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O-Zone: Leader of men

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL

Time to move on to the Chiefs, O. Your views on how Week 1 would go held pretty true. What are your thoughts on Week 2? I'm curious about Scherff's injury impact, Jones returning for Kansas City with no training camp and – most of all – who you expect to win. Personally, it's hard for me to go against the Chiefs until the Jags do it once even at home with the heat, crowd and so much talent. Mahomes is a beast.

My early thoughts the Jaguars' game against the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday at EverBank Stadium is it will be a difficult game for the Jaguars so long as Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes plays. If Jaguars right guard Brandon Scherff doesn't play, the line loses a lot of leadership – but I think veteran Tyler Shatley can handle the situation physically. Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones is a special player and – though his snaps could be relatively limited – I expect him to have an impact even after missing all of training camp. We have similar thoughts on who will win. I think the Jaguars are a rising team. I expect them to win the AFC South this season and have a chance to have a playoff run. I also see the Chiefs as a generational team that's difficult for teams on the rise to beat until they actually do it. They also have a franchise quarterback and they're a franchise that knows how to win games such as Sunday's. I expect the Jaguars to play well and have moments where they control the game. I don't expect the game to have the same inevitable feel of a Chiefs victory as the teams' meetings last season. I'm not ready yet to say the Jaguars will take the huge step of winning. I'm not ready to say they won't take that step. I just don't have a feel yet. Give me a day or two.

Drew from Buford, GA

I am so happy to be living in a world right now where I expect the Jags to beat the Chiefs this week. Not "hope" they will, but expect them to. Doesn't mean they will, but the talent and "readiness" of this team has arrived where they have the skill to win week after week against anyone. My question is around C-Kirk. Did the Colts' D totally shut him down or was he just toned down for the game plan? Or was he dealing with any issues affecting him? We are going to need him.

The Jaguars have a long list of talented skill players. Wide receivers Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, Calvin Ridley and Jamal Agnew. Tight end Evan Engram. Running backs Travis Etienne Jr. and Tank Bigsby. There are more. Not all of those players are going to have big statistics every week. Some may have no statistic. Games don't last forever. There are only so many plays.

Jason from Jacksonville

Did Asher Grodman give you the script for the game against the Colts game early? It was almost like you knew it was going to happen.

Asher is a fine actor. He is not the king of all funk.

Bob from Bobsville

Can you win without at least good offensive line? I may be missing something, but it seems in almost all cases the offensive line determines how good a quarterback is, especially a young or less mobile one. Are there any quarterbacks you have seen who were able to play at a sustained high level (winning or not) that didn't have a decent offensive line if mobile, and at least a good/very good if not. Sure, quick reads can help, but if your Oline doesn't give the receivers enough time to get downfield then the area the defense has to cover is less (kind of like being in the red zone). So, in your time covering the NFL can you think of a quarterback who had longevity and success without a decent/good or better offensive line.

The Cincinnati Bengals played in the Super Bowl following the 2021 season despite the offensive line struggling to protect quarterback Joe Burrow throughout the postseason. I have also seen experienced quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning when I covered the Colts help the line greatly by knowing when to throw early, knowing how to maneuver in the pocket and knowing how to read pass rush. Does success with a struggling offensive line happen on occasion? Sure. It's difficult to sustain over the long haul.

Colin from Orlando, FL

Hey John, I just watched a very cool video on the Jaguars' YouTube that used nextgen stats to calculate and show "Trevor Lawrence's four most improbable completions." How are these numbers calculated?

I haven't the foggiest idea.

Bradley from Sparks, NV

Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce spent most of the offseason showing up at awards or talk shows, etc. wearing shades , dressed like pretentious clowns and generally behaving like obnoxious twits. Are the Chiefs ripe for something that they rarely endure – a good, old-fashioned thrashing?

The Chiefs have won two Super Bowls in the last four seasons and hosted the last five AFC Championship Games. Kelce and Mahomes are the NFL's best players at their positions and will be in the Hall of Fame. I suppose they can dress and act how they like until further notice.

Scott from Gilbert, AZ

KOAF, three-point dogs at home?  I know, fans gonna fan and you learned a long time ago it's not your job to tell readers how they should feel. But I am nonetheless feeling a little disrespected, Zone.

The Chiefs have played in the last five AFC Championship Games and won the Super Bowl last season. They are the most consistent franchise over the last half decade. The Jaguars won one more game than they lost last season and are still a team working to establish themselves. The Chiefs being favored by a field goal makes sense, even in Jacksonville.

Paul from Jupiter

Is there any way that we can keep cornerback Tyson Campbell and outside linebacker Josh Allen after this year?

I expect many variations of this question throughout this season – and the reality is while the Jaguars will be able to keep a lot of their front-line players for 2024, they also probably will lose some very good players. Such is the nature of roster management in the salary-cap era when you have good players. It won't be possible to project exactly what combination of players until after the season because we don't yet know how players will play, how management will project those players and how new contracts – and restructurings – will shape the cap. Specific to your question, Campbell will be here next season because his contract runs through 2024. I would expect the Jaguars to try to sign him to an extension after this season because he has developed into a very good player, the sort they would want to keep. Allen's contract expires at the end of this season, so his status is far less certain. He likely will sign a megacontract somewhere. He realistically probably needs a huge season for the Jaguars to re-sign him. The Jaguars also have the option of the franchise tag for one year for Allen. That can't be ruled out.

John from Cape May Court House

Tyson Campbell. Pay this man. That is all. As you were.

I expect this will happen after the season. Stay tuned.

Bren from Jax Beach

The coaches seem to love running back Tank Bigsby, but a fumble at the one-yard line, pass off the hand resulting in an interception and a bonehead fumble leading to a defensive score all within the last two games doesn't feel like a coincidence but more a lack of awareness. Agree?


Stuart from Cottonwood, AZ

For those who doubt Tank, watch the sideline video of his huddle run to the one. Watch the feet. Reminded me of one of the great short yardage backs, Robert Newhouse.

Good eye.

Stan from Jacksonville

What is the point of making players inactive on gameday? Why can't all 53 just be active? Why does the 48 active players rule exist?

The purpose is to ensure that teams enter games with the same number of available players. If one team has four injured active players and the other team has none, forcing each team to deactive five players means both teams have 48 active players. Without the inactive rule, one team would have 53 available players and the other team would have 49.

Daniel from Geneva, Switzerland

O-Man, Zay Jones makes an amazing catch for a touchdown in the game, and in the postgame interview he is super cool, calm, and collected as he expects that sort of play from himself. Plus, he's wearing a Boselli shirt during the interview. He has to be one of the better leaders in this locker room, right?