JACKSONVILLE - Let's get to it...
Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC
At the time of the Joe Schobert signing, the Jags were still a base 4-3 team. Schobert being in the middle meant Jack could play outside, where he is probably a better fit. Does any of this change with a move to the 3-4? Granted, it's about 30-to-40 percent of plays, but would Myles Jack not still be a "middle" linebacker? This all confuses me. What are the differences among a 4-3 middle linebacker, one 3-4 middle linebacker, the other 3-4 middle linebacker and an outside 4-3 linebacker and a 3-4 outside linebacker?
Your confusion is understandable. There has been a lot of speculation and assuming this offseason about the Jaguars' base defensive package – with that talk focused on the Jaguars moving to a 3-4 base defense from a 4-3. The confusion is because many people are talking about the move while the team has offered few specifics. My understanding is that describing it as a shift to a 3-4 is overstating it; the coaching staff's approach is the base defense the Jaguars will run next season is essentially the same scheme as they have run the past seven seasons. This makes sense because defensive coordinator Todd Wash is a big believer in the scheme the Jaguars have been running -- essentially a 3-4/4-3 hybrid – and it also makes sense because Head Coach Doug Marrone is a big believer in Wash and the defensive scheme. The Jaguars planned to play some packages last season utilizing rush ends Josh Allen and Yannick Ngakoue in some "3-4 looks." They minimized those plans, partly because Ngakoue held out of the offseason and training camp. As for the differences among linebackers in different schemes, you must sort of describe them generally. In a typical 3-4, outside linebackers are pass rushers and edge players – a la, Allen and Ngakoue. In a typical 4-3, outside linebackers are more traditional outside backers – a la, former Jaguars weak-side linebacker Telvin Smith. As for exactly where each Jaguars linebacker will play and when this season, much of that likely will depend on packages and situations. Versatility and depth are the watchwords. They have a lot of players on the front seven who can play different roles. When the Jaguars speak about the defense, I expect them to speak in those terms more than specifically about 3-4 and 4-3 looks.
Chris from Mandarin, FL
Before major rule changes regarding the onside kick, the odds of the kicking team were a little more than 16 percent. After the rule changes, it decreased to 10 percent. This is not next to impossible. In fact, the Jaguars have been quite good at onside kicks since the rule changes a few years ago. I don't think they should get rid of it.
To review: NFL owners are considering giving teams an option of trying a fourth-and-15 play to "maintain possession" after scoring to replace the onside kick. This is because it's perceived that onside kicks have become unreasonably difficult since rules were implemented before the 2018 season to make the play safer. Onside kicks were converted eight percent of the time in 2018 and they have been successful 10 percent of the time overall over the past two seasons. When considering the statistics on this, the reality may be that the sample size isn't quite large enough to use statistics to speak all that intelligently about the issue. There certainly has been a feeling watching games that the onside kicks are much more difficult to successfully convert since the rules were changed. Should the league change the rule based on that feeling? Perhaps not, but it seems likely it will happen – and it therefore seems likely we'll see the fourth-and-15 play moving forward.
Howard from Homestead
"Let's eat, Grandma!" "Let's eat Grandma!" Fact: The Oxford comma saves lives.
That's not what that is.
Some guy for what it's worth
Say what you want about Jaguars left guard Andrew Norwell, but former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli didn't have a few really rough looking plays. In fact, I'll go as far as to say really good offensive linemen just don't let those kinds of plays happen. The Jaguars are wrong on this guy.
Boselli was Hall-of-Fame, generational player. I've seen a lot of really, really good offensive linemen over the years have bad plays – just as I've seen Hall of Fame receivers and quarterbacks drop passes and throw interceptions. Perhaps you're right on Norwell, but comparing him to Boselli is a pretty high standard.
Sprinkle from Southside Jax
Hey O. Chris Thompson seems like a great change-of-pace back. Do you think his presence will reduce Ryquell Armstead's role?
There's a good chance Thompson's presence will reduce starter Leonard Fournette's role on third downs and in passing situations. I doubt it will have a major effect on Armstead because Armstead's role last season was more about playing in place of Fournette as a runner than it was a change of pace.
John from Cape May Courthouse
How do the Jags get Ngakoue, Allen and K'Lavon Chaisson on the field at the same time? Can Allen play the five technique with Ngakoue and Chaisson as the outside linebacker?
I expect Ngakoue, Allen and Chaisson to get some repetitions on the field at the same time when the Jaguars are playing nickel. Getting them on the field in base will be more challenging. I wouldn't expect the Jaguars to say much about the specifics of who will play where because why would they publicize this in the offseason? But it wouldn't be surprising if Allen played some big-end technique with Ngakoue and Chaisson standing up. If they're on the field together in base situations, that's the most likely scenario.
Garrett from Jesup, GA
I'm curious as to what position groups do you see as a strength on the Jags' offense and defense? I don't mean strengths as in the best that we have, but rather which of the Jags position groups is strong when compared to the rest of the NFL. I think pass rusher could be if Yann plays and doesn't have mysterious back injuries. Besides that, I just see potentially strong position groups, but nothing proven. Your thoughts?
Your assessment is accurate. When you go 6-10 and make a lot of changes – and a lot of those changes are bringing in youth – you don't enter the following season with many "proven strengths." The positive for the Jaguars is there are multiple positions – particularly wide receiver and linebacker – that look like they have a good chance be strengths. Maybe running back and quarterback could be, too. And if Tyler Eifert is healthy, maybe tight end. That's a lot of positions with potential. The Jaguars are counting on many of those position to fulfill that potential. That's a big ask, but that's the situation.
Hunter from New Hampshire
Hey, O: I just watched the Josh Lambo highlights from last season. I saw about TWENTY field-goal attempts around the 20-yard line of the opponents end zone. Imagine those as touchdowns, and you have a lot of winnable games. This gives me excitement for the season to improve in red zone area would be huge wouldn't you think?
Among the areas Minshew must improve is red-zone efficiency – and yes, a marginal improvement for the Jaguars in that area can make a big difference. Seven points on red-zone trips as opposed to three at critical times – at any time, really – can change an entire game.
Brian from Jacksonville
Coaching. What a profession. Marrone is in a tough spot. To win, Marrone needs Jaguars offensive coordinator Jay Gruden and Minshew to click. Great! Only, might a really successful Gruden/Minshew relationship actually become an issue for the Jaguars and coach Marrone? For 'the future of the franchise'? Tough.
A successful Gruden/Minshew relationship means the team will succeed offensively – and probably win. You seem to be implying that would also lead to Owner Shad Khan wanting to hire Gruden over Marrone – or something to that effect. That's a big leap. Considering the Jaguars have won 11 times over the last two seasons, it's safe to say Marrone and the entire organization would rather Gruden and Minshew have a good relationship and succeed than the alternative.
Joe from Hall of Fame City, OH
Hey, John: Just a thought here, but isn't it possible the top brass know Myles Jack's knee is at the four-year mark. You know the knee issue that made him slide to Round 2. Anyway they move him over to give Quincy Williams another year to develop, then trade or release Jack just before his knee slowed him down?
The Jaguars are moving Jack from the middle to the weak side because they believe he will play better there and they believe that the combination of moving him and playing Joe Schobert in the middle will improve the linebacker corps overall. I wouldn't overthink this beyond that.
John from Jax
Do you think Jaguars wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. will ask you for any marital advice? If he does what would you tell him?
You're in it now, my friend. Hold your breath and hang on.