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O-Zone: Might as well jump

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Lawrence from Blair, NE

Wow, I just watched the Sounds of the Game preview and that looks great. But what really stood out to me was seeing Doug in front of the players saying, "We're here to win!" That's clearly been missing as far back as the Gus Bradley years, where everyone had been "Just give it your best and let the chips fall where they may."

Sounds of the Game, I'm sure, will be "awesome." But perception aside, no coach I've ever been around has taken the approach you cire. Former Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer wanted to win and talked about winning, and former Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone certainly did. Former Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley has been unfairly criticized over the years because fans generally misunderstood his approach. Bradley talked a lot about doing things right and that winning would take care of itself if you did that. That's hardly an unusual approach in coaching, and Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson talked often in that vein last offseason and into the season. All NFL coaches want to win. They all know it's Priority No. 1. Some may say things in slightly different ways, but it's always understood. Pederson did a great job this season for many reasons. I'm just not sure telling the players they were here to win was chief among them.

Sam from Orlando, FL

What did the Tennessee Titans do so well to neutralize our offense? And what did the Los Angeles Chargers do wrong? Did we lay an egg against Tennessee? Or does Tennessee match up better with us?

The Titans were one of the best run defenses in the NFL in 2022, and they had one of the league's best defensive fronts. That group played very well in the Jaguars' 20-16 victory in the regular-season finale, making Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. relatively ineffective and pressuring quarterback Trevor Lawrence into a largely difficult game. The Titans, remember, dealt with injuries while they struggled in the second half of the season and were a bit healthier entering that Week 18 game after resting some players in Week 17. The Chargers weren't as dominant against the run as Tennessee, and the Jaguars overall handled their front better in a 31-30 victory the following week in an AFC Wild Card playoff game. Tennessee when healthy did match up better against the Jaguars than the Chargers did last season, but the Titans' defense matched up well against most teams last season when healthy.

Greg from Section 122, Jacksonville

Irony with the Shaquill Griffin release. When he got here, he promised with his first interception the ball would go to the first person he saw in the stands wearing his jersey. Irony. He never gave away that ball. But much appreciation for the enthusiasm and effort he put in. He didn't do like previous FA signing and treat this like a "vacation. Yeah, Hugh Douglas … looking at you, man.


James from Salt Lake City via Jagsonville

O -man. Here is a concern of mine. Tell me what you think. If wide receiver Calvin Ridley has a great year, how are we going to find the money to sign him and Trevor? Sounds like we will have to get rid of a few good players.

It's possible the Jaguars will part ways with familiar veteran names next offseason. It's also possible they will part ways with familiar veteran names in many upcoming offseasons. This is part of managing the salary cap as young players develop and sign long-term contracts.

Ed from Jax by Lionel Playworld

How did we get into a situation where we (possibly) can't re-sign right tackle Jawaan Taylor, a player we drafted and developed? Do we have a lot of dead cap? Do we have an unusual number of overpaid players? Our past teams didn't want to re-sign our draftees, now that we want to we can't?

The Jaguars indeed have a lot of highly-paid players, including many who signed big free-agent contracts in the last two offseasons. They also have some dead cap, though not a huge amount compared to many NFL teams. How did they get here? They didn't draft and develop well enough for a long time. Because of that, they participated in a big way in unrestricted free agency. They hit on a remarkable number of those players, but it's an expensive way to build a roster. And it leads to some tricky situations with the salary cap.

Missy from St. Augustine, FL

Any update on re-signing Dawuane Smoot? Really haven't heard a whole lot about him since his injury.

This figures to be tricky. Smoot, entering his seventh NFL season and seeking his third NFL contract, has been productive throughout his career with the Jaguars. But he sustained a torn Achilles late last season, which figures to make agreeing to an extension difficult.

P Funk from Murray Hill

Which is more likely for Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence's approaching contract, a long contract, or little of guaranteed money upfront?

I expect Lawrence to sign a long-term contract, perhaps next offseason, with significant bonus and significant guaranteed money. That's the norm for franchise, elite quarterback. Lawrence seems very likely to be considered that by next offseason, which is the first time under NFL rules that the Jaguars can sign him to an extension.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

I know struggle really damn well, John. After reading Ridley's piece in The Players Tribune I cannot help but to root for him even harder. Everyone deserves redemption when they are doing the right things.

One fer Ridley …

Rob from San Antonio, TX

KOAF, not that we had any reason to root against him, but after watching videos and interviews with Ridley in Jax, it's hard not to root hard for this guy. He seemed like a genuine dude and ready to rock. One fer Ridley.

… and another fer Ridley.

Bryan from Stumptown

Yo Grizz! Free agency inevitably leads toward draft talk, so here goes: seems a working draft philosophy for the Jags has been to focus on defensive big men and quarterbacks in Round 1 and offensive big guys and wide receivers in Round 2. Lots of examples across these categories. Shirley, this is no coincidence. If trends hold, we draft another OT in round two and let Taylor walk, no?

Possibly, though the Jaguars very much want to not let Taylor sign somewhere else in free agency.

Hilarious from Funnytown

If the money was dead equal, and you were guaranteed three years, would you drop Lawrence and take Aaron Rodgers with the understanding Lawrence is gone forever?

No. Rodgers is one of the best ever to play, but I would want Lawrence's future over a decade and a half. At least.

Ron from Pittsburgh, PA

Hey, Zone. If the Jaguars extend Josh Allen could they save cap space for 2023?

The Jaguars absolutely could save salary cap space in 2023 if they were to re-sign outside linebacker Josh Allen to a contract extension this offseason. He is scheduled to count $10.8 million on the cap in 2023, which easily could be lowered in the short-term with an extension. But the Jaguars and Allen first must reach an agreement on such a deal. Doing so this offseason could be tricky.

P Funk from Murray Hill

I'm curious about scouts. Do teams have a limited number of scouts they can employ? Are scouts assigned players and position groups or more so just looking for the best players?

Teams can pretty much hire as many scouts as an owner allows. Colleges scouting departments are generally structured with multiple area scouts assigned an "area" of the country. Those scouts are essentially front-line information gatherers. Teams then will have "super" scouts and cross-checkers at the next level, with their job to compare the assessments of players against players from other areas. Higher level scouts and general managers will then "set the board," ranking and grouping players to prepare for the draft. It's more detailed than that, but that's the general approach.

Russell from Pecan Park

Mr. KOAF, Would you by chance know which players the Jaguars interviewed at the combine? I guess it must be secret or they don't want me to know. Would be nice to look up the draft profile of them.

I don't know who the Jaguars interviewed at the NFL Scouting Combine last week. I do know that by the time of the NFL Draft, essentially every NFL team will have interviewed essentially every legitimate draft prospect, which is why I spend little – if any – time finding out who teams interview at the combine.

Daywane from Jacksonville

Zone, so, if Shad was to shout out to you a number, say $11 million a year, do you jump for joy and say OK or hold out for a long-term deal with upfront money?

I haven't jumped for joy in a while. Your scenario would change that.