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O-Zone: Perspective

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Bryan from Tampa, FL

Is the physical comparison to Javon Kearse really even close? Here I was thinking Walker is just a slightly more athletic version of Derrick Harvey.

I admit I rarely invest much energy in comparing players – physically or otherwise. I understand the temptation to do so, and it's probably necessary analyzing the draft. It certainly helps casual fans get a visual on a young player about whom they may know very little. But I always have found them a bit unfair and not all that useful for projecting a prospect's success. A quarterback may look like Peyton Manning or Russell Wilson, but does he have Manning's ability to see a defense and operate pre-snap? Does he have Wilson's ability to do the same and extend plays? The same is true when finding comparisons for Jaguars outside linebacker Travon Walker. He indeed is freakishly athletic – as was former Tennessee Titans linebacker Javon Kearse. Walker has unbelievably long arms, stunning agility and an otherworldly frame. Can he turn that into shedding blocks and holding the edge? Can he turn his skilled hands into hands that execute detailed pass-rushing technique? After seeing Walker up close in recent weeks, it's clear he has every physical tool. A lack of eye-catching statistics notwithstanding, he performed at a high level at Georgia. Will he fulfill that potential and fulfil expectations? Only time and opportunity can answer those questions.

David from Orlando, FL

KOAF - It's been a while since the Jaguars have had a "meet you in the hole" linebacker like Paul Posluszny. I appreciate linebackers making a lot of tackles, I just prefer it happening before the running back gains six yards. Do you think we got a guy that can beat the running back to the hole?

Linebacker Foye Oluokon, who signed with the Jaguars in March as an unrestricted free agent, led the NFL in tackles with the Atlanta Falcons; my understanding is at least a few of those tackles were at or behind the line of scrimmage. Linebacker Chad Muma, selected by the Jaguars No. 70 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft, darned sure has the physical look of a player who can meet a back in the hole. Those two players are encouraging on this front.

Don from Marshall, NC

It looks like the Jaguars have the leadership with a plan. They have a quarterback. They have talent and depth. They have size and speed. They have guys with experience. They got a $250 million upgrade to personnel. Do you really see this team winning only six games? Are they good enough to compete for a division title? This team has too many dimensions to not consider them as a playoff hopeful. The whole vibe around this team feels very together and professional. Go Jaguars!

The Jaguars do appear to have a plan, and they appear to have a head coach in whom players – veterans and rookies alike – can believe. The air of professionalism is undeniable. All signs point to a lot of improvement. But the Jaguars have won four games over two seasons. A team can be improved from that and still be around six-to-eight victories. The Jaguars can be better than that mark, particularly if quarterback Trevor Lawrence starts showing the special traits that made him the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. I just can't predict .500 or better from this team until I see it.

Daniel from St Johns, FL

If, if, if, if… we might have a chance to win six games. What total BS! Please stop repeating it. Three plays and we would have won six last year. If, if, if, if… we're in the playoffs this year. Add a couple more ifs and we're deep in it! Go Jags!!!

People ask questions. I answer them. When people ask me how the Jaguars might do next season, the answers are going to include if-then scenarios. It's the nature of this forum.

Alan from Jacksonville

If Jaguar fans are looking for a serotonin boost in this dead zone, watch the final episode of HBO's Hard Knocks In Season featuring the Colts. It gives an insider's look into the worst week in Colts history. In other words, you will smile until your face hurts. All week long the coaching squad was repeating the mantra, "We can lose this game" and sure enough, their prediction came true. To me it was the wrong messaging as it introduced doubt into the players' minds. Do you think their loss was bad Colts coaching or did the Jaguars just play over their heads that day?

It's the NFL. All teams have professionals. The Jaguars played well and Lawrence played the best game of his NFL career. I well understand that it's always coaching in the NFL, but sometimes one professional football team beats another professional football team even when it's unexpected.

Duke from Jacksonville

You were asked what game did the Jaguars have the greatest talent gap over their opponent and you had trouble coming up with a game. How about the December 2000 game against the expansion Cleveland Browns? The Jaguars won 48-0. The Browns only had two first downs during the entire game, never crossed midfield and actually finished with negative passing yards. That was total domination.

Yes, it was.

Jonathan from Jax

As a child in the sixth grade, my teacher gave extra credit if we brought in examples from the paper of poor grammar. It was and still is fish in a barrel. The attorney is correct about the Oxford comma. My question is, if grammar and editing don't matter and obviously knowledge of the game doesn't matter, what actually is the criteria for being a sports writer? I'm asking because I believe I could do much better than 90 percent of who's employed in the field, present audience excluded of course.

Not every journalist excels grammatically. It's also true that the decline of newspaper staffs – and the accompanying decline in numbers of editors at newspapers – has caused many more errors to be posted/published. What's the criteria for being a sportswriter? There's no hard, fast rule – and there are levels of sports writers just as there are levels in any professions. The best journalists/writers I know are those who have a feel for the story/topic and the knowledge/perspective to present the story – and their perspective on the story – in as clear and entertaining a way as possible. Some of those journalists/writers are great wordsmiths and others simply can gather information and produce compelling content. Others are great reporters who get better information than others. Great knowledge of a sport is an asset. A better asset is a willingness and an ability to learn about the sport, to listen and observe and interpret what's happening in a way readers/listeners/viewers can understand. Could you do better than 90 percent of those who do? Sure – with experience, contacts, ability to write/express your thoughts coherently. Done well, it can look very easy. Maybe it would be easy for you. Anything's possible.

Crash from JAX

O Man! Enjoyed the O-Zone Podcast with Trent Baalke. He said that players need to have grit and that comes from the soul. Great line. It's the same for us who served in the military. That's why we love football.

You're referencing this week's O-Zone Podcast with Jaguars General Manager Trent Baalke – and I enjoyed conducting the interview as well. Baalke, entering his second full season in the position, offered thoughts on Jaguars-related topics such as the overall state of the roster and Lawrence. He discussed, too, his thoughts on Pederson. I've talked with Baalke in multiple group settings and this was the second time I have interviewed him in a one-on-one situation. As I have said before, I like how he sees the game and his approach to player acquisition. He values big, disruptive people on defense and players who play with grit – and with a passion for the game. It sounds like simple stuff, but it's also important stuff. Johnathan probably would have done a better job with the interview. Hell, who wouldn't have?

Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, do you ever want to sleep in and forget about the Zone?

No, readers love me and appreciate the work done here so much that to forget them would be unthinkable.

_Bruce from Green Cove Springs, FL       _

Everything in perspective. Many see Memorial Day as an opportunity to party over a three-day weekend. But the real meaning is much more somber – to honor all those American military personnel who gave their lives in defense of our Nation. Their ultimate sacrifice helped ensure the freedoms we all too often take for granted. While I am excited about this year's Jaguars and look forward to the 2022 season with real optimism, I cannot forget those who wore another kind of uniform. Or their families. I hope that you, everyone in the Jaguars organization, and Jaguars fans everywhere can find just a moment on Memorial Day to remember those who gave their all. Stay safe, and God Bless America.

Good eye.

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