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O-Zone: Getting going

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Jeremy from Gilbert, AZ

It's October 2022 and Trevor Lawrence still hasn't shown he's going to be special and lead a team to a Super Bowl much less be a long-term franchise quarterback.

You're right. Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence through 24 games as an NFL starter hasn't shown beyond doubt he's going to be special and he hasn't shown beyond doubt he's going to be a long-term franchise quarterback. He also hasn't shown he's not going to be those things. He is better than he was as a rookie last season – significantly better. He has thrown nine touchdown passes with four interceptions in 2022 after throwing 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions last season. He is the quarterback of the NFL's seventh-ranked offense in term of total yards. He has had good games this season. He has had rough games. He has had OK games. A 23-17 loss to the New York Giants this past Sunday was an OK game. If you believe Lawrence was essentially starting from "Square One" this season, then you probably are OK with his development. If you expected him to make a Year 2 jump that many elite NFL quarterbacks make, you're probably disappointed. The reality is he's probably a little closer to a rookie than a second-year veteran because of the circumstances around the team last season. I expect that to be a storyline all season, and I also expect many fans and observers to not like it – and to lose faith in Lawrence. Either way, the Jaguars believe he's developing at a reasonable pace for a young quarterback in his first season in a new offensive system. Stay tuned.

Jason from Green Cove Springs, FL

In trading away running back James Robinson, I feel like the front office is beginning to throw in the towel on this season. I know you're going to say ETN has emerged, but running back is one of the physical positions in football and having one as productive as Robinson would be important for a team still contending.

I wouldn't have traded Robinson because I think his value over the last 10 games this season outweighs a fifth- or sixth-round selection that the New York Jets gave the Jaguars in Wednesday's trade. But this isn't about "rebuilding" or shedding players for salary-cap space. You don't rebuild with a single fifth- or sixth-round selection and the Jaguars clearly were moving on from Robinson — either before the end of the season or afterward. While Robinson was a popular and effective player, the Jaguars saw him as a player with an expiring contract at season's end who likely wasn't going to play a significant role this season in this offense. They got value for that player. That was the reason for the move.

Rusty from New Iberia, LA

A sixth-round pick. That is nothing for a great back. Does this team not know it is OK to actually have two good players at the same position? Especially in such a violent sport where injuries are common.

I'm with you on not parting ways with good players. The Jaguars have done that too often. But I just don't know that this front office/coaching staff saw Robinson as "special" in the same way as many fans and observers saw him. Where fans saw special, the Jaguars saw good – and not irreplaceable in the long or short run.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

I knew you were going to polish that turd of a trade. So, you're telling me that a desperate team like the New York Jets wouldn't have given up a better pick than a sixth? The Jags acted like they were the desperate team. Robinson's value THIS YEAR is more valuable than a lousy sixth-round pick. The Jags always seem to lose whatever trade happens. Again, we had all the leverage and we let him go for peanuts.

I have no interest in polishing the trade. Or whatever. It was a midseason trade for a player with 10 games remaining on a contract. It was also a midseason trade for a good running back. It was not a midseason trade for a player considered elite or franchise-changing. If Robinson rushes for 600 yards this season, they will get a fifth-round selection. That's about what you get in this situation.

Noel from Saint Augustine

I hope J-Rob has 200 yards rushing against us Week 16 in Prime Time.

Perhaps he will.

Yoav from St. Johns, FL

Does culture -- the behavior, institutions, norms and habits passed down from veteran to rookie -- matter in winning NFL organizations? This team has let good picks go before a second contract (e.g. JRob, DJ Chark Jr., Yannick Ngakoue, Jalen Ramsey) and the dearth of homegrown talent in the locker room may be a significant reason for a decade of losing seasons.

Culture matters and the Jaguars unquestionably must draft/develop players far better than they have done in the last decade. Or decade and a half. And yes … it was a shame that the team's relationship with cornerback Jalen Ramsey was such that he couldn't be a long-term player. At the same time, you can't force this. You can't re-sign players to long-term contracts that shape your franchise and your salary cap if the player doesn't merit the commitment. And Robinson, while a popular and productive player, was a running back. Long-term contracts for running backs are veeeery tricky and are best reserved for elite, franchise-changing players. Even then they're tricky.

Trevor from Cape Girardeau, MO

I understand some fans are upset Robinson got traded, but I believe it was more of a business move. They also probably weren't going to re-sign him this offseason so getting a draft pick now is better than letting him walk. Plus getting a potential fifth-round pick for a non-premium position and undrafted player? That's a good deal and its good Robinson can go start and earn another contract.

One fer the trade …

Zac from Austin, Tejas

The Jaguars are going to win Sunday and I'm not going to care because I'm still going to be mad about the James Robinson trade.

… and one apparently not fer the trade.

Saif from Washington, DC

Do coaches work with players on technical issues during the season? For example, throwing motion for quarterbacks or tackling technique for the secondary? Or is the season mainly game strategy for the next team we play?

Position coaches work specifically with positions, and that work includes technique. But the most intensive fundamental and technique work usually is done in the offseason and training camp. Game week in the typically is about preparation.

Chief from Biloxi, MS

With the shipping out of J-Rob, is the new rebuild starting?

This wasn't that.

Zac from Austin, Tejas

If the Jaguars lose every game left in the season, but it's all by seven points or less - do you still count the season as a success? Do you like the direction of the team?

If the Jaguars lose every game by seven points or fewer, they will finish the season 2-15. That would not be a success. What it would be is really odd, particularly if all losses were in games as legitimately close as most Jaguars losses have been so far this season. That's highly unlikely, because logic says the Jaguars eventually will make a key play or two – or get a break or two – to turn some of these closes losses into victories. As for the direction of the team … it's hard to know if one will like it until games are played. Will they still be moving consistently? Is the offensive line still playing well? Do they seem to be answering some questions defensively? Is Lawrence developing? The answers will determine the feeling?

Michael from Fruitport, Michigan

Last year the Jaguars were like the last kid picked playing kickball in elementary school, an "easy out". This year teams have to actually work to beat us. Well, you know when we're not beating ourselves. Either way this team is no longer an "easy out." That's progress in my book. I'm still all in!


Sam from here

The seasons change. The uniforms change. The players change. The coaches change. However, these are the same old Jaguars.

There are signs this isn't true. The competitiveness and closeness of games. The fact that the offense is moving efficiently. The fact that they have had a real chance to win all five losses. Those are real things that offer hope. But they're not winning and winning is everything in the NFL. It's on the Jaguars now to win and prove this team is different. Until they do, they will be "same old Jaguars."

Eddie from Jacksonville

In sports, things seem to come in bunches. Right now we are losing close games in bunches, but it feels like if we could somehow we could pull one out, it might trigger a run of wins.