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O-Zone: Run to win

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Big on Blake from Philly

I guess my question would be why does this team keep Ridley? He didn't elevate anything when it counted and doesn't seem worth the money or the pick.

I don't yet know if the Jaguars will re-sign wide receiver Calvin Ridley this offseason. He is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March. If the Jaguars re-sign him before then, they must send a second-round selection in the 2024 NFL Draft to the Atlanta Falcons. If they don't re-sign Ridley, they must send the Falcons a '24 third-round selection. I expect this decision will come down to how Ridley and representatives view his value versus how the Jaguars perceive his value more than it comes down to the draft selection. Why keep him? Because he had 1,000 yards receiving this season and eight touchdowns. This was after being away from football for nearly two years. There were also multiple games when he was the most difficult receiver for Jaguars opponents to defend. I thought there were several games the Jaguars wouldn't have won without him, particularly the victory over the Buffalo Bills in London in October. Maybe the Jaguars will re-sign Ridley. Maybe they won't. But there are certainly sound arguments for keeping him.

Tom from Moncks Corner

"The Jaguars have the same quarterbacks coach because Pederson believes McCoy is the best person for the job. And because it's always coaching in the NFL." So, the takeaway from your comment is that Trevor is the problem and he singularly is responsible for his failure to develop. Perhaps visiting a quarterback guru such as Tom House would do him some good. It would be better than trapesing around the Caribbean.

I was asked recently why the Jaguars haven't changed quarterbacks coaches. I wrote that it was because Head Coach Doug Pederson believes that quarterbacks coach Mike McCoy is the best person for the job. I also wrote – as I am wont to do – that "it's always coaching in the NFL." I wrote this last part because fans love to point at coaching as the end-all reason for everything in the NFL. I did not write it to indicate that Lawrence is The Problem and singularly responsible for anything. One thing or one person rarely is to blame for anything in the NFL. Except on Twitter. Everything is simpler there.

Chuck from Ponte Vedra Beach

Didn't Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence show last year that he was a clutch performer, with all the skills needed to be a winner and to lead this team? This year he was sacked 35 times and also likely hit after throwing three-to-four more times a game. He played injured four games for sure, including once immediately after a concussion when we needed a win. If we want to see him perform better, make better judgements about the talent on our offensive line and do an adequate job coaching them for game time. They're the reason why our offense is built on quick release passes that averaged only even yards for the season, despite a very talented receiver corps.


Tex from Here

Are we officially in the dead zone ?

There is no "official" dead zone. Unofficially, it's between the end of the mid-June minicamp and the late-July beginning of training camp. So, no … this not really the dead zone.

Matt from Jacksonville

When comparing the Jags and Texans, your umployment colors are starting to show. You said the Jags and Texans split this year and only one game separated them. True. But not the whole story. The Jags were defending division champs and the Texans finished last and had a rooking QB. So yes, close this season. But clearly moving forward the Texans are much better.

Regardless of where I am umployed and whether or not the Texans' quarterback is rooking, the reality is the Jaguars and Texans finished one game apart in 2023. And they split the series. Yes, the Texans are improving. You say the Texans moving forward are "clearly" "much" better. Many people believe this. Many people also believed this time last offseason the Jaguars would dominate the AFC South in 2023. Quick-trigger reactions in the NFL are often wildly inaccurate. We'll see where this one goes.

John from Jacksonville

Kansas City and Buffalo dominate their division because they have the best quarterback. Not only has Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud blown Lawrence in all statistical categories, the guy appears to have the "it" factor as he often makes clutch plays while staying calm under pressure. It appears the Jags will be chasing the Texans for years to come.

I guess we'll see.

Steven from Jacksonville

With much less playing time, guys like Brock Purdy of the San Francisco 49ers, Stroud and Jordan Love of the Green Bay Packers are clearly better players than Trevor Lawrence. Their success supports the idea that Trevor is just an average player. I know you say he's learning and is young, but clearly the elite ones are showing it by year three.

I guess we'll see.

Tom from Jax

I agree with recent comments about backup quarterback C.J. Beathard being a better option than an injured Trevor Lawrence late in the season. I think coaches were too close to the situation to see this. Nonetheless this team wouldn't have likely gone far in playoffs.

I guess we'll never know.

Elvis from Memphis

Do you think the NFL will allow tackling to come back into the game at some point?

The NFL obviously allows tackling. A better question is whether the league will change rules to allow more tackling in practice than is currently the case, which would improve tackling in games. The answer to that "better question?" I doubt it. These rules have veered to less tackling in practice in the last decade-plus. Players negotiated these changes. I can't see the pendulum swinging back the other way.

Zac from Austin, Tejas

Do you have any thoughts on the lack of elite quarterbacks in the final rounds of the playoffs this year?

Are Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen not playing?

Steve from Nashville, TN

Statistically you are the worst senior writer on the Jaguars staff.

Yep. The eye test supports this, too.

Bill from Jacksonville, FL

John, pretty much all I've heard or read since the season ended is how the Jaguars have to get better on the offensive line. How they'll likely be replacing both guards and their center. Which is surprising because all I heard and read all offseason was how General Manager Trent Baalke and Head Coach Doug Pederson liked their line better than the experts. How they thought the line was going to be a strength for them. So, uh, what in the heck happened?

The offensive line didn't play as well as Baalke and Pederson expected in 2023, particularly the interior of the line. Life comes at you fast in the NFL.

Jack attack from Duval

How does the team fix the roster? Watching the Lions and to a lesser extent Texans shows the importance of drafting well. The problem is we haven't drafted well, so Jaguars Owner Shad Khan has to pay buckets of cash to fill holes, so now we can't fill other holes, because we don't have cash. Roster building seems to be the number one issue for this team right now. What do we do?

Draft well and develop after that.

Sean from Oakleaf, FL

Do you have an opinion on allowing assistant coaches the ability to interview for head coaching positions for other teams while their current team is still in the playoffs? How is that not a distraction from the current goal of trying to win a Super Bowl?

Assistants absolutely should be allowed to interview for head coaching positions while their teams are in the playoffs. To disallow it would be categorically unfair to the assistants on good teams because it would dramatically hurt their ability to get head coaching positions.


Do you have any idea on where we stand with the salary cap for 2024.

The Jaguars currently are projected by Spotrac to have $29 million in salary-cap space in 2024. They almost certainly will have substantially more than that after making moves between now and the start of the 2024 League Year in mid-March.

Mike from Omaha

Hi John. After seeing how dominating Stroud and the Texans were against the Browns, do you think Jags' management understand how aggressive they need to be in attempting to upgrade the roster? If they don't, I'm afraid we will be chasing wild card entries for the foreseeable future. Thank you.

Jaguars management will understand what must be done to address the roster in the offseason. This would have been the case however the Texans fared against the Cleveland Browns.

Mike from Azores

Hey John, watching the playoff games this weekend, what a difference being able to run the ball helps an offense!

It sure doesn't hurt.