JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Jim from Jagsonville
First live play of his NFL career ... and I love it! Go Jaguars!!!
You're referencing Jaguars rookie outside linebacker Travon Walker's performance in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game. And while not a lot was pretty for the Jaguars in Canton, Ohio, Thursday, in a 27-11 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, Walker did look very good early. The No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, Walker had a pressure on the game's first play (though he was questionably penalized 15 yards for roughing the passer). He played two series and showed up consistently rushing against Raiders left tackle Brandon Parker – and he registered a sack on Raiders quarterback Jarrett Stidham on the second series before leaving the game. With 21 front-line players not playing Thursday, there weren't many memorable moments for the Jaguars. Though he will have to improve his pass-rush technique, Walker's early performance stood out and was an encouraging sign.
Jakob from Hawthorne
What moves were made, if any, to improve the rush defense this year? Seems like another year of a poor rush defense.
Perhaps we are too quick to judge this topic. The Jaguars signed defensive tackle Foley Fatukasi and inside linebacker Foye Oluokun as unrestricted free agents in the offseason, and both figure to be key against the run. Neither played Thursday. They also selected inside linebacker Devin Lloyd No. 27 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft, and he figures to be key against the run. He didn't play Thursday, either. Outside linebacker Josh Allen also didn't play. If those four players don't play, then yeah … the Jaguars' run defense could struggle in that scenario.
DT from NW AR
The Jaguars were on TV!?!?!?!? Which Jaguars play did you enjoy the most?
I don't particularly enjoy preseason games, particularly when starters don't play. Walker's early pressures were positive signs. Logan Cooke had a 57-yard punt in the first half that was pretty cool. I'll let you know if I remember anything else. It was a slow night.
Beavis from the SouthSide
Please tell me again how much better we will be against the run this year.
I expect the Jaguars to be better against the run in 2022. I expect we'll know more if that's correct when their front-line front seven players all play in the game.
Daniel from Jersey City, NJ
O-man, can we put everyone back in bubble wrap? That was scary seeing players go down.
The Jaguars had one significant "scare" on the injury front Thursday. Second-year veteran Tyson Campbell was down momentarily but played on the ensuing series. Whew.
Joan from Orange Park, FL
Why didn't Trevor Lawrence playing in the HOF game?
Because Head Coach Doug Pederson didn't want to expose Lawrence or a lot of other front-line players to injury in a preseason game a month before the beginning of the regular season.
David from Ada, OK
When I was younger, they used to give rookie quarterbacks years to adapt to the NFL before becoming a starter. Do you think that helped any of them out? Do you think some quarterbacks benefited from that strategy? Do quarterbacks either have it or they don't? Or how long does it take to find out?
Your question asks about some pretty profound quarterback questions that have been the subject of debate around the NFL for as long as I can remember – which, unfortunately, now has surpassed five decades. Teams indeed once had more patience with quarterbacks, which in some cases meant allowing early-drafted quarterbacks time before starting and in other cases meant allowing struggling young quarterbacks more time/failures before moving on as a franchise. Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw struggled mightily early in his career and even lost his job temporarily in his fifth NFL season before quarterbacking the Pittsburgh Steelers to four Super Bowl titles. Goodness knows the social-media swirl these days around a No. 1 overall selection who didn't solidify himself as a starter before Year 5. It's doubtful, in fact, that Bradshaw would have made it to Year 3 in this era. Little question some quarterbacks benefitted from that approach. As far as quarterbacks either having it or not … that's the unanswerable question. Some believe they do and others don't. I covered Peyton Manning for a decade and believe he would have been special whatever his circumstance. I believe the same about Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, etc. But would they have succeeded to the level they achieved had they been selected into less-stable environments? Who knows? I believe more quarterbacks would benefit from more patience, but we don't live in patient times. And we may not no longer know how long it takes to learn if a quarterback has it. If they don't show it early, they often don't get the chance to show it at all.
Rob from Jax
What do you think some of these players think of being described as "sneaky" athletic? Is it a compliment and a little bit of a burn? Not insulting by any means but ... maybe feels a little like a dig?
Not everything is a criticism or praise. Sometimes, it's just a description. Pederson recently described tight end Dan Arnold as "sneaky" athletic. It's a good description. You don't initially see Arnold as being as athletic as, say, tight end Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs of tight end George Kittle of the San Francisco 49ers. But when you watch him for a while you see him outrunning players and making athletic plays. That's kind of sneaky. And a compliment.
Don from Marshall NC
You just have to know that Cam Robinson was a huge reason the Jaguars made it to the 2017 AFC Championship Game. He has been hampered with injuries, but he is very good when healthy. I have not seen any free agents or draftees taking his job. If he stays healthy and the team starts winning he could make the Pro Bowl. He is very good fans might want to watch him once and awhile. Go Jaguars!
Hey, one fer Cam.
Sam from Orlando, FL
Why can't I stop listening to "Can't Hold Back" by Survivor? Every second of this song screams montage.
I can answer many questions. On this topic, I fear you are on you own.
Earl from Middleburg, FL
KOF, I'm gonna come right out and say it … hold on … oh yeah, starting that new dude as center of the offensive line is simply going to be a disaster waiting to happen. I know, preseason evaluation and all that noise. The thing is, he'll be playing against other new dudes. A third rounder versus a proven Tyler Shatley just doesn't make sense to me. I can see the blitz packages now, right up the center. Help me make sense of what appears to be nonsense. Thanks in advance.
Luke Fortner reportedly has fared well and seemed to play OK Thursday. Remember: The Jaguars selected Luke Fortner from the University of Kentucky. You don't draft centers in Round 3 if you're thinking they're not going to start. The Jaguars selected Fortner with the idea that he will start. Sooner and not later.
WJB3 from Yulee
Do you think Jake will win the b/u QB slot?
Jake Luton started Thursday because starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence did not play and because backup quarterback C.J. Beathard is rehabilitating a groin injury sustained in organized team activities in June. I expect Beathard will be the backup to start the season.
Brandon from Clemson, SC
We should have worn teal at the Hall of Fame Game. Not black and white. Our color is teal.
Levi from Cd'A, Idaho
I wrote in back in June letting you know I ordered my to-be-nephew a Trevor Lawrence onesie from the Jags store, stating this little man is going to help the Jags turn it around. You replied "I say the kid has potential. If anyone can turn this thing around, it's him." Well ... the Jags kicked off their season in the Hall of Fame game Thursday. My nephew also was being born Thursday. Coincidence? You tell me... I'm leaning towards we have a Jags prophet on our hands.
… and one fer the nephew or for Lawrence … or both.
Marc from Oceanway
I hope you are OK, John. You say we will have a heads up when the streak is coming to an end, but what if you are really sick or, heaven forbid, you are in an accident?! Reading your column every day makes you kinda seem like family. These late postings stress me out. #notstalking
The O-Zone posted Thursday afternoon. We experienced technical difficulties Thursday and there was a slight delay getting the O-Zone posted. But be nice. Contrary to perception, we at jaguars.com and Jaguars Media are not perfect. When punched, we bruise. When cut, we bleed. When teased, we cry. And I cry often.