even though it is always coaching in the NFL.

Dwayne from Jacksonville

Zone, is it possible the senior writer has his best years behind him? Or can we hope it is possible he has his best years ahead of him?

What are "best years?"