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O-Zone: Lounging and soaking

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Doug from Jax Beach

The talk continues about Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence and his injuries affecting his performance. I'm sure it did to some extent. My question is: Why did Pederson play him? We lost five or six games after he was hurt the first time. The one we won, he didn't play. Starting backup quarterback C.J. Beathard while giving TL a chance to heal could not have been any worse than what actually happened. I think Pederson should shoulder some of the blame because he chose to start someone who was certainly not close to 100 percent. AND we lost all five of those games and TL was awful.

A couple of thoughts on this thought. One is while it's easy to say Head Coach Doug Pederson shouldn't have played Lawrence late in the season because Lawrence was injured, it's fair to remember that Lawrence had played very well in two previous times playing through injury – late in the 2022 season following a toe injury and earlier in the 2023 season following a knee injury. Remember, too: While the Jaguars indeed won the one game in which Lawrence didn't play late in the season, that game was against a Carolina Panthers team that finished with the NFL's worst record. Why did Pederson play Lawrence late in the season? For the simplest and most unassailable of reasons – that he believed Lawrence gave the Jaguars the best chance to win. One final thought: You say playing the backup over Lawrence couldn't have been worse? It can always get worse. Always.

Billy from Orange Park and Section 412

O, I think the criticism of Trevor regressing is unwarranted and I'll tell you why. He was running for his life most of the season because our offensive line couldn't protect him. Granted, he needs to improve decision-making and protecting the football. But better protection would have made a huge difference in his turnovers. Put Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Brock Purdy, Jared Goff or anyone else behind our offensive line and they would struggle. General Manager Trent Baalke should have invested more manpower on the o-line, especially when he knew Ben Bartch was coming off a serious injury. And he knew as well as Pederson that center Luke Fortner was a liability in the middle.

I suppose we can spend the entire offseason looking back and bemoaning why the Jaguars didn't do more to address the offensive line last offseason. And if we do, that's fine. But it's hard to see what more the Jaguars realistically could/would have done last offseason to address the offensive line beyond perhaps bringing in a left guard to compete with/replace Ben Bartch. Remember: They had left tackle Cam Robinson and right guard Brandon Scherff returning on big contracts – and they weren't going to make changes there. They drafted Anton Harrison to replace Jawaan Taylor at right tackle after Taylor signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Kansas City Chiefs. While it's easy now to say they should have replaced Fortner, Fortner at the time was entering his second season – a time when NFL players typically take a significant step forward. That didn't happen, but the thought here is a lot of teams would have taken a similar approach to how the Jaguars addressed offensive line last offseason. The question now? How will they address it this offseason, particularly the interior. That's one of the major 2023 Jaguars offseason storylines.

Paul from Lake City

As much as I'm loathe to admit it, Baalke doesn't deserve to be fired this offseason. Like all general managers, his draft picks have been a mixed bag with a few very good picks, some good picks and some picks that have yet to work out or won't work out. His gamble on the lines being "good enough" was a calculated risk that didn't work out. If the interior offensive and interior defensive line are not addressed this offseason in a significant way, then I truly hope Owner Shad Khan will move on. Being a fan of this team since Day One has been frustrating. Having fundamental deficiencies that were not difficult to predict makes it more so.


Joe from All da beach's

Are brodog and Brian from round rock the same clown?

We reviewed this multiple times last offseason in the O-Zone, but it's important to be nice. Please remember to be nice.

Don from Marshall, NC

You got to have Cam Robinson and Anton Harrison in shape opening day. Everyone in between those two needs an upgrade. You need a receiver and power running back. You need a defensive tackle that can apply pressure to the middle. You need a cover corner and a safety. That is one tough nut to crack. Other than quarterback, it seems like every team will be looking for the same positions. What positions are deep in the draft? Go Jaguars!

Don, while unusually "all over the place," nonetheless remains reassuringly "all in."

Izzy from Bronx

John, lived in Jax during the Touchdown Jacksonville effort that culminated in a new team, moved away for work and finally back in retirement. I'm just looking for positive consistency at this point and wondering if I'll see that sometime soon before I leave for good?

The Jaguars have won nine games each of the last two seasons. They won the AFC South title in 2022 and missed winning it in 2023 when they lost their last game of the regular season. The end of the 2023 season was brutally disappointing. It wasn't good enough. But the back-to-back winning seasons is the Jaguars' first such stretch since 2004-2005, indicating that not good is still better than it has been in a while.

Brain from Carlisle, PA

O, When is the dead zone? To me, seems like we all just need to take a chill pill and wait and see what happens.

I'll hold my breath.

John from Jacksonville

Hi, KOAGF. I think the Kansas City Chiefs are becoming America's new hated team. Not only is it tiring to see them get to the Championship games, but it's tiring to see Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce plastered on the screen all of the time and in 20 percent of commercials. Now, we even have a "who cares" Taylor Swift fan at every game they play. I really hope the Jags can give them a much-needed dose of humility next season.

Do people hate the Chiefs? They seem pretty un-hateable to me. And while I'm not big on Swift, I don't know that she's worth hating. My advice? Just shake it off.

Tim from Fernandina Beach

John: The Jags hired a passing game coordinator. They have an offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach and receivers coach. What does the passing coordinator do? Set up meetings, so the three other coaches can talk?

The passing-game coordinator is another set of eyes and ears who focuses on game-planning the passing game as opposed to game-planning the entire offense or focusing on a specific position group. Remember: You can't have too many coaches in the NFL. If the last decade has taught us anything, it has taught us that. There has been some concern/consternation/confusion among fans in recent days with Nick Holz – the Jaguars' passing-game coordinator – being hired as the Tennessee Titans' offensive coordinator a year after Jaguars passing-game coordinator Jim Bob Cooter was hired as the Indianapolis Colts' offensive coordinator. Just as Cooter's departure didn't change much about the Jaguars' offense last season, I'm not sure Holz's loss will change much about the offense moving forward. So long as Pederson and offensive coordinator Press Taylor remain, so will continuity.

Eddie from Sec 104

Quick question regarding the Josh Allen/Balke contract thing. Can you send us a list of all 32 teams that have already signed their free agents to contracts since the season ended? I know I haven't seen any of the announcements on ESPN or X.

Fair point. These things tend to get done closer to the start of the NFL League Year. That's the deadline and deadlines tend to make deals happen.

Cliff from ORANGE PARK

Not that I am suggesting that we pursue Derrick Henry, but how do you think he would have performed behind the 2023 Jaguars o=line?

I don't know that he would have been that dissimilar to Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr., who had a lot of short runs and losses along with a lot of breakaway runs. That was sort of the story of Henry's season in Tennessee behind a line that – like that of the Jaguars – struggled for consistency in the running game at times.

Jay from So-Cal

Do you have any trips in the offseason O, O-Zone? Are you writing the articles on some beaches while lying in a lounge chair, soaking up suds, and getting a tantalizing massage? You need to live a bit in your senior age!

I am the king of all funk.