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O-Zone: Not so smart

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Sean from Oakleaf, FL

What is the role of the six captains on the team? Do you have a guess as to who the special teams captain will be?

Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson said he likely will announce team captains this week, with players deciding five captains – two offense, two defense, one special teams – by vote. Pederson said he will name a sixth captain each week on a rotating basis, with the rotating captain sometimes being a player from near a road city and other times being a player who played well the previous week. The captains named by teammates are done so based on who players think are the most respected, deserving leaders. Their role is somewhat undefined, but they would be players teammates look to in a crisis – and Pederson would lean on them, too. Special teams possibilities? Perhaps punter Logan Cooke, or returner Jamal Agnew. We'll see.

Steve from The Hill

We have been very active in signing other teams' released players. I've lost count: Is it six or seven? Which out of 53 is more than 10 percent turnover in the 11thhour. How can we assess other teams' players that in a few cases only played this preseason and make a judgement that that many players are better than what we had kept?

The Jaguars as of this writing had claimed six players off waivers from other teams since Tuesday, when NFL teams trimmed rosters to 53. Part of assessing a claimed player is studying how he played in preseason, but that is only part of the equation. The Jaguars have a personnel department dedicated to scouting all players, collegiate and professional. The process begins when the player is in college, then continues when the player is in the NFL. Remember, too: The players claimed and released this past week are by definition the "bottom of the roster." NFL teams commonly "churn" the bottom of the roster throughout the season with practice-squad and other low-profile transactions. As the worst team in the NFL the past two seasons, it's not surprising that the Jaguars did some serious churning this past week.

Keith from Saint Augustine, FL

Why did Laviska Shenault Jr. and Laquon Treadwell not make the 53-man roster? The answer is simple: They were too slow. Treadwell runs a 4.63 forty and Shenault runs a 4.58 forty. As a result, both struggled to get separation. How many times last year did we see quarterback Trevor Lawrence try to get them the ball while avoiding a sack and have to throw an ill-advised pass or chunk the ball out of bounds? Treadwell because of his size – 6-feet-3, 215 pounds – could sometimes outmuscle a cornerback or safety for the ball. Shenault could get open if they schemed him open (screens). I wish both of them well, but I'm glad we have faster receivers who can get open.


Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, if us fans are worried about kickers, instead of quarterbacks and other premium positions, I'd say that's a good sign we are moving in the right direction. What do you think?

I think there may be something to your point, though my guess is fans would worry and complain about the kicker whatever the situation at other positions. Fans going fan. It's what they do.

David from Orlando, FL

Ozone – How are some of these star-studded teams, like the Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, able to stay under the salary cap? Is there some kind of loophole these teams are working? Something's fishy!

Different teams approach the salary cap different ways. Star-studded teams like the Buccaneers and Rams often are paying players a lot now – with the side effect of paying backups and lower-profile starters less or from knowing that some of those highly-paid players won't play out their contracts. The salary cap is real. Teams can work around it and pay a few players disproportionately for a short time, but teams also have to release veteran players every offseason before the start of the league year.

Marcus from Jacksonville

I think the Jaguars are definitely going to be improved this season, and I truly hope they make a push for the postseason. Like you, I think that kind of turnaround is unlikely. Even if the defense is vastly improved, if the offense goes three and out several times in a row and the defense gets gassed, that's when they have a blown coverage, or a broken tackle that goes the distance, or a penalty that extends a drive. Those things snowball, and a couple things like that in a game lead to what we've seen for years. The Jaguars trailing early, forcing them to throw more which leads to mistakes, which then puts the defense in impossible situations. The thing that has me hopeful is that the offense moved the ball in the preseason … they didn't score a ton of touchdowns, but they had extended drives that kept the defense off the field and they limited penalties and turnovers. If we can do that, we can have success, but in the NFL, one blown coverage, one muffed punt, one tipped pass can literally change the course of the whole game. They need consistency and the ability to recover from those mistakes in order to win.

I expect the Jaguars to be improved and more competitive this season than past seasons. I expect they will win at least six or seven games. I have trouble projecting more victories than that for many of the reasons you cite.

Someone from Somewhere

Only one player on the roster that is Top 5 at position? Yes, Cooke and right guard Brandon Scherff, but don't forget about Agnew as a return specialist. And who led the league in tackles last year? Middle linebacker Foye Oluokun. Also: Running back James Robinson was tied fifth in rushing yards pre-injury in 2020. Maybe I'm optimistic, though. Stats don't always translate to best at position, but they do help. And anyone who says anything about pro bowls and all that, it's a popularity contest. Because Fred Taylor was one of the best and he only had one.

This email continues a discussion started by Jaguars analyst (and Pro Football Hall of Famer) Tony Boselli and Pete Prisco of CBS Sports this past Monday on Jaguars Happy Hour, with the consensus of the two essentially being that Scherff was the lone Jaguars player who was Top 5 at his position in the NFL. While Agnew and Cooke merit discussion on the topic, and while Oluokun and Robinson also belong in a conversation, the point made by Prisco and Boselli was basically that the Jaguars' roster doesn't feature many no-brainer elite players – and that the lack of those players would probably keep them from being a postseason team. Prisco/Boselli are right on that front. There's a lot of potential on this team. There's not much elite yet. That can change. We'll see if it happens in 2022.

Lenny from London

Hey O, I think the hype over our D is getting a bit much. They went against a quarterback who hasn't played in over a year, and a combination of a first-round bust and a rookie. I'm excited about their potential but I don't see them being a top 10 defence this year. However, I do think they will be good enough to keep us in games early, which we haven't had in a while. Am I wrong?

The Jaguars open the 2022 regular season against the Washington Commanders at FedEx Field September 11.

Daniel from St Johns

It's been an exciting offseason and thank you for all the articles and stories! 10-7 with a sneak into the playoffs and then who knows! It's gonna be an exciting ride for sure… go Jags!

Daniel is "all in."

Charity from Jacksonville

Why did y'all not let the other kicker be the kicker the one that made it twice he miss one for us.

The kicker made field missed goals once game football Super Bowl was kicking good hashmarks once was lombardi trophy

Crash from Glen St. Mary

Trevor's doin' all right. He's gettin' good grades. His future's so bright. He's gotta' wear shades.

You're in his eye and you'll know why, Crash. The more you live, the faster you will die. Don't turn around. (Uh-oh.)

Gary from Suffolk, VA

O, do we know the exact uniform combination for the upcoming game against Washington? Also, number 5 fits Cisco well!

I haven't seen the uniform combination for the Jaguars' regular-season opener, though I would expect to hear relatively early next week. I sort of like "five" for Cisco, too, though the old crotchety writer in me long has been on record that I don't love all of these newfangled uniform numbers. I also don't trust this interweb thing. I prefer yellow legal pads. And what's so smart about smartphones, by golly?