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O-Zone: Six days away

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Bradley from Sparks, NV

Brandon Scherff was arguably the centerpiece of last year's free-agent class and by many accounts had a down year, but has received praise for being instrumental in solidifying the offensive line and for Taylor's improved play. I think it has also been reported that he had a painful, nagging injury of some sort most of the year. He is one of the highest-paid players on the team, yet I haven't heard much about him and how he is looking this season. Any news on Scherff?

Scherff, a five-time Pro Bowl selection for the Washington Commanders, started every game last season at left guard for the Jaguars after signing as an unrestricted free agent during the 2022 offseason. It's fair to say Scherff wasn't a Pro Bowl-caliber player in his first season with the Jaguars, but his presence helped the offensive line – and it appeared to help right tackle Jawaan Taylor, who had the best of four Jaguars seasons in 2022 before signing with the Kansas City Chiefs as an unrestricted free agent. Scherff absolutely played through a debilitating abdomen injury in the last month and a half or so of the season, essentially playing with little-to-no core strength. While I live my life in this state, it's a difficult situation in which to play guard in the NFL. Scherff has looked fine in training camp and preseason. He is fully recovered, and I expect him to be a strength of the line this season if healthy.

Dave from Saint Mary's, GA

Last year we opened on the road and in my opinion, thanks to 13 penalties and a few other plays, the better team came home with a L and Head Coach Doug Pederson said the team needed to learn how to win. In your opinion, do you think Doug will face the same thing on this year's opening road game or will the better team come home with a "W?"

Do I think the Jaguars will commit double-digit penalties and be a young team trying to learn how to win, adjusting to a new coaching staff and to each other? No. I don't think the Jaguars will be that this season. I don't expect as many mistakes in Week 1 against the Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis Sunday as we saw in 2022 Week 1 loss at the Washington Commanders. I expect the Jaguars to win. I won't be stunned or concerned if they lose. It's Week 1 in the NFL. And it's the NFL. Good teams lose games. We'll see what happens.

John from Jacksonville

Hello, KOAGF. It's been a while since I've attended a game. When we get a first down, is it three Moodachays followed by a moo? Also, does a touchdown count as a first down? If so, shouldn't we moodachay then, too?

It's "moo," then "da," then "chay." Right together.

Mark from Jacksonville

I think the Week One matchup is about as favorable as you could ask for (rookie quarterback, rookie head coach), but are you concerned about the fact that Colts rookie Anthony Richardson is probably going to be an unconventional quarterback to defend? Maybe I'm just scarred as a Jags fan and always expect the worst, but I have this dread of him gashing us on the ground. Can the scout team simulate his style of play in practice? Please give me peace, o great zone

I doubt the Jaguars can simulate Richardson, whose running ability is unique. But I doubt the Colts can simulate Calvin Ridley, the Jaguars' other receivers and quarterback Trevor Lawrence. I expect Richardson to make a play or two with his legs Sunday. That's what quarterbacks with his athleticism often do. I expect the Jaguars to be good enough offensively to win the game. That's what offenses of their level are supposed to do.

Brad from The Avenues

Is it time to bold yet, John? I'm ready to bold. And man is it gonna be bold!

Brad is ready for some football.

Ken from Rabun Gap, GA

Hey, Zone! For all those that feel slighted by tight end Gerrit Prince selecting the Chiefs practice squad over ours, here is a little extra insight: he was born and raised in Shawnee, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City. So, no question here, as my quest for knowledge is completely satiated by your daily awesomeness. Carry on, Funkitude.

I suspect a perceived better chance to get onto the Kansas City Chiefs' 53-player regular-season roster than onto the Jaguars' roster was the No. 1 reason Prince signed with the Chiefs' practice squad rather than re-join the Jaguars' practice squad for a second consecutive season. The hometown stuff probably was a factor, too.

Justin from Jax

Yo-Zone. Clearly not to the Jaguars coaching staff, but I feel Luke Farrell is probably a little underrated by fans and definitely by opposing defenses. He clearly brings high-tier blocking from the tight-end position, but I think he could be a weapon in the passing attack as well. We saw a little of it in the final preseason game. Maybe it's a bit premature and I was only a kid when I watched him play, but Luke reminds me a bit of a stud we used to have in Kyle Brady. I know you're usually not big into comparisons, but how does that one sit with ya?

I don't know that Farrell is – or ever will be – the mauling, physical presence that former Jaguars tight end Kyle Brady was as a run-blocker. Brady was big, strong and looked as much like a tackle as a tight end. I think Farrell can be a good run-blocker and contribute as a receiver. He has shown signs of that in training camp and preseason. He's a player to watch early.

Bill from Bostwick

Just before the much-anticipated season starts for the Jaguars, just for fun, what positions does the O-Zone guess Jacksonville will want to replenish most during the first two days of the 2024 NFL Draft? General Manager Trent Baalke has gone offense (2021), defense (2022), offense (2023) so far during his tenure here, so I'm guessing he goes defense in 2024.

Projecting Day 1 and 2 draft selections eight months before a draft – and therefore before a season has played out – is pretty pointless. We have no idea what players will be available where in the draft, and we aren't close to knowing what players a team will sign and re-sign in free agency. Maybe the Jaguars would lean toward pass rusher or cornerback if the right players were available at the right spots. Remember, too: This team will be built around the offense and Lawrence. Teams built as such often choose to err on the side of protecting and putting skill talent around the quarterback.

Randy from Jacksonville

I don't want my quarterback winning the game in the fourth quarter. I want my backup quarterback handing the ball off or taking a knee up three scores.


Dan from Ormond Beach, FL

I am wondering about Week One against the Colts. I expect with Colts Head Coach Shane Steichen's background and Richardson making his first career start that there is a good chance we may see several designed quarterback runs (see Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles last year). Do you think that the Jaguars' outside linebackers – Josh Allen and Uber-athletic Travon Walker – will be able to contain him and force him into turnovers?

Richardson is a special athlete when he runs and he has little experience throwing at the college level, much less professionally. I expect Richardson to make plays running on Sunday, and I expect he'll make some plays running and passing against a lot of teams this season. Allen and Walker give the Jaguars a chance to contain Richardson and force him into mistakes, which I expect they will do at times. Remember: Week 1 is weird. Teams have yet to establish tendencies, which often leads to some surprise plays and scores. I expect the Colts to score and give the Jaguars some problems because that's what often happens when playing teams with young, athletic quarterbacks and new coaching staffs. I expect the Jaguars to be able to withstand those problems and win because I expect them to be the better team.

Don from Marshall, NC

This defense has playmakers at every position. They can rush the passer in many different ways. Versatility, containment and big plays are what they look like. That Tampa defense that won the super Bowl was pretty special and complemented quarterback Tom Brady well. Will the Jaguars be as good as them? If they are, the rest of the league is in big trouble. I guarantee that the defense will score a touchdown against the Colts. Probably more than one. This team is triple stacked and ESPN needs to keep track of average margin of victory for the Jaguars. It will lead the league. Go Jaguars and Go YouTube!

With the regular season six days away, Dom remains "all in."