JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
JimShoe from St Johns
O - would you agree that Fortner being bigger and stronger "could" mean less pressure up the middle of the pocket and fewer requirements for "help" from the guards? My takeaway is if all true, our offensive line if healthy is a strength.
Jaguars center Luke Fortner's increased strength and size gained this past offseason certainly should mean he is stouter and more capable this season. He was reliable as a rookie in 2022, improving throughout the season, and those areas should improve as he gains the aforementioned strength – and as he gains experience. The Jaguars overall feel good about their offensive line. It's one of the deepest areas of the roster and it's versatile. There are many strong pieces and it has potential to be good, maybe really good. At the same time, some of those pieces are young (Fortner, rookie tackle Anton Harrison) –and the unit is dealing with injuries (left guard Ben Bartch) and uncertainties (the four-game, season-opening suspension of left tackle Cam Robinson). Stay tuned.
Dave from Jacksonville
KOAF, how would you rate our middle linebacker group? It looks it could be one of the Jags best that I can recall. How many do the Jags keep? Four or five? It appears stacked. Would you agree?
I expect the Jaguars to keep five players at inside linebacker because talent/circumstances will dictate as much. Foye Oluokun, Devin Lloyd and Chad Muma absolutely will make the team if healthy, and I expect Shaq Quarterman to make the roster. I also expect rookie Ventrell Miller to be on the team – in part because he figures to be important at the position in the coming seasons and in part because he may be able to play a special teams/reserve linebacker role this season. I have heard theories that numbers around the roster could force the Jaguars to release Quarterman and keep Miller. Quarterman is very reliable and a very good special teams player, so I'm not buying that theory as of August 8. As for how I rate the position … it's deep, and Oluokun is very productive. How good it is will depend on how Lloyd and Muma develop in their second seasons. We're seeing good signs so far. We'll see how those signs show in the regular season.
Greg from Section 122, Jacksonville, FL
The Jaguars had sent an email to request I come down and be honored for my service as a vet for Military Appreciation Day Saturday. I was not expecting much. Boy, was I wrong. We got VIP treatment and after the practice an announcement acknowledging us. Then much to my surprise, we got to go on the field meet a player across from us. We were given the practice jersey signed personally to us from that player. I got punter Logan Cooke and couldn't be happier. Never have I met a more personable, approachable, humble young man. He almost seemed more impressed to meet me than I him. We talked for a few minutes and it was the best. Head Coach Doug Pederson was gracious enough to also sign the jersey. One for the Jaguars being just a phenomenal organization doing this. Literally got tears thinking about it this morning. Thank you, Jaguars. Can't wait for the season.
Really good stuff.
Michael from Mean Streets of Arlington
Is now the time to shut down Tyson for the rest of the preseason?
Jaguars cornerback Tyson Campbell sustained a concussion Saturday. He is in the concussion protocol. I don't have a sense that it's a long-term issue that will approach the regular season. If/when Campbell can return, the Jaguars should take the same approach with him as if the concussion hasn't happened. That likely would have been a few repetitions Saturday against the Dallas Cowboys in Preseason Week 1 and few more against the Detroit Lions in Preseason Week 2. It's important to be smart with front-line players such as Campbell preparing for the season. But it's football. At some point there's risk – even in preparations.
_Kevin from Jacksonville _
I'm never going to pretend to know football better than an expert like Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke, but this pass rush looks subpar to me. And this has been the observation of everyone I know that has been to camp. Behind outside linebackers Josh Allen and Travon Walker, it looks to be a desert wasteland. They are sitting on $20 million cap space. I hope they know what they're doing for all our sakes.
The Jaguars open the 2023 preseason against the Dallas Cowboys Saturday.
_Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL _
I guess I'm old too because constantly hearing about the "work ethic" of men getting paid millions or at least hundreds of thousands of dollars for playing a game just never sounds quite right to me.
"Work ethic" has nothing to do with one's salary, and – as in any profession at any income level – there is a difference in how some players work and how other players work. It's not saying they should be lauded or patted on the head for it, but there's a difference.
Bill from Jacksonville
John, an argument can be made the game against the Kansas City Chiefs was lost when the Jaguars' defense let journeyman, now-retired quarterback Chad Henne march 98 yards down the field for a touchdown. Now it seems as though all Trent Baalke believes the defense needs to improve is time. That's a big bet, no John?
An argument also could be made that the Jaguars had possession twice in the third quarter of an AFC Divisional Playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs last January trailing by a touchdown with a chance to tie or cut into the lead – and they couldn't take advantage. The Jaguars held the Chiefs to two first downs during that second quarter and the Chiefs extended the lead to 10 points. I understand that the Chad-Henne-beat-the-Jaguars is an easy narrative from that game, but it's not the only storyline. I expect the Jaguars' defense to be better than many observers believe because I think the defensive front seven will be good against the run – and I think the pass rush in turn will benefit from being in more passing situations than last season. I don't necessarily believe that improvement will make this defense great. Maybe I'll be wrong on that front. I do expect this offense to be one of the best in the NFL – perhaps among the top three or five – and I believe the team's success will rise and fall on the ability of the offense to score consistently. That's how the team is structured with a franchise quarterback and major investments at three receiver positions and one tight end position. As for Baalke believing the defense will "improve with time…" I don't know about that. I do know that when you draft two linebackers in Round 1 of one year's draft – Walker and Lloyd – you need to trust those players to be difference-makers in their second seasons. That's the way you have to structure and build a franchise in the salary-cap era if you want to compete over the long haul.
Steve from Nashville, TN
Will fans be able to notice Trevor Lawrence "playing faster" this year or is that only detectable by the trained eye of the senior writer?
I learned long ago not to speak for fans, or to assume what they do or don't see. I expect many watching closely will see Lawrence in 2023 getting the ball out of his hands more quickly, checking to second or third receivers more quickly and making the right decisions more often. I expect the offense to be better and more efficient, and those are signs of a quarterback playing faster.
Brandon from Jacksonville
Who looked better during their rookie minicamp: Tank Bigsby or James Robinson?
I'll assume you mean training camp and not minicamp because COVID-19 rules prevented Robinson from participating in a rookie minicamp after signing as a collegiate free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft. Bigsby, a rookie third-round running back in 2023 training camp, is a dramatically different back in terms of style than Robinson. Robinson was effective because of very good vision, the ability to make defenders miss and get the most of every carry. Those traits started to show in '20 camp. Bigsby is much more impressive physically than Robinson, and he appears faster, which is why he was selected in Round 3 whereas Robinson went undrafted. Bigsby at this point "looks better" than Robinson did in '20, but that's to be expected because Robinson didn't "look" as good as much as he was effective. I would expect Bigsby to be better overall than Robinson. Time will tell if that expectation is correct.
Michael from Orange Park, FL
Where does this training camp rank in terms of the KOAF's enjoyment?
I rarely have been as happy as I have the last two weeks. I'm peaking.