O-Zone: Melon Man

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

John from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Hi John, the hay is in the barn. How does this roster compare to the Year One Gus Bradley roster?

Much better. Defensive end Josh Allen, wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. and right tackle Jawaan Taylor are better than any young players on the 2013 roster, and remember: this roster has players such as linebackers Myles Jack and Joe Schobert, and interior offensive linemen Andrew Norwell and Brandon Linder. They would start for most NFL teams and would be highly coveted in free agency. The '13 roster had an aging running back Maurice-Jones-Drew and wide receiver Justin Blackmon for four games with center Brad Meester in his final season on offense. Defensively, there was middle linebacker Paul Posluszny with defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks and defensive end Tyson Alualu. There wasn't much front-line talent beyond that. This team has what appears to be a good linebacker corps, a good group of wide receivers, a veteran offensive line and legitimate pass-rush potential. I'm not saying it's a playoff team, but the foundation is much better than that of the '13 team. Of course, much depends on how the quarterback plays. As usual.

Richard from Jacksonville Beach, FL

Next year, depending on what happens with the quarterback situation, Jacksonville can sniff .500 or plus-one – and in three years be a legitimate division contender if the correct moves are made. What is your timeline before we win and AFC South division title?

You're right that it depends on the quarterback. If Gardner Minshew II shows this season he is a franchise quarterback, the team could contend in 2021 or 2022. If the team selects quarterback early in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, it will depend on how quickly the player develops.

Johnny from Jacksonville

Zone, what if everyone thinks the Jags are doing … ya know, the "T" word … but the quarterback plays great, the six wide receivers receive, the running backs hit the holes the line makes and we score points and the linebackers play to their potential and we put up sacks and kicker Josh Lambo makes everything ... what then, Zone ... what then?

Then, the Jaguars will be much better this season than most people think and the "T" word will be meaningless. Of course, much depends on how the quarterback plays. As usual.

John from Jacksonville

I don't understand the "tank" theory. How does anyone predict that the presumed coveted quarterback will not incur a significant injury this season, he plays up to expectations, or that he will even become a franchise-level quarterback when moving to the NFL? Also, what if we don't tank "enough" and another team gets the first pick and won't trade? Too many variables in my opinion to tank for possibly a swing and a miss.

Correct.

Michael from Fruit Cove, FL

So, Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell "loves this team" and "can't afford a rebuilding year." This sounds like the team should at least push for the playoffs. That should obviously be true every year, but we've seen how that's gone. So when the team wins four-to-six games it will mean that Caldwell was way off base with this team or he is lying to the fans?

Not everything is one extreme or the other. If the Jaguars win four-to-six games this season it doesn't mean Caldwell was lying when he said he loved the team, and it doesn't mean he was way off. Perhaps that would mean he liked the team's direction and believed it had a chance to be better than most people believe. Perhaps that would mean he believes if some things go right, then a young team with a bright future can push for the postseason. Is Caldwell supposed to not feel good about the roster? Is he supposed to tell observers he thinks the team stinks? I understand that it's vogue to criticize everything about the Jaguars right now, but is that realistic?

John from Cape May Courthouse

I've gone back and forth on Caldwell. But I think overall he's done a good job. In his time here, I believe he's drafted at least six Pro Bowlers and has made shrewd trades to set up the Jags for future success. I also think a lot of the recent failures by the Jags can be contributed to former Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin. As you say he was the final decision-maker. Coughlin drafted former running back Leonard Fournette, Coughlin doubled down on former quarterback Blake Bortles, Coughlin signed former quarterback Nick Foles. I'm definitely in the minority in liking the direction the Jags are taking and I think Caldwell can be the guy that guides us. So one fer Dave.

One fer Dave.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, do you think the talent of Chaisson will as obvious as that of Allen in his first year?

I think Jaguars defensive end K'Lavon Chaisson's talent will be obvious as a rookie this season, and I think he will be more productive than many rookie pass rushers because he has talent and he appears to have focus, maturity and drive. I'm optimistic he will be good this season and better moving forward. I don't think it will "as obvious as that of Allen." Defensive end Josh Allen was a Top 5 talent and performed like it quickly. That's unusual. A player can be really good and not be that obvious.

Roger from Houston, TX

We can have a good season and still get the first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft if the Los Angeles Rams end up last, correct?

Yes.

Al from Orange Park, FL

I don't quite understand how the "veterans on the practice squad" and "protected practice squad players" things are going to work week to week during the season. Do you? If so, can you 'splain it to me?

Teams will be allowed to keep six vested veterans on the practice squad whereas before the practice squad was essentially limited to young, developing players. They will be able to protect four players a week from signing with other teams, meaning opposing teams won't be able to sign those players to their active rosters that week. Teams also will be able to activate two practice squad players per week to play the game without signing them to the 53-player roster. All these changes are to make roster management easier in the event of cases of COVID-19.

Jason from COVID Central

There are a lot of new starters on this Jax team that have not played a whole lot together. Even with superstars on a team, you still need chemistry, camaraderie, hard work, and drive to have a sustainably winning team. Do you get a sense that this young and basically new team has those kind of attributes to thrive?

I don't have a real sense for that because I haven't seen this team after losses, so I haven't seen it respond to adversity. But the traits you cite are what Head Coach Doug Marrone said Monday he likes best about this team. Putting together a team with those traits was important to Marrone this offseason, so I would be surprised if this team isn't strong in that area.

Brian from Gainesville, FL

Big O, I can't help but notice that the three players you mentioned as elite or close thereto recently (Allen, Chark and Taylor) are all from the SEC. Then I think of the problems lately caused by cornerback Jalen Ramsey, linebacker Telvin Smith and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, all of whom played in the lowly ACC. Just sayin'!

I'm tired. I don't ever remember being this tired.

Scott from Albuquerque, NM

Do the Jaguars believe that they do not have to tank for Trevor Lawrence and believe that Gardner Minshew II can be a franchise quarterback?

I believe they hope Minshew can be a franchise quarterback. I believe they're about to start finding out if that's the case.

Mr. NFL from Unfortunately Jacksonville

Well, well, well ... I see you're still around spewing your drivel and still afraid and unprofessionally terrified to tell the truth. It must suck writing for a perennial loser, a team/franchise so incapable of building anything remotely close to sub-mediocrity. Apparently, you're just like the people running the franchise: you have no ambition to succeed. These Jags fans are idiots as well if they think they're getting Trevor Lawrence. What a pathetic situation when all fans can talk about is getting a quarterback in next year's draft ... pathetic fan base, pathetic team, and pathetic decision makers... the icing on the cake is a melon head who is incapable of holding the franchise accountable via his writing. Good luck Jags, fans, and you too, Melon-Head.

Do you like my beard? I think it's "getting there."

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