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O-Zone: Jags famous

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Bill from Jacksonville

So, all five starting offensive linemen are coming back? You know the best way to get better, John? To stay exactly the same.

I received many, many – did I say, "Many?" – emails along these lines Friday. These came after the Jaguars re-signed left guard Ezra Cleveland – and after reports that they will restructure the contract of veteran right guard Brandon Scherff, with Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke saying at the recent 2024 NFL Scouting Combine that left tackle Cam Robinson also will return. We also can assume that Anton Harrison, the No. 27 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft, again will start at right tackle. Those happenings and assumptions indeed mean that at least four of the five "starting" offensive linemen from 2023 will return in their roles in 2024. What will the Jaguars do at center, where Luke Fortner struggled at times in 2023? We'll get a better idea of that in the coming weeks, with free agency beginning next week and the 2024 NFL Draft to be held in late April. A few thoughts on this: One is that the line indeed struggled, particularly on the interior, to run block last season – and I agree with those who wonder about "running it back" on the offensive line. It seems from this view to be a risky approach – and it certainly will be an unpopular one. The team's approach would seem to center on a few beliefs. One: That Cleveland, who started five games at left guard after being acquired in a trade in late November, can help solidify the interior. Two: That Robinson, who missed eight games last season, will be healthier. Three: That Cleveland and Robinson can give the left side consistently it never had last season – and that that continuity will significantly help the line overall. Four: That Scherff can be healthier and more consistent than the past two seasons, when he has played through injuries at times. I'm not sure what else to add here, though the discussion undoubtedly will continue at high volume in the coming weeks – and likely longer.

Taylor from Columbia, MD

I am not being antagonistic. I am genuinely curious. Why would you not describe running it back with the same interior O-Line as a disaster? What would qualify as an offseason disaster? They literally did the same thing last year to an absolutely abysmal result. Even you wrote that you couldn't imagine them running it back. Are you now changing your stance on this? Would you ever write about a Jaguars move that "This seems like a bad idea to me?"

I wouldn't have "run it back" on the offensive line. I didn't believe they would "run it back." I have written that it's risky considering how the group played last season. But the people who know specific circumstances around the line see it differently – and those are the people who decide these things. To call it a disaster means I know a move didn't work. I have no way of knowing that in advance. Perhaps what the Jaguars clearly believe – that this line if healthy and given a chance to gain continuity can be effective – is correct. We shall see.

Marty from Jacksonville

Since we have re-signed Cleveland and Scherff, does "We have to get bigger and stronger" mean we have to get a new center? That's the only position left where we can get bigger and stronger.


Mike from Cartersville (AKA Trevortown), GA

I said I fully expect three new interior offensive linemen on starting day. I was wrong (again). Welcome to budget constraints, salary caps and market conditions. I didn't think Cleveland played poorly. I thought Scherff would be a cap casualty with his age and injuries. I suppose I'm wondering if they looked at the run blocking and thought center was the only issue. And at this point I'm wondering if they see that as an issue, maybe they don't. I see a lot of other holes to fill with the draft. Will we have a good idea of who the starting offensive line on Day 1 will be next week?

We'll know four of the five.

Rick from Duval

The cuts weren't unexpected, but given that we are now out multiple starters and currently lacking more depth it is hard to envision the team – and specifically the defense – improving much next season. What can the Jaguars do to improve?

Stop the run more consistently, run block better and get more pass rush from players other than outside linebackers Travon Walker and Josh Allen.

Scott from Jacksonville

Umm ... Doesn't Campbell suck in press coverage too? Guess we'll have to dump him and find a third starter that can deal with our new D-Coordinator's scheme.

The Jaguars won't release cornerback Tyson Campbell this offseason.

David from Oviedo, FL

O – All of the teams in the AFC South have a lot of money to spend in free agency. What do you think is going to happen when a lot of the players we covet end up signing with the Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts and especially the Houston Texans? I'm afraid for your mental health when the floodgates of a new NFL season, free agency, and the NFL draft are opened.

I've written daily about the Jaguars since August 2011. If I haven't cracked by now, I'll be fine in the next few weeks.

David from Orlando, FL

KOAF – In most relationships, if you get tired of someone moaning and groaning all the time you can leave. Do you think you will ever reach a point where you can't take fans fanning for another day?

I've written daily about the Jaguars since August 2011. If I haven't cracked by now, I'll be fine in the next few weeks.

Mark from Richmond VA

When drafting and looking at that 17th overall pick, a lot of my thought goes into taking a corner to stop guys like CJ Stroud from being as effective as he is. The Texans are very good. Would you guess that we are closer to stopping him and their offense? Or closer to running over their defense? You have to put a lot of emphasis on stopping the teams you play twice a year right?

I'm not a big believer in building to beat a specific team. I'm more a believer in getting really good and making other teams worry about beating you. Why build a team to beat a team you're going to play twice a year. What happens when you play your other 15 games?

Don from Marshall, NC

To me the offensive line is good when they are healthy. The problem is they never stay healthy. What are they going to do to make sure that doesn't happen? Go Jaguars!

One fer hope.

Nice Guy from da Northside and DUVAL

Hey O-Zone. I've always known you to be a big historian, and not just of the NFL, but local sports as well. The city lost a great one this week with the untimely passing of Coach "Big Red" Dorsey, a local legend in First Coast Sports. He excelled locally at Bolles, then at FSU, and was with the Cowboys and Texans in the NFL. Great player and an even greater man. He will be missed. You have any stories about him, especially those great Corky Rogers' teams back in the day at Bolles?

Charron Dorsey was just beginning his prep career when I moved from covering high schools for the Florida Times-Union to covering the University of Florida, so I knew him only briefly when he was very young. I do recall hearing those in the "know" speak of him and his potential. There are other sources better than me for stories about Dorsey, but I was saddened by his passing and glad to see that he grew up to be so revered and admired in the community.

Justin from Jax

Hey, John. I write in with somber news, unfortunately. This past Sunday, my brother, a lifelong Jags fan, passed away at the age of 41, from being really sick. My brother and I had a very strong bond and so much of that bond as we got older was because of the love of the Jags we shared. I went through all this team's highs and lows, albeit a lot of lows for a while, with him. Football season will never be the same for me and I'm sorry he's never going to see them win the big dance. I used to write into the O-Zone and whenever you would post my question, I would always screenshot it and send it to him, like "Haha, I'm Jags famous". Although I write this in with a heavy heart, I guess I'm just hoping for a one fer Phillip, my brother. My Jaguars buddy forever. I'll get one more screenshot.

I'm so sorry for your loss and am humbled to have been a small part of your bond. One fer Phillip, your Jaguars buddy forever. Absolutely.