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O-Zone: On the other hand

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Rob from San Antonio, TX

Congrats to Freddy T! KOAF, what do you believe are his chances of enshrinement and does it bode well for him to be the only running back as a finalist this year?

Former Jaguars running back Fred Taylor on Wednesday evening was named one of 15 modern-era finalists for the 2024 Pro Football Hall of Fame class. It is Taylor's first time as a finalist after being a semifinalist the previous four years – and it is not only a deserved step, it's an important one. Taylor now will be discussed and researched more extensively among voters than previously was the case. I expect his career and playmaking ability will eventually lead to enshrinement, though I would be a little surprised if he made it on his first time being a finalist because Hall voters often want to vote players in who have been finalists for an extended period. That's just a guess, and remember: All theories you'll hear and read about who will get in – and why – are speculation. And while that speculation often is accurate, Hall voting also almost always produces surprises that go against what even the most experienced voter expects. As for whether Taylor being the only running back among the 15 finalists bodes well … yes, there is a chance that could prevent votes being split among that position. That sometimes happens and when it does, it can hurt all players at the position.

RAF from PVB

Wow, that's a tough group of finalists that Freddy T has to compete with. I see nine that I'd have a tough time not voting for, but Fred is undoubtedly the top running back.

The 15 modern-era finalists for the '24 hall class: Taylor, tight end Antonio Gates, defensive end Julius Peppers, wide receiver Reggie Wayne, wide receiver Torry Holt, wide receiver Andre Johnson, returner Devin Hester, defensive end Jared Allen, safety Rodney Harrison, safety Darren Woodson, cornerback Eric Allen, offensive tackle Willie Anderson, guard Jahri Evans, defensive end Dwight Freeney and linebacker Patrick Willis. I wouldn't say there are a ton of locks, though – as is often the case – pretty much every finalist is deserving. And yes … Taylor is the top running back. Absolutely and without question.

Gibran from Aledo, TX

With projected big contracts looming next year, how do you see the Jags being able to address the offensive line in the offseason?

In free agency and the draft.

Graham from Reading, UK

Hey, Zone. Why not play Shatley at centre? Fortner can't get any push up the middle, but we still persist with him. Seems like stubborn mindedness not making a change when he has clearly been playing poorly.

The Jaguars haven't moved Tyler Shatley to center because they don't believe he's an improvement over Luke Fortner. While Fortner has struggled this season, Head Coach Doug Pederson has talked a lot recently about continuity being important along the offensive line and moving Fortner would be one more change in that area. Pederson said the only lineup changes this week would be injury-related, so I wouldn't expect Shatley to start at center Sunday.

Grimm Reaper from Jax

It's over! The Panthers are going to bury the Jags. Do you actually still believe in this team? Why won't the Jags try using a fullback? Didn't tight end Brenton Strange play fullback at times in college? If a team can't run the ball, play action doesn't work nor do trick plays. The Jags are getting quarterback Trevor Trevor killed back there. Defensive linemen don't have to respect the run, so they are only focusing on sacking the quarterback. The cup isn't half full, there's nothing left in the cup.

It's not over.

James from Titusville, NJ

I have what is probably a dumb fan question/suggestion. With 17 games plus playoffs being a grueling grind of a season, do you foresee coaches electing to get QB1 and QB2 to alternate starts to some degree? Maybe a 10/7 ratio where QB1 will have a best chance to be healthy for a potential playoff run? If one gets hurt in the course of a season, the other quarterback's familiarity with the starters and the overall offense need not be established because of the shared time. I ask this only because we lost so many quarterbacks this year despite the rules changes in place to protect the quarterback. Rule changes don't seem to be enough and neither is fans' appetite for football, which leads to these more games being played.

There are no dumb questions; only dumb senior writers. I don't anticipate NFL head coaches alternating starting and backup quarterbacks any time soon – certainly not enough to be anything close to a trend. A starting quarterback usually dramatically increases your chances of winning compared to the backup. All 17 games matter in the NFL. Can you imagine, the Kansas City Chiefs missing the postseason by a game because Head Coach Andy Reid opted to alternate quarterback Patrick Mahomes with a backup three or of four games. Few head coaches will opt not to play a healthy starting quarterback.

Jason from Jacksonville

John, you said "My overall thought on Lawrence is you can't ignore the knee, ankle and – most recently – concussion issues through which he has played the last two months. These issues have limited his practice time on multiple occasions, and his timing with receivers appears to have suffered along with that." If all the issues you mentioned are preventing Trevor from playing well, then why is he playing? You can't have it both ways. If he's healthy enough to play, then we shouldn't have to hear excuses for why he has turned the ball over eight times in three games and has made poor decisions. He's not good enough to play without practicing. Few players are, so if he's got "issues" that are affecting his play perhaps he doesn't give us the best option to win until those "issues" are resolved. The guy turning the ball over eight times in three games and making poor decisions/throws is losing you games, not winning them.

Thank you for reminding me what I wrote. Perhaps I've reached the age I can't remember that for more than about 24 hours. "You can't have it both ways" is one of those sayings that gets said enough people assume it's always true. In this case, it's not. Yes, Lawrence has played poorly in the last three games. Yes, there may be reasons for that – and those reasons might include lack of practice time and injuries. It also might be miscommunications with receivers, a struggling running game and a lack of continuity on the offensive line. While fans love to call such issues "excuses," they're also legitimate reasons the offense and Lawrence are struggling. Is Lawrence playing well? No. That doesn't necessarily mean he's not giving the Jaguars the best chance to win.

Mike from New Milford, NJ

Let's hope the Jaguars get back to playing complementary football over the next two weeks. I know that's tough to envision right now but luckily, the Jaguars still control their own destiny and are the kings of the AFC South until they're not.


Taylor from Columbia, MD

How about those Day 2 picks? It's the end of Year 1 and neither has contributed much at all. They felt like reaches at the time, and neither player has done much to prove otherwise. Bigsby in particular is disappointing, as running back is a position where rookies are expected to perform. You're only getting four years out of him anyway (now three) due to the nature of the position. Yikes. I have hope for Strange, but there are quite a few rookie tight ends around the league contributing more and developing faster. What say you?

I say I have very low expectations for players contributing as significantly as rookies, particularly those selected after the early part of the second round. I haven't seen or heard anything to make me think tight end Brenton Strange (Round 2) or running back Tank Bigsby (Round 3) can't be very good.

Cliff from ORANGE PARK

He looks like Thor but heals like Ironman. Knock him out and he goes back to the shop, repairs the suit and he is back. What will it take to keep this man down? Never mind. I don't want to know.

No, you don't.

Judson from Jax Beach

Ole, if the Jags lose this week and both the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans win, for all intents and purposes, the Jags would be eliminated from winning the AFC South. The Colts and Texans play Week 18 and barring a tie? Would have a better record than the Jags. Even if the Jags win Sunday. Just brutal that they have put themselves in this situation.

If the Jaguars win this week and both the Colts and Texans lose, the Jaguars would clinch their fifth division title in franchise history. Pretty cool that they have put themselves in this situation.