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O-Zone: Humble pie

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Toby not from the office

I can't recall you ever calling Trevor Lawrence "really good." Yet Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud is really good. I do think Trevor is good, but only because of that Chargers playoff game last year. If he didn't have that game, the narrative on Trevor would be really rough right now. I guess my real question is: How come last year had highlight after highlight plays, yet this season seemed very, very boring?

I recall calling Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence "really good" quite often late in the 2022 season because he was playing really well at the time. Remember: Lawrence threw 15 touchdown passes with two interceptions over the last nine 2022 regular-season games and 14 touchdowns with seven interceptions in the first 12 games of the 2023 regular season. The Jaguars were 15-5 in the first 20 games of that stretch and were in position to beat the Cincinnati Bengals in early December before Lawrence sustained a high-ankle sprain late in the game. Lawrence wasn't perfect at that time and needed to improve in many areas, but he was playing "really good." As for highlight plays, the Jaguars' 2023 season had a bunch of them. There just weren't enough late in the season, so they lost a lot of games and missed the postseason. When teams lose and miss the postseason, their seasons seem boring even if there were some exciting plays.

Cliff from ORANGE PARK

O, I was so sad watching the AFC Championship Game. With all the negativity of late, I could only think that the Jaguars with a healthy wide receiver Christian Kirk, nose tackle DaVon Hamilton, Lawrence, cornerback Tyson Campbell and just a little better O-line play could beat either team. As dark as it seems sometimes, isn't it cool how quickly things can turn around in the NFL?

The NFL is a game of big plays and small differences, and you're right that the Jaguars in the right circumstances could have had a chance to beat either team that played in the AFC Championship Game. Remember: They lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, 17-9, in Week 2 and trailed the Baltimore Ravens 10-7 entering the fourth quarter of a 23-7 loss in Week 15. The Jaguars in that Week 15 game failed to score on four consecutive first-half possessions that reached the Baltimore 36-yard line. So, yeah … if a few things had gone differently, the Jaguars perhaps could have beaten the two teams that played for the AFC title. At the same time, that difference separates good from mediocre teams in the NFL.

Brad from Yankton

KOAF, Our running backs do not run angry like Pacheco. Why?

You're referencing Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco, who indeed has a physical "angry" style. Why don't the Jaguars' running backs run this way? They have different styles.

Scott from Palm Coast, FL

Is Jaguars outside linebacker Josh Allen on a career path that could someday place him in the Pride Of The Jaguars?


Tony from Johns Creek, GA

And yet another coach who doesn't know when to kick a FG.

Detroit Lions Head Coach Dan Campbell is being criticized for eschewing makeable field goals and going for first downs in unconventional fourth-down situations in the NFC Championship Game Sunday – decisions that factored heavily into a 34-31 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Some Jaguars fans have criticized Head Coach Doug Pederson for similar decisions the past two seasons. One thought is that being aggressive consistently in those situations is probably the right thing to do over the course of the regular season. The percentages probably work in your favor in the long-term. Another thought is sometimes you have to take game situations and circumstances into account. Either way, sometimes you kill the bear in that situation. Other times … well, you know.

Biff from Jacksonville

Thinking about the breadth of your journalistic career, is there a favorite interview or person in general you've covered from the Colts or Jaguars or a one-off from travels or events you attended (could be player/coach/owner/GM/etc.) and why? My thinking is this might disclose a human element we fans may not consider from this entertainment medium.

I can't say there's a "favorite" person or people in 35 years interviewing and writing about people, though there of course are many people I've enjoyed and/or found fascinating. Most have been associated with the Jaguars or Indianapolis Colts, which is unsurprising as I have covered one or the other of those teams for nearly 30 years. From the Colts, such a list would include Reggie Wayne, Bob Sanders and Tony Dungy – among many others. From the Jaguars, the list would include Tony Boselli, Fred Taylor and Paul Posluszny – among many others. Still, as I age, I find myself more and more valuing relationships I made as a younger journalist covering high school sports for the Florida Times-Union. These include former Raines High School athletics director James Day, former Raines football coach Jimmie Johnson and former Ribault girls basketball coach Al Austin. When I covered high schools in the late 1980s and early 1990s, these men were nearing the end of legendary and important careers. They and others told me stories of playing and coaching in a different era, an era of desegregation and racial tension, and I grew to quickly respect the roles these men had played in the lives of hundreds of students. I like to think I was able to earn at least a level of trust and respect from these men, and I value those relationships to this day.

Chris from Fleming Island

KOAF, are players allowed to work with strength and conditioning coaches during the offseason. I know they can't be "coached" or do drills, but what about working out at the Miller Electric Center?

Yes, NFL players can work with strength-and-conditioning coaches at the team's facility throughout the offseason.

Greg from Section 122, Jacksonville, FL

The repeated narrative that we must "kickstart" downtown for the team to be successful here is just silly at this point. Downtown is not the Jaguars. Tampa's stadium is in a subdivision of houses for Pete's sake. Nowhere NEAR downtown. Why is this a critical need for this team? So Jaguars Owner Shad Khan can charge for tickets what he wants? Here I will spoil it for you. He won't ever be able to do that and might as well sell the team then. My reasoning? The ticket sales are driven by average wages available per capita in the market and unless something changes we still are a very low income and cost of living versus other markets. Doing this major taxpayer money pit into downtown won't change that any more than putting a Four Seasons here will make Jax a destination. It's a small big city and frankly I think that's just fine. Big cities come even more nonsense than we already deal with. Now get off my lawn.

I don't know if the Jaguars' thought that downtown development is needed for the "Stadium of the future" is accurate. As a long-time resident of Jacksonville – and as someone who visits many NFL cities – I think it's accurate. And I think the project as proposed will benefit the city. I do know the Jaguars feel strongly that that's the case.

Micah from Chicago, IL

Do you think Shad sees Aidan Hutchinson, a player we could have drafted, wreaking havoc in the playoffs and thinks "Wow, General Manager Trent Baalke is so good, I definitely have the guy who's gonna win us a Super Bowl here?"

Why wouldn't Khan see Detroit Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson and think, "Wow, he's a good player, but so is Travon Walker?"

John from Jacksonville

Hi KOAGF - When a quarterback changes a play at the line of scrimmage, how frequent is it a new play that was part of strategy that is worked out with the offensive coordinator ahead of time and how frequent is it just a play the quarterback would rather execute than what the OC called?

It's difficult to break this down, exactly. The way this most often works is quarterbacks go to the line of scrimmage with a play called and there are options to check out of that play based on the look of the defense. Ideally, it's not that the quarterback doesn't like the play as much as it's there's a better play once the quarterback sees the defense.

Alan from Ellington, CT

Does the way the new defensive coordinator plans on using Josh Allen affect his contact negotiation?


Dan from Munich

Hi Zone, do you ever go back a day or two and read your responses to the questions you received from the fans? If so, are you still proud of the work you do. Be honest now, LOL.

I rarely go back and read O-Zone questions and answers. I believe in staying humble. If I read my own work too often, that would be difficult.