JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Brian from ROUND ROCK, TX
I find it hilarious that EVERYONE decided the team's late-season collapse is due to the general manager. Anyway, aren't late-round picks more in the realm of the scouts (talent evaluation) and coaches (roster evaluation)? I always thought the general manager is most responsible for the expensive free agents and top draft picks. Thoughts?
First: When teams lose five of six games as the Jaguars did to end the 2023 season, it's never due to one person – coach, general manager, player, etc. As for who's responsible for what in terms of player acquisition … as with most personnel-related topics, credit and blame here are a matter of degrees. As general manager, Trent Baalke is "responsible" for all Jaguars selections and signings. It's his job to take the information provided by "lower-level" scouts, meet with the personnel officials who most help determine the team's assessment of players and ultimately make the final decision. Early-round selections and high-profile free agents are more important than other acquisitions, which means more time and resources are spent on the process. And the general manager by extension is going to be "attached" more to those players. The general manager will presumably lean on area scouts a bit more for later-round draft selections and collegiate free agents, with a scout's impassioned plea on behalf of a lesser-known player likely having more influence than would be the case early in the draft.
Josiah from Plymouth, NH
Do you also think that it is very important to keep Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne Jr. together throughout whole career?
I don't think this is overly important, or particularly realistic. Lawrence ideally would be the Jaguars' starting quarterback for a decade and a half or so. Etienne as a running back realistically might play at a high level for about half that time. But it would be a positive for the Jaguars to retain Etienne for as long as he is productive. He has special qualities.
Don from Marshall, NC
I know you are right about the Jaguars. There could be a million reasons why something does not work and you have been around long enough to know the ins and outs. I am still as mad as a nest of baldfaced hornets. I hope to calm down after the Jaguars sign outside linebacker Josh Allen and get Trevor his deal. Then we'll see what we got. Need to build a cohesive powerful offensive line to protect Trevor. A second of time in the pocket for Trevor would be a game changer. Hope you're getting some time off and enjoying life. I bet everyday you go through the inbox and read something that makes you laugh? All these years and still going and on pace for more. Really good stuff you do for the team and the fans! Go Jaguars!
When it comes to me getting time off, and when it comes to baldfaced hornets, Don remains "all in."
Steve at work at the beach from Jax Beach
New idea! A lead writer / co-head coach!
When it comes to this idea, one can assume that Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson is very decidedly not "all in."
Charlie from Dayton, OH
Hey J: Do you see any of the picks from this year – ex: Yasir Abdullah – becoming starters next season or was our only good pick Anton? I see improvement in Antonio but is it enough to take over the starting role.
A draft selection can be good without being a Year 2 starter. First: Right tackle Anton Harrison (Round 1, 202 NFL Draft) indeed appears to be a good selection. I expect running back Tank Bigsby (Round 3) to have an increased role next season and I expect tight end Brenton Strange (Round 2) also to have an increased role. I expect defensive tackle Tyler Lacy (Round 4) to continue to play a key role on the defensive interior. And yes … I expect safety Antonio Johnson (Round 5) to start next season.
Lane from Winter Garden, FL
O man, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is only 28 years old and he's appearing in his fourth Super Bowl. Do you think he'll be considered the greatest player in NFL history by the time he retires?
I think he has put himself in good position. I also think he has a loooooong way to go.
Tom from Charlottesville
Team Chemistry is very important and is not being discussed so much here. The defensive line lost a leader in pass rusher Arden Key. The offense lost the presence of wide receiver Christian Kirk after he was hurt. I did not read or hear of the roles being replaced with other voices! Do you feel that team chemistry slipped a little this year and was a factor in the poor ending to the season?
It seemed from this view the Jaguars missed Key's presence after he signed with the Tennessee Titans as an unrestricted free agent last offseason a bit and missed Kirk's presence after his Week 13 injury a lot. It seemed they missed Kirk's reliability and production much more than his presence. Here's the reality about Team Chemistry. Most teams have it early in the season and early in coaching regimes. Losing tends to test and sometimes erode chemistry – and winning tends to make chemistry wonderful. I wouldn't say the Jaguars' chemistry was as good in 2023 as it was at the end of 2022. I expect it will be fine starting the 2024 season. What happens after that? We'll see.
Eric from Jacksonville Beach
I'm looking at our draft from the last few years and I'm seeing a lot of stabs at getting a cornerback. Christian Braswell, Erick Hallett, Montaric Brown, and Gregory Junior all in the last two years. I know we've seen some activity on the field out of Brown and Junior but do you see any of these four stepping into a bigger roles, maybe even starters, for this team? I know they're late rounders, just curious your take on what we have with this group.
Keep an eye on Braswell. The Jaguars liked him a lot in 2023 Training Camp. He sustained a hamstring injury during camp and played just three games. He will be intriguing to watch given an offseason to train and prepare for the NFL.
Sal from Austin, TX
Guys on here are making it sound like Trevor Lawrence was running to save his life. While the run blocking was what it was, the offensive line did give him time to get the ball out. No front office is ever going to serve up five All-Pros on the offensive line on one roster.
The Jaguars' offensive line for the most part pass blocked better than it run blocked in 2023. It struggled at times pass blocking, but when you struggle run blocking it means you're in a lot of obvious passing situations – and it's really hard to be a great pass-blocking team when you're in a lot of obvious passing situations.
Joshua from j-ville -> Huntsville
If only we all were as smart as Chris from SD! Just get rid of all your good players because they're not the unrivaled best player at their position and just "start drafting well." Brilliant!
We all have our strengths.
Bradley from Sparks, NV
I haven't looked at any stats, but it seems like defenses made a bit of a comeback this year. Do you see the rules committee implementing even more rules designed to help offenses this offseason?
The NFL historically will implement rules to favor one side of the ball or the other. But it usually takes more than a one- or two-year slant in one direction or the other to prompt this. So, no … I don't anticipate any rules changes designed to increase scoring, at least not as a result of this past season.
Donald from Medford
What has happened to Walker Little? Is he a bust?
Little could be a starting tackle for the Jaguars in 2024. Or he could be a starting guard. He also could be a swing tackle. He has shown he can be a good player. He needs to stay healthier than he did this past season. He's not a bust.
KC from Orlando, FL
KOAF. Each year the draft tends to be considered a strong draft for certain positions. Is it too early to tell what this year's strengths will be for the draft or do we have to wait for the NFL Combine for the positions to declare themselves?
It's early February, with the Senior Bowl in the rearview and the Super Bowl upon us. It's therefore time for the O-Zone to get chest-deep into the draft. I therefore heavily researched this question, meaning I texted Jaguars Media analyst and NFL Media Draft guru Bucky Brooks. "Strongest and weakest draft positions?," I asked. His reply: "Offensive tackle and wide receiver. Weakest: Running backs and linebacker." I called him for more information, but he's not taking my calls.