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O-Zone: Money, money, money

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Alan from Jacksonville

I know it's a pipe dream to think management might pull the trigger on bringing Odell Beckham Jr. to 'the Bank ... after all, it would create a buzz and give us a sliver of hope. But wouldn't it make sense to bring in a dynamic playmaker like him to help rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence's developmental curve? I don't think he's going to grow very much if all he does with that great gun of his is dink and dunk for the remainder of the season. I also suspect OBJ might do some overachieving to show he's not washed up. Is it worth $8 million to take this flyer?

This topic unsurprisingly came up often in the O-Zone inbox in the wake of Friday morning's news that the Cleveland Browns planned to release wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. And make no mistake: the availability of a player such as Beckham must be at least intriguing to the Jaguars, who lack a game-changing wide receiver with speed to stress defenses. And Beckham absolutely is such a player. Still, as is usually the case when a player is unexpectedly available at midseason, acquiring Beckham is far from an easy decision. Beckham's last "elite"-type season (1,000-plus yards, 10-plus touchdowns) was with the New York Giants in 2016, so there would be concern on front. And there have been reports of he and Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield not being able to get on the same page – and of Mayfield being better without Beckham in the game. And when a player of Beckham's status is about to be on a third team in eight seasons, the acquiring team must learn the reasons. None of that means the Jaguars shouldn't try to acquire Beckham. Perhaps they will – and the team absolutely needs an elite wide receiver. The lack of one has been a season-long issue. But I would be a little surprised if it happens – and I would be very surprised it happens if the sides don't both want Beckham long-term. I don't get the sense the Jaguars are wanting short-term players right now. Stay tuned.

Steven from Charlotte, NC

I'm sure you might get several questions/comments along these lines, but look again what the Rams are doing. They continue to use draft picks to build a team of proven NFL players. It sure looks like an enticing way to build right now after decades of awful drafting. Wouldn't it make sense to at least consider this as a viable strategy while you have a good quarterback on a rookie deal? I'm just so sick of pick after pick being a complete bust or ultimately shipped off to a better team because management can't figure out a way to keep them.

I indeed have received multiple emails this week wondering why the Jaguars don't abandon the draft-and-develop approach and begin trading draft selections for "proven NFL players" – ala, the approach of the Los Angeles Rams. These emails are understandable because the Rams currently are really good and the Jaguars have had a series of missteps in recent seasons that have led to one victory in 22 games. Still, I wouldn't want the Jaguars to try to trade their way to prominence. The best way to build a long-term contender is still to draft and develop and supplement through free agency and timely trades.

David from Wallingford

So, John, seems to me our front office needs to be better, our coaches need to be better, our players need to be better, and we need to get better players. Simple, right?

Yes. No.

TBPMC from Orlando, FL

I just looked it up, Taven has 4 whole tackles on the year. We should tag him for next year. Man, Dave was AMAZING.

I don't expect the Jaguars to place the franchise tag on defensive tackle Taven Bryan next offseason, but I don't know that Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell deserves all the credit for Bryan. Remember: Tom Coughlin was the executive vice president of football operations from 2017-2019, and he had final say over all Jaguars football decisions at that point. So, give Caldwell credit for a lot from 2013-2020, but the '17-'19 decisions are a little fuzzier.

Carlos from Mexico City, Mexico

I believe there is hope for the future mainly because of Lawrence, even if he's on the learning curve right now and struggling at times. Same can be said of other young players who add to this hope. Can the same apply to Head Coach Urban Meyer? Should we be patient because he's learning? Can you identify *any* aspect of Meyer's body of work in Jacksonville, on and off the field, that points to him being or even someday becoming a great coach? I sure don't see it, and it's becoming pretty obvious this was a bad idea all along.

So, one not fer Meyer …

Gary from St. Augustine, FL

I honestly don't get the furor around Meyer, Ozone. Weren't we 1-15 last season? What gave anyone the idea this was a quick set?

Fans don't need logical reasons to expect, and the furor around Meyer is mostly about losing and somewhat about how the Jaguars have lost a couple of games – and one high-profile off-field incident. And the Jaguars indeed were 1-15 last season, which must be taken into consideration when considering where Jaguars were when Meyer took over. And yes … one fer Meyer.

Josh from New Milford, Ct

Winning is fun, I like it. When can we do it again? Would you say starting running back and quarterback are probably the only set positions on this team going into next season?

I do not know when the Jaguars will win again, though I expect it to be this season. I expect defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton, linebacker Myles Jack and defensive end/linebacker Josh Allen to be "set" entering the offseason. We'll see how the rest of this season plays out to determine others.

Robert from Atlantic Beach, FL

Watching football is supposed to be fun. Watching this team isn't fun and except for one season (which was due to a generational defense and playing four games against two teams that didn't have quarterbacks) it hasn't been fun for 15 years. I'm gonna give the Jags 2021 and 2022 and if they still look like this, I'm just gonna find a team that is enjoyable to watch.


Greg from Boise, ID

Is this what happens when you shop for players either through the draft or free agency looking for value rather than talent? It seems that they look for mid-grade talent and Wal-Mart prices rather than top-quality talent and the team play we see is a direct result of that.

This is a relatively fair assessment of what the Jaguars did with at least part of their 2021 free-agency class. It's not what the Jaguars did in the 2021 NFL Draft.

James from Clarksville, TN by way of DUUUVAL

Urban Meyer said something along the lines about opposing teams fans in our stadium. Well, we need to expect that for at least the rest of this season because fans aren't going to want to sit and watch games where they have a strong feeling about the outcome.


Mike from Atlanta, GA

On the point of the defense playing better once the game is out of hand, I've noticed that the offense is the same. The offense typically doesn't look like anything close to productive until opposing defenses start playing prevent.

That happened against the Seattle Seahawks this past Sunday. It's not really an accurate assessment of what the offense was going before that game. The offense isn't great. It doesn't have the playmakers to be as explosive or as consistent as would be ideal. But the offense has moved and produced at times, and it has done so outside of "garbage time."

George from Savannah, GA

Can't see how any decent players would want to play in Jacksonville for any amount of money with the front office and coaching staff we have.

People who say they can't imagine people doing something for "any amount of money" probably never have been offered very much money to do something.