JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Boxcutter Bill from Mass
I haven't been this pumped or this sure about a Jaguars roster coming into a season since 1999. Is it me? Or does this group of Jags have the potential to be the best in history? That '99 team had some "guys." Best season of my life except for the whole Titans thing.
We're talking a lot about potential and what-ifs in the O-Zone this week. It's understandable considering the excitement around this Jaguars team. The answer to such questions center around one idea: Yes, this Jaguars team has potential to win the AFC Championship and be an elite offense. If the Jaguars accomplish those things, we can discuss this team as the best in franchise history and compare the offense to other great offenses, etc. Until the Jaguars accomplish those things, the talk is premature.
Brian from Atlanta, GA
In September 2008, I was part of a contingent of ATL Jaguars fans that traveled to Nashville for the season opener against the Titans. We were understandably optimistic about the season, as the Jags were coming off a 2007 playoff run that ended with a close loss in the divisional round to the eventual AFC Champions. I vividly recall that optimism being crushed as we lost 60 percent of our starting offensive line during the first half of the game days after the tragic shooting of offensive tackle Richard Collier. The Titans effectively shut down running back Maurice Jones-Drew and notched seven sacks of quarterback David Garrard during what was one of the ugliest afternoons of football I've ever seen – first of many losses in a thoroughly disappointing season. Now, reason and logic tell me we are 15 years removed from those awful events, with a completely different set of circumstances - different ownership, coaching, roster, level of depth, etc. My traumatized Jaguar fan brain is aware NFL games are won and lost in the trenches, and can't help be concerned about the injuries on both lines going into this road opener against a divisional opponent. Can you please tell me - in your soothing KOAF way - everything is going to be okay?
The NFL is real life, not scripted television. I therefore can offer no guarantees. But I get no feeling that this will be a disastrous season. While the offensive line had preseason injuries, they were largely due to the depth – and the team feels good about that position. The defensive line is a little shakier with an injury limiting lineman Foley Fatukasi in preseason and with lineman DaVon Hamilton out the first four regular-season games with a back issue. Still, the defensive line doesn't feel decimated – and this doesn't feel like 2008 redux. Stay tuned.
Darren from Jax
Gonna miss seeing all the different ways the Jags found to lose in the past. I sure hope all the winning doesn't get too boring.
Winning in the NFL is hard. If it's boring, it's time for another area of interest.
Jim in St Johns County from Saint Augustine, FL
This is more of a private observation than a question. I attended an event where attendees included the general manager, head coach and offensive coordinator of the Jags, as well as several players. These folks were all first class, and the very brief 1-on-1 time I had with inside linebacker Devin Lloyd showed what an outstanding human being he is, his football skills notwithstanding. It's hard to not be impressed with what the team has done under current ownership and the thoughtful approach of the GM. Quality folks building a culture of quality people. Go Jags!!
Most current Jaguars players and coaches are courteous, respectful and comparatively humble based on my interactions with them. Within that limited context, I would say Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke and Head Coach Doug Pederson have established a culture and roster of solid character players. This is a pleasant team to cover and it's easy to root for them. Good on them.
Tom from Ave Maria, FL
Zone, Did the NFL Players Association negotiate compensation for practice squad players or does each team determine compensation for practice squad players? Once a practice squad player becomes a member of the 53-player roster, is his salary based on league minimums for years in the league or above the minimum if the team so chooses? Thanks.
NFL practice squad players earn between $16,100 and $20,600 per week. When a practice squad player signs with a team, he becomes an active player and his salary therefore can be negotiated – subject to the league minimum and the salary cap.
Shawn from The mean streets of America
Being "left out" can be very difficult, how did you become so good at it?
Brian from Round Rock, TX
Have you considered that tight end Gerrit Prince didn't want to compete with the coach's son, for some strange reason. Or maybe he didn't like the culture in the position room, for some strange reason. Maybe he saw something not to like in the overall culture. I wonder what it could be? Glad to hear that the coach's son is earning his own money, though. I'm guessing practice squad earns more that water boy. Am I right?
I considered those things. I consider everything. I am the king of all funk. I don't worry about the Jaguars' culture. I have heard or seen nothing to indicate that there is anything wrong with the Jaguars' culture. Maybe there are others who know more. Some people seem convinced that's the case.
Brad from Avenues
Ok John, here we go. Remember last year? I predicted week, 18 Jags and Titans, for the division on Sunday Night Football. Missed it by one day. This year I predict, week 18, Jags and Titans for the division sweep, also locking down the No. 1 seed for a W/L total of 15-2. If I'm wrong at all it'll be because that number will be higher. Maybe even, dare I say, THAT high. 51 years is long enough for a record to stand anyway. My reasoning behind this is the same as last year. WHY THE HELL NOT!
You're projecting 15-2 and maybe 17-0 for the Jaguars. Why the hell not? Because winning 15 games is hard and going undefeated is so hard you don't set it a goal. Why not? Because it's not college football. The Jaguars will lose games this season. I expect the battle for the AFC South to be a battle. Really good teams in the NFL win 12 or so games and clinch their division in the final weeks. It's a hard league. Nothing in college compares.
Abel from Westside
Yo KOAF! I'm ready! Are you ready? Are you ready for some Football?
P Funk from Murray Hill
I trust our coaching staff to be prepared and scout all players we play against. But do you think they are picking Ventrell Miller's mind for small insights on Anthony Richardson?
I imagine Jaguars the coaches have asked linebacker Ventrell Miller about Richardson, with the two having played together at the University of Florida. The reality is such "insight" is a touch overrated. Coaches can watch video and observe tendencies, weaknesses and strengths. Input from players in this area might be welcome, but it's not particularly necessary.
Zac from Austin, Tejas
Not a question, more of a comment. Ever since we beat the Buffalo Bills 9-6, I don't assume anything with easy wins or losses.
You're referencing the Jaguars' 9-6 victory over the Buffalo Bills in 2021, one of the bigger upsets in Jaguars history. This came in the infamous Urban Meyer season, when the Jaguars finished with the NFL's worst record and the Bills were one of the league's best teams. This is a good first-hand example of how any NFL team can beat any other. There are others every season. It's professional football, not college. The concept of "upset" is sometimes a misnomer. When players are the best in the world at what they do, it's not a surprise that the "worst" of that group can occasionally beat the "best."
Don from Marshall, NC
You can see the athleticism of Richardson, there is no doubt about it. At the same time he has never seen the speed and power of the NFL. Maybe he can pull a rabbit out of a hat? Confidence can be dangerous when you're walking in places you're not familiar with. If he can make through a season then he has a chance. I really kind of feel sorry for him for what he is going to go through. Wish him well just not against the Jaguars. Go Jaguars!
When it comes to the confidence and chances for success of Indianapolis Colts rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson, Don is not "all in."
Bradley from Sparks, NV
I have heard there is money in spin-offs, so maybe " Ozone-Practice Squad" more money and the bonus of answering multiple Rourke questions everyday.
What's a "more money?"