JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Charles from Riverside
Hello, John. It would appear the coaching hires confirmed to date – starting with Pederson – have been very quarterback-centric in their respective backgrounds and actual personal NFL experience. Not a conspiracy guy per se, but there seems to be a general theme running through the process. I think it is a good thing, as we need to get Trevor Lawrence all the best mentoring and coaching possible. Going to see the Jags at the 'Bank, it is immediately apparent – for all the reasons you have pointed out – Lawrence certainly has the potential to be generational. Seeing him in person you have no doubt how impressive his future SHOULD be. Glad the front office is giving him the support he needs and assume they will follow through on the same theme early in the draft?
You're correct that the Jaguars' new coaching staff appears very quarterback-centric. Not only is new Head Coach Doug Pederson a former NFL backup quarterback, reported offensive coordinator Press Taylor, reported quarterbacks coach Mike McCoy and reported passing-game coordinator Jim Bob Cooter are all former quarterbacks at the college level. This makes sense because Pederson as a former quarterback values the position, and because the league overall has become so quarterback-centric. It also makes sense because of the presence of quarterback Trevor Lawrence; developing him is Priority One, Two and Three – and so on. Whatever the makeup of the coaching staff, it's safe to assume the Jaguars will try to build the best roster possible around Lawrence. But if you're implying that that means they must select an offensive players No. 1 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft – perhaps left tackle Evan Neal of Alabama – I don't know that that's the case. I do believe the Jaguars will address offensive line and wide receiver this offseason, but that doesn't need to be No. 1 overall.
Fred from Naples, FL
Hey Zone … what exactly is a reserve/futures contract?
It's worth repeating this answer. A reserve/futures contract essentially brings a player to an organization and allows that player to participate in the offseason program and go into training camp with the team. Teams sign players to those contracts immediately after the season and into February because rosters expand in the offseason.
Hilarious from Funnytown
Is it still going to be the O-Zone without constant Tony Boselli-to-the-Hall-of-Fame questions? Should we just keep talking about it for the next ten years like it didn't happen for the sake of continuity?
Cue: Fred Taylor questions (and rightfully so). And Jimmy Smith questions (also rightfully so).
Seamus from Sioux Falls, SD
If Coach P is going to be calling offensive plays, why do we need an offensive coordinator? And how is the OC different from the "passing-game coordinator?" Seems like we are hiring a bunch of coaches with jobs that Coach P is already planning to do himself. What is going on?
When head coaches call offensive or defensive plays, it's common to have an offensive or defensive coordinator to oversee writing the game plan during game weeks. That's a time-intensive process – and head coaches have more to do than simply game plan. Having a coordinator handle that with the head coach calling the plays during the game makes sense from that standpoint. A passing-game coordinator focuses and contributes more on the passing game than the offensive coordinator.
Joe from FLEMING ISLAND
Hey Zone, any rumors floating around that the executive vice president hiring has been delayed as the person being hired was just inducted into the Hall of Fame and an earlier announcement would detract from that honor? Just asking for a friend, who may pee themselves a little should that announcement be made.
I've heard no rumors to that effect. But I would click on that.
Doug from Jacksonville, FL
_Although just one game, I found it interesting the pressure put on Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow in the Super Bowl changed everything. So, the chicken-or-the-egg conversation can start. First overall pick … do you pick one lineman out of five to protect quarterback Trevor Lawrence or do you pick a defensive end to disrupt the opposing quarterback? Where can you get, statistically, the best defensive ends and offensive lineman? I am not an encyclopedia of knowledge like the All Knowing and Great O, but I would think more game-changing defensive linemen have been picked early than offensive linemen. Boselli of course notwithstanding. _
Greatness at offensive tackle or defensive line historically is more often found early in the draft than later – and I've never sensed it more difficult to find elite at one or the other. I personally would lean toward drafting a defensive line there because disrupting the quarterback is sooo much more important than anything else on defense. That doesn't mean I'm overwhelmingly for defensive line over offensive line; it would be more of a slight nod than a blowout victory. Key to consider here, too, is this selection is about players as much as position. If the defensive linemen available early in the draft are just OK and the offensive linemen are special, then you go with special. It does no good to select the right position if the guy can't play.
Marcus from Jacksonville
John, do you think with the Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers winning the last two Super Bowls that we are beginning to see a shift in the team-building philosophy of NFL franchises? Both of those teams had a high percentage of key players that were acquired through trades and free-agent signings, which goes against the tried and true "build through the draft" mentality. Obviously building through the draft is still the best way to have sustained success, but do you think we will see more of this NBA-esque approach where veteran players try to team up to chase rings? I'm not faulting them, just wondering if that might become the new norm as time goes on.
I absolutely believe teams will lean more toward this, and the Rams in particular deserve a lot of credit for following their own path and trading premium draft capital for established superstars in recent seasons. They added cornerback Jalen Ramsey and quarterback Matt Stafford this way, and they probably wouldn't have won the Super Bowl without the trade for Stafford. But even teams that move toward this approach still must draft well; the Rams' two best players, after all, were players they drafted – defensive lineman Aaron Donald and wide receiver Cooper Kupp. The "trading-draft-picks" model could get followed, but it still must supplement good drafting.
Greg from Section 122, Jacksonville, FL
Jaguars win a Super Bowl? Will never happen. Why? Because the NFL won't deem it allowed. Think I am wrong? Just watch the Super Bowl. All sorts of holding, pass interference and other penalties going on with no calls the ENTIRE game. Then in the last Rams drive the refs find their glasses and flags, coincidentally starting call ALL those things on the Bengals defense. Tell me again how the refs are unbiased. Same thing happened years ago in with the Jaguars and Pats playoff game where somehow the Patriots were never flagged once the whole game. For anything. The league is influencing the games. Motivation? In this case the viewer base of Los Angeles is not responding well to their franchise, so what better way to get the 18 million television households involved than to have them win the Super Bowl? So please explain to me how this doesn't track, I wanna understand why I am wrong. Especially now with allegations the Miami Dolphins were attempting to throw games.
I didn't like a few of the calls on the final series Sunday, either – particularly the holding penalty on third-and-8 that gave the Rams a first down. I thought that changed the game and didn't think it was the correct call. But I also thought that the referees completely missed an offensive pass interference early in the second half that gave the Bengals a 17-13 lead. As far as the allegations that the Dolphins were attempting to throw games … if those allegations prove true, I would expect major ramifications – perhaps even having owner Stephen Ross sell the team. I understand people's tendency to search for conspiracy in these situations. But a conspiracy would require someone in the league office to tell officials to intentionally tilt a game in one team's direction. The risk to the league is such that it would defy reason to do this.
Crash from JAX
So, Coach Pederson thinks JAX can become the Green Bay of The South. I like it!
Bill from Jacksonville
John, here's a link to the video of Boselli's touchdown saving tackle and the full game highlights by Chris Berman: Link.
This indeed is a link to a video showing Boselli chasing down Bengals cornerback Atrell Hawkins in a 1998 Jaguars. It's good stuff that shows Boselli's athleticism and desire. Worth a look.