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O-Zone: Second try

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Blake from Jacksonville

I don't want to split hairs here, but in your response about Jaguars defensive K'Lavon Chaisson you mentioned former Jaguars running back Fred Taylor did not look good early in his rookie season. That would be false. He had one carry for two yards in his first game, then six carries for 44 yards (7.3 Avg). After that a few 100-yard games. Fred was good pretty much out of the gate. What's concerning to me about Chaisson right now is not only is he not really playing well, but he's also not really flashing. While guys don't necessarily play well in their rookie seasons, they usually (not always) show glimpses of being really good.

You know what? I sort of feel like splitting hairs. I also sort of feel like pointing out that I rarely just arbitrarily spout things out here in the O-Zone for no reason. I don't know if you were around the team every day when Taylor was a rookie in 1998. I do know I was. I also have since talked to players who were there. I have talked to Taylor about it on several occasions. He struggled in training camp that season; he had some confidence issues. His teammates wondered what the team had in him. Tony Boselli, the Jaguars' left tackle at the time, has told me the story of being somewhat worried when Taylor entered the starting lineup in Week 3 that season. It was enough of a topic in town that a former sports editor at the Florida Times-Union asked Pete Prisco and I to write a story on whether Taylor was a bust. We thankfully talked him out of the idea and very soon Taylor showed he was special. I never said Taylor wasn't good as a rookie. He obviously was. But early on, there were questions. So, what I wrote wasn't false. What is false is the premise that players who are eventually good usually show flashes as a rookie. Some do. Some don't. Jaguars wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. really didn't show much at all in 2018. He's good. Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne, who I also mentioned in the O-Zone question to which you refer, showed next-to-nothing in his rookie season of 2001 (I was there, too, incidentally). Wayne was good. I don't know if Chaisson will be good. He hasn't been yet. The point of my answer was that just because he hasn't been good through six regular-season games doesn't prove he will be bad. That's as true as it gets.

Sascha from Cologne, Germany

Hey, John. In my opinion, the o-line is fine this year, especially the play of center Brandon Linder and both guards. But Cam Robinson is still struggling a little bit; is it fair to say we need a new franchise left tackle as he is just not living up to his second-round draft status?

Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson did allow a sack/fumble to Detroit Lions defensive end Trey Flowers last Sunday, but Robinson overall has played quite well this season. If he continues to play at the level he has played through six games … no, it would not be correct in that situation to say the Jaguars necessarily need a new left tackle.

John from Cape May Courthouse

Kinda random, but I have always wondered what constitutes a "pressure" in the NFL. I tried to look up the definition of a pressure but didn't find anything definitive. It's funny: Fans, media, and commentators seem obsessed with this stat, but there doesn't seem to be a way to objectively quantify it. You have any ideas?

Pro Football Reference defines a hurry as follows: a situation when the quarterback is forced to throw the ball earlier than intended or is chased around/out of the pocket as the result of defensive pressure.

Brian from Cranford, NJ

There has been talk of Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II not being able to place the ball into tight coverage. The elite and also very good quarterbacks have the arm strength to put enough zip on the ball to feed it through tight windows. From my untrained eye, it appears that Minshew just doesn't seem to have that strength to hit a receiver, regardless of whether or not they are open. I look at Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, and to a lesser extent, even Daniel Jones of the New York Giants, and what they all have in common is being a quarterback who can really zing it. At what point does the lack of arm strength truly become an issue?

October 2020.

Tony from St. Louis, MO

Listening to you and others talk about the Jags and who needs to step up, there seems to be a lot of pressure on the rookies while someone like defensive tackle Taven Bryan gets a pass. He is in his third season and a first-rounder but no one brings him up. He never has to answer questions. Have the Jaguars given up on him? They do not treat it talk about him like he is part of the core going forward.

Fair questions. I don't know that Bryan "gets a pass." He is pretty roundly and routinely criticized by fans and observers, and has pretty much been written off by many fans and observers. I don't bring him up a lot when discussing how the Jaguars can improve defensively because I haven't seen him get a significant amount of pressure – and I haven't seen that much to make me think he's going to improve significantly. It seems at this stage he is what he is – a player who can stuff the run and get occasional penetration, but not one that's going to make plays above the Xs and Os. He doesn't "answer questions" because there are fewer player interviews than previous seasons due to the virtual nature of media availabilities. But the Jaguars haven't "given up on him." He's a starter and I expect he will continue to be so this season. I imagine he must improve to be part of the core going forward. 

Liam from Westminster, CO

I get that this team is young but what does that really mean when it comes to playing on the field? Like is it too much information? Or how to prepare? Or how to handle pressure just trying to figure out what we mean when we say young ... thanks!

All of the above.

Zach from Austin, Tejas

No sarcasm, no weird capitalization. What makes you put the Jaguars ahead of two other teams in your power rankings?

First, bear in mind that power rankings are just about the most meaningless thing any media member – or anyone else – does on a given NFL week. The amount of time I spend on them pales in comparison to pretty much anything else I do. As far as this week's rankings … the New York Jets are 0-6. They're the only team in the NFL without a victory, so they're last until proven otherwise. The New York Giants and Washington Football Team are also below the Jaguars in the all-important power rankings because why not? I wouldn't argue too vehemently with someone putting the Jaguars 31st. There are a bunch of teams with one victory. I suppose the Jaguars are as bad or as good as any of those teams.

Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL

Do you believe the Jets are trying to win?

I don't know. I don't cover the Jets. I would assume so, though.

Unhipcat from Carlsbad, CA

Hi, O. Another question in the 'way too early' category, but is Keelan Cole starting to resemble Keenan McCardell? (And I'm including the absolute fearlessness Keenan had running across the middle.)

This isn't just WAAAAAAY too early, it's also off base. Cole is turning into a nice third receiver. McCardell is one of the best route runners and best possession receivers – and toughest receivers I've ever seen. It's not insulting Cole to say he's not McCardell. Cole is tough, though – notably so. He also has shown remarkable progress this season. I thought in 2018 and early he looked lost and a little overwhelmed. He has progressed steadily this season and is playing his way into being a long-term receiver in this league. Credit to him.

Charlie from Jacksonville

Hey, John. The Jaguars are not a good football team right now. They just keep losing. Owner Shad Khan can't make it stop, because he doesn't care about anything except counting his money. Head Coach Doug Marrone and General Manager David Caldwell can't make it stop, because they are evidently just incompetent. The players can't make it stop, because they aren't good enough, they aren't trying hard enough and they are all itching to go play somewhere else. I'd suggest for you to somehow miraculously make it stop, but obviously you have enough trouble with tying your shoes.

I don't have trouble tying my shoes. If I take my time and follow the steps by parents taught me and really concentrate, I almost always get it on the second try.

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