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O-Zone: Keep on keeping on

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Jason from North Pole, AK

Calvin Ridley in his Titans introductory press conference said he wanted to be in Jacksonville. He also said that he "had to wait until Wednesday" to sign. The Jags took a risk to save a draft pick and it burned them. Ridley's agent used it to his advantage, that's his job. My frustration is it feels like the Jaguars should have seen that coming. Do you think Baalke is one step behind instead of one step ahead? It feels like he has contingency plans in place that I like, but also feels like he is reactive versus proactive.

Perspective is everything in life, I suppose – and many Jaguars observers seem predisposed to a perspective in which General Manager Trent Baalke is constantly making mistakes and somehow ill-prepared for whatever situations arise. This predisposition has created the opinion for some that whenever Baalke does something they like "anyone could have done it" and whenever he does something they don't like he's a babbling idiot. Yes, the Jaguars needed to wait to re-sign wide receiver Calvin Ridley last Wednesday at 4 p.m. – the start of the 2024 NFL League Year – to ensure the draft selection they sent to complete the 2022 trade for Ridley with the Atlanta Falcons was a third-round selection instead of a second-round selection. But the Tennessee Titans were able to sign Ridley away from the Jaguars by offering more guaranteed money than the Jaguars were willing to guarantee. The Titans could have offered that guarantee whenever the Jaguars and Ridley were ready to finalize the contract – Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. Baalke, like any NFL general manager, enters offseasons with a plan. Those plans have contingencies because it's almost impossible in a competitive league to sign/re-sign every player you covet. Does he accomplish every goal? No. That doesn't mean he's reactive or proactive. It just means he's an NFL general manager.

*Drew from Buford, GA                *

While I love the addition of center Mitch Morse, I am surprised the Jags have not done more to strengthen the offensive line. Sure, they re-signed some players, but our offensive line was the biggest issue by far last year – unless you want to count quarterback Trevor Lawrence taking a huge step back as not related to that. Our running game, passing game and play-calling need a much better line. If Morse alone is that answer, we should be paying him $20 million per year. Instead we are seeing a load of wide receiver activity and a parallel swap at our backup quarterback on offense. We got a little better at offensive line and worse at wide receiver and kicking. Not sure how any of this translates to more wins. Particularly with the Houston Texans and Titans getting significantly better. Where is the real difference making move so far this offseason that isn't offset by a player loss??

Perspective is everything in life, I suppose – and though this perspective is understandable, it's not how the Jaguars see it. The Jaguars see signing Morse as an upgrade. They also see re-signing left guard Ezra Cleveland as significant to the offensive line – and although he was with the team last season, he started just five games and played through injury much of the time. They also expect right tackle Anton Harrison to continue to improve in his second NFL season – and for the line overall to benefit from continuity and cohesion. As far as one "difference-making move" … my experience is team improvement from one season to the next more often comes from continuity and improvement from within than it does a particularly offseason transaction. In this case, I expect improvement to come from an improved running game and the accompanying continued development of Lawrence – particularly in big moments and in turnover reduction. If the defense improves at least marginally along with those offensive improvements, the Jaguars will be better. If not …

Doug from Jacksonville

No one doubts the players deserve to make plenty of money in a relatively short career in a very physical game. A player worth tens of millions saying he loves the city and team going to a division rival for a contract worth more when the original is life changing isn't about money. It's about greed. We unfortunately celebrate greed as drive instead of what it is. Greed.

Perspective is everything in life, I suppose.

GP from Savannah

It's ironic how the U.S. leads the world in changing jobs and locations for better benefits including salaries, but when football players whose lifetime careers are much shorter change jobs it gets criticized by fans for leaving to get better pay.

Perspective is everything in life, I suppose.

Joel from Jacksonville

Last season, there were several times when the coaches felt that an injured Lawrence with limited practice was a better choice than backup quarterback C.J. Beathard. Does the addition of Jones change those and any future decisions? Also: Since Jones is a first-round pick, do we have the fifth-year option with him?

The Jaguars last week acquired Mac Jones in a trade with the New England Patriots with the idea that Jones – a three-year starter for the Patriots – will back up Lawrence. Whether the Jaguars will choose to play Lawrence if injured or Jones if healthy depends on the extent of Lawrence's (theoretical) injury and therefore is difficult to assess in mid-March. The Jaguars wouldn't have traded for Jones if they didn't believe they would feel at least marginally better playing him compared to playing Beathard. As for Jones' fifth-year option … the option transfers in a trade. That means the Jaguars can apply it to Jones this offseason if they so desire.

Hilarious from Funnytown

We gonna kick the tires on the Lambo?

I sort of laughed at this. I'm not always proud of myself.

Don from Marshall NC

Trent Baalke has put himself in position to draft a receiver if he covets one. We know he shops good, so let's get this draft right and the team will be on their way! Go Jaguars!

When it comes to the Jaguars focusing on wide receiver at No. 17 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft, Don remains "all in."

Hank from Toms River

Hi, John. A couple of weeks ago in a press conference, Baalke said: "We've got to get bigger, we've got to get stronger, we've got to get more physical in the trenches." With guard Brandon Scherff and center Mitch Morse over 30 years old, and the rest of the line the same, did we really address this? Or should we expect some bigger things to come?

The 2024 NFL Draft is scheduled to be held in Detroit, Mich., April 25-27.

Nick from Palm Coast, FL

With our new defensive scheme, who covers Ridley two times a season? Do we just get up on the line and play physical with him as he has shown to be less productive when harassed at the line ...

I expect the Jaguars to game plan for Ridley next season when the time comes. I expect the Jaguars to play a lot of aggressive physical coverage under new defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen.

Everett from Medina, OH

Talk about a manic place last week, sheesh. Is it more important for a team to draft the right players who eventually sign long-term or "win" free agency each year? I think it's the draft: I don't care who or what positions are drafted as long as they are impact players that make this team better.

It's more important to draft players who eventually sign long-term. It's the best way to maintain a competitive, "affordable" roster over an extended period. You can sign free agents to supplement that, but that approach is difficult to maintain.

P Funk from Murray Hill

What are differences in responsibilities of a big nickel and a third safety?

This depends on the specifics of the scheme, but the responsibilities of the two positions are often quite close with the player theoretically being a slightly better run defender than pass defender – but able to do both.

Josiah from Jacksonville

I have not been thrilled with Baalke when it comes to drafting, but man he is killing it in free agency. Very impressed. Now let's draft Louisiana State wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr.

One fer Baalke – and one fer Thomas.

Nathan from Utah, US

Sole Social Zone, and my telephone. I read Trent Baalke say you want your team to be able to line up, then the draft. Now I see he has done just that with the 2024 Jaguars. And it's being quietly kept how impressive he's managing lining up such a young team. Setting up Days One and Two of the draft to pick the best available from the league's premier positions and adding depth at EDGE, Corner, OL. Current Roster - On Paper - Nasty! Bravo, Baalke! Bravo! GO JAGS!

Another fer Baalke. I think.