JACKSONVILLE — Let's get to it …
Keith from Saint Augustine, FL
The offensive line has played better than anticipated, rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence is making strides and we seem to have found help at tight end. Our defense needs an influx of talent. When do you anticipate us being competitive enough to challenge for the playoffs (Jim Mora excluded)?
This is a tough question. I would love to say 2022 because I would love for fans and this team to experience that that quickly – though realistically it feels like 2023. That's because if you realistically look at this roster, it probably at the end of the season will need a No. 1 cornerback, No. 1 wide receiver, multiple starting offensive linemen and multiple defensive starters. The biggest factor that seems to be missing are difference-making playmakers on both sides of the ball, and I'm just not sure you add as many as the Jaguars need in one offseason. Perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps players such as Josh Allen/K'Lavon Chaisson at defensive end/linebacker, Tyson Campbell at cornerback, Andre Cisco at safety, Laviska Shenault Jr. at wide receiver and Walker Little at offensive tackle will look like difference-making, franchise-foundation players by season's end. If so, then you don't have as many holes. As of now, none has played like guaranteed foundation players – though a few of those players have flashed to varying extents. Perhaps the clock can be accelerated. Stay tuned.
Stephen from Palm Bay, FL
Do you think acquisitions of a few free agents available might help the team at this point? If so, who might be available?
Would a few free agents right now help the Jaguars? Some, perhaps. Would a few free agents next offseason help? Sure – but beware trying to make massive improvements through free agency, even with ample salary-cap space. Sometimes you get results as the Jaguars did with defensive lineman Calais Campbell and cornerback A.J. Bouye in 2017. More often you're getting players other teams didn't want for some reason – age, injury history, non-elite talent. So, yes … you can get better with free agency. But it's a dangerous way to build.
Mark from Windermere (Section 38!)
I'm a huge believer in Lawrence. The promise of Lawrence isn't simply "capable of winning," though. It's to be a true franchise QB, a guy that is so good at the most important position in sports that he always gives your team a chance. Through five games, what's the one thing he's got to do to take that next step?
Just what he's doing. Improving his pocket presence, improving his decision-making, improving his accuracy, improving his knowledge of NFL defenses. The big thing he must do is win. That's inevitable. He's too talented and has too many strengths for it not to happen.
John from Tampa, FL
Is James Robinson going to be better than Fred Taylor?
Mark from Prescott, AZ
Hi, John. I'm going to try to call the elephant out of the room. Trevor Lawrence never lost a regular season game in high school or college. The only times he lost were playoff games with a strong defense in opposition – particularly a strong pass rush. I know he's supposed to be a generational talent and he does have a lot of good qualities, but I think his Achilles heel is he cannot respond to defensive pressure very well, which explains his playoff losses. Do you think I am way off the base, or am I the only one that sees the truth?
I'm baffled, befuddled and more than a little bewildered by Jaguars fans and observers who seem prone to continuously criticizing and not believing in Lawrence. He has played five NFL games, improving steadily and doing so with a young roster still rebuilding from one that lost 15 games to end last season – and we're determining that something we've seen or haven't seen is an Achilles Heel? Remember: Lawrence's losses in college came in the postseason when suddenly the teams he was playing were better than the ones he played in the regular season. Lawrence handles pressure well for a young quarterback. He keeps his eyes downfield and looks for open receivers rather than panicking and hyperventilating in the pocket when a defender nears. He is not always as accurate as you would like – yet – but he is not flawed in this area. Does pressure bother him somewhat? Yes. You know what other quarterbacks are bothered by pressure? All of them. Lawrence is going to good – and that's true no matter how much or how prematurely people insist on believing otherwise.
Tim from Callahan, FL
Arguably the two toughest players to tackle on the Jaguars are Laviska Shenault Jr. and James Robinson. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that when you're down inside the five that you should give the wildcat with Shenault at quarterback and Robinson at running back with a Jumbo set. This is a no-brainer football 101 … what's up with that?
There is some logic to having perhaps a play – or a package – with Shenault in some sort of wildcat formation. As for the Jumbo Wildcat being the primary approach … that would mean Lawrence NOT being on the field in the red zone, so is this no-brainer Football 101? Yeah, an argument could be made.
James from Jacksonville
Can you imagine how much better our team would be if we still had former cornerback Jalen Ramsey, former defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, former wide receiver Allen Robinson and former running back Leonard Fournette? The mishandling of talent has been mindboggling over the past few years.
The Jaguars probably would be better with Ramsey, Ngakoue and Robinson.
JT from Palm Coast, FL
I think you know how critical I've been of Mr. Chaisson, but it's refreshing to hear his candor and ability to self-reflect. I hope he works out and plays to his potential because he 100 percent has the right attitude.
Jaguars defensive end/linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson indeed hasn't produce at the level people want from a first-round selection, but you're right that he's candid and self-reflective when discussing this. He also seems to have the desire and work ethic to do what it takes to improve. Here's hoping he does. He seems to be an easy guy for whom to root.
Matthew from Jacksonville
At what point in the season does Urban take over play calling? Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has a history of not running the ball.
Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer will not take over play-calling duties.
Rusty from New Iberia, LA
Playing in London every year was supposed to give us a sort of homefield advantage. Do u think we still have that advantage with so many new players?
I expect the Jaguars will have an advantage because the Jaguars have good operational and logistical people who know the best way to negotiate this trip. The advantage isn't enough to guarantee victory, and I think the number of new players reduces the edge, but it should be somewhat of an advantage.
Rob from Ventura
Remember when all the coaches said you really need four starting level corners to compete in the NFL? How did we go from that to "nah...we good with one?"
Jason from Green Cove Springs, FL
Hey John, I think it might take a lot longer to rebuild the secondary than what you are thinking. I went through every cornerback the team has brought in since 2015. I found a few things interesting but mainly that this team has gone through a ton of cornerbacks in that span. The other and more important thing is of all those players only three were good and the rest are mostly out of the NFL. Only Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye and to a degree Aaron Colvin were NFL starting caliber corners. I don't have much faith that the Jags will properly fix the position, especially since we don't currently have any starting talent on the roster at the position. Getting another corner as talented as Ramsey could take a very very long time, John.
First, you're missing one: Shaq Griffin is a starting-level corner. Yes, he has dropped three interceptions, and he may not be a lockdown, takeaway-a-side-of-the-field corner, but he's starting level. Will the Jaguars get a corner as talented as Ramsey soon? Well, no. That could take years or decades. Can they dramatically improve and be a good secondary in the span of one or two offseasons? Absolutely.
Eric from Duval
How do you feel about the Jags' fan base's resiliency? Tough to do this week in and week out. O-Zone. Getting real, real tough.
Getting real, real tough? Hell, Eric … the Jaguars have had one winning season since 2010 and have lost 20 consecutive games. It has been real, real tough for far, far too long. The Jaguars' fan base is phenomenally resilient, loyal and deserving. I don't know when the next victory will come. I don't know when a winning season will come. Or when a postseason appearance and Super Bowl contention will come. I do know when it does come the fans will be deserving – as deserving as is imaginable.