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O-Zone: High value

JACKSONVILLE – A bye-week Look-Ahead Wednesday.

Let's get to it…

Michael from Orange Park, FL

The trade deadline passes and we didn't get pass rushing help. Help me understand.

The Jaguar indeed opted not to acquire a veteran pass rusher Tuesday on the day of the NFL's trade deadline. They instead acquired veteran offensive lineman Ezra Cleveland for a reported sixth-round selection from the Minnesota Vikings. The decision not to acquire a pass rusher confused and angered some fans – as expected. A few reasons for the Jaguars to choose the direction they did. One is that contrary to the opinions of some, the Jaguars do not have a bad pass rush this season. While they're not a great sacks team through eight games, they have an effective pass rush and pressure quarterbacks consistently. Quarterbacks simply have not been comfortable in the pocket in most games this season, which is a big reason they lead the NFL with 18 takeaways. Another is that the Jaguars have a lot of veteran players whose contracts will be issues in the coming offseason and a high-priced acquisition now could further complicate those decisions. That ties in with the overriding reason – that General Manager Trent Baalke didn't see a pass rusher available that would benefit the team enough to justify the cost. He considered. He pursed it. But benefits and cost must be balanced. Remember, too: This team is 6-2 and tied for the best record in the AFC. It's playing defense at a very high level. Perhaps it's not so unreasonable to think the team likes how it's playing defensively?

Tommy from Jacksonville

I for one am not in favor of giving away draft equity for a "rental." We have several players that will warrant possible extensions and you can't keep everybody. I don't get the obsession with every notable name that comes free on the market. Remember the Hugh Douglas signing? How did that work out for us? Use a little logic. And nobody knows whether Baalke made calls on Danielle Hunter, Marquez Sweat, Chase Young, etc. The man has built a roster that has depth and they are 6-2. This isn't Madden and it isn't Fantasy Football. They are building something that's sustainable. One for Baalke who is a heckuva a lot smarter than we are. Now let's just be thankful for what we have because it is good, and go keep kicking the crap out of people.

One fer Baalke …

Mark from Englewood

KOAF, hooray for Our Side! Great work by Baalke/Head Coach Doug Pederson/offensive line coach Phil Rauscher on getting help for the O-Line and improving the Jags with another under-the-radar surprise move! I'm sure not everyone is happy, but I think Trent continues to excel at his selection of players for Jacksonville! One fer Trent, one fer Doug P, and also one for Phil!! Duuuuvaaaallll! (And for good measure, one fer "those little yellow towels" they wave around in.

… and one fer Baalke/Pederson/Rauscher.

Tony from Johns Creek, GA

O, as a fan I assumed the Jaguar front office would trade for a quarterback, wide receiver or running back, but they surprised me and traded for a player they need.


Paul from Jupiter, FL

Disappointed that we missed out on getting Chase Young for a third. That said, do you think there's a long-term element of "we can't re-sign both him and Josh Allen so why bother" to it?

I do think the contract status of current Jaguars players played into the decision, as it must. I just mostly think the Jaguars see their roster – and in particular, their pass rush – through a different lens than many observers and fans. They do not see pressure on the quarterback as a weakness for the simple reason that it's not a weakness. There's another factor to be considered here, and that's that the Jaguars didn't have a second- or third-round selection to trade because of conditions still to be determined in the deal for wide receiver Calvin Ridley. Remember: The Ridley compensation in the trade with the Atlanta Falcons could still be a second-, third- or fourth-round selection. A mega-trade therefore likely would have required a first-round selection. That's too high for a "rental" player.

Bobby From Section 410 and Summerville, SC

Hi John, are you ready for Punt Bowl II Sunday night November 12th? Still no respect for the Jags from the league.

The Jaguars-San Francisco 49ers game on November 12 indeed will remain a 1 p.m. game and will not be flexed to NBC's Sunday Night Football. While I often joke about liking 1 p.m. home games, and while that fondness is not a joke, I understand that many fans like prime-time games and associate them with respect. I wish for those fans' sakes that the game had been flexed. It wasn't. They'll still play it and it's still important, prime time or not. You know what games are always on national television? Playoff games. If the Jaguars get there and win, they will get plenty of respect. And if they don't, it won't matter because they'll be winning in the postseason.

Jesse from CA

With the addition of Ezra Cleveland, do you believe Walker Little remains the starter at left guard if healthy? This is a good, sensible trade by the way. A sixth-round pick for a starting caliber guard. I will take it. I see the Commanders traded their defensive ends as well for a second- and third-round round picks. I am glad we didn't give up that high of picks for a rental player.

I think it remains to be seen if Little remains the starter at left guard if healthy. If I'm guessing now, I would say yes. Cleveland feels to me like an acquisition made for depth at minimum with the ability to start. I also know the Jaguars felt a little thinner across the front in recent weeks than they like and Cleveland gives them options. Stay tuned.

Bruce from Owensboro, KY

The national media is funny. The Jags trade for a guard and they wonder where that puts Walker Little. Obviously, he is the left tackle of the future.

I'll repeat this for those in the back. Look to national media or insightful coverage of your local team if you like, but be aware of the limitations of doing so. National media are trying to analyze/comment on 32 teams. Most simply are not going to be aware of all the detailed storylines on all of them. This doesn't mean they hate the Jaguars or that they stink at their jobs. They're just not going to have the details correct as often as local media.

The LDO from Hilliard

Are our JAGS the best 6-2 team in the NFL? For info: Their Strength of Schedule counting only teams played to date is 51.6 percent. Kansas City's is 49.2 percent. Baltimore is 46.6 percent and Miami's is 40.3 percent. So, against a stronger schedule, they have the same record. On paper, I think I just answered my own question. DTWD (and I live in Nassau Co.)

Excuse me, but the syllabus said there would be no math.

Lenny from London, UK

Hey O man, I noticed that during the Steelers game that outside linebacker Travon Walker was lined up out wide by himself on one side of the defensive line, while three others were bunched together on the other side of the Dline. What is the advantage to this formation?

If the play is a run, Walker is often capable of pretty much handling one side of the line himself. In that formation, it allows the Jaguars to stack one side of the line and not worry as much about Walker's side.

Kevin from Ponte Vedra Beach

John, it must be difficult to not get angry with some of these questions/comments? This team just won five games in five different stadiums in five consecutive weeks! They currently have the longest active winning streak in the NFL and they are off to their best start since 1999 – yes, 1999! These nitpickers and "why didn't they win by more" people need to understand the NFL and take a step back and appreciate what is happening right now. Enjoy the moment, we haven't had a lot of these. Smile, it's okay to be happy! Go Jags!!!


Chris from Sec 437

Hi, Zone. With the bye week ahead what injured players should we expect back for the San Francisco 49ers game and who may still be out?

I would expect pretty much all injured players back for the 49ers game except wide receiver Zay Jones. That's a guesstimate and not an official report.

Johnny from Jax

The more we see Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson behind the scenes you really realize his value to the team. Not only is he an excellent tackle, but he brings so much energy and he really seems like a great teammate as well.

Robinson matters a great deal to this team. He's a good player and he's one of the best offensive leaders.