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O-Zone: Go get your shinebox

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Michael from Orange Park, FL

I have a weird feeling, zone. Usually, I have hope for the Jaguars by this time of the offseason. This year, I'm not feeling it. Is something wrong in my life?

There's very probably something wrong in your life, though that likely has nothing to do with this "weird feeling." But while it's understandable to be down about the Jaguars following five losses in the final six games of the regular season and collapsing out of the postseason less than six weeks ago, hope is far from lost on this front. Remember: The Jaguars were 9-8 in 2023. They were not 3-14. They have playmakers who will return in 2024 such as quarterback Trevor Lawrence, running back Travis Etienne Jr., tight end Evan Engram and wide receiver Christian Kirk and they have defensive impact players such as outside linebackers Josh Allen and Travon Walker. They also have players such as cornerback Tyson Campbell, safety Andre Cisco and linebacker Devin Lloyd with varying degrees of proven production and potential. This is a long, long way from the franchise's most talent-deficient roster in recent memory. These are not "dark times." Now, it's true that significant improvement must be made to go from the Jaguars' 2023 version of 9-8 to contending for the Super Bowl. The offensive and defensive line must get stouter and more dominant. And Lawrence must not only reduce his proficiency for turnovers, but also must take a step forward in terms of clutch play and reliability. He has been very good at times, but there's room between "very good at times" and "great." So, yes … there is work to be done for the Jaguars. But there's also hope around these parts. A lot of it.


John - Lawrence reminds me of former Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler. Spectacular at times yet prone to erratic play. Poised in the pocket, yet prone to boneheaded mistakes. Cutler never improved in these areas throughout his entire career. He was what he was. I see Trevor headed in the same direction. Please tell me why my assessment is wrong.

Why is this wrong? I guess because it just doesn't feel right. Or at the very least, it feels very premature. Lawrence in three NFL seasons has had big-time moments and has led his team to the postseason, which Cutler had not done at that stage of his career. But there's little question Lawrence has been too turnover-prone so far in his career. That's inarguable. If he continues in that direction, this sort of comparison will continue. It's up to him to make such comparisons stop.

Don from Marshall, NC

San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks makes it to the Super Bowl and gets fired? Probably best to rent if you're coaching in the NFL. Go Jaguars!

When it comes to the annual – and seemingly increasing – silliness of postseason coaching changes, it's hard to know if Don remains "all in." But it's always coaching in the NFL.

Brian from ROUND ROCK, TX

All Jags Nation can breathe a sigh of relief that Josh Pederson was signed to a futures contract. Is there a bigger offseason signing?

Pederson is practice-squad tight end who was among players announced as signing a futures contract with the Jaguars this week. A futures contract isn't as much a contract as a guarantee that a player will participate in the offseason and training camp. It's a way for the team to assure it has an offseason roster. Yes, there are bigger offseason signings.

Bradford from Orange Park, FL

I'm not a go-back-and-pick-apart-a-draft connoisseur, but with the recent national sports news relevance to it, I have a couple times thought to myself "we could have had Christian McCaffery."

And why wouldn't you?

Aaron from Ponte Vedra Beach

Two questions: Is Christian Kirk really that important to our offense? Seems like the season took a big hit when he got injured. Also, it feels like the Jaguars did a lot better with penalties the second half of the season - is that true or just a perception? Thanks!

Wide receiver Christian Kirk indeed is "that" important to the Jaguars' offense. Quarterbacks, particularly young quarterbacks, need a receiver they trust implicitly and that they know almost without thinking will be where he is supposed to be when he is supposed to be there. That sort of trust makes a huge difference in the game's biggest moments, and the NFL is a game of big moments and big situations. Try to picture the Chiefs without tight end Travis Kelce. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes still would be good, but there also would be an adjustment without Kelce's reliability. Kirk's absence wasn't the only reason for the Jaguars' late-season struggles, but it's not entirely coincidental that they lost five of six games after his injury in a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. As far as penalties, there wasn't a significant difference late in the season. The Jaguars committed 39 penalties for 324 yards in the first eight games of the season and 44 for 320 yards in the last nine games.

Levi from Huntsville, AL

So, I'm obviously no player or coach, but I understand some receivers' routes have options depending on the defense, essentially changing them mid play. Many interceptions were caused by "miscommunication" on these. This is an ignorant question, but since the quarterback and receivers couldn't get on the same page over the course of a whole season, would it not make sense to those options out of the playbook? Call a play and stick to it?

You can theoretically do this – unless you plan on playing offense at a championship level. It's hard to beat NFL defenses without receivers and quarterbacks having to read – and adjust to – the coverage.

Eric from Jacksonville Beach

Now that the Super Bowl is done, and draft talk is really ramping up, it got me thinking. Do you think positional value is a little overblown when it comes to drafting? Not saying we shouldn't have drafted Travon, I actually like what he's becoming, but I remember people saying you couldn't draft Sauce Gardner there because you can't draft a corner No. 1. Based on what he's done, I would think anyone in the Top 5 would be lucky to have him. Same thing the year the Cincinnati Bengals took wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, or when the Colts took guard Quenton Nelson. Seems like when you have players that are just that good shouldn't you just go for it and time will prove you right?

Positional value versus quality of player is a yearly push and pull when it comes to the draft. General managers emphasize positional value because they know some positions impact games more than others, and they know that it's harder to find quality players at some positions. The reason defensive and offensive lineman have high positional value is that general managers know there are a limited number of human beings who have the requisite size along with other traits – speed, athleticism and/or agility – to play the position at a high level. For example: Most general managers would select a great edge defender or disruptive interior defender over a corner because a great edge defender or disruptive interior defender plays closer to the ball and therefore affects more plays. I have a hard time arguing that approach – and the thought here is if you veer from that approach, the corner must be significantly better than the front-seven player.

Jermaine from Wilmington, NC

Will the Jaguars get new uniform for the 2024 season? The uniforms we currently have look like practice uniforms. At least edit the uniforms we have with more gold added into them.

I have no indication that the Jaguars will change uniforms for the 2024 season.

John from Jacksonville

Hi KOAGF - I think Cam's performance on Sounds of the Game provides energy, leadership and humor. A very fun watch. He needs to stay with the Jags. What's a few extra million dollars, anyway?

I think left tackle Cam Robinson matters a lot to this team. His teammates love him. He has been a good player for a long time. His energy is important. A few million dollars matters very little if you are not the one spending the few million dollars.

Greg from Section 122, Jacksonville, FL

We should see in 20 years a Hall-of-Fame selection for best kickoff fair catcher … EVER! He was able to fair catch better THAN ANYONE of that era. SMH. My best punter ever was Reggie Roby of the Dolphins. They actually used to measure the hangtime on his kicks because it was insanely high.

Roby had a very powerful leg. He was a physical specimen. I have seen punters I thought were better than Roby in terms of punt placement and ability to down the ball inside the 20.

Jon from Jax Beach

Nice Goodfellas reference. The end.

I am the king of all funk.