Skip to main content

Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

O-Zone: Sheer determination

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

John from Jacksonville

Hi, King of Zone. How can the same team with not enough talent to win more than three games this season have enough talent to beat two really good teams with complete games (Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts)? Shouldn't the same team have the same talent to beat the other teams? Are we really that much deficient on talent? For example, our defense and most defenses look really good when the offense is scoring and not making bloopers.

The Jaguars have some quality front-line talent. The thought here is quarterback Trevor Lawrence will be a franchise quarterback and show serious progress in 2021 – and the thought here remains that defensive end/linebacker Josh Allen is a player around whom a defense can build. And the Jaguars indeed showed last season that they can compete – and beat – elite teams at times. But the reality is most NFL teams can do that. The key to winning in the NFL is being able to do so consistently. The thought here is the Jaguars need significantly more talent/depth at many areas to do that. I expect they'll progress toward that this offseason. Whether they will progress enough to compete – or get to .500 – next season … well, that would be one hell of an offseason.

Bill from Jacksonville, FL

John, do the salary cap rules need to be amended? When teams can simply convert money on a contract to a signing bonus, there really is no such thing as "Salary Cap Hell." Teams shouldn't be able to buy their way out of cap trouble. You sign a bad player to a bad contract, too bad, guess you've gotta cut players now. Think we'll ever see changes to these rules, maybe even a "hard cap"?

I do not think we'll see the NFL's cap rules amended – at least not significantly. And while perhaps there is no such thing as "salary cap hell," the current cap system does force teams to make choices – and it prevents teams from simply signing the highest-paid player in the NFL at four or five positions and buying their way to the postseason. The positive of the current system is it has generally allowed teams to keep cores together – and to usually retain key players they desperately want to keep – thus rewarding teams that build well. It's not flawless, but no system is flawless.

Andrew from Mattoon, IL

I grow frustrated with those that criticize Jaguars Owner Shad Khan. We have not had an embarrassing controversy come up with this team that he has not dealt with (i.e., former Head Coach Urban Meyer). He has not been arrested (our division rival). He has not been charged with behavior. Mr. Khan HAS: bought expensive new billboards, remodeled seating sections, paid for a swimming pool, built Daily's Place, and now is investing in the new team facility. This is a competitive league. Every one of the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs have struggled in the past. Let's stop with the criticism of the owner and worry about the guys who catch the balls, run the ball and kick the ball.

Hey, one fer Khan …

Robert from Fernandina Beach, FL

Our offensive line is good. Left tackle Cam Robinson is good. Offensive tackle Walker Little is good. Guard Ben Bartch is good. Draft defensive end with first pick. Franchise Cam. Sign wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. to a reasonable deal – though you will be overpaying. This way you retain a solid offensive line, get a great defensive end opposite Allen and keep a very good receiver. Just an opinion.

… and one fer the offensive line.

Brian from ROUND ROCK, Texas

We already have two left tackles. Why on earth would we draft another one at #1? Same ol' Jags …

First, the Jaguars have not selected anyone with the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. The reason they might select an offensive tackle such as Evan Neal of Alabama would be if they perceived that player as being a potential elite player to be a foundation of a better offensive line than they have fielded in recent seasons.

Pedal Bin from Farnborough, Hampshire, UK

Oh Mighty 'O' / King of all Funk, who has the final decision on who the Jaguars play in London? The League or Khan? Can Shad refuse to have a certain opponent as the London match up?

The league has final say on who the Jaguars play in London – just as the league has final say over all scheduling. The team can make its wishes known, and the league often takes such wishes into consideration.

Al from Orange Park, FL

At some appropriate time, would you please ask some appropriate coach what their thoughts are on Etienne? Running back? Swiss army knife? Other?

Offensive coordinator Press Taylor on Friday discussing Travis Etienne Jr.: "Somewhere with the football; it could be anything depending on the play. We've seen the clips through training camp or the offseason as they went. So we kind of know what we think he could be, and it's the opportunity to get to work with him through this offseason, this training camp, and really get a feel for what he does well and how we can put him in position to succeed, just like we want to do with all the guys. If that's throwing him the ball, handing him the ball, using him in different ways, that's what we want to do."

Jarret from Crosby, ND

In your opinion, Zone, was Urban Meyer's administration the most toxic environment in NFL history?

I haven't covered all the administrations in NFL history.

Jess from Glen Carbon, Il

Zone, I don't remember Jimmy Smith mentioned as a Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalist. Understand Boselli's induction should help his and Fred Taylor's cases. So, when do we see Jimmy get his name called for the Hall?

Smith, who played wide receiver for the Jaguars from 1995-2005, deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. He was one of the best two or three receivers of his era – and for an extended period he was No. 2 behind Jerry Rice, the best wide receiver of all-time. But Smith's path to the hall is tougher than Boselli's – or Taylor's. He has yet to be a Hall semifinalist, which is the first step. I expect much of the issue is statistics and circumstance. Whereas Taylor's rushing numbers will continue to rank among the all-time best because backs aren't running for as many yards in what is now a pass-centric league, Smith's statistics will appear less impressive to voters over time because receivers are passing him – again, because the game is now skewed toward the pass. This is not remotely fair. It doesn't make Smith undeserving. But it will make his path more difficult.

Chris from Mandarin

I worked for Jimmy Smith for a few months during 2011. His knowledge about all things football, like when and how to properly break on a comeback route so the cornerback doesn't have a chance to defend, was incredible. His story is a great one, no doubt. I worry that he will get left out in the cold, though. He didn't really score many touchdowns in his career, which is what I think hurts his chances. I think he had 67. For a go to offensive player, that number seems low, but there was a lot of bread to go around those days with wide receiver Keenan McCardell and Taylor also on the team. Still, nine straight 1,000-yard seasons and a 291-yard game against what may be the greatest defense of all time (2000 Ravens), can't be a bad thing.

His touchdowns total likely will hurt Smith's Hall candidacy. I, too, worry that circumstances will leave Smith out. Perhaps Smith's most impressive feat was nine 1,000-yard seasons in his final 10 seasons – with the lone exception an 805-yard season in 2003, when he missed four games. Many of these seasons were on run-centric teams without an elite quarterback. Smith was special. No question.

Scott from Jacksonville

That play where former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli ran down the Bengals player to prevent a defensive score reminded me of one of our current players. Robinson made a similar play year before last where he blasted the defensive back at the four-yard line to prevent a score 60 or more yards downfield. The play is largely forgotten because there was a penalty and the play never actually happened now, but it was the one play that gives me the most hope for that man. Nobody that big runs that far to make a play like that if they don't have the desire and the heart to play football at the highest level. If Cam doesn't succeed in the NFL or if he fails to take another step towards greatness, it certainly won't be for lack of effort or love of the game.