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O-Zone: Good graces

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Kevin from Jacksonville Beach, FL

Hi, John. I'm sure the answer to this question is help is not on the way. But couldn't Trent Baalke be of some help here? I just can't believe that there are no wide receivers on a practice squad that aren't better than what we have now. They could at least stretch the field and open it up underneath. I hope his talent evaluation skills are better than what we've had in the past from the general managers.

Baalke and Head Coach Urban Meyer – like all NFL general managers and head coaches – constantly try to upgrade all positions. This is a year-round task. I don't say this as a generic answer to a specific question, but that's reality. Remember, too: the Jaguars have signed and acquired multiple wide receivers since Meyer arrived and Baalke took over as general manager last offseason – and addressing speed at the position has been a constant focus. Just since the late April 2021 NFL Draft, they have brought in Laquon Treadwell, Tyron Johnson, Devin Smith and John Brown. Those are sorts of "practice squad players from other teams" who you can't believe aren't better than what the Jaguars have now. The Jaguars' situation is this: They lack front-line players at receiver around which opponents must game plan. They need wide receivers who strain defenses, make defensive backs play off the line of scrimmage and force safeties to help over the top. That gets defenders out of the box and gives an offense room to work. Serviceable receivers – i.e., practice squad players and players released by other teams – generally aren't what they Jaguars are lacking. They have plenty of those.

Jeff from Atlantic Beach, FL

"Hot Take" - If Lawrence gets a pass because there isn't enough offensive talent surrounding him, shouldn't the same be given to Darrell Bevell?

I never really know what "pass" means when people discuss NFL coaches or players. Jaguars rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence is being criticized for a lot of things these days by a lot of observers and so is offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. Does "pass" mean not getting fired? Well, the Jaguars aren't "firing" Lawrence and I don't expect them to change play-callers during the regular season. I haven't the foggiest idea what the offseason will bring for the staff. That doesn't mean I believe there will be changes. That doesn't mean I don't believe there will be changes. It means I haven't been around Meyer very long and Meyer never has coached in the NFL. It's therefore hard to gauge the moves he will or won't make. It's particularly hard considering seven games remain in the season.

Bruce from Saint Simons Island, GA

O, I will not comment on the Jags recent "results." But I did notice something about the 49ers game near the end: Robinson (clearly injured) scored a touchdown and the Jags players all gathered around to congratulate him. This appeared to be an honest affection for Robinson, and nice to see. You agree?

Jaguars running back James Robinson is cool. Teammates like him.

Jeff from Jacksonville

Why have the coaches not given the receivers on the practice squad a chance? The last preseason game Josh Hammond caught almost every pass including some contested catches and some got yards after catch.

Coaches play players they believe give them the best chance to win. Are they missing on Hammond? Is he a star in the making? Who knows? Maybe. But huge games by receivers late in the preseason often mean little in terms of how that player will fare in the NFL; this is because they're often playing against "vanilla" defenses and against players who won't be on NFL rosters come the regular season. The Dallas Cowboys essentially played zero contributors or starters in that game. It was a fun day. The Jaguars played well. It meant little beyond that.

Jeremy from Jacksonville (Arlington)

Has there been any talk about activating Jeff Cotton Jr. from the practice squad? He had an amazing Preseason game versus Dallas! I would like for him to get a shot. Why not!!

Coaches play players they believe give them the best chance to win. Are they missing on Cotton? Is he a star in the making? Who knows? Maybe. But huge games by receivers late in the preseason often mean little …

Chuck from North Augusta, SC

Being a Jags fan is not fun. Actually, this hasn't been fun for a really long time. But there was always the hope that things were going to get better. I've started losing hope. There is absolutely nothing to like about this team. I am starting to think that Kahn is a bigger part of the problem than I want to admit because I can't see him actually removing himself from the situation. I sure hope something changes soon.

Jaguars Owner Shad Khan hires football people to run football things, and he has done so since taking over the team in 2011. Has he erred at times? In retrospect? Sure, when a team doesn't win, the owner in retrospect by definition "erred." Has he made egregious mistakes that no other NFL owner would have made? I don't believe that's the case. Khan gives his football people the resources to win. He has spent huge money in free agency. He has allowed Meyer to build one of the league's largest staffs and has spared no expense. There isn't much more an owner can do.

Zac from Austin, TX

Hailed Oz. 1, do you think this team will be above .500 before the 2025 season? Personally I think it will take that long. 2, I have a lot of thoughts on coaching but this is a free website so I'll respectfully take them elsewhere.

One, I don't know if the Jaguars will be above .500 before 2025; I do know there's no reason that can't be the case. Two, you are absolutely free to offer thoughts on coaching on this free website; it's my experience that this happens frequently – if not always correctly.

Matt from Houston, TX

Can players who are on IR still come to games and practices?


Ed from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

What this team needs is a Bill Belichick-type coach. I know Khan has been a patient man and sticks to a plan, but right now this team has no discipline and that is going to ruin Trevor Lawrence. Do you think Urban's job is in jeopardy or knowing what you know this a three-year building plan, again?

I do not think Meyer's job is in jeopardy. I think the Jaguars want to win immediately, but I think it realistically could be 2023 before they contend for the postseason.


Most thought the offense would be OK, perhaps even pretty good and that has obviously been not the case. Yes, there have been a couple-season ending injuries and a few other nagging, but given the state of the offense was the talent level grossly overstated? Or have players thought to be good not progressed? Or does it all work together in parts to create the mess we see today? I feel for Trevor but if he can make it through this the only way to go is up.

A little of this, a little of that and a little of all of the above.

Maryanne from Jacksonville

Just wanted to share my disappointment in not only the Jags' fans but the media as well. I share the disappointment, but l believe if you are truly a fan of the Jags or any team you should express your belief in the team as well as your prayers for them knowing that it is disappointing for them as well. It's hard to be positive when no one believes in you.

This is kind and understanding, Maryanne. As you probably know, we live in a time when many people – NFL fans and observers certainly included – are not so kind and understanding. And fans have the right to feel about their team however they choose –and to express themselves as such – and it's not even remotely the job of the media to express belief. This professional football. There's going to be criticism and it's fair for fans/media to expect the players/coaches to create their own positivity.

Mr. NFL from Unfortunately Jacksonville

Apparently, you don't get it. Many fans are talking draft because at 2-8 Sundays have become so painful and pathetic that looking forward – yet once again I might add – is all they have. Quit acting like we have a season to play out. What season? I would hope that as a senior reporter you would start writing articles that held people accountable, instead of writing articles that keep you in the graces of your employer. Be a reporter, you may find that you like it.

Why would I do that when annoying you with how I do it now brings me such joy?