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O-Zone: Pretty calm

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Michael from Orange Park, FL

The Jaguars claimed no one off waivers and no players the Jaguars waived were claimed by other teams. This surprised me. What say you?

The deadline for players to clear waivers after Tuesday's cutdown to 53 players and therefore be eligible to sign to practice squads indeed passed Wednesday with no changes on the Jaguars' roster. It also passed with no teams claiming a player waived by the Jaguars. The second happening was particularly notable, though not a huge shock. Those of us observing the Jaguars talked often in the last few weeks about the team's depth – and this indeed looks like the deepest Jaguars team in recent memory and one of the deepest in franchise history. But remember: Waived players are bottom-of-the-roster players – and for a team to claim a waived player, it means the team likes that player significantly more than a player who has been in its own training camp studying its own schemes and working with its own coaches. That's not to say it never happens. But teams don't claim waived players casually and players must be significantly better than players already on other rosters to get claimed. Case in point from Jaguars 2023 Training Camp: Quarterback Nathan Rourke. He showed in '23 preseason and camp that he has the talent to play quarterback in the NFL. Many observers thought there was no way he would clear waivers. He did clear and he re-signed to the Jaguars' practice squad Wednesday. This doesn't mean he's not good enough to be a backup quarterback in the NFL. It means that teams have their own backup and third-team quarterbacks who their coaches trust and who know their systems – and that Rourke wasn't so clearly better than those players to merit making a change.

Ben from Cuba, MO

O', Now that cuts are done (understanding that roster formation is an ongoing process), who was your biggest surprise cut? Biggest surprise make?

There were a few "surprises" on "cutdown day" Tuesday. I was a little surprised tight end Gerrit Prince didn't make the original 53-player roster and I was a little surprised the Jaguars kept seven wide receivers. I was a little surprised cornerback Montaric Brown made it, but that's more because I hadn't focused on him than him playing poorly. Beyond that, not a lot of shockers.

David from Jacksonville

KOAF. I'm a native of Jacksonville and also a fellow "Spartan" from San Jose State U. I couldn't be any happier that the jags kept wide receiver Elijah Cooks on the 53-man roster. An UDFA at that. Great scouting. What a rookie class. One fer Baalbek!!!!

One fer Baalbek, whoever the hell that is.

Eric from Jacksonville Beach

Hate to see us lose Prince, but there wasn't really a way around having to lose a good player and I take that as a great sign of where our roster is. Happy for him to land in KC. It definitely feels like a spot where he can shine. I'm excited to see that, as long as it's not against the Jags, and wish him the best.

Prince, who signed with the Jaguars as a collegiate free agent following the 2022 NFL Draft, signed with the Kansas City Chiefs' practice squad after spending 2022 on the Jaguars' practice squad. This was a little surprising because I – like many – figured he would re-sign with the Jaguars' practice squad. The team likes him and believes he is worthy of being on an NFL roster. But Prince was among several players worthy of making an NFL roster who didn't make the Jaguars' 53-player roster Tuesday. I can see why Prince made the decision. The Chiefs run a similar offense to Jacksonville and he may have wanted a change rather than starting a second consecutive season on the same team's practice squad. Remember, too: If the Jaguars need to do so, they could sign Prince off the Chiefs' practice squad sometime this season. Either way, I'm guessing Prince eventually is on a regular-season roster. He's more than capable.

Richard from Orange Park, FL

Looks like we got to keep some of the preseason standouts that didn't make the final 53. There are going to be many, many happy fans with who we signed to the practice squad. The Jaguars definitely kept their roster loaded deep with talent to start the season. Can't wait for the season to kick off!


Doug from Jacksonville, FL

Wait, what? Our third-string quarterback made it through waivers? Does this mean 31 other teams would rather have their back up over Rourke? No offense to the kid, and I'm glad we were able to keep him but all the angst over him getting picked up soon as he was available ... nope.

Observers and fans tend to focus on their own teams and tend to forget that there is more to roster decisions than preseason statistics. These factors often lead fans and observers to forget that other teams have their own reasoning for keeping their own players and to often overvalue preseason statistics.

Kinzie from Asheville

Hey, John. So, it looks like we were able to bring back quite a few players back to the practice squad that some were worried about losing. (Rourke, wide receiver Jacob Harris, offensive Chandler Brewer to name a few). Are these or any others that you are specifically pleased with and were there any we couldn't retain that we might be biting ourselves over later? I'm very excited for the regular season. Thanks for all you do.

I don't get pleased or displeased with transactions. I think the Jaguars were pleased to sign most of the 13 practice-squad players they signed Wednesday – perhaps most notably wide receivers Jacob Harris and Seth Williams. I also think they were glad to sign offensive linemen Coy Cronk, Darryl Williams and Chandler Brewer. And cornerback Erick Hallett II. They may regret losing Prince, but there's always a risk when you release players.

Howard from Homestead, FL

Wait a second. Nathan Rourke went unclaimed on waivers by all of the other 31 teams? How is this possible? O-Zone readers who know much more than Head Coach Doug Pederson assured us repeatedly this would never take place. I'm confused.

I'm sorry you're confused. Confusion can be … well, confusing.

Dave from Jacksonville

Zone, ten rookies make the roster of last year's division champions. Hard to explain, but it makes sense sort of. I can remember thinking what a waste to select all those draft picks. I think I asked would it be a waste of coaching time. Apparently, it's always SCOUTING in the NFL, right? Do you think they will all be on the 53-man roster on opening day? What do you think about being able to keep all the players from training camp to the practice squad? Looks like we lost a couple receivers, but I like the ones we kept.

It's not hard to explain 10 rookies making the roster of a defending division champion. All NFL teams churn the bottom of the roster every season, and it's common for seven-to-eight draft selections – at least – to make contending teams. I see no reason the rookies who made the Jaguar' original 53-player roster won't be on the roster in Week 1, with the exception being seventh-round offensive guard Cooper Hodges. He could be on short-term injured reserve that week with a preseason patella injury.

Don from Marshall, NC

You have Derek Parish listed as tight end on the practice roster is that correct?

That's his official position.

Rob from St. Augustine, FL

What is meant by "a four-core" special teamer? Rather than just a "core special teamer?"

A "four core" special teams player – or core four – is a player who plays on kickoff returns, kickoff coverage, punt returns and punt coverage. Players who play on all four units typically make the final roster, so knowing them is a good way of projecting who will be on a team's 53-player roster to start a season.

Marc from Oceanway

Zone, I'm shocked our practice squad quarterback, Nathan Rourke, made it through the waiver wire unclaimed! In all your years covering the NFL, have you ever seen a player that is "better than a Hall of Famer" waived by his team and passed over by 31 other teams?

There's a first for everything.

Scott from Atlanta, GA

It looks like we went a little light on healthy players who could be active weeks 1-4 on the OL. When can a player placed on IR come back?

The Jaguars kept eight offensive linemen on the original 53-man roster. Of those eight, only Hodges appears likely to be unable to play in the September 10 regular-season opener. I expect the Jaguars to place Hodges on short-term injured reserve in the coming days and sign an offensive lineman. It seems likely that player will be Blake Hance, who practiced with the team Tuesday before being released late that afternoon shortly before the deadline to reduce rosters to 53 players.

Matt from Orlando, FL

Not even a hurricane can break your streak …

Certainly not this one.