JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Bill from Bostwick
For me personally, I was most surprised tight end Gerrit Prince and offensive lineman Chandler Brewer were cut. I thought the team would keep Brewer and place offensive lineman Cooper Hodges on injured reserve in order to both keep him and give him a "redshirt" year to heal, learn and work more on his body and strength prior to organized team activities. What factors does the O-Zone surmise kept Hodges on the roster and not on the injured reserve?
The Jaguars trimmed the active roster to 53 players Tuesday, with the league rules stating all teams had to do so by 4 p.m. on that date. There were multiple storylines in the Jaguars' moves Tuesday, with Hodges among the most prominent. A seventh-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft, Hodges sustained a patellar injury in the preseason and won't be available early in the regular season. The team kept him on the 53-player roster Tuesday because to place him on injured reserve before the cut to 53 would mean he couldn't play this season. They likely will place him on short-term injured reserve in the coming days. Because that move will come after the cut to 53, he will be eligible to return this season. Why did the Jaguars do this instead of "redshirting" him for a season? Because they really like him and think he can help as a backup immediately upon returning to health. Hodges matters on this team. Get used to hearing about him. He's part of the future.
Steve At Work at the Beach from Jax Beach
Wow, John! We kept seven wide receivers and three tight ends!! I get that the wide receiver position was going to be painful to cut but this seemed a bit unexpected.
This surprised me as well. I expected the Jaguars to retain four tight ends and six receivers. Instead, undrafted rookie Elijah Cooks played well enough to force the Jaguars to keep seven wide receivers and just three tight ends. The team instead waived Prince. My sense was this was a matter of the team figuring Prince had a better chance to make it unclaimed through waivers than Cooks, and therefore they a better chance of keeping both players around with Prince on the practice squad. A serious hat tip here to Cooks, who was the only undrafted free agent to make the roster this season. He made the roster at a deep position and essentially forced the team to keep seven receivers rather than the expected six. That's impressive stuff.
Sue from Omaha (Nebraska - Volleyball Capital of the World)
Hi, John. When I said we should keep Elijah Cooks, I told you I was usually (sometimes) right!
Derek from Caroline, Alberta, CANADA
CJ BEATHARD or a guy who just proved to be better than MOON & FLUTIE in his rookie year as a Pro ATHLETE? WHY DID THE JAGS waive ROURKE? Very disappointing. He is better than MOON & FLUTIE already proven last year.
I've discussed this enough that I'm beyond going into every detail of why the Jaguars waived Nathan Rourke. The biggest reason is they plan to carry two quarterbacks and they trust C.J. Beathard's experience/knowledge of the offense to be the No. 2 quarterback. Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson won a Super Bowl with a backup quarterback with the Philadelphia Eagles following the 2017 season, and he also spent 13 seasons as an NFL quarterback, many of those as a backup. It's perhaps understandable that the Jaguars trust his thoughts on this more than the top football mind in Caroline.
Don from Marshall, NC
Some of the players who get away will become stars. That's good for them and it's good for the Jaguars. It's a 17-game season and the depth is deep. Rourke will be on the practice squad. Go Jaguars!
When it comes to depth and the Jaguars and a quarterback who's better than a Hall of Famer being on the practice squad, Don is "all in."
Kevin from Atlanta, GA
Will you make an appearance in any of Jackson Mahomes sideline Tik Tok's in Week 2 in Jacksonville? I'm sure you have great dance moves.
What's a "Jackson Mahomes?"
Jz from j-ville -> Huntsville
Hey Zone! You mentioned a nickname for ETN and Tank on the AM the other day. First one that popped into my head is TNT (Travis and Tank). A little simple, but i kind og like it!
Rob from The duuuuuuu
The running back room with Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew also included Greg "the Hammer" Jones. Got to be the best, right?
The trio of Taylor, Jones-Drew and Jones played together from 2006-2008. The trio of Taylor, James Stewart and Tavian Banks played together from 1998-1999. Those two backfields have an argument for the best backfields in franchise history. The current trio of Travis Etienne Jr., Tank Bigsby, D'Ernest Johnson and JaMycal Hasty appears to have a chance to be in the conversation. It's a nice conversation.
Zac from Austin, Tejas
Doth my ears ring true? Tony Boselli says OUR King O had a rat tail?
A long time ago in a lifetime far, far away.
Chris from San Diego
We all know Urban Meyer was the de facto GM during his brief stay in Jax. He may also go down as the greatest GM in Jaguars history if quarterback Trevor Lawrence, running back Travis Etienne Jr., cornerback Tyson Campbell, left tackle Walker Little, safety Andre Cisco and tight end Luke Farrell form a core that competes for championships. The team brought Tom Coughlin back after firing him; what do you think the odds are Khan offers a ton of cash to lure Meyer out of retirement? Let's get the band back together!
You learn early in journalism to say "never" or "always" on the rarest of occasions. Life is too full of weirdness and unknowns to be certain of anything. I can say with great confidence that Jaguars Owner Shad Khan never again will offer Urban Meyer a ton of cash to work for the Jaguars.
JT from Palm Coast, FL
John, I know I might sound like a prisoner of the moment, but this might be the deepest Jags team top-to-bottom I've ever seen.
You indeed may be a prisoner of the moment – just a bit. The Jaguars teams of the 1990s under Head Coach Tom Coughlin and a few of the 2000s teams under Head Coach Jack Del Rio had depth. It's not fair to teams of those eras to forget that. It's also a bit risky to assume anything – even depth – based off the preseason. But the Jaguars' offense does look unusually deep and versatile at running back, wide receiver, offensive line and tight end. Remember: Everything on offense looks better if the quarterback is playing at a high level. But even considering that, the high-end talent at all positions looks good and it's complemented by reassuring depth. Defensively, there's a lot to like about the front-line players. The Jaguars returned all 11 starters and some key reserves such as linebacker Chad Muma, defensive tackle Adam Gotsis, etc. They also have some promising young players. How this group develops, and how it improves with continuity in a second season in coordinator Mike Caldwell's scheme, will determine a lot about the season.
Bob from Bobsville
Why don't more players hold out for the entire season? I ask this because from what I can tell the career length of an NFL player is not determined by their chronological age, but rather how many years they have played in the NFL. I see this particularly being the case with running backs and wide receivers. From the admittedly small sample size of players who sat out a year it doesn't seem to adversely impact their performance and I would argue that for many a year off to get back to 100 percent physically would help their play so I think for topline players they would have little to lose and more to gain by sitting out a season.
NFL players rarely hold out for entire seasons because they have limited years of earning potential and you don't get paid for years you don't play. For most players, even the salaries they don't like and don't believe are fair are enough that the players and – sometimes just as significantly, players' spouses – don't want to walk away from that short-term money.
Chris from Fleming Island
O, What's the difference between waived and released?
Players with less than four accrued NFL seasons are subject to waivers. This means teams can claim their rights off the waiver wire, and the player must play for the team that is awarded his rights. Players with more than four accrued seasons are released, which means they become free agents and can sign with the interested team of their choice.
Troy from Dover, PA
Do you think a CFL team could beat a top college team?
Maybe. I don't know. I'm not sure I care.