JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville
That should be our team's motto, "Give it a year!!" It seems to be the constant theme, "Oh, we are mediocre now but WAIT UNTIL NEXT YEAR!!" Yes, when our traded-for, suspended secret weapon wide receiver will be available. Maybe probably. Or we get the next Top 3 draft pick! Or … OR … ORRRR … The next awesome free-agent signing. Is it me or does this team feel like the living persona of the Indians from Major League? Not quite ever good enough to be ... good? Maybe we should do like the Indianapolis Colts and hire Tony Boselli as our head coach. Seems to be working for them.
You're frustrated. That's more than understandable. It's hard to look at the Jaguars' results over the last decade-plus and say fans shouldn't be frustrated. And angry. And etc., etc., etc. And O-Zone answers during that decade absolutely have sounded similar to many from this season, heavy on themes of youth and building. I can't guarantee the future. Even Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson can't guarantee future success. What I can tell you is quarterback Trevor Lawrence through 10 games this season has shown enough progress to make a reasonable observer confident he can continue to improve more in coming seasons. And the offense in the first season under Pederson has been good enough to make a reasonable observer confident it can improve more in coming seasons. I doubt Boselli will be the Jaguars' head coach. I think Pederson is the right person for that position, and I'm more confident the team can win consistently – and soon – than I have been in some time. We shall see.
Bob from Sumter, SC
Jaguars outside linebacker Josh Allen seems like a great guy and hard worker. After several years is he who he is? A good but not Pro Bowl caliber player?
Allen, the No. 7 overall selection by the Jaguars in the 2019 NFL Draft, was a Pro Bowl selection as a rookie and deservedly so. He has not been a Pro Bowl selection since, but he has been good. So, yes … that's what he has been to date.
Michael from Orange Park, FL
You're pretty pleased with yourself, aren't you?
Jake from Cary, NC
As you noted, it's hard for players to develop during the season. Which makes Pederson's decision to cancel portions of training camp/OTAs even more perplexing. It's looking like we could have used some of that development time.
I never found Pederson's 2022 offseason approach perplexing, and to my recollection he cancelled no portions of training camp. He did cancel three days of June mandatory minicamp for veterans – though not for rookies. Pederson knows from experience how much offseason work players need. If you believe those three days of unpadded in mid-June work were going to change the course of the season, and that Pederson misread his team to allow veterans those three days off, I suppose we'll agree to disagree.
David from Jacksonville
Percent chance the Jaguars make the playoffs in 2022?
Four point three seven.
Jonathan from Jacksonville
Do you think the Jags will look at the personnel they have on D and simplify it some? That assigned zone nonsense is confusing, and they have the athletes to play man. It would also benefit them to move to a 4-3. Fit the scheme to the personnel.
I wouldn't be surprised if the Jaguars use the bye to try to simplify their defensive approach. I would be surprised if they moved to a 4-3 defense; that's a hard change to make midseason. I would be very, very surprised if the Jaguars looked at their personnel and decided they had the players/athletes to play straight man-to-man coverage.
Steve from Nashville, TN
The mythical rookie wall is fast approaching for our 2022 draft and undrafted free agent class. Is this a phenomena (regression in play) you have witnessed in your many years of covering the Jaguars and Colts?
You usually hear about it more than you see it. Rookies often will speak after a season about the NFL season feeling much longer than a college season. The noticeable differences are often more subtle than a dramatic statistical decline late in a player's rookie season.
Dan from Ormond Beach, FL
It was nice of you to answer a question yesterday from Riley Patterson's mom. Do you get questions from player's moms often?
I posted an O-Zone email recently supporting Jaguars kicker Riley Patterson, who has missed three of his last five field goals. That's a rough stretch. If it continues even for another game or two, I expect the Jaguars will strongly consider a move. Considering he had been pretty consistent for the first eight games of this season, I don't know that it's safe to assume the email came from Patterson's mom. Or maybe it was from his mom. Or maybe it was from your mom.
Byron from Jax
By the way, is this a good week for the bye? I'm not sure I'm buying it. Should the bye week bisect the season? Would the bye be a better buy if it was earlier? Thank You and goodbye.
The ideal time for a bye week is when a team has multiple short-term injuries that can heal with a week's rest. The Jaguars have been remarkably healthy in that sense. Taking injuries out of the equation, most coaches prefer a late-season bye so in that sense this is a good week for a bye, by golly.
Bradley from Sparks, NV
Most of the successful teams maintain a core group of players over several years. Which players on the current roster do you see being Jags for the next four-plus years?
Four-plus years is really five years, and five seasons is a loooong time in the NFL. Players who I could see being with the Jaguars in five seasons: Lawrence, linebacker Devin Lloyd, running back Travis Etienne Jr., center Luke Fortner, cornerback Tyson Campbell, outside linebacker Travon Walker and perhaps Allen. Oh, and offensive lineman Tyler Shatley, of course. He apparently is going to play here forever. Either way, if the list is just Lawrence and one or two others – and if Lawrence is good – the Jaguars probably will be good.
Scott from Jacksonville
Feels like a couple of times in the last couple of O-Zone columns someone has spouted off that Aiden Hutchinson has been SOOO much more productive than Walker when that isn't true at all. Take away Hutchinson's three-sack game where he was apparently gifted two of those sacks, and his numbers are actually quite a bit worse than Walker's. Are these people just pulling your chain, or are they complaining for the sake of complaining? Maybe they're kind of dumb? I don't get it.
The reality of Walker's rookie season was he was going to be criticized heavily if he didn't produce huge sack numbers – and because Walker was going to need time to develop as a pass rusher, the odds were good he was going to be criticized heavily. People criticizing aren't dumb. They're fans who want their team to win.
Dan from Munich, Germany
Hi Zone, I keep reading experts like you saying that once Travon Walker learns pass-rushing techniques he will be a great player, my question is what in the hell they have been doing at practices since the beginning of training camp? Thanks
I don't know that I've ever written or said that Walker will be great once he learns pass-rushing techniques. I don't know Walker's ceiling. I have written and said he needs to improve in this area. The Jaguars did spend extensive time with Walker in this area in training camp and the offseason. Once the regular season begins, practices are less about fundamentals and techniques because time available requires that these practices are mostly about game-planning and preparation.
Adam from St Johns, FL
You know, the nine years Dave Caldwell was here as general manager you didn't once say he's doing a terrible job. The fans were so right, and I don't think you understand how backing the team and everyone in the front office made your good eye not so good. Here we are with Trent. Everything is wonderful and he's a great general manager and everyone just needs time. The fans aren't wrong all the time John. Stop it, just stop the sunshine pumping. We don't care that we're better if we're still 3-7. It's 3-7 dude my God. Being better is striving for .500. Stop putting lip stick on a pig! This is a terrible franchise, is what it is.
People ask questions, Alan. I answer. That's the format and I have no plans to change it. Being "awesome" wasn't a job requirement as much as it was a happy accident. And while my daily objective isn't to irritate you, it is one of the job's cooler perks.
Larry from Duncan, OK
Great and powerful O, I have a lot of money riding on your answer to my question - Can you guarantee that the Jags will not lose this Sunday?
Yes, and Alan won't like this answer, either.