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O-Zone: Slot machine

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Scott from Atlantic Beach, FL

Other than Jack, who has "earned" a second contract? 1-15? This team isn't good.

You're correct that the Jaguars haven't been good in recent seasons, and – as you seem to be astutely implying – not nearly enough Jaguars players have "earned" second contracts in recent seasons. Linebacker Myles Jack is one player who has done so. Center Brandon Linder is another. Punter Logan Cooke is another. Beyond that, it rarely has happened. The team has signed free agents from other teams to second contracts, but that's not the same; you must draft, develop and re-sign core players to sustain success in the NFL. There appear to be some young players now on the roster who could merit re-signing. Defensive end Josh Allen comes to mind, as does wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. We'll hold off on first- or second-year players because … well, because they're first- and second-year players. As you astutely note, it's important. Stay tuned.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

Did Shaq Quarterman help the front office make the decision to trade Schobert? It makes perfect sense to me that Schobert doesn't quite fit the new scheme, especially with Damien Wilson here. I really liked how Quarterman played at Miami. He's an old-school thumper; we've missed that since Poz left. Seemed like Quarterman wasn't going to get a shot, but now he is behind Wilson on the depth chart. How do the coaches like Quarterman and will we all get to see him in action with the first or second team soon?

The coaches like second-year linebacker Shaq Quarterman very much. And the development of the 2020 fourth-round draft choice absolutely was a reason the Jaguars felt confident trading inside linebacker Joe Schobert to the Pittsburgh Steelers last week. Quarterman has looked good in practice this week. I expect you'll see him with the second team consistently moving forward.

Sean from Jacksonville

To hear many players say it ... sometimes it is the coaching.

Of course players say that. They're not going to blame themselves.

Steve from Woodbine, GA

There are some really good football players throughout the league that are going to get cut over the next few weeks. What's your estimated guess as to how many players the Jags will add? What positions?

The Jaguars are a young roster and are No. 1 in the waiver order until at least Week 3 of the 2021 NFL season, a combination that makes you think they can improve the bottom of the roster when teams around the NFL reduce rosters to 53 players over the next few weeks. Best guess about how many players the team might add after final cuts: Five-ish. Among the positions to watch: Tight end, safety (one or two), defensive end/linebacker, defensive tackle. Maybe.

Al from Orange Park, FL

I've never been a college football fan, but rather a 60-year NFL fan. Also, I'm getting old and crochety. Does the change in the NFL player numbering scheme annoy you as much as it annoys me?

Maybe not as much.

Steve from Jacksonville

Under what circumstances does Gardner Minshew II get the nod as the No. 1 quarterback when the regular season starts? I mean if Gardner is truly better than Trevor Lawrence than wouldn't this team have been better than 1-15 last year? Also, if Minshew is indeed the better option, then every single football mind out there was wrong about Minshew's draft value and Lawrence's potential. That seems unlikely. I know your opinion is there is no harm being done by not naming a starter but Urban doesn't strike me as a guy who does things because they are net neutrals. Not publicly naming No. 16 the starter when he clearly will be has to have another perceived benefit for Urban. What is it?

I don't believe Minshew will be the Jaguars' starter when the regular season begins. Coaches like rookies to earn positions. Meyer said this week Lawrence needs to be more consistent to work with the starters on a regular basis. I would assume when the coaches see more consistency, Lawrence will start. Remember, too: Meyer is leaning heavily on offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and passing-game coordinator Brian Schottenheimer in handling the quarterbacks. A major reason for this is not only the 26 years combined experience of the duo as NFL coordinators, but also their experience – and success – handling young quarterbacks. I realize there are readers and other fans annoyed that Lawrence isn't yet starting. But the earning-the-starting-role thing is big for coaches. It just is.

Chad from TIAA

Which do you predict to happen first: the offensive line jells or Trevor and/or the running backs playing so well they make the line look better?

These things usually happen in unison.

Michael from Lakeland, FL

Will we see Walker Little rotating with the first team anytime soon? He's a monster.

Little, a second-round selection from Stanford in the 2021 NFL Draft, has shown a lot of impressive traits so far in 2021 Training Camp. And he appears to have a very bright future. That has caused a lot of observers, including this one, to be excited about his future. A lot of observers, including this one, have sort of anointed him as a foundation piece of the future and jumped to the conclusion that he will force his way into the starting lineup sooner than later. While the potential is clearly there, those observers – including this one – perhaps were a bit ahead of themselves. Little has looked good in a lot of training camp practices. He also didn't play all that well against the Cleveland Browns this past Saturday, according to Meyer. Little could still get a chance to work with the first team in the next few weeks. But there are some issues he must work through before getting that chance.

David from Ada, OK

The Browns beat us last year and won 10 more games than we did playing teams like the Kansas City Chiefs, the Indianapolis Colts, the Tennessee Titans, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens. I think beating them even in preseason might be a little unrealistic. I mean the Browns no longer suck.

No, the Browns don't suck. But it's not unreasonable for observers to hope the Jaguars play better – even in the preseason, even against good teams – than they did against Cleveland.

Jeremy from Gilbert, AZ

Do you want Lawrence to throw it out of bounds in order to make quicker decisions? He held on to the ball because nobody was open to throw to.

If necessary, yes.

Dave from Jacksonville

Wizard, is height an issue for A.J. Cann when it comes to pass blocking? Cann appears to be one of the best pulling guards in NFL. Our old Sheldon Day got off his block and got to Trevor as he had to wait for receivers to break on off coverage. He played great after that. Does he have the pass-blocking frame?

Cann had one hiccup the other night, and it resulted in the sack to which you refer. You're correct that he played fine other than that. Cann is 6-feet-3, which isn't as tall as some interior NFL offensive lineman but isn't remotely so short that to be a liability in interior pass protection. Cann is fine and is a legitimate starting NFL guard. He has a perfectly adequate frame for his position.

Kandyman from Duuuval

Collin Johnson: Beef him up 20 maybe 25 pounds so we could have possibly a Marcedes Lewis hybrid. He can catch, high point the ball well, run pretty good routes and oh, block pretty good too (no shots at Tim Tebow). That frees up an extra roster spot at wide receiver. Then use the final three wide receiver spots for Laquon Treadwell, Tavon Austin and Josh Hammond. Your thoughts?

Meyer was asked about this during the offseason. This staff does not believe Johnson has the body type to bulk up into a tight end. He is seen by the Jaguars as a wide receiver.

George from Blue Ridge



Ed from Ponte Vedra, Fl

Just wondering, by the time a player gets cut in the offense and he has to return the playbook, about how many plays did he have to memorize?

It depends how long the player has been with the organization. Remember, though: Most of what a player is memorizing is terminology. Most teams' offenses have generally the same plays. The difference in schemes from team to team is mostly the play-calling philosophies of the offensive coordinator, verbiage used and the personnel executing the plays.

Bob from Ponte Vedra

Just heard former Jaguars offensive tackle Leon Searcy say the offensive line does very little live-like three-on-three in practice. How can they get better without hitting?

It's difficult, but it's the nature of the modern NFL.

Jim from Jagsonville

Rob suggested putting quarterback Gardner Minshew II as a slot receiver? What is he thinking?? He's built like a tight end! Go Jaguars!!

The regular season begins September 12.