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O-Zone: No bold, just right

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Jason from Green Cove Springs, FL

I don't understand all the fan concern over Lawrence. He has made some big-time NFL throws the last two weeks and is obviously improving quickly. I feel like fans forgot about all the bad-to-mediocre quarterback play this fan base has witnessed in recent seasons. Lawrence has all the physical intangibles, can read defenses, scan the field and seems to be grasping Head Coach Doug Pederson's offense. Yea, Lawrence has some areas he can improve but he's only going into his second season and learning a new offense. I'm very excited for the coming season and Trevor is the biggest reason why. What does he have to accomplish for the fans to get off his back?

The over-analyzation and criticism of quarterback Jaguars Trevor Lawrence has been striking in recent days – and though fans rarely surprise me, I admit to being somewhat taken aback by this development. (Not too far back because I understand fans "fan," but at least somewhat back nonetheless). I'll reiterate what I said in recent days: Lawrence is playing fine in the 2022 preseason – better than fine, actually. He is making throws downfield to the second and third levels of the defense, and he is throwing with confidence. He is making multiple throws per game that show why he was selected No. 1 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. As importantly: The Jaguars are moving efficiently on offense. Though they have stalled in the red zone, they're strikingly more efficient than last season. Lawrence has not been perfect. He has missed a couple of open receivers. But he is a second-year quarterback in a new offense with largely new receivers. Perhaps fans thought because of the pre-draft speculation around Lawrence that he was going to be the NFL's best quarterback immediately. That was unrealistic. I can't control expectations around Lawrence and I can't control the criticism. I can tell you there's nothing to indicate he's not on his way to being a franchise quarterback and that the Jaguars' offense should look much better this season than in recent seasons. That probably won't get fans off Lawrence's back, but it should make this team a lot better and a lot more fun. Quickly.

Rick F from Jacksonville Beach, FL

Do you believe that this is the plays that the offense that the Jags are taking into the regular season?

The Jaguars are running plays from Pederson's offense, which is the offense the team will use once the regular season begins. The Jaguars so far in preseason have run a limited, simplified version of that offense. They also haven't game-planned much for any of their preseason opponents. Considering that, I expect the Jaguars' offense to look different come the regular season.

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, what does the team gain in a joint practice versus what they could do on their own? Do you think joint practices give a better opportunity to evaluate players than a preseason game?

Coaches that like joint practices like them because they're an opportunity to work against an opponent in a controlled environment, meaning coaches can put players in specific situations that might arise less often – or only by chance – in a game.

Fred from the wrong side of the ditch

I know you say, albeit tongue in cheek, that's it's all about coaching. But this is what gives me hope: Jaguars cornerback Tyson Campbell recently saying about Saturday's loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, "We were just having fun out there. I could tell all 11 of us were playing together and having fun and that's going to take us a long way." We seemed to play tentatively with a foreboding fear of making a mistake under the previous coach whose name must not be mentioned. I saw an infinitely looser D on Saturday night that did appear to be having a blast. Other than the quick drive/lapse near the end of the first half, I was very encouraged. Is this false optimism? Can we carry this over into the regular season?

Campbell's words are more than words; the Jaguars do appear to be having fun defensively. I suppose that could be the influence of Pederson and defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell compared to Head Coach Urban Meyer last season. It's also true that it's easier to play free and loose when you've got good players, so the infusion of talent such as outside linebacker Travon Walker and middle linebacker Foye Oluokun also matter here. This doesn't feel like false optimism. This feels like a defense capable of significant improvement quickly.

John from Sebastian

Good morning, O. My fellow fans need to relax a bit. Seems to me the future is much brighter. Training camp seems to be lining up very nicely heading to Atlanta and the last preseason game. I would remind everyone we haven't even seen one fourth of coaches play book as of yet. My advice sit back, smile and put your shades on.


Johnny from Westside

Maybe I'm just Pollyanna, but I am as happy watching these Jags as I have been in years. I can't tell you in statistics why, but my eyes tell me we are much better this year than last. Still only six or seven wins, maybe, but I don't get the doom and gloom.

I've considered in recent days why we're hearing so much doom and gloom when what we're seeing on the field offers so much hope. I wonder if this isn't a case of oddly unrealistic expectations. I believe the Jaguars are going to be better this season. I would be surprised at this point if that's not the case. But there seem to be many observers/fans expecting perfection – or, if not perfection, double-digit victories and a spot among the Super Bowl contenders. Those lofty aspirations may be out of reach for a team that has won four games in two seasons. If you're looking for that, you may be doomy and gloomy all season. But if you're looking for a team that's more fun than in previous seasons and that gives you a lot of hope for the future … well, if you're looking for that, this might be a fun few months.

Bradley from Sparks, NV

Do NFL teams use and respect the PFF grading system or do they think it's ridiculous and mostly for fans' entertainment?

Most teams use Pro Football Focus' statistics and grades as tools – the same way they use many statistics and analytics as tools. No one measure, statistic or opinion is the end all. The smartest teams know this and operate as such. But no … NFL teams do not think PFF is ridiculous.

Richard from Jacksonville

How likely do you think it is that James Robinson passes Leonard Fournette this year to move to fourth all time in Jaguars rushing yards?

Running back James Robinson, entering his third NFL season, ranks seventh on the Jaguars' all-time rushing list with 1,837 yards. He is 794 yards behind Fournette's 2,631 yards. Robinson is returning from an Achilles injury that ended his season last December, but it appears he will return very early in the season – perhaps as early as Week 1. So, yes … I think Robinson will pass Fournette this season.

Mike from Nocatee

Hey, O. Two of the top young quarterbacks are Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow. They are both 25 compared to Trevor at 22. I think that makes a big difference. What say you?

A season or experience can make a huge difference for a young, developing NFL quarterback. Three seasons can make a huge, huge, huge difference.

Tina from Jacksonville

I was Shaq Quarterman's lunch lady at Oakleaf High. He was always a polite and respectful. We are season-ticket holders and we were so happy to see him on our home team.

This isn't surprising. Quarterman, an inside linebacker entering his third NFL season – all with the Jaguars – is strikingly personable. He seems humble and is the sort of person for whom it easy to root. The Jaguars love Quarterman's approach, work ethic and love for football – among other traits. I would be stunned if he's not part of the roster moving forward.

P Funk from Murray Hill

Good to see receivers getting open. I was wondering what was the biggest factor to the improvement in that area? Better coaching? Better receivers? Better scheme? Better offensive line play giving time? Better play calls? All of the above?


Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, we all (two or three of us) know you have very sensible expectations on the upcoming season. Do you have any bold predictions you think are possibilities given what you have seen so far?

If the Jaguars' defense is as good as it appears based on three preseason games, I boldly predict they will win eight games. I don't know if that's bold. I don't know how to "bold." I know how to answer questions best I can and that's my "best-I-can" answer.