JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
John from Jacksonville
Hi, King of Zone. After watching the offense in recent weeks, I think the Jags are going to become a team that can win games more on keeping pace with scoring as opposed to relying so much on the defense for stops. The team that stumbles more on offense with not getting a scoring drive will lose. I think Trevor, Robinson and our offense have decent weapons to score more consistently going forward. I think Seattle could be another close win for us with the Jags coming off two weeks rest while the Seahawks have a short week. Do you see the same glimmer that I do?
I absolutely see glimmers. The Jaguars' offense through six games this season has improved steadily, primarily because running back James Robinson has been consistent – and in recent games, used wisely – and because rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence appears to be developing rapidly. It seems we are seeing the early signs of Lawrence becoming very-good-to-great – and that's intoxicating stuff. But before we become to intoxicated in the short term, let's remember: While the Jaguars' offense is showing legitimate signs of consistency, the offense also has yet to score more than 23 points in a game. And those 23 points came against a struggling Miami Dolphins team without its two starting cornerbacks. I expect the Jaguars to have trouble being a dynamic, keep-pace-in-a-shootout offense this season because I don't know that the Jaguars have the dynamic, above-the-Xs-and-Os receivers or tight ends needed in such an offense. That doesn't mean we won't continue to see development. It doesn't mean the Jaguars will be uncompetitive. I do wonder if they will be able to keep pace in shootouts until they can add a few of the elite-speed skill plays Head Coach Urban Meyer so correctly covets.
Dominic from Jacksonville
When can I come see the Jags practice for free?
The Jaguars and other teams sometimes open one practice during the offseason, though this doesn't happen every year. Teams always have practice open during training camp, though the number varies from team to team and season to season – and these typically are free. Regular-season practices are always closed to the public.
Bradley from Sparks, NV
Now that 2019 draftees are well into their third year, what grade would you give the Jags?
About a B, give or take.
Mike from Atlanta, GA
Watched the ESPN broadcast with Eli and Peyton Manning calling the game Monday. If I were Jaguars Owner Shad Khan, I'd be considering offering my arm to Peyton Manning to come be offensive coordinator. I have absolutely nothing against Darrell Bevell. He worked with Marvin Jones in Detroit and I sort of expect us to have a much different conversation about the offense in the second half of the season. However, he isn't Peyton, who needs to write a textbook on quarterbacking. Do you have a wow moment when you had a realization that as far as understanding defense and quarterbacking you thought … yeah he's going to be really good?
I started covering Manning in 2001, his fourth season in the NFL. When I began covering him, I thought, "Wow, he's good." When he started calling the offense at the line of scrimmage and won back-to-back NFL Most Valuable Player awards a few seasons later, I thought, "Wow, he's a Hall of Famer." When he mastered calling the offense a high level in 2008 or 2009 or so, I thought, "Wow, he's doing things only a few players can do." I sort of doubt that Manning wants to be an offensive coordinator, though. That's a lot of work and it seems to me Manning is destined more for a front-office role. We'll see.
Fred from Naples, Florida
Urban Meyer states that a new system and a new quarterback are no longer excuses. He is very transparent (perhaps to a fault) about how much he is learning in the NFL. When will he mention that being a rookie head coach is no longer an excuse for not winning?
Head Coach Urban Meyer has never said being a rookie NFL head coach is an excuse for losing, and it's not an "excuse." You don't pay a head coach to learn. You pay him to win. That doesn't mean a head coach can't learn and improve, but it can't be used as an "excuse."
Scott from Jacksonville
Geez, John Boyle seems a bit deluded. At 2-5, the Seahawks are not remotely a playoff contender without Wilson. Their season is about one more loss from being completely over. Hopefully it comes this weekend.
I'm continually amazed at what inspires O-Zone readers to argue. You're referencing Seahawks digital media reporter John Boyle telling me in the weekly "opponent focus" this week that there's a sense around the Seahawks that "even if the NFC West might be getting away from them a little bit, the NFC is so top-heavy that those last couple of wild-card spots are still wide open. You have to start winning, but they feel like there's still a lot to play for." Deluded? No. The Seahawks are 2-5 and would be 3-5 entering their bye week if they beat the Jaguars Sunday. There is a chance Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson could return against Green Bay the following week, so do the Seahawks have plenty of motivation entering Sunday? Do they have a chance for a wild-card spot if they win Sunday? Absolutely, which is part of what makes this a tougher matchup for the Jaguars than many fans seem to believe.
Garrett from Jesup, GA
I was reading your conversation with the Seahawks reporter or whatever and could not believe he called quarterback Russell Wilson a Hall of Famer … while I expect Wilson to be able to be in the discussion eventually, I don't think he's accomplished nearly enough to even start a discussion yet. Your thoughts?
Wilson has played in two Super Bowls, winning one. He never has had a losing season. He has been in the postseason in eight of nine seasons. He has 277 career touchdown passes with just 82 interceptions. My guess is if he retired tomorrow, he would be in the Hall of Fame. He absolutely has accomplished enough to start the discussion.
Tommy from Lewes, DE
Just read your article about the Seahawks with John Boyle. Is Russell Wilson a Hall of Fame quarterback? I see the potential, but is he a lock right now?
Yeah, he probably is.
KC from Orlando, FL
KOAF - if we have a strong win in Seattle, would that put us in the upper/mid 20s for rankings? Just saying. Go Jags!
If the Jaguars win in Seattle, they will have two victories and five losses. I suppose that would get them into the mid-20s.
Daniel from Johnston, IA
All the talk about playing fast and speed sounds like its more pertinent to a college team like Ohio State than say the NFL because ya know, everybody is fast there? Do you really think the Jaguars are going to be the team to get all the really fast guys that can just out-fast all the other teams? Is this really viable strategy.
This is a fair point. You can't really out-fast every team in the NFL. But you can play faster than the Jaguars have played this season, and you can – and must – be faster than the team's current roster.
L Ross from Mechanicsville, VA
Hey, Ozone. I remember Byron Leftwich taking a pounding but getting better and better and I respected that so much. I also remember Peyton Manning demolishing the Jags often yet rarely taking any solid shots because he would shield himself from the rush (my memory as seen through Teal-colored glasses). Everyone knows Manning was an incredible quarterback who deserved the Hall of Fame ... but which is a better formula? A quarterback who can deliver the throw regardless of the rush, but may have a shorter career because of it or a quarterback who is pretty good at protecting himself but may miss a few throws due to the rush?
This is not an either-or scenario, but what you want is a quarterback with the pocket presence to pass in a timely manner – i.e., to sense the rush well enough to know when to hold the ball and when to throw. You need the quarterback to be able to throw accurately when under pressure, but if you want that quarterback to have a long career, he must have the presence to throw incomplete and protect himself. Elite, franchise quarterbacks more and more play into their late 30s and early 40s. That doesn't happen if the quarterback is getting pummeled in the pocket.
Happy Henry from Jacksonville
OZ, save this email … after Week 13, the Jags will be 6-6.
So, you have them beating the Buffalo Bills at home or the Los Angeles Rams on the road? Bless you, Henry.