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O-Zone: Lid-lifting time

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Michael from Los Angeles, CA

No fluff or humming. Are the Jaguars a playoff team or will they stink again?

I don't know what fluff or humming mean in this question. I'm just smart enough to know that might make me seem "silly," and I'm old enough not to care too much about seeming that way. I've said it often in recent weeks and I'll say it again with the 2022 regular season now five days away: I don't think the Jaguars will be a postseason team in '22. I also absolutely don't think they will stink again. I think the roster is better than last season, particularly along the defensive front seven, and I think quarterback Trevor Lawrence will develop and progress in his second NFL season. I also think Head Coach Doug Pederson will provide a stable environment that allows this team to be competitive and get the most from its ability most weeks. I expect the offense and defense to both have good moments, and I expect youth to cause frustrating inconsistency. I expect the good moments to get the Jaguars six or seven victories, and I expect the inconstancy to prevent them from being a playoff team. I think fans/observers will be impressed with the Jaguars by season's end and I expect them to be a postseason contender in 2023. Maybe they will be better than I expect this season. Weirder things have happened.

David from Ada, OK

OK. The roster is "moving" so much I'm about to throw up from motion sickness. We don't got Gotsis. Now we got Gotsis. Wake me up when we're done.

The Jaguars released veteran defensive lineman Adam Gotsis earlier last week and re-signed him later in the week. This caused some angst among readers, but it's not overly unusual. The idea of a "final" 53-player roster is a myth. Rosters change constantly, and sometimes veteran reserve players are released and re-signed less because teams don't like them and more because teams need to manage roster/re-sign other players. This was the case with Gotsis this past week.

Unhipcat from b bar h, CA

Hi, John. Me, again, with my annual uniform selection guidance input that I'm pretty sure the uniform-deciding people appreciate hearing. Good: white on white, black on black, teal on teal, white on black, black on white, white on teal, teal on white. Also, gold in any combo I guess, although with teal doesn't really move me. Bad (I feel the fanbase is united on this): black and teal any combo.


Bradley from Sparks, NV

Jerry Rice and Larry Fitzgerald (Top 2 in receiving yards in NFL history), Davante Adams and Cooper Kupp (Top 2 receivers in NFL currently), Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell (Top 2 Jag receivers of all time) are as slow or slower than Treadwell and Shenault. Being slow is not the reason those guys are not on the roster. It's being slow and about 10 other things.

You're right that there's more to being an NFL receiver than speed. Much more. Former Jaguars wide receiver But Jimmy Smith was faster than either Laquon Treadwell or Laviska Shenault Jr. He was also bigger, bulker, stronger and tougher to cover than either player. Smith was a Hall of Fame-level receiver. Elite physical attributes weren't the only reason, but he absolutely had them.

Ronald from Jacksonville

Last time I counted, there has been a 67 percent turnover on the roster. Would you expect some struggles as this team gets to know one another?

Our counting is different. By my count, there are 22 new players on the Jaguars' 53-player roster as of Tuesday morning, making a 41 percent turnover. Or so. Even in an era in which NFL teams churn rosters each offseason, that's a lot of turnover. I expect that turnover to cause some inconsistency. I expect overall youth to cause some inconsistency. I expect young, new players – and a young quarterback – adapting to a new offensive scheme to cause some inconsistency. You can be moving in the right direction as a franchise and still have inconsistences because of these things. I expect that to be a big part of the Jaguars' 2022 story.

Holger from Zurich, Switzerland

If Jaguars outside linebacker Travon Walker were to win Defensive Rookie of the Year, what record will the Jags have?

Better than 3-14.

Eric from Jacksonville Beach

Random thought that I'd love your perspective on. I know there's been a lot of love locally for former Jaguars running back Fred Taylor for the Hall of Fame and I hope that gets momentum and happens. That being said, how come Jimmy Smith takes a back seat to him in that sense? When I look at Jimmy's career, he finished ranked seventh all-time in catches, 11th in yards and made it to five straight Pro Bowls. I know his career ended in a rough place due to the substance abuse, but feels like he should get more love than he does in that regard. I'm 100 percent hoping both get in, and feel like they deserve it, but any thoughts on why Jimmy doesn't get more attention right now?

This is a great question, and I don't have a great answer. Smith's 67 career touchdowns don't help his case, nor does the league continually becoming more pass-centric with more receivers therefore passing Smith on all-time lists by the year. The abrupt way Smith's career ended doesn't help, either, because one or two more 1,000-yard seasons might have had him more in the annual conversation for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Bottom line: Smith was second only to Rice among respected and feared NFL wide receivers in the late 1990s and early 2000s. His production over a 10-year period was staggering. He's very deserving of Hall consideration.

Rob from Middleburg, FL

I realize there is not just one definition of a "franchise quarterback" that's etched in stone somewhere. We all have different standards for this. What are yours? My question stems from a recent response in which you stated that the Jaguars have never had a franchise quarterback. As a fan and observer since day one, I've always considered former Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell to have been that. In my eyes, a franchise quarterback is one that you know you don't have to worry about. You know you are set at that position with a consistent, reliable, game-altering player (barring injury). And to me Mark was certainly that guy during the glory years of this franchise.

My definition is more about the quarterback being one around which you can build a franchise, and if that guy is in place you have a good chance of being a playoff contender for a decade or more. I consider Brunell a friend. I consider him the best quarterback in franchise history. Many of the franchise's biggest moments wouldn't have happened without him. But while he led the Jaguars to four consecutive postseason appearances, the franchise was under .500 in his last three seasons as a starter and he spent the last decade of his career mostly as a backup. That doesn't mean he wasn't good. That doesn't mean he's not important to this franchise. But I just don't know if he was an elite, franchise quarterback.

Chris from Mandarin

John, your professional analysis never ceases to enlighten and amaze me. Who would have ever thought that scoring more points would lead to winning more games? Not only that, but the eloquent nature of your response on the 9/2 Ozone in this regard will surely have you in the running for a Pulitzer prize in the Letters category. Now go ahead and pat yourself on the back because I don't know how you come up with these things. A true man of learning, nay a man of genius. The King of All Funk.

I am the king of all funk.

Brian from Middleburg

Zone, I know that preseason is not the ultimate gauge of how a team will do during the regular season, but it can give a little bit of a look ahead. With that, how do you think the Jags defense will be this year? Count me in on Top 10 in the league!

I expect the Jaguars' defense to be markedly improved – not only against the run, but in key areas such as sacks and turnovers forced. I expect them to push to be in the top half of the league. I am less certain about Top 10 status because they're relying on a lot of youth and youth gives me pause. But Top 10 is possible. Stay tuned.

Johnny from Westside and Newly section 404

With the official season kickoff for our beloved Jaguars in five days, what will you be looking for Week 1? A win is obvious, but will you be watching the offensive line or the wide receivers? Thanks for what you do for us fans. Love the show.

I'll be watching the offensive line and wide receivers with an eye on the defensive front seven. And the running backs. Mostly I'll be watching Lawrence. A young, potentially elite quarterback isn't the only storyline when a team has such a player, but it's far and away the most important.

Gary from St. Augustine, FL

The regular season starts this week and you suck.

Good eye.