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O-Zone: Perfect fit

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Mike from Atlanta, GA

With Travis Etienne Jr. out for the season, how will that change the offensive scheme? Are they going to sign a running back after the roster cutdown? Also, it's a Lisfranc injury before he even played an NFL game. Will he be the same in 2022 and beyond?

Losing rookie running back Travis Etienne almost certainly will hurt the Jaguars' offense. Head Coach Urban Meyer selected Etienne No. 25 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft because he had an explosiveness and an ability to score from anywhere on the field – and a unique ability to win one-on-one matchups. The plan was to use Etienne as a hybrid running back/wide receiver as Meyer used a player such as Percy Harvin while at the University of Florida. Without Etienne, there isn't a player with that skillset on the roster; had there been, the Jaguars wouldn't have selected him where they did. The Jaguars likely won't completely abandon the idea of a hybrid player, but it won't look the same as it would have with Etienne – and while they may sign a running back before the regular season, it won't be a player with Etienne's skillset. As for Etienne's future … a Lisfranc injury is potentially very serious. There's no reason at this point to think he won't be the same after the injury as he was before, but it's legitimately something to watch.

Michael from Hickory, NC

How good did Etienne look in camp?

Etienne looked very good at times in Jaguars 2021 Training Camp, and he looked particularly good when the offense got him isolated in space on the edges of the defense. He seemed to be improving and gaining confidence by the week. I got the idea the Jaguars didn't show much of how they were going to use Etienne in Preseason Week 1 against Cleveland. He was then injured in Preseason Week 2 against New Orleans before we saw much. But in practice? He was looking very good the longer it continued.

Nick from Annapolis, MD

Gardner Minshew II to Atlanta for two first-round picks?

Shad Khan … hire this man!!

Jason from North Pole, AK

With the recent injury to Travis Etienne, do you think we will see Laviska Shenault Jr. step into more of a hybrid role? It would seem that he fits that mold better than anyone on the roster and is more dangerous than anything we would find elsewhere right now.

I agree and I think there's a decent chance we could see Shenault in a hybrid role at times this season. I don't think that would look like it would have looked with Etienne because Etienne's effectiveness is so based on speed, suddenness and quickness. Shenault is explosive but he's more physical and as fast as Etienne.

David from EC

Has C.J. Beathard joined the quarterback competition yet?

The starting competition? No.

Mario from Oviedo, FL

I knew it, John. I knew it. Wasting a first-round pick on a running back is always … well, a waste of a first-round pick.

Let's clarify something. You didn't know it. You thought you knew it. You believed it. You opined it. But you didn't know it. And there also obviously was no way to know Etienne would sustain a season-ending Lisfranc injury. Was it a waste of a selection? We'll see. If Etienne returns and is what the Jaguars envisioned – i.e., a dynamic playmaker who can strain defenses and score from anywhere – then No. 25 overall is not a waste.

Carlos from México City, Mexico

Media and fans going from wanting to name Trevor the starter to play all the snaps to sitting him for weeks so he doesn't get hurt has got to be one of the most extreme and ridiculous swings I've read.

Give it time, Carlos.

Nathan from St. Augustine, FL

Hey, John. With the wide receiver position looking loaded with potential, it looks like some players with real potential are going to cut soon – which makes me ask why you think Jamal Agnew is almost a lock to make the team as a returner/wide receiver. With kick returns almost gone from the game these days why cut a more talented receiver for someone who will mostly only be used on punt returns? Especially with Phillip Dorsett II or Tavon Austin being able to return punts and be a factor in the passing game.

I don't think Agnew is almost a lock. I think he's an absolute lock because Meyer talked following the Jaguars' Preseason Week 1 loss to Cleveland about Agnew's importance – and about making sure Agnew is ready for the regular season. He wouldn't have discussed Agnew in this vein if the Jaguars were planning to release him. Why does Meyer consider him so important? Because he considers special teams critically important. And because Agnew is a really good returner.

Steve from Yulee, FL

Well great O I have a question about the o line.I would really like to know with some salary cap room and Trevor's health at stake why when 3 of the top 5 free agents out there are off. Tackles why don't we live a little not to mention saving are number 1 draft pick from certain ruin and sign one even if it's just a 1 yr deal?

Hot 4 and 2 wheels chives. been driver eight. 99 nitmoss. Chartreuse. Yert.

Sascha from Cologne, Germany

Hey, John. It seems Coach Meyer is really big on competition, but there is no joint practice with another NFL team. Is there a specific reason for it because it seems a lot of teams use it to bring in more competition?

Meyer spoke to Saints Head Coach Sean Payton this offseason about having joint practices last week. The teams both wanted to make it happen. The logistics and protocols around COVID-19 prevented it, but Meyer sounded this past week as if he likes the idea. He also correctly noted that there are drawbacks to joint practices, particularly the increased chance of injuries. Either way, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Jaguars under Meyer participate in joint practices moving forward.

Jim from Middleburg, FL

Some things are better in twos and a disaster alone, we have the quarterbackQB of a decade with a left tackle that well...he was on the roster and we can  5 the year option this guy until we find the GUY!..


Bill from Ponte Vedra, FL

I don't see how the team gained anything useful by trading linebacker Joe Schobert at this point in time. What good is additional cap space when all the available free agents are already signed? At worst he would have given them depth at linebacker. Seems the move was made purely to save money.

Cap space rolls over from one year to the next. The Jaguars didn't think Schobert was going to fit well in their system – particularly not in base packages, but also not in nickel and dime packages. If he wasn't going to be a good fit, they wanted to move on.

JT from Palm Coast, FL

We may have a decent run defense this year, but all that will be for naught if we are getting torched in the air. Gotta keep telling myself that this is not a one-year fix and this team was 1-15 for a reason. This TEAM still is going to need a lot of work, John.

Well, yeah.

Sam from Nottingham, UK

I think people have missed the point of Tim Tebow from the offset. Meyer is leading a change in culture; the core principles of his ethos are embodied by TT (competitive maniac, plus-mentality, etc). In signing Tebow in preseason, Meyer had a figurehead in the locker room "living" his ethos, took the pressure of quarterback Trevor Lawrence and engaged a number of Floridians, yet cut him at (realistically) the first opportunity. Genius move, Urban doesn't do anything by accident; love the conviction he has in his philosophy!

Meyer didn't sign Tebow to be a locker-room figurehead or to take pressure off anyone. Besides, what pressure did Tebow take off Lawrence? There have been no games played – and while there have been some national-media types in Jaguars 2021 Training Camp, it's not like it's Super Bowl Media Day around TIAA Bank Field every day. The Jaguars signed Tebow to see if he could help the team win. It was determined he couldn't. So, they moved on.

Rob from Middleburg, FL

Who are these people you refer to as, "Most observers believe?" Are they the little people in your mind you speak to as you're answering questions in your basement?

There are no little people in my mind. They're under the floorboards. And in the attic. And in the cupboard. And …

Eddie from Jacksonville

So it is no longer coaching, it is the o-line's fault? Good to know. I want to make sure I blame the right people.

Just scatter-shoot. You'll fit right in.