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O-Zone: Locked up

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Jason from Jacksonville

John, I know there's almost nothing Trevor can do this year that would make you think he's still not the guy moving forward, but what standards should Jags fans judge him on this year?

This is a tricky question, because it's tricky to know how much Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence was affected by the dysfunction around the organization last season. Many people within the league believe you must disregard last season when assessing him – and that the regular-season finale against the Colts, in which Lawrence played very well, could be a good sign moving forward. Either way, it's difficult to know just where he is in his development. My sense is he won't be affected much by the weirdness of last season because handled it with remarkable poise and maturity. How should he be judged this season? On how much he improves. We expected to see a lot of things from Lawrence last season – growth, improved play as the season continued, more competitive results and more victories as the season continued. We didn't see enough of that from him as a rookie. It's fair to expect those things this season. If we don't see improvement, then yeah … it will be fair to be concerned.

Dwight from Naples, FL

Zone Man, lots of talk about our average wide receivers but there's a sleeper in the backfield Travis Etienne Jr. He was compared to the likes of Cam Akers, Dalvin Cook and Kenyon Drake. If he is healthy, doesn't that make our receivers a whole lot better?

Etienne's presence – his speed, playmaking ability, ability to strain the defense, speed enough to make coordinators worry – undoubtedly will benefit the receiving corps if he plays snaps there. All the aforementioned traits are going to help the entire offense wherever he lines up, receivers included.

Michael from Jacksonville

Is it the dead zone yet? It feels like the dead zone.

The so-called dead zone is the time of the offseason when little new happens around the Jaguars, when questions get a little scarce and when we start perhaps looking ahead to training camp. That usually peaks after the offseason program in late June and drifts into July. We still have the "meat" of the offseason program with organized team activities and multiple media availabilities, so … this ain't dead. Not yet. Not quite.

William the Contemplator from Jax

Mr. O, do you have any hope that your readers will admit they were wrong about Walker when he has an outstanding rookie year?

Probably not, but that's OK. Readers and fan upset about rookie outside linebacker Travon Walker being selected No. 1 overall are upset because they believe what respected draft analysts have said regarding the matter. I suppose many are also inclined to believe the Jaguars made a mistake because they have seen the Jaguars make mistakes often in recent seasons. If the fans are wrong and Jaguars personnel officials are right on this one … well, it's OK to give the fans a pass if they don't "admit" they were wrong. These fans have been through a lot.

Greg from Section 122, Jacksonville

In regards to the person who wrote in saying our wide receivers' top players now being three through five on the new depth chart means we are better: Sorry, wrong. Again, it means on paper we look great. Case in point few years ago we signed tight end Julius Thomas off the Broncos the year after they won the Super Bowl, and he was their go-to tight end. Came here and absolutely underperformed to his contract. Was almost probably one the biggest free-agent bust this team has ever seen. So again, I suggest patience and caution before saying anything is improved. There are WAY too many stories with this franchise that we should be better, we signed the right player, but the wins never come. God, I can't tell you how much I hope I am wrong and we light it up. But I think Pederson was dead on in trying to temper expectations in that this will take a while to fix. Can't see us getting more than six wins this year, which I think is good progress. We need another draft to address some key deficits in the offense.


Dan from Saint Johns

They say the league is a copycat league and this year has proven that once again. The emergence of Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver JaMarr Chase has made it a wide receiver league, or acutely heightened that emerging theme. Everyone needs a wide receiver and drafting one early is the path. Just a few years back a common refrain was that wide receiver is hard to predict and first-round wide receivers were risky selections. Now everyone is trading away picks to get one. With wide receiver fever raging at the draft, isn't there still some truth to the notion that wide receiver is hard to predict and draft, comparatively? Were some of these picks driven by Fear Of Losing Out? The college game has changed, but it's hard to believe three or four years from now this draft will be the wide receiver bonanza it was drafted like to be.

There seem to have been fewer first-round wide receivers fail in recent seasons, a trend that likely can be attributed to passing games becoming more advanced at the college level. And even at the high-school level. Still, every position has an element of a crapshoot in the NFL draft. You can probably assume two or three of the receivers selected in Round 1 this season don't quite live up to expectations. That would be a little more than half the first-rounders at the position hitting. That feels about right.

Johnny formerly of E. Palatka

Not a question, I suppose, but overall, I feel pretty good about the season. We have a chance to be a competitive team, well-coached and prepared. Players not plays (or coaches), but so far looks good.

One fer looking good.

Craig from Holly Springs, NC

Everybody the past few weeks has been discussing our new draft picks, how much better our defense will be, do we have a No. 1 receiver, how good will our offensive line be, etc... Let's be honest, John; this all comes down to Trevor. If he turns the corner in Year 2 and becomes "the guy," the rest of the team will magically get better and our record will indicate that. Trevor, Trevor, Trevor. This upcoming season is all about his progression as a franchise quarterback. The Jags go as he goes.

There are more than six months between the end of the regular season and the start of training camp. That means more than 180 O-Zones with at least 10 questions in each O-zone. That's nearly 1800 offseason questions. I can't write 1800 times that Lawrence is the key and all else depends on that. And that's not entirely true. But yeah … Lawrence is the key and a whole helluva lot depends on that. Absolutely. #Trevortrevortrevor

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, I'm not sure if you intended it, but you had a very good point about us for many drafts "winning" the offseason. As a Jags fan since Day One, the offseason has for the most part been the best part of the "season." That being said, I think that this offseason is different. It doesn't feel as "winning-ly" as in the past. Maybe that's a good thing?

Stay tuned.

Richard from Jacksonville

Zone, I'm going to ask a question you didn't post in a different way. Did our draft and our hybrid defense make the nickel corner obsolete during some passing downs?

The nickel corner won't be obsolete in the Jaguars' defense. The team signed Darious Williams as an unrestricted free agent in the offseason – and the combination of Williams, Tyson Campbell and Shaquill Griffin will be on the field at the same time as outside/nickel corners. Now, it is possible that there will be some pass defense looks without a nickel corner? Sure, but the nickel will play a key role.

Jay from So Cal

After looking at some video of the new draftees, I liked their demeanor and character so far. I hope they truly are "team first" warriors who display a lot of skill. Nice in the meeting room and a ferocious tiger on a gazelle while on the field.

The Jaguars' draft class is impressive. That's particularly true of the four who have been featured most prominently in media availabilities: Walker (Round 1, No. 1 overall), Lloyd, offensive lineman Luke Fortner (Round 3, No. 65) and linebacker Chad Muma (Round 3, No. 70). They are engaging, seem intelligent and are well-spoken. They seem excited to be here and seem capable of fitting the new direction under Pederson. Now, we'll find out if they can play.

Chris from Mandarin

Be honest, if Boselli and you had gone to high school together, you would have been getting stuffed in lockers regularly.

Boselli knows where to find me.