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O-Zone: Realistic expectations

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Jay Pee from The Vortex

I will put my foot in my mouth now. Kirk looked like he was worth every penny on Sunday. I really like that we finally tried to stretch the field a few times Sunday. Do we see less of this because we don't have a true No. 1?

A couple of thoughts on your thoughts. One is that Jaguars wide receiver Christian Kirk indeed has proven – and continues to prove – to be a very good free-agent signing. I'm not big on discussions of whether any NFL free agent is "worth the money." One reason is it's next-to-impossible to quantify "worth" and another reason is NFL free agency is so expensive very few players are "worth the money" – however you define that worth. Acquiring Kirk this past offseason was part of a necessary effort to raise the Jaguars' offensive talent level. They had to add talent via free agency to do that, and they had to pay a lot of money to participate in free agency. They didn't pay Kirk thinking he necessarily would be a "True No. 1" receiver because with his size and style he likely wouldn't fit that prototype. But they absolutely believed he would make a huge impact and fit their scheme – and they made him a top target believing he would help the offense and quarterback Trevor Lawrence. As far as the Jaguars' stretching the field this past Sunday in a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs … yes, it was a positive they were able to do that a couple of times. They haven't done it often this season because while they have some deep, "take-the-top-off-the-defense" speed with wide receiver Zay Jones, they don't have multiple players who excel in that role. A true No. 1 would help that, sure. I expect Calvin Ridley to help on that front next season. I also expect Lawrence to get more comfortable and accurate taking deep shots as he gets more comfortable in Head Coach Doug Pederson's offense. There are a lot of factors that are a work in progress for this offense in Year One, with that being among them.

Bo from Linwood, NC

I was really hoping Walker would be a player that was constantly having to be double teamed. Or teams would at least have to scheme to run away from his side. I know he is still a rookie as well. From what you have seen this year, do you believe he will become that kind of a player?

I didn't expect Jaguars outside linebacker Travon Walker to be that sort of player this season; while he was the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, he is still a rookie and I have modest expectations in the short-term for even the most talented of rookies. I do expect Walker to develop into a very good player, at the very least dominant enough against the run to force teams to scheme for him. I don't know yet how he will develop as a pass rusher. I'm not sure anyone does.

Michael from Orange Park, FL

Gary from St. Augustine is annoying. You can be annoying and still make valid points.

Fair.

Rob from Jax

When the headset goes out for a few plays as it did Sunday, is it just on the linebacker with the green dot to try to call a play on his own? Or is there a system in place with some hand signals or the like from the bench? Also, who wears the dot for the Jags on D? Oluokun? Thanks O.

When defensive headsets go out, defensive coaches use hand signals to call the defense, and it typically falls on the defensive captain/middle linebacker to adjust and get players positioned. That player for the Jaguars is Foye Oluokun, who wears the "green dot" on his helmet as the player whose helmet is equipped to hear sideline signal. The Chiefs were breaking the huddle Sunday when the headsets went out and quarterback Patrick Mahomes took advantage of the miscommunication to pass to wide receiver Kadarius Toney, who was left wide open for an easy touchdown.

Jeff from Renton, WA

I saw progress on Sunday. They competed with the Chiefs. Played great mistake free(-ish) football. Trevor was good (not elite). This is what we should be looking for throughout the season. This team is not elite, but it is getting better.

Good eye.

Ben from Jax

If you wanna know why the jags have been bad for so long, all you have to know is that we drafted K'Lavon Chaisson two picks ahead of Justin Jefferson. That is just one example of terrible talent evaluation. I don't think any franchise in history has swung and missed on so many first-round picks. At what point is the scouting department and the front office going to be held accountable?

The general manager who selected Chaisson over Jefferson is no longer with the organization, and pretty much the entire personnel staff has been overturned since his departure. I'm not sure it's possible to be held much more "accountable."

Sam from Orlando, FL

Both are on bad teams. Both are in similar situations. Both have huge expectations. But only one is producing. The only people who doesn't see taking Travon Walker over Aiden Hutchinson work for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

I don't know how all "people" see Walker or Aiden Hutchinson. I know we don't know yet how either player's career will look in the long run, though I have no doubt many people believe they know.

Paul from Lake City, FL

This season has shown me I've been lying to myself. I told myself that after last year, all I wanted was watchable football. It turns out that what I actually want is to have the Jags playing winning football.

Fair.

Ja2 from Jacksonville

The offensive continues to disappoint IMO. I have been saying for years that our OL play has lacked, and is not disciplined at all - so many penalties and whiffs by offensive linemen. I think that our rookie center is doing an admiral job, but the rest of the line has been rough. I know that we have had new offensive line coaches coaches and players over the years, so what is keeping us from having consistent and disciplined offensive line play?

The Jaguars rank seventh in the NFL in total offense – seventh in rushing and 17th in passing. They have allowed 17 sacks and running back Travis Etienne Jr. is ninth in the NFL in rushing. The Jaguars' offensive line has had some rough moments. But it's hard for an offense to be as productive as the Jaguars' offense has been this season without the offensive line at least being OK.

Joe from Fleming Island, FL

Mr. O-Zone. I keep hearing about questioning all the free agency money that was spent on the defense not paying off. I am wondering your opinion on the free agent money spent on guard Brandon Scherff. He obviously had a bad day against the Chiefs. However, the Jags have been stuffed on a lot of short-yardage situations. Did the Jags miss on the "Pro Bowl" guard.

No. The Jaguars' offensive line has been good this season. Scherff is a big reason.

Charles from Savannah, GA

What's all the broo ha ha over Jeff Saturday? Give the guy a chance. Everybody is throwing him under the bus before leaving the station.

I haven't discussed Saturday being hired as the Indianapolis Colts' interim head coach much because this is a Jaguars website. I did cover Saturday for 10 years during my time working for the Colts while Saturday was the team's center, and I see little reason he can't be a capable head coach. The controversy around the move is because he never has coached at the NFL or college level, and perhaps that lack of experience will lead to issues. The thought here is that if Saturday has capable coordinators, the issues such as game-planning and play-calling won't be a problem. The head coach's most important role in the NFL is as the tone-setter and leader of the team. He must be the voice and the vision that players believe in and follow. If that person can organize, communicate, teach and be a leader he has a good chance to succeed. If not, he won't. The Saturday Experiment in that sense absolutely could succeed. (Whispers: NFL coaching is sometimes a little over-hyped. It matters, but at the very least it's over-analyzed in many cases.)

Paul from Jacksonville

Do you ever get tired of answering asinine questions from asinine people?

There are no asinine questions. Just asinine senior writers.

Mark from Jacksonville Beach, FL

What do you think the Jaguars' final record will be?

I thought before the season the Jaguars would win six or seven games this season. That still seems realistic. Difficult considering the rest of the schedule, but realistic.

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