JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Michael from Orange Park, FL
You and Brian Sexton both raved about Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. Wednesday? Really? Off one run?
Sexton and I each did discuss Etienne in our "campservations" Wednesday from Day 3 of Jaguars 2022 Training Camp. While I shudder to think of Sexton and I sharing a "wavelength," it was logical and correct to rave about Etienne Wednesday – even based largely on one run. That's because Etienne looked really good, really confident – and perhaps most importantly – really sudden on that long run in practice Wednesday. He cut upfield fast and pulled away from the defense, showing no effects from the Lisfranc injury that cost him his rookie 2021 regular season. I admit I have been skeptical about Etienne's return. I have been cautious in praising him in this space, and I have couched most of my Etienne-focused analysis on needing to make sure he is back from his injury. One run does not guarantee full health, but he looked on Wednesday morning like a player no longer thinking about the injury. That's as good of news as the Jaguars could have expected regarding Etienne three days into camp.
Bruce from Saint Simons Island, GA
O, I like the good vibes for the Jags this season – then I look at the Jags' schedule. Didn't Mike Tyson say something like we all have a game plan until we get punched in the face?
Tyson did say that, but a couple of thoughts here. One is that it's kind of pointless before any NFL season to worry about schedule difficulty; every NFL season features teams improving or dropping dramatically from the previous season, so schedules often look far different at midseason than in August. Two is that even if the Jaguars' schedule is as brutally difficult as many believe, that doesn't preclude the Jaguars from having a successful season. If the Jaguars and quarterback Trevor Lawrence are improved, a lot of those games that now look difficult will be a lot closer at the end than originally expected and the Jaguars in turn will win some of those games. If the Jaguars win a few more games than expected, that will push them toward six or seven victories. Seven or eight victories in this writer's view is a successful season, particularly if Lawrence looks like a franchise quarterback by season's end. That's possible whatever the perceived difficulty of the schedule.
Sean from Oakleaf, FL
When Lawrence has a good day at training camp, doesn't it mean by definition that our defense is having a bad day?
I will not get sucked into the vortex. I will not get sucked into the vortex. I will not get sucked into the vortex. I will not get …
Jonathan from Jax
If sports media does not have any fan in them, how in the hell do you produce content that fans want? It's counterintuitive. Also: Are you guys at jaguars.com – the official site of the team – going to let a bunch of fans at other sites out produce you on content all season or just the first few days of minicamp? Step it up big guy:)
Being a fan of a team is in no way a prerequisite for understanding what issues are important to a team or fan base. Sports media, myself included, produces content by following teams and understanding pertinent storylines. Sports media, myself included, at times listens to fans to get a gauge for what fans want to hear and read about their team. That's not counterintuitive; it's being experienced and capable in a profession. As for your second point … us guys at jaguars.com, myself included, met the other day and I'm happy to announce we have decided to dramatically reduce the quality and quantity of our content. We, myself included, have been "awesome" for so long we've decided to try another approach. Enjoy.
Ben from Cuba, MO
O', Off topic, in their primes, Freeney or Mathis?
This is tough, because I enjoyed covering both Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis with the Indianapolis Colts – and I like both men very much as people and players. I'm going to go with Freeney because I considered Freeney slightly more dominant while I covered the pair. In fairness to Mathis, his best season (2013) came after I stopped covering the Colts while I covered Freeney throughout his prime – which essentially was 2002-2010. Both were remarkably consistent, both closed games well and both had a remarkable knack for forcing fumbles. There probably have been better pure pass-rushing tandems in NFL history. But Freeney and Mathis are in the conversation.
Dave from Jacksonville
Zone, how are you holding up? I know you're only a couple days into camp, but you're cranking articles like you're already in midseason form.
Fear not. We'll taper off. Hell, as far as Jonathan sees it, we already did.
Don from Marshall, NC
I got news for the rest of the league. You're going to have to deal with Trevor Lawrence this year. There is nothing they will be able to do about it because it's physics. I guarantee the Jaguars fans will be able to talk smack proudly once again. This team is the real deal and they're going to be good. Go Jaguars!
Don is "all in" on Lawrence, as he should be. My early thoughts this training camp is I would be very, very surprised at this point if Lawrence is not a really good NFL quarterback for a long time. I would actually be surprised if he's not elite. One reason is his talent, which has been obvious since long before the Jaguars made him the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. Another is how he has handled himself off the field since arriving at the Jaguars. That matters for a starting quarterback, and he has been off-the-charts good in that area. Now, early in '22 camp, Lawrence is showing more confidence, quicker reads, more short-and-long term accuracy than he did last season. He appears to have already grasped Head Coach Doug Pederson's offense, and this is the early stages of that process. That doesn't mean he's "there." There will be hiccups. But it's getting harder and harder to imagine he's not going to be the guy.
Audie from Alamogordo
I know that we're supposed to learn from mistakes from the past but it's so unnecessary to hear any more about that old coach and move on to bigger, better things like this year's team.
You may be referencing Jaguars outside linebacker Josh Allen recently discussing former Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer, which Allen did in a roundabout way Tuesday when discussing Pederson. I understand there are some Jaguars fans tired of reading and hearing about Meyer. Why wouldn't they be at this point? But if a player discusses him, most media – including myself – considers that newsworthy enough to mention it in a story. And if a reader asks a question in the O-Zone about Meyer, there's a decent chance I will answer it. If the mood strikes. My sense is there soon will come a time when people don't ask about Meyer as much. But he's a high-profile guy and his tenure here was … er, notable. It's understandable he still comes up in conversation in these parts from time to time.
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ
O-man, what's with the bubble wrap helmets some of the players are wearing?
You're referencing the helmet pads worn by Jaguars players during '22 camp. They're designed to help reduce the chances for concussions and are worn by defensive and offensive linemen, as well as tight ends – essentially, the players most likely to make contact with the helmet.
Nathan from Utah, US
Zone, tell me they're quick. Tell me they're sharp. Tell me we're nasty. #SOOOPVAL!!!
Nathan is "all in."
Dave from Jacksonville
It looks and sounds like Trevor has added additional bulk during the offseason. That added strength should lead to continued improvement. Last year Trevor averaged around 215 yards passing a game. All indications are he is set to have an improved season. What would that look like? Two hundred fifty yards per game would add up to 4,250 regular season yards. Is this a realistic expectation for Trevor's second season based on what you have seen so far?
An improved season for Lawrence would be a touchdown-interception well into the positives. Far more big, "special" game-turning plays and far fewer turnovers. The Jaguars would be competitive in more games and would win games in the fourth quarter with Lawrence a major reason. I don't know what that would mean in terms of regular-season passing yards. Most really good quarterbacks last season were over 4,000, so let's go with that.
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ
O-man, is it true that Trevor has looked so good in practice that he threw a pass your way and even YOU caught it?
I am the king of all funk.