JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Jacob from NY
Hey, John. Assuming things that are assumed and not assuming things that are not, who do you think the Jags should target in the first wave of free agency? And who do you think they will target?
I think the Jaguars should target defensive line heavy early in free agency because they must improve against the run; I expect they will do just that when free agency opens later this month. Acquiring defensive tackle via free agency makes sense because it often takes a year or so for defensive linemen to become true anchors against the run at the NFL level; learning the position and gaining NFL strength can take time, and veterans should be more ready to contribute quickly. Also, this is not considered a great defensive tackle draft; while there will be tackles available in later rounds, there doesn't appear to be a lot of first-round talent – and that makes finding immediate difference-makers at the position even more unlikely than normal. Considering all of that, Leonard Williams will make sense if the New York Giants opt to not apply the franchise tag to him – or perhaps his teammate, nose tackle Dalvin Tomlinson. Or New Orleans Saints nose tackle Sheldon Rankins, or New England Patriots nose tackle Lawrence Guy. Those are some of the top free-agent linemen and those players would make sense if the Jaguars indeed moved to a 3-4 scheme. But the reality is finding front-line defensive interior help via free agency is difficult. Defensive linemen are valuable, and teams don't like letting good ones become free agents. Other positions that make sense in free agency? Safety and tight end. Then again, the Jaguars went 1-15 last season and there has been a total regime change. Most positions make sense.
Don from Marshall, NC
Leonard Williams should have been a Jaguar all along. He was the best player on the board when Dave Caldwell picked? I think it was Dante Fowler Jr. he picked instead. That was a big mistake, I thought. I hope he considers Jaguars and I hope the Jaguars consider him. His greatness should define his nickname and the Jaguars biggest need is a Big Cat! Go Jaguars!
It's hard to argue in retrospect that Williams wasn't the best player available when the Jaguars selected No. 3 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft – and the Jaguars indeed selected Fowler over Williams. Wide receiver Amari Cooper also was available, but the Jaguars had wide receivers Allen Hurns, Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee entering their second season. That looked like a promising trio at the position and it would have been hard to argue for selecting Cooper at the time. I would be surprised if the Jaguars don't strongly consider pursuing Williams if he indeed is available as an unrestricted free agent. He can play in whatever defensive scheme the Jaguars employ, and he is still – at age 26 – very much in his prime. He feels like a fit, albeit a very expensive one. Stay tuned.
Fred from Naples, FL
"I'll pack the speedo(s) ..." Thanks for the visual!
Will from Jaguarville
The window for teams to apply the franchise tag runs this year between February 23 and March 9. However, at this point, not a single tag has been applied. Is that normal? Do teams typically wait until the last day or two to apply the tag?
It is completely normal. Teams often wait until a day or so before the deadline – and often until the deadline day itself – to apply the franchise or transition tag. It is a negotiating tool and a roster-management tool. There's no reason to apply it early – and as with many things, deadlines tend to prompt action.
Cliff from Orange Park, FL
How about the 17thgame at neutral sites in the US? Orlando, San Antonio, or could be some huge crowds at some remote college towns that do not get to go to live NFL games. Oklahoma, Nebraska, Alabama.
We've gotten multiple emails on this topic in recent days. I suspect to get more. The NFL's expected move to 17 games beginning this season indeed offers multiple creative options for the site of the 17th game. I don't expect much creativity in the first couple of years, particularly during a 2021 season that appears likely to still be at least somewhat affected by COVID-19. I expect various options after that, with an emphasis on continuing to expand the sport internationally. I don't expect much in the way of playing games at the bigger college stadiums because it seems as if more of an emphasis would be on developing potential future markets domestic and overseas. But who knows? The 17th game almost certainly is here to stay. That means something sort of like forever, and forever is a long time.
Bradley from Sparks, NV
Has it been mentioned to play 17thgame at classic college stadiums?
Not since the last question.
Greg from Jacksonville
Hi, Zone. Although I'm pretty sure this will result in a bottom location for my message if it is posted, I must respectfully point out a missed opportunity. How did you not put the message from Chris from Space City, TX at the very bottom? That would have been awesome. Perhaps you missed your second nap yesterday.
I was going to put this email at the bottom of today's O-Zone, but that's exactly what they would want me to do.
Chris from Space City, TX
Way to go, O! You sure told me. LOL. Keep that energy, you can be a bit of a snooze sometimes.
I never liked you.
Charles from Riverside
Hello John, could you please help us understand the "Meyer Spread" and how "Power Football" in the running game plays off the Spread. Seems counterintuitive to me?? Can we expect our offense moving forward to be a play using these offensive schemes? Thanks.
Meyer's spread offense is based on lining up with multiple receivers all around the field, a formation that forces defenses to spread out and account for those receivers – thereby exposing the defense to a power running game because a spread-out defense leaves fewer defenders in the box near the line of scrimmage. It's perhaps a bit counterintuitive because many fans believe a power running game means bunched-up formations with multiple tight ends and a fullback all-but attached to the offensive linemen before the snap. We won't know many details about the Jaguars' offense yet – partly because Meyer and an offensive staff led by coordinator Darrell Bevell are still in the process of installing the offense. But yes … it's safe to assume the Jaguars' offense will have elements of the spread. It won't be the exact offense Meyer ran in college. Meyer hired Bevell to help adapt the scheme to the NFL. But many NFL offenses are using a lot of spread concepts now. Remember, too: Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence ran an offense in college that employed these elements. That would be a good thing – if, of course, the Jaguars happen to go that direction with the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Why does Jaguars right tackle Jawaan Taylor commit so many holding penalties? He does know that is not allowed right?
Josh from Atlanta, GA
This free agency could shape up to be pretty seismic. I saw an NFL coach reportedly say the next week will be a "massacre" across the NFL regarding players cut with the salary cap situation that might not have been available in normal situations. We obviously won't go sign everyone, but I am excited with some potential surprise additions to the team in 2021. All this money and the lure of playing with the next prodigy are going to help, not to mention all that … you know ... $money$.
I'm normally wary of spending big in free agency because history tells you're paying elite money when history also tells you teams don't let truly elite players become free agents. Why would they? I still doubt that truly elite players will be available through free agency this offseason, but with the lower salary cap this seems all but certain to be a better free-agent pool than usual. So, yeah … buckle up.
Wise Guy from Richland
You coulda made a *killing* in the stock market, but noooo, you had to be a lowly senior writer.
Pat from Duval
Sometimes, I think you want the Jags to move to London. If only that they could be named the Werewolves.
There is not a single fiber in me that wants the Jaguars to move to London, just as there is not a single fiber in me that wants the Jaguars to be anywhere but Jacksonville. To think otherwise is patently absurd. I did see a werewolf drinking a pina colada once at Trader Vic's, though. The thing I noticed was his hair. It was absolutely …