JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Shawn from the Mean Streets of Arlington
So, if we win one road game, that would be improvement. Wow.
I sense sarcasm here, deservedly so. The Jaguars indeed did not win a road game last season, so improving in that area indeed is a "low bar." But I don't get the idea Head Coach Doug Pederson or anyone around the Jaguars will be satisfied with such marginal improvements. The expectation is significant improvement – this season. That's a fair expectation, though I still don't know that that means playoff contention in 2022. What will improvement mean in terms of road performance? The Jaguars lost all eight road games last season, with four of those losses coming in blowout fashion. If the Jaguars win two or three road games in 2022 and feel competitive in all but maybe one or two road games, that would be significant improvement and a positive step.
John from Jacksonville
Hi, KOAGF. I won't be able to dismiss the G in your title even though it may be irrelevant. Is my memory correct that Coach Meyer was ridiculed when suggesting that Travis Etienne Jr. be used also as a receiver? Now that approach has become cool and normal. Just askin'.
The "G" in KOAGF stands for "grizzly," if memory serves – and I am nothing if not "grizzly." And while I've long since ceased tracking the wheres and whys of people ridiculing former Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer, you're correct that there was some eyebrow raising when the Jaguars worked Etienne at wide receiver during his first rookie minicamp. Etienne, the No. 25 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, indeed appears likely to play a role as a receiver and a runner moving forward. I don't know that that he will line up in a traditional "receiver" position too extensively, so Etienne's role may not look like some of the NFL's "cool and normal" hybrid receiver/runners, but the Jaguars definitely will try to take advantage of his versatility and speed.
Gary from Suffolk, VA
Do you think ETN will get an increased workload with the injury to Robinson or will his be minimal and leave more work for the other running backs on the roster?
First, we don't know how limited Jaguars running back James Robinson will be to start the season; he is expected to return from a December Achilles injury during training camp, but we know little beyond that. But IF Robinson indeed is limited in his return, I expect both Etienne and rookie Snoop Conner to get more carries than normally would be the case – not just Etienne.
Tony from Johns Creek, GA
O, it's fair to say I'm all in with a good eye.
Blues Man from Jacksonville
I see many comments projecting Etienne doing this, doing that, being this and being that. He hasn't played a down in the NFL. He's already being compared to current NFL greats/weapons by fans and even local radio hosts. Isn't it far too premature considering he hasn't played one snap in the NFL, except for the preseason? Sure, he was great in college - but that's an entirely different game with different levels of talent.
I admit I haven't heard a lot of the "chatter" about Etienne. My thought on Etienne is he has the potential to add a needed playmaking element to the Jaguars' offense. If he does so, that will strain defenses and help the Jaguars' offense in many ways. But you're right: Comparing him to an all-time great is incredibly premature. The season-ending Lisfranc injury he sustained in preseason last year was serious and he has yet to play or practice in a contact situation since. He also has yet to play in an NFL regular-season game. The NFL indeed is a different game from college. Until Etienne – or any player – plays at a high level in the NFL, that player must prove he can play at a high level in the NFL.
Nathan from Utah, US
Dead Zone, I think the degree to which the Jags can run will be set hand in hand with the health of the O-line. And let's not underestimate our RB3: "SNOOOPVAL!!!" He may be the Jags' most explosive and leading rusher heading into the playoffs; given their running back injury woes of late. Now, you got this forty-two-year old to explore The Boss. - meh. Give Kings of Leon, a listen. Songs "Knocked Up," "Waste a Moment," "Closer," "Manhattan" and "Someone Like You" shouldn't disappoint. Enjoy. #SNOOOPVAL!!!
I've heard of Kings of Leon. I listened a bit to a song or two upon reading this email. I'm sure people enjoy them. Perhaps I just don't have the energy to absorb new things. Old age is a bear sometimes.
Lawrence from Omaha, NE
I think those who can't understand how you could want the team to win, and not be a fan, are not connecting the dots well. Players, coaches, owners and such are coworkers. Why wouldn't one be interested in the success of coworkers? Success breeds positive energy, which makes for a much more positive work environment on top of the general feel-good you get out of seeing a coworker succeed where they have consistently failed. Doesn't seem that hard to me at all.
It's not hard. Covering sports is cool. Covering the NFL is cool. It's better than working. I hope the Jaguars win because it's good for everyone at the Jaguars. It's good for Jaguars fans. It's good for the city. It's good for my coworkers. It's more fun when the Jaguars win. But hoping the Jaguars win does not in my case mean being a fan. I have been a fan and I have covered a team while working for a team. I am qualified to know the difference. Agree. Disagree. Whatever. That's the approach.
Scott from Jacksonville
The way you describe yourself as "not a fan" is exactly how I feel as a fan after a decade of disappointment. Maybe you're coming back around after all?
No. I will not come around to being a fan.
Chris from Jax
Just to harp one more tiny bit on the "sportswriter as a fan" thing, would you say being a sports writer has made you something of a fan of the sport in general, rather than a team or person? Like, a general football fan? If you'd become a tennis-focused sportswriter, do you think you'd have detached from the stars you are something of a fan of now? Also, did you TRY to become a football focused writer, or did they just lure you in with some Sbarro's and lock you in the broom closet until you started writing?
I have been a fan of football and the NFL in general pretty much since I can remember. Covering the NFL has caused me to view it through a more objective – and informed, one would hope – lens. I didn't necessarily try focus on football. My first job in the industry was covering sports at the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville. When I covered high school sports, football was the emphasis. When I covered the University of Florida, football was the emphasis. When I covered the Jaguars, football obviously was the emphasis. Football is king here. I covered what mattered most where I worked, and that shaped what some might call my "career."
Daniel from Johnston, IA
What's the over/under on Coach Pederson skipping a flight home with the team and getting TikTok'ed with someone dancing on his lap?
That would be a surprise.
Captain Bob from Jax
Just to be clear on the recent question of whether the Jags should make a play for Orlando Brown, you referenced the left tackle situation. However, Brown only moved to the left side from the right after the starter went down to injury. Additionally, all that means he can and has played both positions at a high level.
Yes, Brown can play both right and left tackle. But he has made clear in the past his desire to play left tackle. After spending his first three seasons playing mostly right tackle for the Baltimore Ravens, he played left tackle for the Kansas City Chiefs last season. There is no indication he wants to play anything but left tackle moving forward.
Gary from St. Augustine, FL
Of course you don't like chicken wings. That's why you suck.
That's not why I suck.
Dan from Munich
John, you don't like chicken wings; what is wrong with you, man? Football game, beer and chicken wings are the best friend for most men on the weekend in the fall.
Football games are great, at least most football games. Beer is great, at least most beer. Chicken wings? Meh.
Urban from Columbus, OH
Hey John, did I leave my Ray-Bans in your office? Maybe on the bookshelf behind the 50 copies of your book you keep handy in case "anybody wants one."
Did you text Sexton?