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O-Zone: Shooting straight

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

John from Cape May Court House

I'm interested in seeing how this wide receiver group shakes out now that running back Travis Etienne Jr. has been added. I assume Marvin Jones Jr. and DJ Chark Jr. will man the outside and Laviska Shenault Jr. in the slot. Do you foresee see Etienne talking snaps away from Shenault in 11 personnel? Perhaps we might see 20 personnel (two running backs, three receivers and no tight end)? The more I think about it, the more I'm intrigued by the potential creativity this offense could have.

I do believe you'll see Etienne line up outside in some packages. I don't know that we – or the coaches, perhaps – have a clear idea yet what receivers will have snaps "taken away" because of Etienne's role. It's quite possible that it could be a combination of Jones/Chark/Shenault rather than just one player. It also could be a case where Shenault moves into the backfield and "takes snaps" from a running back. I suspect all the receivers you mention will get more than ample reps, and I suspect the Jaguars' approach to offensive personnel might be a little more dynamic than just traditional "11 personnel" and "20 personnel" packages.

David from The Island

College coaches are notorious for high praise and good reviews of their players. Why wouldn't they be? They'd like to have more good players on their team in the future. What if a player is very gifted and good on the field but basically lazy and not a very good teammate? Someone who might not be a good pro, epically after getting some money. How likely is it that an NFL scout or coach get true evaluations on questionable prospects? Are strength coaches and position coaches better sources of information than the head coach?

You're right that head coaches and assistants pretty much always praise players when speaking publicly. I've never called a college coach for a story on a player and had the coach tell me on the record, "John, the kid has trouble zipping his pants, much less running a route. He can't play a lick." The key for NFL coaches and scouts is having contacts with people at college programs who will tell them the truth about a player. That's one reason Head Coach Urban Meyer and the Jaguars in this past weekend's draft leaned toward players they knew and players about whom they believed they had good information. It's also why experienced area scouts are so important; many have relationships good enough to speak frankly with multiple coaches/officials at a school regarding a player, and therefore they can get better information about a player than a new scout who's not as tied into a particular college program.

Cliff from Everywhere with helicopter

Irony: Many of the same fans who think the national media don't respect the Jaguars and that they're perceived as a laughingstock are also the same fans who want the Jaguars to sign Tim Tebow.

Irony can be pretty ironic, Cliff.

Richard from Jacksonville

Maybe it's because Jaguars Owner Shad Khan benched him the last few weeks to preserve the number No. 1 overall selection and he did not finish with the 1200+ yards rushing as he otherwise would have done, but I feel like many of the local media have written off James Robinson as just a nice story and a marginal player going forward. I still think he will be a key player for the offense this year. How do you think it will play out for Robinson?

Khan didn't bench rookie running back James Robinson last season, and I haven't had any sense that media have been down on Robinson. I do think Robinson will be a key player in the offense next season. I expect him to begin the season as the starter. I don't think he will get as many carries or touches as he did as a rookie, but that's a good thing – for him and his longevity, and for the offense overall.

David from Ada, OK

I "guess" I understand questions about this draft class, but honestly, I can't get past possibly drafting the first franchise quarterback of the franchise. I get having some concerns, but that's like saying you spent a few bucks at the gas station and bought the winning lottery ticket and a few scratchoffs that might not win at all, and then questioning why. I mean every draft is an educated gamble, and the best football minds in the country can't predict how these guys will be performing in three years.


Bryan from Tampa, FL

I, for one, loved the Etienne pick. Sure, there may have been more premium positions the team could have drafted, but there probably weren't more premium players at that spot. After all the point is to get as many really good players as possible, right?


Bruce from Saint Simons Island, GA

O, You answered a question about the expected number of wins the Jags will have in 2021 by saying five, maybe a little more. I disagree. The Jags lost several close games that they should have won last year because of a defense that couldn't stop anyone and lacking quarterback play. I believe these issues have been fixed by the draft and free agency. Looking at these factors, plus the Jaguars' last-place schedule and Urban's coaching skills and past history, I would not be shocked if they get to or exceed 8-10 wins. Thoughts?

I think the Jaguars can get to somewhere between five-to-eight victories or so – maybe on the high end of that. I'm usually conservative in predictions, and I think that unless a team is exceptional or awful it will probably finish with between five and eight victories. I think the Jaguars will be improved enough to not be awful, but I think it will be hard in one season to go from 1-15 to exceptional. I do think the Jaguars will be a lot more competitive in a lot of games than they were last season. That's not the Jaguars' goal and that's not what Meyer's thinking; their goals will be higher. But those are my thoughts. That's why I wrote what I wrote.

The Duke of All Funk Formerly of Mandarin, FL

Zone, Ten of the thirteen teams that won ten or more games last year were in the top half of the league in converting third down. I like the thought of having a guy in the backfield on third down who is enough of a threat to motion outside that defenses could be forced to play dime, with a quarterback that can use him as a legitimate receiving option or find a running lane with third-level defenders' backs' turned.

So do the Jaguars.

Edwin from Danvers MA

Zone- I am not a fan of the Tebow experiment at tight end and I have never really bought into the mentor thing but having an experienced Tim Tebow around our new franchise quarterback cannot be a bad thing. Agree?

If Tebow is signed as a tight end I don't think his presence will have much effect – positively or negatively – on rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

For the last decade-plus, I have held my breath every time the quarterback drops back for a pass. I have been surprised when we got a first down. It was a win when we got in the end zone and it wasn't a garbage time score. I can't wait to finally expect to score more than one time a game and expect a pass to be completed. It is thrilling.

Josh is "all in."


Can we really give our staff credit for drafting Lawrence? I mean, my grandma with five minutes of reading would've know to draft him. I feel like this draft class should be judged down the road by every pick but that one. Even if he is a bust, everyone else would've made the same pick. So, in fairness, the 2021 draft should be about every other pick. Fair?

I guess I'm not all that obsessed with "judging" and "credit." If Lawrence is good and makes the Jaguars better, the Jaguars will win and the people involved with the decision will be happy and successful. I suppose they will get credit, but it won't matter all that much. If Lawrence isn't good, the Jaguars will have a lot more trouble winning – and the people making the decision won't be happy. They also almost certainly will get a lot of blame. For better or worse, that's how these things work. But if Lawrence is good, the 2021 draft for the Jaguars will be deemed successful no matter what happens with the rest of the class. That's how these things work, too.

Roger from Valdosta, GA

You always seem to be a straight shooter when asked a question. Do you think Tebow will be signed? Yes or no!

I don't know.