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O-Zone: Mad men

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Stan from Jacksonville

I hate the losing streak. Doesn't everybody? But you warned us that this would not be an overnight fix, maybe not even a radical change, in the first season of Trevor's reign. You are clearly correct. Unlike most other Zone contributors, I am not a football expert. I go with how I feel. I feel like I'm glad I listen to you. It's all about progress. I think the team is close to being competitive. That's okay for now (today). Keep improving week-to-week, the wins will come.

Good eye – or good ear, I suppose. The Jaguars lost 15 consecutive games last season and were uncompetitive late in the season, so contending for the playoffs this season was going to be a gigantic lift – perhaps an impossible one. And while rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence continues to show every sign of being an elite – franchise-lifting – player, he also is a rookie in a largely new offense, and that offense is committing too many turnovers through the first three games of the 2021 season. This team is improving, and Lawrence had his best game yet in a Week 3 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. There's no reason to think he won't continue to improve – and as he improves, so should the team. If that happens, you're right that victories will come. I don't see that starting Thursday. I see the Cincinnati Bengals as ascending – and I see Thursday nights being very difficult on road teams. But overall … yes, the Jaguars are getting closer. Much closer.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

Between Arnold, Manhertz and Hollister do you think we are now set at tight end?

The Jaguars currently have four tight ends on the roster: Dan Arnold, Chris Manhertz, Jacob Hollister and Luke Farrell. None were on the roster last season, and James O'Shaughnessy – who was on the roster last season – is on injured reserve with an ankle injury. I wouldn't consider them "set" at tight end. What we have seen here constitutes a significant overhaul, but the reality is they have acquired two of those tight ends in the last five weeks and all in the last seven months. They're looking for answers – particularly at pass-catching tight end. We'll see if they have found them.

Bradley from Sparks, NV

The Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars have about the same level of talent on the playing field.

You say this very confidently. I'm not familiar enough with the entire Carolina Panthers' roster to know this to be true. Perhaps you are.

Matthew from Washington, DC

John, the Jaguars hit the reset button going into last season, so why on Earth did Owner Shad Khan allow David Caldwell – arguably the most incompetent general manager in the history of the NFL – to make more draft selections? There's zero chance that anyone with football knowledge looked at the 2020 team going into the season and didn't think they had a chance at the No. 1 overall selection for the 2021 NFL Draft. This short-sightedness created another year of futility for this laughingstock franchise.

The 2020 NFL Draft in retrospect appears to be becoming something of a lost draft for the Jaguars. Perhaps wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. and linebacker/defensive end K'Lavon Chaisson can play well enough to change that appearance. As far as why Khan retained Caldwell entering 2020 … he wanted to give Caldwell and Head Coach Doug Marrone the opportunity to run the franchise following the December dismissal of Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin. View the wisdom of that decision how you like, but that was the reasoning.

Greg from Section 122, Jacksonville, FL

It has been said repeatedly that the Jaguars aren't good enough to make mistakes and win. That really isn't a Jaguars thing. If the spanking Green Bay received from the New Orleans Saints in Week 1 is proof, ALL teams fall in that category. The elite teams are the ones who don't make those mistakes, repeatedly. Which is unfortunately where the Jaguars stand. So we have beat the whole "Caldwell first-round bust" narrative to death. Does this essentially mean we are in another rebuild starting with Lawrence? I am okay with that because that means we are in the genesis of something which will likely be a long-term successful franchise. But everyone needs to remember all teams go through ups and down. The New York Giants were great back 10 years ago when Coughlin was there, now they can't steal a win. The New England Patriots are a disaster. Winning isn't forever and neither is losing. The trick is to savor the good times while they are here. And be loyal during the bad. Brighter days are ahead O-Man, I can almost taste it.

Yes, the Jaguars are essentially in a rebuild starting with Lawrence. And it's fair to note that the Jaguars' bad times have lasted longer than is reasonable, but generally speaking … bless you, Greg.

Walter from Jacksonville

Hey John, what can you tell us about Walker Little and Jay Tufele? Seems like both were lauded by the local media for their training camps, but I don't think I have seen either active on gameday. Is this because their performance has regressed? Sorry if this has been asked before.

Good eye. Neither offensive tackle Walker Little nor defensive lineman Jay Tufele has been active in the first three games. Their performance has not regressed as much as they are simply not the best option to be active on game days. This is not unusual or cause for alarm. In Tufele's case, defensive linemen – particularly those drafted after the second round – often need time to adapt to a more physical game on the line of scrimmage in the NFL; it's common, in fact, for defensive linemen to need a season to begin contributing significantly. In Little's case, he is not active because he has not beaten out left tackle Cam Robinson or right tackle Jawaan Taylor – and veteran Will Richardson Jr. has the versatility to play the swing tackle and to play guard. Versatility is critical when deciding reserve offensive linemen and Richardson at this point is more versatile than Little.

David from The Island

On Peyton's rookie interception record in danger of being broken?

I'm getting more and more emails along these lines because Lawrence has seven interceptions through three games. If you do the math … sure, it's possible he will break the rookie record of 28 set by then-Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning in 1998. I don't expect Lawrence to continue at that pace, but could he get into the twenties considering his willingness to take chances and throw downfield? Sure.

Nancy from Negative

Historically the Jaguars do absolutely horrible on Thursday night. Historically the Jaguars have lost 18 in a row now. Historically, I would watch every Jaguars game. Currently I don't intend on watching a single play of this 100percent guaranteed 19thloss in a row. I hate this.

The Jaguars have struggled on Thursday night lately – but frankly, they've struggled on Sunday, too. And the actually have had some success on Thursday. BUT that success has come at home. They never have won on the road on Thursday. So … yeah.

Vince from St. Augustine, FL

When Blake Bortles was good, he was good, but when he was bad, he was very, very bad. When Lawrence is good, he's very, very good, but when he's bad, he's bad. Y'think?

I think Lawrence has played three NFL games.

Kevin from Jacksonville, Beach

Hi, John. CJ didn't appear to be happy when he was drafted by the Jaguars. He has since missed 10 of 19 games with various injuries and/or personal situations. Do you think this was a Jalen Ramsey-like situation where he just wanted out of Jacksonville?

I haven't the foggiest idea how to explain former Jaguars cornerback CJ Henderson. There are plenty of players who have played for the Jaguars – and who currently play for the Jaguars – about whom I can provide a measure of insight. Henderson is not among those players.

Sam from Winter Park, FL

It is becoming impossible to keep hopes up enough to keep rooting for this team on a weekly basis. The decisions the front office makes are indefensible. Most draft picks are head-scratchers and we can't go a week without doing something else to have the rest of the sports world laugh at us.

The sea was angry that day, my friends. Like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

Robert from Middleburg, FL

How's that Sidney Jones trade look now? Maybe all those sixth-round draft picks can play defense. Not feeling confident about the direction of the team. Haven't we drafted around 10 cornerbacks the last two years? I forgot: they all are good special team players.

The sea was angry that day, my friends. Like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.