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O-Zone: Sleepy time

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Charles from Port St Lucie, FL

Are you familiar with Coach's philosophy on playing starters in the preseason? Should we expect to see as much of Trevor this preseason as we did last year?

I haven't had a chance to speak with Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson about this, and this undoubtedly will become much more of a topic – and much clearer – as the preseason approaches. But I broke my longstanding rule and did some "research" – read: Google – on this front. The last time Pederson was a head coach during a preseason was 2019 with the Philadelphia Eagles. Quarterback Carson Wentz – then the Eagles' starter – didn't play at all that preseason, and a quick look at the Eagles' preseason their indicates starters played comparatively sparingly. That's in line with the vibe I get from Pederson that he understands what's really important in the NFL – i.e., training camp practices over offseason activities, padded practices over non-padded work, regular-season games over preseason games. I would expect most Jaguars starters/contributors – including quarterback Trevor Lawrence – to play some in the 2022 preseason. This team, after all, is learning new schemes under new coaches. But I would expect that playing time to be comparatively minimal.

You're correct that the media – and others – at Jaguars 2022 Rookie Minicamp were impressed by rookie outside linebacker Travon Walker, and with reason. There was plenty with which to be impressed regarding Walker. He not only looks the part because he is incredibly impressive physical, he also moves and exhibits unreal strength. The gist of your point isn't changed by these facts, and that gist is legitimate – that no matter how impressive Walker looks now there will still be questions about the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft until he proves he can turn his impressive traits into on-field professional productions. But remember: The media's job during minicamp is to report as accurately as possible about what they're seeing – for the benefit of fans who can't be there. There were multiple players on whom to report. Third-round linebacker Chad Muma. First-round linebacker Devin Lloyd. Third-round offensive lineman Luke Fortner. A handful of collegiate free agents. But Walker was the No. 1 overall selection less than a month ago. He therefore was the most important story – and the fact that he was off-the-charts impressive … well, it may "change nothing," but it's still a positive early sign for this Jaguars offseason.

Steve from Nashville, TN

The genius of the NFL to schedule week 18 to be all Divisional Games which consistently has produced an elimination game for Sunday Night Football to flex into the regular season finale. My recollection is that the last regular season SNF game has always produced a win an in (to the playoffs) game for the NFL or at the very least a game to determine the Division winner?

A sentence is not a question simply because one attaches a question mark to its end.

Jon from Ocala, FL

Hi, O. So, did the rookies look like they belong, specifically the top four picks, or did you go "uh oh" for any of them?

All seven draft selections looked like they belonged at rookie minicamp, and that was particularly true of the first four selections – Walker, Lloyd, Muma and Fortner. That's the first step. It's the expected step. The next step is the rest of the offseason program. The first really important step is training camp. That's when we'll start cooking with grease.

Whydoistilllovethejags from Abingdon, VA

I have to ask. How often do you accidentally stumble into a "comments section" and see what a celebrity you are? You get more attention than any player!


Daniel from Jersey City, NJ

O-man, how about we stop the run AND pass? Oh, and score more than the other team while we are at it! Let coach know for the right price I can provide additional expert insights.

Shad Khan, hire this man!

Nathan from Utah, US

_Zone, 8-9 would make for a fun season. With that schedule, any better would be unreal. Who on defense do you see being the leader(s) to make sure this team wins eight-plus games? Does the D have a 'Henderson/Stroud' combo? Or a 'Mathis' or 'Darius'? _

Josh Allen is supposed to be "that guy." Walker and Lloyd were also selected to be versions of "that guy," though it's difficult for rookies to perform at "that guy" levels. I'm curious to see if they can start reaching it this season. Or get close. We'll see.

Jeff from Atlantic Beach, FL

When you're picking 1st overall in the draft two years in a row, one prime time game seems more than fair.


Steve from Nashville, TN

_I think fans should take it down a notch or two on the disrespect card of no prime-time games other than Thursday Night Football in 2022. That team has lost 29 games in two years and last year managed to score on average 14.9 points per game, which is over four points less than the team scored in 2020 and on average were outscored by their 2021 opponents by 12 points per game. This team has not shown it has what it takes to entertain and captivate a national or global audience on a Sunday or Monday night. Watching Jaguar games can be a painful experience - one the NFL does not need to showcase during prime-time when so many other compelling matchups are available. If the team plays exceptionally well this year there will be some Sunday Night Football flex in opportunities late in the season. Once Tom Brady retires for good there will be some slots open up in future seasons. _


Charles from Riverside

Hello, John. A lot of talk about not having a No. 1 receiver. But isn't it fairly typical for that guy to "emerge?" Seems to have happened a lot over the years on many teams. Certainly our best receiver ever, Jimmy Smith, was exactly that scenario. With the way the picks went down in the draft, and feeling they had the right combo of guys for someone to stand up and become No. 1, maybe the draft wasn't the place to find him? Why such a big deal that someone has to be anointed No. 1 going into the season, probably would have ended up being a different guy any ways?

I suppose this discussion centers around the concept of what one means when one says "No. 1 receiver" in the NFL. Most – if not all – teams have a No. 1 receiver in the sense that some receiver plays the No. 1 receiver role and/or leads a team in receptions. But when football people talk about a No. 1 receiver, they typically mean a wide receiver for whom defenses must account – a receiver capable of drawing double teams to help other receivers and also capable much of the time of beating those double teams and producing despite defenses trying to take him away. Those sorts of receivers help quarterbacks and offenses. Those players do "emerge," but there's no guarantee they will do so. I don't know that the Jaguars have a "true No. 1 receiver" in that latter sense; my sense is they may not. I anticipate the team will continue to look for one – probably in the draft at some point soon. The Jaguars seem to have taken the approach entering 2022 that they can win with a committee of good receivers and an improving quarterback. Head Coach Doug Pederson has won with that approach before. Or maybe someone will emerge and be anointed sometime during the season. Stay tuned.

Josh from Atlanta, GA

What is the next concert you plan on attending?

The Connells at Intuition in June.

Sean from Oakleaf, FL

Just curious with the seven 1 p.m. road game start times in 2022, what are the logistics for players, coaches and traveling hangers on for 1 p.m. road games? When on average (I realize flight times vary) would a senior writer be home in bed Sunday evenings? Are not these early start times kind of beneficial for player wear and tear for these road games?

Travel itineraries often very a bit depending on head coach, but NFL teams typically leave for road games early afternoon the day before and return home immediately after games. For a 1 p.m. road game against an AFC South opponent, the team is often back in Jacksonville early Sunday evening. And for 1 p.m. road game anywhere on the East Coast, the team is often back in Jacksonville comfortably before midnight. When the senior writer is on the team charter, he often is home before midnight – though the senior writer's senior writing responsibilities typically keep him tap, tap, tapping on his keyboard into the wee hours on Monday morning. But yes … early start times benefit players and they are easier logistically. Ideal senior writers schedule 17 1 p.m. home games. The dream will not die.