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O-Zone: Maybe, maybe not

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Richard from St Augustine, FL

O great King, could you indulge me on a very early prediction so I might share a little reality for Jag fans – especially to those who are critical of going 9-8 this past season? In the 29 years of existence, the Jags only had a non-losing season 12 times (that includes two 8-8 seasons). I am a season- ticket holder for 80 percent of Jags history. In my opinion, I believe the Jags will have another winning season in 2024 to make it the second-longest winning streak in Jags history at three winning seasons in a row. In my opinion, I believe with free agency, coaching changes and draft picks, the Jags are slightly better and will play a slightly easier schedule since we will be playing the second-place-scheduled slotted teams instead of first-place-allotted teams schedule like last year. For our negative Nelly/Karen fan base, would you agree with this way too early assessment for 2024? Thanks for your indulgence! DTWD. Go Jags!

I think the Jaguars have a very real chance to finish above .500 in 2024 – for the reasons you cite, and because I expected quarterback Trevor Lawrence to be healthier and more consistent in 2023 than he was in 2024. If the Jaguars have a winning record in 2024, that indeed would be a solid three-season stretch – and it would mark the first time the franchise had registered three consecutive winning seasons since 1997-1999. This would not be "good enough." This is not saying it's "OK" to go 9-8 instead of winning a Super Bowl. It would mean the Jaguars had improved significantly from where they were for a long time, and that would be a lot better than most stretches in this franchise's history.

Taylor from Columbia, MD

While we can't pay outside linebacker Josh Allen "whatever he wants," there should be no scenario in which another team is willing to pay him more than we are, correct? Barring injury or dramatically decreased play (if he stays on the tag this year), if and when he signs a long-term contract, I think almost every fan is in agreement that it needs to be with the Jaguars. Sometimes the popular move is the right move?

I long have believed the Jaguars signing Allen to a long-term deal would be a good move, and I wouldn't expect another team to do this before the Jaguars. Jaguars fans this offseason do seem pretty much in agreement that signing Allen would be "the right move." There was less agreement last offseason. And the offseason before that. Fan agreement on these matters tends to be elusive.

Lenny from London

O man, we have DaVon Hamilton, Roy Robertson-Harris and Arik Armstead as starting caliber defensive tackles. We also have Adam Gotsis and Jeremiah Ledbetter as capable backups. We only have Travon Walker (who can also play defensive tackle) and Josh Allen (if he even signs the franchise tag) as the only defensive ends who has even had a sack in the NFL. Why does everyone want to draft a defensive tackle in the first round when it seems like defensive end is a much stronger need?

Who's "Everyone?"

Al from Fruit Cove, FL

Could the Jags have afforded Sneed?

The Tennessee Titans on Friday reportedly traded for former Kansas City Chiefs cornerback L'Jarius Sneed, with the teams swapping seventh-round selections in the 2024 NFL Draft and the Titans also sending a '24 third-round selection to Kansas City. ESPN's Adam Schefter said Sneed and the Titans have agreed to a long-term contract. Could the Jaguars have afforded to make this move? Sure. Remember, though: Affordability in these transactions is a cloudy issue. To borrow an analogy I've heard others use, the NFL salary cap is like a credit card. You can buy pretty much anything you want in the short-term. But you eventually have to pay off the credit card. The Jaguars could have afforded Sneed, but then you have a corner on an elite, long-term contract. That's a big use of resources when you've got a lot of long-term commitments in other places and a few other long-term commitments – read: Allen and Lawrence – to solve in the near future.

Don from Marshall, NC

What did the Jaguars see in Derek Parrish that caused them to spend $4 million on him? Dust in the wind and not the Kansas one. Did he even get a chance?

When it comes to wondering why the Jaguars spent $4 million on 2023 seventh-round selection/fullback Derek Parrish and released him when they actually paid him about $84,000, Don remains "all in."

Bradley from Sparks, NV

Would you trade Doug Pederson, Trevor Lawrence and Travon Walker for DeMeco Ryans, C.J. Stroud and Will Anderson?

Probably not.

Steve from Nashville, TN

I am confused on Travon Walker and Josh Allen's position designation. You classified them as defensive ends in your piece on March 20, but on the team roster on they are listed as outside linebackers. If they are considered defensive linemen, their jersey numbers will have to change?

Yours truly probably contributed to this confusion, and there indeed is a lot of defensive position confusion in the NFL these days with more teams playing multiple fronts and hybrid defenses with various looks based on down and distances. Allen and Walker indeed are listed as outside linebackers, and that remains their position. They also will play like traditional 4-3 defensive ends in a lot of situations. I expect them to play on the edge with one hand on the ground at the snap, which has defensive end traits. Where a player is listed on the depth chart continues to mean less and less in the NFL. Either way, I expect Walker and Allen to continue to wear Nos. 44 and 41, respectively.

Bob from Sumter, SC

It's third-and-3. Your offensive line is not good enough to call a running play and the defense knows. Your quarterback has a high-ankle sprain and sore shoulder. Your best receiver is on injured reserve. The defense plays press coverage and brings pressure. And the play call is … anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Bueller doesn't have the faintest idea. He just knows he's sure Press Taylor would screw it up.

Brian from Gainesville, FL

Big O, nice job pointing out how Joey Slye is clearly NOT superior to Brandon McManus. Ten years in the NFL is not too much for a kicker. What are the Jags doing at kicker with this move? Slye is 88 percent extra points?!? Doesn't that scare this team?

I indeed pointed out the statistics of newly-signed Jaguars kicker Joey Slye and their kicker in 2023, Brandon McManus, in a recent O-Zone answer – and their career statistics are comparable. I pointed this out not to note that Slye is NOT superior to McManus, but merely to provide statistics for perspective. While 10 NFL seasons is not too much for a kicker, and while McManus will enter his 11th season next season, he struggled at times last season – particularly during a crucial mid-to-late-season stretch that marked the beginning of the Jaguars' late-season fade. What are the Jaguars doing? They're looking for the answer at kicker – and have been for a while. Perhaps they have found it at last.

David from Saint Marys, GA

Not a question but a request: could you pass on to whoever is the point of contact for the Jags conference room to please add a few microphones near the reporters who are asking the questions? Right now, when watching the Jags YouTube channel, all you can hear is the person at the podium, which is fine when they are talking, but when it comes to answering a question, at times I have no idea what the question was, which makes it hard to follow along with the press conference.

I get versions of this question/request on occasion.  I'll answer here how I usually answer – and that's that while the Jaguars, like most teams, try within reason to make these questions audible for the viewer, press conferences are at their core for media to ask questions and get answers for use in their various media. Teams stream these as a courtesy to fans. And while fans have come to consider these "event" viewing, the questions aren't always going to be as clear as the viewer might like.

JK from New York and Fernandina Beach, FL

John - From my view, Jags free agency was by-and-large an overall upgrade (or a wash at worst). At this point, it is what it is. Now on to the draft. I am thinking offensive line in the first round with a tackle as prime target. Protecting Trevor from injury and giving him time to throw are key lessons learned from 2023. Second round Jags should continue to strengthen the defensive backs, with a good cornerback as the target. Sound like a plan?