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O-Zone: Just wait

JACKSONVILLE – Look-ahead Wednesday.

Let's get to it …

Sebastian from Poland

Looking at teams such as the Rams, Bucs and Chiefs, I was wondering why some teams are able to stockpile a lot of talent while others – such as the Jags – seem to be a perpetual developmental team that players use before taking the first train out of town. I can't say that I blame them. Why not trade draft capital, which the Jaguars seem to waste anyway on players that very rarely work out, on players that can contribute? It seems that the 2017 Jags came about in such a way. Thanks.

Fair question. Teams such as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs to varying degrees have drafted better than the Jaguars – then subsequently made better decisions at critical times than the Jaguars. They currently have stockpiled more talent than the Jaguars, but talent can be a revolving situation in the NFL – and must constantly be evaluated and retained. And while you're correct that multiple former Jaguars players are playing well for other teams, that's a phenomenon that occurred the last several seasons and not one that necessarily will continue. As for trading draft capital for "established players…" I get that question a lot. And the Rams and Buccaneers indeed have acquired veterans from other teams who are key to their success. But you can't build the entire franchise that way, and remember: There usually is a reason teams are willing to part ways with well-known players. That doesn't always mean trades and free agents are bad, but it's why those avenues are rarely the way to build the core of a competitive roster.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

What would you differently, if anything, with this group on offense to try and score (any) points?

I would run and pass block better than the Jaguars did last week against the Tennessee Titans; the offensive line hasn't been awful all season, but it was bad Sunday. I would also hope running back James Robinson is healthy and get back to the run-oriented, play-action style with some read-option elements that was working at least somewhat well just before the bye. I also would hope for the receiver group as a whole to get better separation than has been the case much of the season.

Clayte from Jacksonville

Well, there's always next year! I guess … Sigh.


Lenny from London, UK

Four of the past five games have been against teams currently in the playoffs, and the other team is tied for the last spot in the playoffs. The Jags are playing the Texans and Jets next. Do you think these games can help right the ship going forward, or is it too late?

Winning always feels better than losing – and with no franchise-quarterback talk around the 2022 NFL Draft, winning is definitely better than losing for the Jaguars right now. That wasn't necessarily the case last season. And victories in the next two games would change the feeling around the franchise. Would it right the ship? I suppose four consecutive victories to end the season and a 6-11 record with that sort of momentum might do it. Otherwise, any true "ship-righting" probably must take place in 2022.

John from Jax

Zone, so what has Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer said that's inaccurate? Listen to any radio show all day, with excessive criticism of every Jags offensive group – especially the receivers. Ninety percent of your O-Zone letters are about underperformance. So Urban (who does four press conferences a week) agrees with some of the constant questions about the receivers' performance - that they are "inconsistent" and need to play better. And he aggressively goes after his coaches to coach better, as everyone on radio does 12 hours a day. As was said earlier this week … if he was 8-5, he would be a good, tough, hard-nosed coach. Personally. I think the whole offensive staff needs to be reworked. Oh wait … now I'm a horrible person also.

Hey, one fer Meyer …

Jody from St. Augustine, FL

OK, I was pretty excited about Coach Meyer and the winning tradition he brought, but it's all just bad and worse. He doesn't know who is in the game when and he isn't sure if they gave up on the run too fast and with the reporting of a toxic attitude in the building now. What possible positive can be pointed to in anything he has done as the Jaguars' head coach? I really can't think of a thing. A wise man who looks a lot like you once said, "Sometimes it's just time to move on."

… and one not fer Meyer.

Eric from Jacksonville Beach

Hi, John. There's a lot going on this season that makes me drink, but I have latched on to one silver lining. Dawuane Smoot is playing really well on a team that needs players. His contract is very affordable, he's already surpassed his career best in tackles and is only one off of his best for sacks, and you never hear anything but positive things about him from a teammate/morale standpoint. Am I grasping at straws for something positive? What's your take on him as a player/teammate?

You're probably grasping a little, but what the hell is wrong with grasping at a time like this? And you're dead on about Smoot. I, meanwhile, was way off on him. I doubted in his first two seasons he ever would be a good NFL player – and certainly didn't think he would re-sign with the Jaguars. I also honestly thought re-signing him this past offseason was somewhere between not mattering and a mistake. I missed that one big-time. Smoot is exactly the sort of player teams want defensively. He's not a Pro Bowl guy. I don't know that he's a "foundation piece." But he's damned good, dammed reliable, plays hard all the time and loves this franchise. He's one of my favorite guys on this team. One sincerely fer Smoot.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

Is there any chance this entire staff is the same going into next year? If not, then who do you see them moving on from? I can't see how Urban keeps his job and brings back his whole staff.

It would be surprising considering the Jaguars' record and results this season if the entire staff returns intact. There also have been reports of assistants leaving following the season, such as tight ends coach Tyler Bowen reportedly leaving to become the offensive coordinator at Virginia Tech. Staff change is normal stuff in the NFL these days, but I don't know that anyone has an accurate feel for the details on this one yet.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

Been through a more miserable season before John?

Stay tuned.

Chuck from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Where is Trent Baalke? It's raining doo doo all over his coach and he's not heard from, one way or the other. Next to UM, he should be the one closest to the team. Which begs the question whether he has any authority on this. Hopefully Mr. Khan understands from past mistakes that he's not the guy to be calling the shots on football matters.

I wouldn't read too much into General Manager Trent Baalke not speaking publicly in recent weeks. Baalke, like many general managers, doesn't speak much if at all during the season. The idea behind this is to have the head coach be the lone voice of the team during the regular season. It's relatively standard stuff and not an indication of any level of authority.

Mac from Jacksonville Beach, FL

At this point, what would have been the harm in keeping Tebow?

Wait. What?

Mike from Lakeland

So, Urban says "[Jaguars rookie safety] Cisco is playing a little bit more, I believe, I don't have his numbers in front of me." Last time I looked, he had exactly zero defensive snaps. How can the head coach be so disconnected from what's happening?

Meyer indeed said this in a press conference Monday, and Cisco indeed had no reported defensive snaps against the Titans. Meyer manages the game and position coaches manage the snaps, etc.

CAROL from St. Johns

The Most Important Aspect Of All Of This Is Trevor's Development - I really don't know what else to say......

You have said quite a bit, actually. You also have said it succinctly and said it well.

Alex from Des Moines Iowa

I believe they should fire the oc the jaguars offense is the worst I've seen it and I believe we have better players why is it hard to produce or get anything going in the run or pass

Because it's always coaching in the NFL.

Jordan from Mandarin

It can get worse. I know this because after last year, I thought it could not get worse. It did.

It always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always can get worse.