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O-Zone: Making perfect

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Sue from Omaha, NE

Hello, John. There is the old adage that "defense wins championships." Do you think this is still true in today's NFL?

Yes, but the adage must be seen through a different lens. There once was a time when the team with the superior defense typically had the advantage – particularly in bigger games. This sometimes remains true. But in the modern NFL, teams with high-functioning offenses and elite quarterbacks increasingly have the advantage – even in the postseason. At the same time, if two high-powered offenses are playing, the team with the superior pass rush often has the advantage – and you better be able to affect the quarterback consistently if you want to win the Super Bowl. The adage now seems to be more along the lines of, "You better have a high-powered offense than can keep up with other high-powered offenses to win in the NFL – but you better be able to pressure the quarterback and get off the field in crucial situations, too."

Charles from Riverside

Hello, John, with Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence being the "senior" quarterback in the division at a very young age, it made wonder if our scouts look for players out of college that physically are ready to play? They may not be ready from a playbook standpoint, experience with the speed and size of opponents, overall quality of talent at the next level etc., but have they have matured physically for the NFL. Other than some pounds in the weight room, they are up to the physical level of the professional game. Or if that's not the case, is that where the practice squad comes in to play?

Scouts do consider physical readiness when scouting a player. A 23-to-24-year-old's body, say, typically is far more ready for the NFL than that of a 21-year-old. It's typically not an overriding factor in a team's decision, though – and I don't know that Lawrence being the senior quarterback in the division would have brought that more into play for the Jaguars than otherwise would have been the case.

Don from Marshall, NC

Kyle Brandt is living in Fantasy World. It's the Trevor Lawrence show he seems to have missed. He is dressed up like a Star Wars character. Fitting. Go Jaguars!

Don remains "all in" – except when it comes to Kyle Brandt.       

Andy from St. Augustine, FL

You mentioned in a recent column that your expected starting offensive line was left tackle Walker Little, left guard Ben Bartch, center Luke Fortner, right guard Brandon Scherff and right tackle Anton Harrison. Let's assume all five of those players are healthy and playing well when Robinson returns from suspension. If that's the case, where does Robinson play? If he takes over at left tackle and Little slides over to right tackle and Harrison moves inside to left guard, that's three positions that are changing six games into the season. Would it make sense for Robinson to come in and play left guard so we aren't changing 60 percent of the offensive line positions at that point in the season? We know consistency on the O-line is pretty important....

This is a good point. My guess on this in a recent answer was that Harrison could move to guard upon Robinson's return with Little moving to right tackle because Harrison's a rookie and because Robinson has the most experience at left tackle – and because he's the starting left tackle and therefore the Jaguars' best player at your position. I'm staying with that answer for now. But expect the Jaguars' coaches to let this play out. If Robinson indeed misses six games, that's a long time in the NFL. Health, as you note, could be an issue. So could level of play. Check back on this one in September.

The LDO(LAW) from Hilliard

Zone, the people are holding their collective breaths waiting for the all-important post-draft Power Ranking. What say ye?

Those people are in trouble. I post power rankings throughout the regular season, not the offseason.

John from Ocala, FL

O-man, what I really like about how we draft today as opposed to many past years is we selects a lot of guys from Power 5 programs. It used to drive me crazy when we'd pass on a solid guy from Ohio State or LSU to go with someone from Wazoo U. A big offensive tackle from OK, a big tight end from Penn State and a big running back from Auburn selected and we still had 10 picks just seemed like a really good draft to me.

Many people feel as you do, and Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke indeed has leaned heavily on players from bigger programs. There's nothing inherently wrong with players from smaller schools, though. Plenty have made big impacts in the NFL. Plenty of players from large schools don't make it, too.

James from Salt Lake City via Jagsonville

O- man. No wonder the Jaguars couldn't move up. Who wants a bunch of sixth- and seventh-round picks? That probably aren't going to make the team anyway. Just my take on it

Teams traditionally are able to trade late-round selections in the NFL Draft. That doesn't mean they can trade seventh-round selections to move up 10 spots in Round 1. It usually means you can trade fifth-round selections to move up in the third or fourth. It didn't work out that way this year.

Sal from Austin, TX

In your draft recap, you made it seem like the Jaguars running backs are a bunch of scrubs except for Travis Etienne Jr. I remember JaMycal Hasty being clutch in big moments, and this D'Ernest Johnson looks like he slaps. We didn't see much of Snoop Conner, but he was a rookie. I don't think we need selective memory to justify draft picks.

I liked the selection of Tank Bigsby in Round 3 because the Jaguars really didn't have a viable feature-back option last season behind Etienne. If you believe they did, that's fine. I support your right to be wrong.


KOAF, I hear a lot of draft critics saying, "Why did we pick Player A when we could have picked player B?" I'm reminded of former Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon when an un-named team sent a scout to hang out in three bars and see him in action and removed him from their draft board. Baalke and Head Coach Doug Pederson both mentioned the locker room culture and wanting to maintain it. It's possible some of those players had character issues we'll never know about. Just wanted the critics to consider that.


Bradley from Sparks, NV

Do you think Anton Harrison will start eight-plus games?


Bryce from Jax Bch, FL

Zone, after several waves of free-agency, thirteen draft selections and collegiate free-agency, I'm still not seeing anyone on the roster to back up DaVon Hamilton at nose tackle. Is plugging the middle of the defensive line against the run no longer a priority? That is where I would have liked the Jags address in the middle rounds.

The Jaguars have options at nose tackle if Hamilton is injured. One of those options is moving Foley Fatukasi inside.

Johnny Sumara from Westside still the best side.

I guess this draft is an extension of "good teams' offseasons are boring" but I guess picking 24th, where even "splashy" picks ain't necessarily so, makes for a lack of enthusiasm on we the fans' part. When you're used to picking top 10, where all the best players are, really picking the best player (or targeted or whatever you wanna call it) can be sorta ...well, boring. I'm all in. I guess this was not a great question. Umm.. hey so what did you think of the draft?

It was a-ight.

Unhipcat from Carlsbad, CA

Hi, John. I didn't look for a Moneyball quote, but it reminded me of something very similar Jim Mora said the year before the movie. "I'm promising you right now that you don't know when it's good or bad. You really don't know because you don't know what we're trying to do, you guys don't look at the film, you don't know what happened. You really don't know. You think you know, but you don't know. and you never will. Yhe only people who really know are our coaches. And that goes with run blocking, pass defense, all those things. the media, the public doesn't know, you guys don't know. not really. No."

Mora said this when he was the head coach of the New Orleans Saints, long before "Moneyball" came out in 2011. I worked with Mora for a season in Indianapolis. I really enjoyed him. His words still ring true – and I suspect they always will.

Andy from Halifax

Leading up to the draft I feel that fans were happy that we could now, "draft best available" but now have a problem with the crew drafting their perceived best available? Anyone who thinks we aren't better is a certified and practicing clown.

At least they're practicing.