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O-Zone: Pecan, perchance

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Bill from Springfield, VA

Given our totally inept, incompetent performance of late, I fully expect the Jags to be picking No. 2. What say you?

I expect the Jaguars to finish the 2021 season around 4-13. That's because given their performance so far this season, I expect them to play well enough to be close in the fourth quarter in roughly half of the final six games – and if things go right, they could win a couple of those games. Their offense hasn't shown it can score consistently enough to pull away from teams, so it's hard to see them having victories secured in the fourth quarter. They also have games remaining against several contending teams – the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, the New England Patriots and the Tennessee Titans, for instance – on the road, and it's hard to imagine those motivated teams losing to a struggling team at home late with playoff positioning at stake. So, yeah … I expect the Jaguars to select somewhere between Nos. 2 or 3 overall and Nos. 5 or 6 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. Would I prefer they win the rest of their games and select around No. 16? Sure. That would be cool. It doesn't seem likely.

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

I've read that - at least relative to other years - this is not a great year to be picking in the Top 5 of the draft in terms of value. I guess that would make it difficult for the Jaguars to trade down and collect more picks to help build up a roster that needs quite an infusion of talent. Have you heard similar things about this upcoming draft class?

I've heard that a bit, but I won't have a real feel for the draft class until mid-to-late January. One thing that could work for the Jaguars on this front is they won't be selecting a quarterback in the first round next offseason. While there may not be a "true franchise quarterback" in the draft, there usually are at least one or two that work their way up the draft enough that teams want them. That could help the Jaguars if they want to trade. Check back in January.

Russell from Charlotte, NC

Our receiving core is pretty awful and thinned out by injury. We have Jeff Cotton, who is 6-feet-2 and runs a 4.38-second 40-yard dash, on the practice squad. Josh Hammond – also on the practice squad – is a bit shorter but still has average speed for his position. Presumably both of them understand the playbook at this point. Why do we keep bringing in cast-offs from other teams, have them run one nine route in a game then subsequently release them, instead of giving our own young guys a shot? You'd think knowledge of the offense and some chemistry with rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence would be an advantage over some guy off the street. Couldn't do any harm at this point and they may be a pleasant surprise like say, Rudy Ford.

The Jaguars play castoffs from other teams over practice-squad players because coaches believe the castoffs from other teams are better than the practice-squad players.

Raymond Sis from Orlando, FL

So, are we good yet?


Nick from Palm Coast, FL

You talk all the time that the coaches know how good a player is so they don't need to put him in game time over another player. Let me ask you this: Have you ever seen a player who in practice didn't seem all that great but in the game was outstanding?? Some players just don't practice all that well but come game time, he lights it up?

Sure. It happens. Some players are gamers. But it's rare. And it's difficult for coaches to set the lineup or game-day roster saying, "Well, here are a bunch of guys we don't believe are as good as the starters, but let's start them anyway just to see what might happen." That might be palpable for fans, but for the coaches and players invested in this full time, it's a tough ask.

Sam from Orlando, FL

We have a talent problem. Duh, right? But who picks the players that we put on the field? Coaches and the front office? Right? Sounds like we have a bigger issue than a talent deficiency. We seem terrible at evaluating talent.


JT from Palm Coast, FL

How in the hell is it fair to Lawrence's growth if our wide receivers are running the wrong routes? Please football gods keep Trevor healthy so we can just get this season over with because for all intents and purposes, it is.

The Jaguars' struggles in the passing offense aren't solely about the wide receivers – either the lack of speed, drops or route running. It's also not solely about rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence missing receivers at times or about timing between Lawrence and the receivers. It takes a village. But yes … the Jaguars need Lawrence healthy the rest of the season. You don't want him rehabilitating in the offseason.

Dwight from Naples, FL

For some reason it sounds like everyone thinks you draft and free agent your way to success. How about keeping core players that you drafted at one time and building around them? Doesn't it feel like we are looking for miracle players every year?

The Jaguars have tried to draft, develop and build around core players. It's tough to get to the "build" part when the first two parts don't happen.

Allen from St. Clairsville, OH

What can, if anything, the Jaguars do to not be the Rams' solution this week? It seems if you're having problems either offensively or defensively a game against the Jaguars will fix it. How do we change that?

Play a lot better.

Ryan from Reality

Everyone's talking about needing to get a great wide receiver in the draft next year and I'd love if that were possible but ... I don't trust this team to identify top end WR talent! For the Jaguars' entire existence, we have never drafted a receiver that produced more than a single 1,000-yard season for this team. We've never been successful at "draft-and-develop" for the receiver position. Idk zone, who do you think is the best receiver this team has ever drafted and signed to a second contract?

The answer probably is Marqise Lee – but while I guess I understand why you say you don't trust this team to identify top-end wide-receiver talent, the statement makes little sense. The "team" doesn't select players; the people in charge of personnel do. The current Jaguars' decision-makers have been deciding things for one offseason. There's no reason to think trends of the past will be the same in the future.

Rich from Dacula, GA

Dear Santa: This year for Christmas I just want one present early: A game winning pass against Jalen Ramsey. Please, it's the only thing I need to make me feel better about my Jaguars this season.

I'd click on that.

Nicholas from Fort Hood, Texas

Zone: If we only get marginally better in the next two to three seasons (no playoff games) who is most likely to still be a Jaguars: quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Head Coach Urban Meyer, or General Manager Trent Baalke? How long of a "leash" do you see each person having within the organization before "it's time to move on?"

Two or three seasons is a long time. If the Jaguars don't improve tangibly by the end of that period, many things will change. That's the nature of the NFL.

Jason from North Pole, AK

In regards to former Jaguars Head Coach Jack Del Rio establishing a hard-hitting culture, he was coaching defensive tackle Marcus Stroud, defensive tackle John Henderson, cornerback Rashean Mathis, linebacker Mike Peterson, etc. If we had those guys on defense right now our identity would probably be easier to establish. Players, not plays.

Well, yes.

Robert from Oneonta

John, I know this scenario pops up randomly and infrequently. If an experienced proven NFL head coach pops up on the NFL landscape, is Owner Shad Khan ready and able to pull the trigger? No, coaching is not everything in the NFL. You have to admit it is very difficult to win consistently without a good one. I know it's Khan's decision. That is not the point. What I am asking is Khan "married" to Meyer come good and bad, for richer and poorer, through sickness and in health? I sincerely hope he is quietly looking for better.

I have no reason to believe Khan will change head coaches during the 2021 season or next offseason. I expect Urban Meyer to remain the Jaguars' head coach.

Nick from Virginia Beach, VA

If the Jaguars' season results were pie, it'd be the most disappointing pie I've ever had. Thank God for pie. What's your favorite pie?

I'm not a big pie guy. Key Lime? A good pecan, perchance? Blueberry doesn't suck, I guess.