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O-Zone: Serious question

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Deane from Daytona Beach, FL

Yo, O-Zone! You recently scoffed at the idea of taking University of Georgia tight end Brock Bowers because that would give us two pass-catching tight ends. If he is the best available at that particular time, why not take him? If we lined up in a jumbo set using two blocking tight ends, what's the difference? In this situation, I would call it a Battle Cat formation! Yes, that is a He Man reference! Also, you would have an understudy and backup for tight end Evan Engram. Plus, having two big, able bodies that could catch and make plays downfield would be a nightmare for opposing defenses. Just a thought. What says you O-Zone?

Did I scoff at the Jaguars selecting Bowers No. 17 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft? I don't recall a scoff, per se, but perchance I misremember. Either way, Bowers wouldn't be an awful selection. He projects as a very good player. He might even be special and it's always OK to draft special players. The only (very minor) concern over Bowers would be he seems to be purely a pass receiving tight end. If you play him with Engram, you indeed are playing him in two-tight end formations with two pass-catching tight ends. Defenses often don't defend schemes with two pass-catching tight ends all that much different than they do if those players are receivers. This negates the inherent advantage of two tight-end sets, which is that defenses must defend such formations not knowing if a team is going to run or pass. It's that balance – and the ability to make a defense play you a certain way – that makes two tight ends an effective formation. That doesn't mean the Jaguars won't take Bowers, but it's why having Bowers and Engram on the field might not be as huge a "nightmare" for defenses as it would appear at first glance. Or maybe it would be. That's just the argument and it's not the biggest reason I would be surprised if the Jaguars select Bowers in Round 1. The biggest is it just feels like cornerback will be the selection there. Or offensive line. Or maybe even receiver. We'll see.

Brian from Gainesville, FL

Big O, I have such high hopes for Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence. He seems to have all he needs to be a franchise quarterback and the identity of an NFL team. The biggest unknown is that while you know he has the ability to put the team on his shoulders and will them to a win, he doesn't always seem to succeed in doing so. I don't know, I'll keep being optimistic. But you've been around football for a long time. Do you personally believe Lawrence is the long-term answer at quarterback for this team?

What you're describing – putting a team on one's shoulders and willing it to a victory – is a bit difficult to quantify. And no quarterback always succeeds in doing this. Lawrence has the potential to be one of the NFL's best quarterbacks and to be a player around which a franchise can build a perennial contender. I believe the chances are good he will develop into such a player.

Zach from Jacksonville

I open up social media after the Stefon Diggs trade and all I see from fans is "AHHHH THE SKY IS FALLING"!!!! Well, I recall a team going into last season who had a rising young quarterback coming off a division championship making an impressive playoff run. This team had a young rising pass rusher, brought back four-fifths of its offensive line and – oh, by the way – added a receiver who was very talented but had not recently been at the top of his game. While that team went on to start the season 8-3, it finished 9-8 and missed the playoffs – and it just never appeared to click for them. The NFL is a game of ups and downs. Every year, new teams rise from the depths and others appear to have been overrated. The Texans added a receiver 31-years old who averaged 11.2 yards a catch last year. This was not the nail in the Jaguars' coffin. The Texans could take a step back and miss the playoffs just as our Jaguars did this last year.


Tony from Johns Creek, GA

O, Jaguars Owner Shad Khan is the 162nd-richest person in the world. He'll stay that way by having the city of Jacksonville help pay for the stadium renovation. On the other hand, being the 162nd richest person in the world, he could easily afford to pay for it all and not miss the money. Of course if he did pay for this he would end up the 163rd-richest person in the world.

This is out of Khan's control. NFL owners must approve stadium deals, and they wouldn't approve a plan under which Khan pays for the entire stadium. The league wants stadiums in small markets to be financed mostly by city/state money. Owners won't approve a deal if that's not the case. This is how stadium projects in Nashville and Buffalo have been financed – in the general area of 60 percent public money and 40 percent private – and it's how the Jaguars' Stadium of the Future must be financed.

Brian from Fanwood, NJ

How can your wife possibly stand you?

This is a common topic in our home.

Brian from Round Rock, TX

You seem to think that Dougy P is doing just fine as head coach. Could you elaborate? This is obviously a make-or-break year for him. He still carries credibility for his ring from a "foreign land." As a Jag, he had a very nice first season followed by a disaster (don't dare say it wasn't, late season collapses are disasters in the worst way). If you don't follow up a disaster with real success (AFC Championship game is the mark around here), bye bye (and take the Josh "the water boy" with you).

I don't know exactly what doing "just fine" means in the NFL. I do know Doug Pederson has back-to-back winning seasons in his first two as the Jaguars' head coach. I also know he won an AFC South title in Year 1 and was one victory shy of a second consecutive AFC South title in Year 2. Yes, the Jaguars collapsed at the end of Year 2. I don't think he has to make the AFC Championship Game following the 2024 season to retain his job.

Stephen from 113 from Jacksonville via Pennsauken, NJ

John, in the "good old days" the onside kick was a low-percentage gamble, but there was a slim chance the kicking team could get the ball back. In more "recent" times, the onside kick has become virtually impossible for the kicking team. Even so, there was a chance/hope for the kicking team. With the new kickoff rules are onside kicks now extinct? If the kicking team is down by two with, say, 53 seconds left, is there any way they can get the ball back (short of the receiving team fumbling)?

Under the new kickoff rules, a kicking team may declare to the officials that it will try an onside kick in the fourth quarter. The current onside kickoffs would apply, meaning they will continue to be "virtually impossible" though not extinct.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

How would you rank the Top 3 needs coming into the draft? Not a mock or a prediction the way they draft, just curious the order you rank our "deficiencies."

Cornerback. Offensive line following the 2024 season. Edge rusher after Travon Walker and Allen.

Bill from Bostwick

Do the Jaguars have a "burner" at the wide receiver spot who can stretch the field for Lawrence? If not, do they need one? If so, do they need one more than they need a talented cornerback?

I don't know that the Jaguars have a "burner" at receiver, though Gabe Davis – signed as an unrestricted free agent from the Buffalo Bills in March – can get deep and make big plays. The same is true of Zay Jones. While you can always use a "burner" to "stretch the field," it's more important to have players who know how to get deep and strain defenses that way. I do not think the Jaguars "need" a receiver immediately more than they "need" a front-line corner.

Blaine from Prescott, AZ

Dear Mr. O. A scenario to address needs. Trade outside linebacker Josh Allen to the Cincinnati Bengals for wide receiver Tee Higgins and a possible draft pick. Use Round 1 pick at No. 17 overall to select pass rusher Chop Robinson of Penn State and Round 2 at 48 to select Western Michigan pass rusher Marshawn Kneeland. Pass rush needs fixed with rookie contracts in place of Josh Allen numbers, WR1 filled. Use Round 3 comp and two Round 4 picks to address cornerback and interior offensive line. What do you think?

Why do the Jaguars want to trade Allen again?