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O-Zone: Know it all

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Richard from St. Augustine, FL

At end of year, Jags were rated around 19thon defense and 26thon offense. I believe the offense will improve much, much more than the defense because of weapons and character upgrades. The D will improve as well, but how many Ws that translates into will be decided by the will to do better of all involved. As far as your fandom of Jags, my perception is you are a professional like your predecessor. However, in following both of you, you both are fans in only a way a true professional could be. Reserved like a fine wine or tasty fully leaded oak barreled adult premium liquor. What say you, all-knowing man of funk? Surely this best describes your perfectionism! Moodachay. Go Jags!

My predecessor indeed was a professional – and a friend. Most people I have met fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to do our jobs know there is a balance one should seek between wanting the team to win for the sake of fans/people in the organization and "behaving like a fan." For most writers/team media, it's an achievable and desirable balance because it allows you to do your job professionally and consistently without the exhausting – and often irrational – emotional roller coaster of "fandom." As for your assessment of the Jaguars, they ranked 27th in total offense and 29th in defense. Their offense felt worse than that because they scored an abysmal 14.9 points per game, the worst in the NFL. I believe both units will be better, with the defense stouter up front and therefore keeping games closer for longer – and with the offense having more ability in creating explosive plays, an area where it struggled mightily a year ago. I expect those improvements to be sporadic because consistency is hard-won in the planet's best professional football league. But I expect sporadic improvement to mean a much better team – and a much better feeling about this team moving forward by season's end.

Robert from Oneonta

What have the Jags done for Duval? First, they cannot achieve their prime mission, Entertain at the Bank by winning football games. They …

You said much lot more, most of it expectedly "awesome" and some of it even coherent. I say this not as a senior writer for the Jaguars but as someone who grew up in Jacksonville – and who lived through Robert Irsay and a host of preseason NFL games and a loooong expansion process. It is true the Jaguars have not won enough. It is true that they have made mistakes. It is true that they have not given fans enough joy. It's also true that as a small-market team, the Jaguars must lean on taxpayer dollars more than teams in small markets for large-scale facility upgrades. But if you truly don't know what the Jaguars have done for Duval, you either care nothing for football (which is your prerogative) you didn't live here in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. And if you did, you weren't paying attention.

Steve from Nashville, TN

Do you think Mark Brunell will be the star of Hard Knocks this year in Detroit?

I haven't the slightest idea.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-Man, looks like Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson showed up with a large suitcase in tow. Who was he hiding in there?

Not longtime Florida Times-Union sports columnist and Northeast Florida cultural icon Eugene P. "Gene" Frenette. I swear.

Earl from Middleburg, FL

John O, the one offseason acquisition not many are talking about that I would probably rate as the best is right guard Brandon Scherff. The day he was drafted by the Washington Commanders, I called my son – who lives in Maryland – and told him they were getting a beast of a selection. I was not proven wrong. Let's see: Only eight sacks allowed in five years, miniscule amount of penalties, All-Pro selections and Pro Bowls. He just came from a schmucky team. I'm thinking definite game-changer here that many Jag fans won't know it 'till they see it, and I'm sure they're absolutely going to see it. You get that vibe?

Yes. If Scherff can play in Jacksonville as he did in Washington – and if is presence has the positive effect on others that is expected from a five-time Pro Bowl selection – it will be a critical signing. We haven't talked about Scherff much since he signed as an unrestricted free agent. It's tough to talk a lot about linemen in the offseason. His addition needs to be very important – and very impactful.

Brad from Orange Park, FL

Just saw some highlights of Allen Robinson on Instagram. Here's hoping letting DJ Chark go doesn't turn in to "WR1 talent jettisoned 2.0."


Jonathan from Jax

Other than the negative hype surrounding Baalke, I don't get the hate. From my eyes he has put together two of the best drafts in franchise history. I was begging for Andre Cisco, and even tweeted at former Head Coach Urban Meyer before the pick and he is going to dominate. Now we add the top tackler in the league who football people just love, and Devin Lloyd is an All-Star person and soon to be NFL player. Oh yeah … we also were able to convince Head Coach Doug Pederson to come here after last season's fiasco. What are people so upset about?

Much of the "negative hype" and "hate" toward Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke comes from the fact that many fans expected and wanted a "clean break" from Meyer last December. Many also assumed that such a break would be made. Many fans at this time also were expressing discontent toward Owner Shad Khan because of a tenure of mostly losing, and the movement got real "virally" and "social media-y" and out of control. The reality is closer to what you mentioned. There is nothing wrong on paper with Baalke's two drafts and two offseasons worth of moves as general manager. The last two drafts indeed look like they could be very good. All that is to be played out on the field. But does Baalke still have a chance to be a very good general manager for this franchise? Yes. Nothing that has happened indicates that won't be the case. Stay tuned.

KC from Orlando, FL

KOAF - the 2017 Jaguars defense was pretty special. However, despite the free agency spending and recent draft picks, it really came as a surprise as to how good that team was. Did you get a sense it was going to be that good during the preseason? How would you compare expectations leading into camp for that team versus going into camp with this team? I feel like they didn't see us coming then and that they are not going to see us coming this year! Go Jags!

Many around the Jaguars were confident entering 2017. Few observers were confident, but that's because the team had had so little success in recent previous seasons. I did not have a sense that the 2017 team was going to be nearly as good as it was. How do the expectations between the seasons compare? Sort of the same, but expectations have been low for nearly a decade. If the 2022 Jaguars succeed, it would be an out-of-nowhere story. That's not to say it can't happen, but it would be a surprise. Here's hoping.

Sean from Oakleaf, FL

One last dead zone question: Of the 17 scheduled 2022 Sunday Night Football (SNF) games only six of these games feature a team that did not make the playoffs last year and – in every case – they play a team that made the playoffs in 2021. Conversely for the 18-game Monday Night Football (MNF) schedule, 11 games feature at least one team that did not make the playoffs last year and in four of these games both opponents did not make the tournament in 2021. Has SNF passed MNF in popularity or ratings or viewership or is there a specific reason why the Sunday night schedule, on paper, appears more compelling than the Monday night games - is the MNF schedule intended to be more inclusive for non-winning teams?

The Sunday Night Football game has been the NFL's premier game most weeks since it began partnering with NBC for the game in 2006.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, other than quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who/what are you looking forward to seeing most at camp?

One-on-one pass rush. Rookie linebacker Travon Walker. Rookie linebacker Devin Lloyd. Speed, explosiveness and ability by wide receivers to get open in increasingly competitive situations. Speed and explosiveness of running back Travis Etienne Jr. as padded work and intensity increases.

Dave from Jacksonville

Yippie it's here. Zone, when will we know? Until now it's all speculation. Wizard when will we know? Preseason perhaps, bye week, Christmas? How long now?

You will know when you know. If I know, I will tell you.